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monarca


Mar 20, 2008, 9:29 AM

Post #1001 of 1632 (9992 views)
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Re: [ejdifili] Brown rejection [In reply to] Can't Post

Absolutely, Ejdifili!

I also rattle off acceptance rates when I talk about my big pile of rejections. Always "Well, I didn't get it, but there were only a few spots for hundreds of applicants!" Mostly my (non-writing) friends and family are all dutifully impressed with my one acceptance and pleased that I've moved out of my obsessive and sad funk.

Unfortunately I think the best way to really research this process is to go through it. It's so subjective that it's hard to know where you stand. All the talk about what will get you in is vague and is only "generally true" and never as important as your writing sample. And it's next to impossible to accurately gauge your writing sample, especially since there is no way to gauge the writing samples yours are going up against.

Oh, well. If nothing else this is good practice for the many (hundreds! thousands!) of rejections from literary magazines, editors, publishers and contests that, no doubt, are waiting for me in the future. I'm learning the art of rejection. It really feels terrible, but I don't think it's gonna kill me.


mamaholler


Mar 20, 2008, 10:02 AM

Post #1002 of 1632 (9966 views)
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Re: [monarca] Brown rejection [In reply to] Can't Post

Very true!

I am amazed by how thick my skin has become. I didn't shed one tear as my phone sat quietly, teasing me with telemarketers and well-intentioned friends and family. Other people had calls from Oregon shaking their ringers... and me... nothing.

Not one tear.

I am really looking forward to getting my rejection letter. maybe I should frame it or something.


ejdifili
Emily

Mar 20, 2008, 11:08 AM

Post #1003 of 1632 (9901 views)
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Re: [monarca] Brown rejection [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Unfortunately I think the best way to really research this process is to go through it.


Pretty much. You can read Tom Kealey's book cover to cover 800 times, you can hang around Seth Abramson's blog for a year, and you can talk to all the current grad students and professors you want. There's still absolutely no way to predict your chances of acceptance.

A former creative writing prof who wrote one of my recs was adamant that I'd be an awesome candidate for MFA programs, and said he was sure I'd be accepted by numerous schools. And I don't think he's the type of person who would have said that if he didn't really mean it, but look at me now. Nine applications, six rejections, one more assumed rejection from Houston, waitlisted at a place where I'll never get a TAship, and waiting to hear from one last university that I don't even want to attend anymore.

I can't really say I feel embarrassed or ashamed by how this turned out. I'm still very respected in my current job, and many people where I live don't even go to college, much less graduate school for something like creative writing. Also, my poodle still loves me.


pareidolia


Mar 20, 2008, 2:29 PM

Post #1004 of 1632 (9742 views)
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Re: [monarca] Brown rejection [In reply to] Can't Post

This is my second year applying. My first year I knew nothing about the process and applied to Iowa, NYU, UVA, Michigan, and Montana. I was rejected by all and my ego was bruised pretty bad. So I decided to do a lot more research this year and go back to my recommenders with my tail between my legs (they warned me to apply to a wider range of schools the first time) and do the process all over again.

Anyway, I got into four programs this year and was better prepared to handle the onslaught of rejections that came rolling in around the beginning of March. I think you guys should all keep reapplying - while some people are able to get into Cornell, UMASS, Michigan, etc. all in their first try, I really don't think that is the norm.

Now, I have to go out and check my mailbox for more rejection letters.

Good luck everyone.




In Reply To
Absolutely, Ejdifili!

I also rattle off acceptance rates when I talk about my big pile of rejections. Always "Well, I didn't get it, but there were only a few spots for hundreds of applicants!" Mostly my (non-writing) friends and family are all dutifully impressed with my one acceptance and pleased that I've moved out of my obsessive and sad funk.

Unfortunately I think the best way to really research this process is to go through it. It's so subjective that it's hard to know where you stand. All the talk about what will get you in is vague and is only "generally true" and never as important as your writing sample. And it's next to impossible to accurately gauge your writing sample, especially since there is no way to gauge the writing samples yours are going up against.

Oh, well. If nothing else this is good practice for the many (hundreds! thousands!) of rejections from literary magazines, editors, publishers and contests that, no doubt, are waiting for me in the future. I'm learning the art of rejection. It really feels terrible, but I don't think it's gonna kill me.



