»

Subscribe | Give a Gift Subscription

Log In or Register | Help | Contact Us | Donate

Advanced Search

Main Index » Writing and Publishing » MFA Programs
Low-Residency MFAs
Edit your profilePrivate messages Search postsWho's online?
You are not signed in. Click here to sign in.
If you are not a member, Register here!
139183 registered users
First page Previous page 1 ... 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 ... 107 Next page Last page  View All


Raysen


Mar 26, 2009, 8:24 PM

Post #1976 of 2662 (20965 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Sibella] Limbo [In reply to] Can't Post

Sibella, sorry to ask the obvious question but did anyone critique or otherwise "workshop" your writing samples? You can send it to me and I'll be glad to give you my general impressions. That is, if you trust me. No offense if you don't.


havana5am



Mar 26, 2009, 8:24 PM

Post #1977 of 2662 (20963 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Sibella] Limbo [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm so sorry to hear this. I wish you had applied to other schools, then we could meet at VC, or Bennington (if I'm lucky). My impression of Warren Wilson so far is that it likes a certain type of writer. I'm a minority, an immigrant, but I don't use a lot (if any) of ornate language to describe the culture of the country where I'm from. In fact, I describe very little of anything. My writing is sort of plain, and I'm sure they don't like this. My rejection letter is most likely on its way and will arrive very late since I'm fiction, which is just that much more heartache. I wrote to Bennington today to inquire about the status of my application, but haven't heard anything yet.

Write new poems and don't have them workshopped. Just show them to a few friends who write, but trust yourself more. Rewrite your essay to reveal something very personal about yourself that's relevant. And in six months, apply again and to at least two more places. These are just a few ideas that came to me after I had submitted my applications. I'm having a beer or three tonight and will be thinking of you.


"Let them think what they liked, but I didn't mean to drown myself. I meant to swim till I sank - but that's not the same thing." -- Joseph Conrad


Raysen


Mar 26, 2009, 8:26 PM

Post #1978 of 2662 (20960 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Raysen] Limbo [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh, Sibella, if you're poetry, then I can't help you. I can't make heads or tails with poetry.


unsaid78


Mar 26, 2009, 8:53 PM

Post #1979 of 2662 (20941 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Sibella] Limbo [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Sibella,

UGH rejection. I'd just say apply to more schools next time. I haven't read your work, but if you believe in it then give more schools a chance to believe in it too. And if you haven't had anyone review your work and give feedback, I don't think that would hurt your chances. Definitely do some research on some other programs that might interest you so you can increase your chances of getting into your choice program next go around. Actually, doing research and creating a new gameplan makes me feel better so that's something you can start right now if you think it would help. I wish you the best!


www.mfachronicles.blogspot.com - Follow us as we begin our 1st years in MFA programs!


spiderland


Mar 26, 2009, 11:34 PM

Post #1980 of 2662 (20888 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Sibella] Limbo [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with unsaid78. Don't let this get you down and don't give up! Apply to more schools and I'm sure things will be better the next time round in September. :)


Sibella
Pam, that is.


Mar 26, 2009, 11:40 PM

Post #1981 of 2662 (20883 views)
Shortcut
Re: [spiderland] Limbo [In reply to] Can't Post

Y'all are great. Thanks.

I thought I was a really good fit for WW. I talked to several people who are or were students in the program. I visited lectures at the last residency

I have indeed workshopped most, if not all, of the poems that I submitted. I had four recommendation letters--one from a graduate of the program and three from published poets who taught me.

All of which makes me think I must have done something REALLY sucky to be rejected.

But that's just my insecurity talking.

I'll have to process this some more. Honestly, I'm kind of surprised at how hard it hit me.


"What I wanted to hear didn't exist, so it was necessary for me to go out and create it." --Richard Thompson


ucollca


Mar 27, 2009, 12:29 AM

Post #1982 of 2662 (20868 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Sibella] Limbo [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey there Sibella,

I agree with the other posts, keep writing, share with a of couple people, and maybe next time give yourself more options by applying to more schools. But don't give up!!! In fact, harness all your feelings and put them to paper girl!--you might write some great stuff for the next go 'round. Thinking of you...


havana5am



Mar 27, 2009, 4:28 PM

Post #1983 of 2662 (20782 views)
Shortcut
Re: Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Did Anyone get an acceptance call from Bennington for fiction?


