Sep 15, 2008, 4:57 AM
Post #330 of 430
Slightly Off Topic: having both an M.A. and an M.F.A.?
[In reply to]
In 1996, I received an M.A. in Fiction from Boston University (a degree that's now been changed to an M.F.A.) The thing is: I want to go back to school, specifically to get an M.F.A. at Columbia, also in Fiction. Am I crazy? Probably. But I feel that I still have so much MORE to learn, and I've been craving a literary community, and time to write, and more advanced craft classes....
Also, in 1994, I was accepted to Columbia, but got no funding whatsoever. B.U. gave me a teaching fellowship. Still, Columbia was my dream school all along.
My question: will the Columbia admissions committee think that I'm out of my mind? Will they somehow discriminate against me because I already have an M.A.? For the record, I did fine at B.U. The program was simply too short for me. One-year: four workshops. It seemed that I blinked, and it was over. Like a summer love affair. Also, I went to B.U. straight out of college. I think I'd get so much more out of the degree now that I'm in my mid-thirties.
Actually, I've done some research, and I've discovered that Z.Z. Packer ("Drinking Coffee Elsewhere") has both an M.A. from Johns Hopkins and an M.F.A. from Iowa. And one of the Columbia professors, Lucy Brock-Boido has two Masters degrees as well. So I think my situation is not unheard of.
But I'd appreciate any feedback anyone can give. Based on your insider's view, would the Columbia professors give my candidacy serious consideration? Might they disqualify me somehow? Or is my situation a lot more common than I realize?
I hope that the committee will see my decision to get another creative writing degree as evidence of my passion and my willingness to continue learning. The (sort of) problem is that I'm a very very slow writer. I don't want them to think that I'm semi-retarded or something. ;-) In the past 12 years, I've published only 3 short stories. That's awfully slow. I'm not ashamed of this fact, though, because I've also been working as an entrepreneur, a job that allows me only about 1 hour of writing time a day. Do I bring all this up in my application? Basically, it all boils down to the fact that I want to keep learning, but I don't want the committee to feel that I'm all washed up, or that I don't have a burning drive to write.
Thanks in advance for any help/advice.