JCFinSF


Mar 20, 2008, 3:35 PM

Post #1005 of 1632 (9632 views)
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Arizona Rejection [In reply to] Can't Post

As much as it pains me, I thought I ought to share with the forum the news that I received an Arizona rejection today (for fiction) via post. It was dated March 17th.

It had grown into a bit of a top choice for me and it was one where I really felt I got to share some of my best work. Additionally both of my recommenders were noted graduates of their program. Even though I have a few acceptances to date, this one stings.

Judging from the various posts on different Speakeasy threads, there are a number of people waiting on word--some word--from Tucson. Well I can tell you there are indeed letters out there in mail. Hopefully a few of you will get a happy one. Good luck.


whyGA77


Mar 20, 2008, 6:06 PM

Post #1006 of 1632 (9514 views)
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Colorado State [In reply to] Can't Post

Got my CSU rejection letter via snail mail today. I'm for fiction.

That makes 3 no-thank-yous (UMass, CSU, Brown), 1 wait list (Mason) and still waiting to hear from VCU, The New School, and NYU.

But I doubt I got into those 3. Looks like I'll probably be doing this again next year. :(


crummy


Mar 20, 2008, 7:16 PM

Post #1007 of 1632 (9426 views)
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Re: [whyGA77] Colorado State [In reply to] Can't Post

whyGA77,

Do you mind if I ask where you live? I live in LA, and our mail is usually pretty fast, so I don't know why my rejection letter (at least, I highly assume it's a rejection) from CSU hasn't arrived yet.

Also, if it makes you feel any better, I'm going to take my name off the George Mason wait list. I don't know if you were higher up than me, but at least it's one less person to compete with.


whyGA77


Mar 20, 2008, 7:33 PM

Post #1008 of 1632 (9395 views)
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Re: [crummy] Colorado State [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks crummy! It actually does make me feel better :)

I live in central Virginia and I had read on here that some people got theirs earlier this week. My birthday is Sunday, so at least I got it before my bday weekend began!

Here's to hoping no news will be good news for you.


taggie7


Mar 20, 2008, 9:18 PM

Post #1009 of 1632 (9330 views)
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Re: [whyGA77] Colorado State [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm in Texas and waiting to hear from CSU (for fiction). I wish I'd get something in the mail...


lauraeve


Mar 21, 2008, 10:51 AM

Post #1010 of 1632 (9177 views)
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Advice? [In reply to] Can't Post

Man, what a rough month.

I wanted to ask all of you knowledgable, seasoned MFA folks a question about The Future...

I was accepted to Ohio State w/great funding, waitlisted at Michigan, & am sitting at the top of Oregon's waitlist.

Rejected (presumably) by UMass-Amherst, UC-I & Houston.

I'm wondering if I should just get another job (I hate my current one) & wait to apply next year, but OSU's offer is really a good one, & I'm struggling with trying to figure out whether or not waiting to apply again would be a waste of a good offer that will ultimately yield similar results next year.

Do you think MFA programs prefer it if you're older/been out of school longer? (I just graduate from UVa in 2007.)

Does anyone on this board know of any good proofreading/editing/writing gigs anywhere in the country that I could look, if I do decide to just wait another year? It seems so difficult to find good, satisfying gigs...

Thanks for all the support.


jakarta


Mar 21, 2008, 10:59 AM

Post #1011 of 1632 (9164 views)
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Hunter [In reply to] Can't Post

I got a rejection letter from Hunter yesterday. The letter was dated March 17th. I live in Brooklyn, so I am probably among the first in this great country of ours to receive one.

This is my first, and will likely be my only post here. I just wanted to thank all of the people that have been writing on these blogs (here, Seth Abramson's blog, etc.). I went into this process very half-cocked. I only decided to apply for MFA programs the second week of January. I knew extremely little about the process or how competitive it was. Hunter and Brooklyn College were the only schools I applied to because I wanted to stay in New York, and they were the only schools whose deadlines for application had not already passed.

After stumbling across these blogs, I've definitely been schooled. As frenzied as these postings sometimes get, there's a wealth of information here to be had. And now that I've been rejected from Hunter (and likely from Brooklyn too, just waiting for the letter) I feel as though I am exponentially more prepared for doing this again next year.