"Let them think what they liked, but I didn't mean to drown myself. I meant to swim till I sank - but that's not the same thing." -- Joseph Conrad


noby1


Mar 27, 2009, 6:03 PM

Post #1984 of 2662 (20753 views)
Shortcut
Re: [havana5am] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Havana5am,

I called them the other day and the woman who picked up was super nice. She told me that the decision making committee was offsite and she had no answers. She took down my name and number and said she'd pass along my message to the committee. But I have not heard anything. She also said they may be deciding until the middle of April.

So nothing here on the Bennington fiction front.


havana5am



Mar 27, 2009, 7:54 PM

Post #1985 of 2662 (20724 views)
Shortcut
Re: [noby1] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Noby1, it looks like we're in the exact same position right now. I'm in at Vermont but no word from WW or Bennington. What's the date you need to make a decision by? WW said I'll know something within the next week. Bennington told me pretty much the same thing they told you, but added that they'd understand if I need to accept an offer elsewhere and wished me lots of luck. Made me feel real special. ;) Good luck!


"Let them think what they liked, but I didn't mean to drown myself. I meant to swim till I sank - but that's not the same thing." -- Joseph Conrad


ltl45


Mar 27, 2009, 9:50 PM

Post #1986 of 2662 (20701 views)
Shortcut
Re: [havana5am] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi havana5am, I've been lurking here during the waiting game, figured I should finally contribute. I was called by Bennington (for Fiction) on 3/12. They were my first choice, so that's where I'm going!

My interpretation of the process at both Bennington and WW (at least for fiction) is that they make calls in groups. At Bennington after the deadline I was given had passed (3/19) I noticed a couple people here and on Seth's board posted their acceptances, and they were given a week to a respond. I imagine they do that until they have deposits from a full class for each genre. WW notified their first group on 3/23 and they have until 3/30 to respond. So if you haven't heard a yes or no, you might be in the next group or the group after that. So at this point, no news doesn't necessarily mean bad news. In reading back through the past years I noticed several people heard in April, so it's an ongoing (although frustrating) process. Don't give up hope!


havana5am



Mar 27, 2009, 10:01 PM

Post #1987 of 2662 (20693 views)
Shortcut
Re: [ltl45] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the info! That's really helpful. So they're not dying to have me, but instead keeping me on hold just in case someone they really want turns them down. Heh. I'm their safety student. If it were a relationship I'd be enraged! But good to know. :) I'm surprisingly okay with it all, and it's due to the fact that I have somewhere to go. Congrats and good luck at Bennington!


"Let them think what they liked, but I didn't mean to drown myself. I meant to swim till I sank - but that's not the same thing." -- Joseph Conrad


jillstegman


Mar 28, 2009, 8:05 AM

Post #1988 of 2662 (20659 views)
Shortcut
Re: [havana5am] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm in the same situation as you for WW, after being picked up by Pacific U well before their deadline in March. I don't see myself as a "safety" student. If they would not be pleased to have me, I would not be on any list. Many of WW's students seem to come from high powered backgrounds, i.e. doctors,lawyers,professionals. I'm just a high school teacher who also happens to be a damn fine writer - but, still, a high school teacher.


webbish6


Mar 28, 2009, 3:55 PM

Post #1989 of 2662 (20606 views)
Shortcut
Re: [havana5am] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I went to Pacific U (graduated in Jan 07) and had a fantastic time. It's chilly during the residencies, but beautiful on the Oregon Coast. The entire faculty was first rate and very friendly - fiction profs would stop and have lunch with me, for instance, even though I was a poetry student - and my four mentors were as good as one could hope for - Marvin Bell, Dorianne Laux, Pattiann Rogers, and Joe Millar. I think they have some terrific new poetry faculty, too - Denise Duhamel just visited, and Kwame Dawes is there now (I believe.)
Anyway, I give them two thumbs up.
Take care,
Jeannine Hall Gailey
www.webbish6.com


(This post was edited by webbish6 on Mar 28, 2009, 3:56 PM)


noby1


Mar 28, 2009, 3:57 PM

Post #1990 of 2662 (20602 views)
Shortcut
Re: [havana5am] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Havana5am,

We are in similar boats, except I know I am not in at WW. I called them last week and they kindly told me I was not under consideration. In at Vermont and no word yet from Bennington. Also found out the other day I am on the wait list at New School. Still waiting to hear back from NYU as well, but not sure that can be good news at this point.

