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SaraBellum


Mar 23, 2008, 10:58 AM

Post #2001 of 2979 (20947 views)
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Re: [bighark] U of Chicago's MAPH Writing Option [In reply to] Can't Post

This is a bit out of left field, but the MFA program where I was accepted is never mentioned on these threads.. University of Miami (Florida, not Ohio). Does that mean it's not a serious writing program? I'm definitely not attacking you - I'm really asking what you think.

At Miami, I know the program is relatively new, but I really like the faculty and the funding I got was pretty much better than any funding I've seen anywhere else, except maybe the Michener cntr. (But teaching was important to me.)

?? Thoughts? Anyone? I mean, U of Miami IS a great school, but maybe a still-growing writing program?


---------





bighark


Mar 23, 2008, 11:18 AM

Post #2002 of 2979 (20931 views)
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Re: [SaraBellum] U of Chicago's MAPH Writing Option [In reply to] Can't Post

Sara,

The MAPH at Chicago is not a serious writing program. It offers a very nice masters degree in the humanities, and I recommend it all the time to people who want to work on their credentials for MA and PhD applications, but it's just not a writing program.

This is a community for writers and people who are interested in writing programs, so I don't feel out of place recommending against Chicago's MAPH (and NYU's Draper School, etc., etc.), especially when you can get the same number of writing courses or more at a fraction of the cost through open enrollment seminars, workshops, and continuing education classes.

The MFA in Fiction and Poetry at Miami is a writing program by definition, and seems like a great opportunity. I surmise that its relative newness is the only reason why it hasn't been mentioned more on these boards.

Congratulations on your acceptance, too, by the way.


annenyc


Mar 23, 2008, 1:10 PM

Post #2003 of 2979 (20858 views)
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Re: [riddlefish] U of Chicago's MAPH Writing Option [In reply to] Can't Post

hey, thanks for your input. I too am concerned about the cost of the program, and although I didn't expect the program to be exactly equivalent to an MFA, my biggest concern is how much it will help my writing. The academic classes & intensity aren't a turn-off for me, but from what I gather from everyone's comments, it sounds like the workshops & creative thesis component aren't of the same strength as the academic classes. I do wonder how much of my writing time will be channeled into academic papers, and I didn't realize the creative writing classes were with undergrads. How many people in the MAPH opt to do the writing option each year?

At this point, I'm waitlisted at Johns Hopkins and Columbia. And am waiting to hear from Bard and the New School (where I'm expecting a waitlist or rejection). And so while it seems like my writing is strong enough to keep me in consideration at some higher-level programs, it seems that it's not (yet) of the caliber for these programs to really want me. I'm not considering applying for a PhD post-MA, so I'd either try to go for an MFA after a year at Chicago (and cross my fingers for funding), or just write on my own. The alternative, for me, would be to say no to Chicago, wait out the waitlists, and if nothing comes through, reapply next year, with a stronger writing sample (i hope).

I don't have funding, which is another issue. It is expensive! But no more so than a year at other private institutions sans funding. I also don't have previous school debt, so I'm not as concerned with taking some on if I can justify it with what I reap in the end. Which is what I'm trying to figure out. And Riddlefish, I'll be in Chicago for campus days as well--are you doing fiction, poetry, or nonfiction?


pugalisious


Mar 23, 2008, 2:54 PM

Post #2004 of 2979 (20791 views)
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Re: [reality writes] SLC [In reply to] Can't Post

I also was offered the same deal - 7 g and then loans. Doesn't look so bad, it's pretty much what Mills and Otis offered as well. Otis costs more and they offered 10 g for that reason. I booked my tickets to go visit slc on Monday, April 7th. Does anyone else plan on doing the same before making final decisions?


pensive
Adam
e-mail user

Mar 23, 2008, 2:56 PM

Post #2005 of 2979 (20789 views)
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Re: [pugalisious] SLC [In reply to] Can't Post