I mean, I didn't even know that there were schools out there that gave you full-funding. This, to me, is huge.

I am not bummed out. I think I had a good learning experience. And I 'd like to offer some words of encouragement to those of you who did not get any acceptances:

So long as you write, you are a writer. This is the most important thing. And the more you do it, the better you will get. Within or without the context of an academic setting.

Honestly, I have a lot of misgivings about these programs. I made the decision to try to get into one for my own reasons. Again, you don't NEED them to write. Just keep on writing and trying to get closer to the truth, whatever that might be for you. The world needs us, whether it (or you) knows it or not.

So, maybe your ego will take a little hit (in my case, it is thankfully not a very big one). Whatever. Get over it and keep on working.

Good luck with everything everybody, whatever your situation.


(This post was edited by jakarta on Mar 21, 2008, 11:02 AM)


shellypants


Mar 21, 2008, 11:20 AM

Post #1012 of 1632 (9123 views)
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Re: [jakarta] Hunter [In reply to] Can't Post

I also received my rejection from Hunter yesterday and have a very similar experience to you jakarta.

I only applied for Hunter so when I received the letter last night I stepped into my building elevator ready launch into a tearful session of self pity. Before I did though I thought, I wonder what would happen if I just told myself to get over and move on? So, I took a deep breath, went and had a beer instead and today I am looking at some other options. I am actually feeling ok about this and if anything it is a good motivator to apply again next year and prove them wrong (thanks to this blog have learned that it is possibly better to apply to more than one school!).

Good luck everyone! :)


bighark


Mar 21, 2008, 12:17 PM

Post #1013 of 1632 (9052 views)
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Re: [lauraeve] Advice? [In reply to] Can't Post

Why wouldn't you take Ohio State's offer?

As far as age preference is concerned, I don't think schools really care. What they're looking for is talent.


Raignn



Mar 21, 2008, 12:45 PM

Post #1014 of 1632 (8999 views)
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Re: [lauraeve] Advice? [In reply to] Can't Post

I would have to wonder as well why you aren't considering taking OSU's offer. That program has a lot of really great things going for it, and from what I've heard, those who have chosen to go there have been very happy.

However, there doesn't not seem to be any skew toward a certain age. People of all ages and experience apply to MFA's with varying degrees of success (no rhyme of reason there either!).

My suggestion. Visit OSU and do some research and soul searching.


lauraeve


Mar 21, 2008, 12:54 PM

Post #1015 of 1632 (8982 views)
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Re: [Raignn] Advice? [In reply to] Can't Post

You guys are amazing, & are really helping to put things in perspective. I think that, with the waitlists & such, I was starting to think if I waited a year, I might have a shot at a "bigger name" program, but there's a lot to be said for three well-funded years & happy program-mates. You're all totally right -- what's not to love?

I'm visiting next weekend, & soul-searching is somewhere on the agenda (right under "Quit my job as a secretary ASAP"). :)

Thanks so, so, so much.


paperplanes


Mar 21, 2008, 1:02 PM

Post #1016 of 1632 (8961 views)
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Re: [lauraeve] Advice? [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree. I almost said that same thing ("take it, of course!") but I felt like it wasn't my place. I understand the appeal of "waitlisted this year, accepted next" but that is such a huge risk. Plus, OSU is consistently well ranked, overall and across genres. I wouldn't even consider it settling, really. You've got a nice opportunity. Who knows what you'll get next year?


Raignn



Mar 21, 2008, 1:08 PM

Post #1017 of 1632 (8942 views)
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Re: [lauraeve] Advice? [In reply to] Can't Post

Let us know what you think of OSU after you visit. I'm #2 on their waiting list for poetry.


crummy


Mar 21, 2008, 1:11 PM

Post #1018 of 1632 (8928 views)
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Re: [paperplanes] Advice? [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree. And while I understand the appeal of a "big name" program, it doesn't necessarily mean that you'll be published any faster than if you went to a low-ranked program, or even if you didn't go to school at all. Ultimately, what you do while you're earning your degree is what counts. I mean, when's the last time you chose to read a book based on where the author got his/her MFA?


southridge


Mar 21, 2008, 1:46 PM

Post #1019 of 1632 (8872 views)
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Re: [crummy] Advice? [In reply to] Can't Post

Many times, actually. Especially while applying to a few programs...I wanted to see what sort of authors had come out of them before I applied. And there's no denying that a few big name programs (Iowa, etc.) have produced many great writers. They have a certain cachet. While reading up on a few program websites, I discovered some new names and checked them out. Several were quite good, and my reading life is richer and more varied for it.