If after your trip you decide to go to SLC, are you going to come back on April 16th for the new student day?


pugalisious


Mar 23, 2008, 3:02 PM

Post #2006 of 2979 (20783 views)
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Re: [pensive] SLC [In reply to] Can't Post

No, I live in So. Ca, so it would cost too much for me to come twice, plus taking time off work, etc. But, I have to let Otis know by april 10th, that's the extended deadline- so I had to plan it around that.


riddlefish


Mar 23, 2008, 4:54 PM

Post #2007 of 2979 (20688 views)
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Re: [annenyc] U of Chicago's MAPH Writing Option [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm poetry, but I'm considering foregoing the creative thesis since I might apply for PhD programs after the MAPH. I might take a workshop or something depending on what I hear about them, because undergrads can still be helpful, but only if they really want to be there and are committed to writing. Someone on here also said they had good experiences with the poetry faculty, so we'll see. I applied to both MA and MFA programs, so I'm okay with just letting this be an academic program if that is how it will most benefit me. I haven't decided if I'll apply to MFA programs again. If I do, I'll definitely only apply to the best funded ones. I don't have funding for the MAPH either, but like you, I don't have any debt from undergrad. I think it could be a great opportunity to work with some of the top minds in the English field (University of Chicago is regularly invited to join the Ivy League and its PhD program ranks #6 in the nation on US News' list). As long as you don't count on it to be a hard core "writing program" then I think it's possible to get a lot out of the program, but of course I'll have to talk to people there to find out for sure.


LaurenS


Mar 24, 2008, 11:49 AM

Post #2008 of 2979 (20432 views)
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Bennington! [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm happy to share that I have been accepted to Bennington for the June residency! CNF.

Telephone call from Sven Birkerts this morning.

They would like to know my decision in a week (gulp).


kellawella


Mar 24, 2008, 2:08 PM

Post #2009 of 2979 (20277 views)
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Re: [motet] I'M IN! at Warren Wilson [In reply to] Can't Post

Accepted to Warren Wilson this morning for poetry. Yay! Ellen Bryant Voigt called and said that packets were mailed on Friday, financial aid packages would be ready soon, and they need a decision in one week.

Good luck to everyone out there!


JCFinSF


Mar 24, 2008, 2:20 PM

Post #2010 of 2979 (20233 views)
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Re: [LaurenS] Bennington! [In reply to] Can't Post

Accepted by phone this morning for fiction at Bennington College (low-residency MFA). This was one notification worth waiting forÖ

Best of luck to all those still waiting or making decisions.


Lyz
Lyz
e-mail user

Mar 24, 2008, 3:00 PM

Post #2011 of 2979 (20157 views)
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Re: [kellawella] I'M IN! at Warren Wilson [In reply to] Can't Post

Yay! Congrats!

Are you going?


http://shopoftheheart.blogspot.com


deonne


Mar 24, 2008, 3:14 PM

Post #2012 of 2979 (20131 views)
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Re: [kellawella] I'M IN! at Warren Wilson [In reply to] Can't Post

Congrats! With their tiny acceptance rates, you must have had a terrific application!

I've been laying low on this board because my phone/PO box have been pretty quiet, though I did get waitlisted in fiction from UNM late last week via post, and today got an acceptance call from John Weir at Queens College for fiction. He said they let in six people. Because it's a brand new program, I'm a bit torn. I had assumed I'd be doing the Vermont College program (happily) but now I need to consider this full-res option. Hm.

.......................................................................................................................................................

"If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." -- Catherine Aird
Check out my blog: www.lifeonthehighwire.com


esined


Mar 24, 2008, 4:33 PM

Post #2013 of 2979 (20009 views)
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Re: [kellawella] I'M IN! at Warren Wilson [In reply to] Can't Post

Congrats on Warren Wilson!