Your average reader might not care, but it's an overstatement to say that no one notices those things. A few of the big names definitely ring a bell with informed readers.


Quote

I mean, when's the last time you chose to read a book based on where the author got his/her MFA?


crummy


Mar 21, 2008, 1:52 PM

Post #1020 of 1632 (8861 views)
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Re: [southridge] Advice? [In reply to] Can't Post

Ah. Well, I guess I'm speaking about the average reader. And who's to say that more great writers aren't produced out of Iowa simply because more writers graduate from there? I think it's still pretty much a crap shoot. Ultimately, I still think it's true that publishing with great success comes down to writing a great book, which is something I truly believe you can do no matter where you go to school. Of course, I'm not going to a big name school (nor did I apply to any big name schools), so I suppose my viewpoint might be a little skewed. Anyway, once again, we're off topic. Sorry forum readers!


chelbeewrites


Mar 21, 2008, 2:11 PM

Post #1021 of 1632 (8830 views)
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Re: [crummy] Advice? [In reply to] Can't Post

Reading this I'm curious. Is there a ranking of schools that produce the most published writers?


ejdifili
Emily

Mar 21, 2008, 2:17 PM

Post #1022 of 1632 (8815 views)
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Re: [lauraeve] Advice? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

I'm wondering if I should just get another job (I hate my current one) & wait to apply next year, but OSU's offer is really a good one, & I'm struggling with trying to figure out whether or not waiting to apply again would be a waste of a good offer that will ultimately yield similar results next year.


A bird in the hand, Man, that's what I say.

You are fortunate to have been accepted to some prestigious programs, especially at such a young age. I've been out of undergrad for five years now, during which time I earned an MA in literature and have been consistently preparing to apply to MFA programs. I applied to nine places, and so far have nothing but six rejections and a wait list.

If I was you, I wouldn't turn down OSU on the assumption that you'll get in somewhere "better" next year, because you really have no way of knowing if that will happen. As many people have said on the Speakeasy, this process is extremely arbitrary and unpredictable. And ESPECIALLY if you have been offered a good funding package, that's a huge deal.

Also, you don't know what will happen in your personal life over a year's time that might prevent you from pursuing your degree. You know, the best-laid plans and all that.

Sure, realistically speaking, graduates from the Iowa Writers' Workshop often experience more success than people from lesser-known programs. But there are also many successful writers out there who don't even have MFAs.


crummy


Mar 21, 2008, 2:27 PM

Post #1023 of 1632 (8792 views)
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Re: [chelbeewrites] Advice? [In reply to] Can't Post

I've wondered the same thing. But I think it would be too hard to rate, seeing how most writers don't reach a level of success until well into their writing careers. Sure, a school can claim success if their graduate becomes well-known at any point in their career, but 20 years down the line, who cares anymore? That said, I still think people would be curious to see that type of ranking system.


chelbeewrites


Mar 21, 2008, 2:44 PM

Post #1024 of 1632 (8754 views)
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Re: [crummy] Advice? [In reply to] Can't Post

I certainly would be interested. I am curious too how much the school you attend makes the difference, or if it's just that those programs have more connections with agents and editors.


pensive
Adam
e-mail user

Mar 21, 2008, 3:31 PM

Post #1025 of 1632 (8695 views)
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Virginia rejection [In reply to] Can't Post

I called Virginia to inquire as to the status of my application. She emailed me back with this.

"Hello Adam,

Thank you for applying to the MFA Creative Writing Program in Fiction. I
regret to inform you that you did not make it to our final round of
applicants. Our formal letters will be going out in the mail at the end of
next week.

The best of luck to you in whatever you choose to do in the future."

She's extremely nice if you decide to call :)

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