Although I just got a little nervous feeling in my stomach when I read your post. I wonder when they will start notifying for fiction?


rfleisch


Mar 24, 2008, 8:21 PM

Post #2014 of 2979 (19823 views)
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Florida State [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey everyone,

Long time lurker, first time poster. I received a snail mail acceptance from Florida State today, for fiction.

Has anyone gotten an acceptance to FSU? I ask because my letter made no mention of funding, and I'm curious what others heard. Does this mean simply that I have no funding at all? What do you think?

Anyhow, congratulations to everyone who is hearing good things, and best of luck to everyone is still waiting on straggling schools.


bastedos


Mar 24, 2008, 11:22 PM

Post #2015 of 2979 (19680 views)
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Decisions, Decisions. [In reply to] Can't Post

So it appears that I will have two options next fall by the way things are going, but they are my backups. I really need some advice on the two. I am not going to put names, but I will give the overall descriptions.

The two schools have good and bad things about both of them, and they don't get me an MFA in either case. I will be getting an MA in English Lit. (one with a Creative Writing Option). I am adamant about getting a degree at this point as I am floundering career-wise. I will have the chance to write at both schools (one more than the other) and will get a decent understanding of literature (again, one more than the other). I am looking at the schools as a jumping off point, whereby I can work on my fiction in the environment that best suits me so that I can reapply for an MFA at a later time. I will not have funding with either school, but I can apply for it next year.

School One is a tier 4 university located in a very small town which I don't like very much. The town has some things that will keep me occupied for the most part, but is severely lacking in the activities I like to do. It has almost no artistic or intellectual features (museums, theaters, art houses, planetariums, etc.). It has no mall and only one very small cinema. There are maybe four or five tiny bars/clubs in which to hang out. Though it is only one hour from a larger metro area. I will also only have access to one so-so friend over one hour away, so I will have to make all new ones. I also believe there are not many opportunities as far as academic clubs go. There is a very nice athletic center on campus and a terrific library. I really worry about this location as I tend to get depressed and I don't know if I will be able to get any writing done in the two years I attend this school.

As for my education, I will have a pretty lenient curriculum to follow so I can choose the classes I really enjoy. As this program has a creative writing option, I will also have the chance to take two fiction writing courses and complete a thesis with my advisor. Though, I believe there is only one graduate fiction instructor. The classes also seemed a bit more interesting than the other university when I checked out the schedules. The faculty members I spoke with already, however, seemed rude, abrupt, and abrasive. The students also seemed, for lack of a better term, stupid when I visited. Many thought they were born and raised in the ghetto (though they are farmer boys), and the spoke as such.

School Two is a tier 3 university that focuses on education and artistic programs. It is located in a very nice-size, wonderful city. I have been there before, and everyone seemed terrific. The city is a grand place to liveóit fits right in with my ideological and aesthetic viewpoints. The people and students are fun, intellectual, and cheerful. The city also contains anything I could want to do at any time. A large portion of my good friends and buddies are also all within 45 minutes to one hour. There will be plenty of opportunities to make new friends and complete new activities along with old ones I havenít been able to do in some time. I think I will have a blast living in the area.

The school seems to have a more traditional English Lit program, giving me only two electives. But I will be able to take those as creative writing workshops with the variety of instructors they have for those courses. I may be able to switch sometime in the year to the creative writing option (in which case I will have many more workshops and a thesis), but it would be just an English MA in Lit. for the time being. I will get to take a few classes in the subjects I really enjoy, but I wills still have to take courses in periods I don't like as much (but did still seem more interesting than the ones I took as an undergrad in those eras). The faculty was top-notch every time I called as well. Everyone was helpful, pleasant to speak with, and really seemed to want to help any chance they could get. I also think this school will be better for me financially as they have a good job market in the area and I won't have to attend school before 5pm. It is also about $2,000 cheaper (though higher rentóbut maybe not $100/month worth).

I am leaning toward the second school as I think I will be better off socially (and probably mentally), and I believe I will produce better work coming out of it. However, I do intend to get an MFA after and I think the relaxed curriculum and the guaranteed workshops/thesis is fairly appealing.

Any advice on which school I should pick (and why I should pick it would be extremely helpful in this stressful decision.


(This post was edited by bastedos on Mar 24, 2008, 11:28 PM)


Clench Million
Charles

Mar 24, 2008, 11:35 PM

Post #2016 of 2979 (19658 views)
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Re: [bastedos] Decisions, Decisions. [In reply to] Can't Post

It seems clear to me from your post that you want to go to school two.

It also seems to me, from your description, like the best place for you. A lot of people say location should be the number 1 priority when picking a program and clearly the city for the second school is better for you on ever level. You like the city, you have friends nearby, it has the activities you need in your life.

A semi-flexible schedule might be nice, but it doesn't seem worth risking a miserable few years (how long are these MAs?) especially when you are getting a degree you don't even really want.... and the school is worse... and it costs more!

And then, on top of all that, as I said the way you wrote your post makes it clear you want to go to the second school. It seems like the right pick of the two for me. Location is EXTREMELY important for most people, and clearly it is for you too.


All of that said, you probably don't want to hear this but it doesn't sound to me like you necessarily should do either. You want an MFA yet are going to get an MA. What does an MA give you? Would it help you with finding a career you want? If you have to pay money for either program to get a degree you don't seem enthused about... I dunno, I fear you would really regret it.

But good luck with whatever choice you make.


bennyprof


Mar 24, 2008, 11:39 PM

Post #2017 of 2979 (19652 views)
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Re: [bastedos] Decisions, Decisions. [In reply to] Can't Post

Based on your descriptions, I'd go with the second school. Despite the drawbacks, it seems like you'd clearly be happier there. Not everyone is wired for small town life, and you can't put a price on mental and emotional well being. Neither program is terminal, so you can always follow it up with an MFA or PhD (in which writing will be your main focus).

You also mentioned the possibility of switching to a CW focus in the second, which is another positive.

I'm seeing a lot more plusses in the second column than the first.


bastedos


Mar 24, 2008, 11:48 PM

Post #2018 of 2979 (19640 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Decisions, Decisions. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

All of that said, you probably don't want to hear this but it doesn't sound to me like you necessarily should do either. You want an MFA yet are going to get an MA. What does an MA give you? Would it help you with finding a career you want? If you have to pay money for either program to get a degree you don't seem enthused about... I dunno, I fear you would really regret it.

But good luck with whatever choice you make.




Thanks for the advice, Clench. I felt I was being unreasonable with my preference toward the second as I am basing it largely on location. I also understand your concerns, but I have a BA in English Literature and enjoyed the classes. I also focused a lot of my time on creative writing and video production (which I would like to focus on in the future as well). Right now I am in a huge rut, and an MA degree is something I need to get my life straightened out. I do really well in the academic environment, and I feel that grad school will be beneficial. I really enjoy English Lit. courses and want to learn more in that area as well, so it won't be wasting my time. I didn't really figure out what I wanted to do in life until the last 1.5 years of my undergraduate degree, and I earned my English degree mostly in that time. I have two BA degrees with 163 credits, so I have no problem earning 30 more to get the education I desire.



ersatz


Mar 24, 2008, 11:48 PM

Post #2019 of 2979 (19637 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] Decisions, Decisions. [In reply to] Can't Post

My mental well-being is pretty shot after this whole process. Up for sale to the highest bidder.


Clench Million
Charles

Mar 24, 2008, 11:51 PM

Post #2020 of 2979 (19633 views)
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Re: [bastedos] Decisions, Decisions. [In reply to] Can't Post

Dear bastedos,

Cool. Obviously only you can know what is good for you and I don't know your situation at all. Just 2 cents I was throwing out.

As to your comments about just basing it on location, I'll only echo what I said and benny said. Location is a big factor for many people and you should take it seriously. If you think you will be miserable in town 1 and there are no huge benefits (and there don't appear to be. You say school 1 is a worse school and costs more money) my advice would be to go with the place you will be happy in.

Good luck
CM


chelbeewrites


Mar 25, 2008, 12:06 AM

Post #2021 of 2979 (19619 views)
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Re: [bastedos] Decisions, Decisions. [In reply to] Can't Post

Why not put school on hold for a year, move to a city where you have friends and can get a job, and take a few writing workshops so you can concentrate on your writing while you save up for school. Just a thought.


dickenscratch



Mar 25, 2008, 9:24 AM

Post #2022 of 2979 (19481 views)
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Re: [chelbeewrites] Decisions, Decisions. [In reply to] Can't Post

Just curious who else is in for fiction at any of the following, which are places I'm in (or wait listed):

Arkansas
UNCG
Colorado State
Virginia (WL)
Vanderbilt (WL)

I don't think I've seen any one else say they are in at Arkansas for fiction, so I'm curious about that. And I'm still waiting to hear about funding from UNCG and CSU, but would love to hear other acceptees say where they are leaning.

Thanks!
CD


zwilson20


Mar 25, 2008, 9:26 AM

Post #2023 of 2979 (19479 views)
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Re: [chelbeewrites] Decisions, Decisions. [In reply to] Can't Post

I read somewhere that Kiran Desai (The Inheritance of Loss) did what bastedos is planning to do. First she got an MA somewhere, then got her MFA (at Columbia).


(This post was edited by zwilson20 on Mar 25, 2008, 9:27 AM)


bigben


Mar 25, 2008, 10:02 AM

Post #2024 of 2979 (19440 views)
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Re: [zwilson20] Decisions, Decisions. [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm working toward my MA in English now as I apply to MFA programs and can say that my writing has benefited considerably from my two years in the program. We're allowed two electives (which can both be workshops) and the opportunity to write a creative thesis. Far more than the workshops, though, my time spent reading has helped my fiction to mature. I went straight into my MA from an undergraduate English degree (although I'm 36 and returned to finish my degree at 33) during which my stories seemed very forced and rough around the edges. But taking a grad workshop nearly two years after a horrid undergraduate worskhop experience, and after 24 seminar hours spent reading and discussing literature at the graduate level (and there's a big difference), my writing has drastically improved. Before , I struggled to even complete a story. Now, even though I've been rejected from the top schools, I've been waitlisted at George Mason ('high' on the list, they say) and interviewed at another school with excellent funding and a great, well-known faculty (which, I hope, means an acceptance is coming down the pipe). I think the MA has made all the difference. And, if you're looking to teach, a generalist MA in English, when combined with the terminal MFA, helps out tremendously!


LaurenS


Mar 25, 2008, 10:10 AM

Post #2025 of 2979 (19431 views)
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Re: [bastedos] Decisions, Decisions. [In reply to] Can't Post

Bastedos, just wanted to share my experience in case it's any help:

When I was a fresh young thing just out of undergrad (I'm in my early 30s now), I thought that an MA in literature would help my writing. At the time, I wasn't sure I needed an MFA, and I figured I would benefit from all the reading a graduate program requires.

I didn't see the MA as a stepping stone to an MFA. Nevertheless, it turns out that pursuing an MA was not the right decision for me. While in grad school, I got seduced by literary theory--literary scholarship proved to be very exciting, and I wanted to explore it. I put my own writing aside for a while.

A few years later, I feel like I lost some of my writerly self by making this choice; I got out of touch with my own voice because I was so busy studying the voices of others. Now, I feel I should have gone for the MFA from the start. Hopefully, you are not as intellectually flighty as I am!

Also, unless you are only planning on taking one graduate seminar at a time, you may find that you do not have the time to write that you would like, even if you are in a workshop.

It's not as though I haven't been enriched by my graduate work--it's just that it's proved to be a little bit of a detour in my creative growth.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

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