I am excited about the Vermont program and very well may end up there. They gave me until the third to send them a decision, but I will have to defer until the Winter semester because my wedding is during the first residency.

Best of luck with Bennington. We'll hear eventually... It's true though about Bennington. Nothing says we like you like saying we understand if we lose you to another program.


jdog


Mar 28, 2009, 6:55 PM

Post #1991 of 2662 (20570 views)
Shortcut
Re: [noby1] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Everybody:

I am on the admissions committee of a low-residency program. This semester I have read and rated a great number of applications. Patterns have emerged, some of them dark and self-destructive. I'd like offer some advice for those of you applying to or choosing between low-residency programs:

1. Tailor your personal essay to each program you apply to. Generic personal essays automatically take their author down a notch in any school's estimation. In some cases we received letters of recommendation tailored to our program, but the personal essay was not. When that happens, it says the people you ask to write letters for you are taking more care than you are. Don't ever send admission materials addressed to another school.

2. If your letter of recommendation comes from someone who knows both writing and your writing, it helps. Family friends, your supervisor in the mortgage office, your spouse/children/siblings are not good sources for recommendations. A professional writer who knows your work is the best recommender, but they're hard to find and often ill-tempered. A recommendation from a writing teacher who knows your work and workshop behavior will be taken seriously.

3. Research the faculty. Read their books. Look at their websites. Your decision is going to change the direction of your life, so it's worth while to figure out who will be on the other end of what will be intense and intimate writing relationships. The best personal essay will list the faculty members you've read and give reasons why you think they're going to help you to say what you want to say. It will also let you focus your choice before you pay all those application fees. Three or four well-chosen schools are enough. You can only go to one. There are huge differences between schools and it's usually because of the faculty, not because of technical differences between programs.

4. Have something that you want to say. Don't be shy about revealing an obsession with social justice or environmental catastrophe or economic black holes if that's what's turning your crank these days. We're looking for personal essays that stick in our minds, that have voices and emotions and rough edges and life.

5. Send in your most intelligent work. It sounds ridiculous, but lots of applicants are so frightened of being rejected that they send in work they don't care about. You can guess what our response to that sort of work is.

6. If you blog, know that the first thing many of us on admissions committees do is google your name and read your blog. I've turned down otherwise acceptable applicants when they listed our program as their backup on their blog.

7. Never send a manuscript out without proofreading it. Your writing sample is Exhibit One in your application. It should be relatively new writing. It should not have been workshopped to death or sent out with last year's MFA applications. It should, however, be in its fifth or sixth draft. If you've never written a sixth draft, here is your opportunity. People who depend on first- or second-draft genius are, to my mind, never geniuses.

8. If you're accepted into a program, realize that you're not going to have much time at the residencies to explore the local geography. Residencies are incredibly busy and always cause frustration because there are more events you want to attend than there is time to attend them. So program location/prestige isn't anywhere near as important as people think. You'll get your eventual teaching job or book on your own initiative/merits. Once again, the faculty is the territory.

9. The top applicants to a program are seldom the top graduates from the program. Admissions committees have moments of shuddering horror at graduations, when we remember that the shining student that is carrying our hopes and dreams into the future was argued about and wait-listed, and was only admitted at the last moment because of a death in someone else's family. What an acceptance means is that we think you will engage in a deep conversation with our writers for two years and will benefit from it. It means we think you will be able to take the concentrated knowledge you get at a residency and unfold it over the next six months. It means we think that you come to writing with humility and dedication, just like your faculty. It doesn't mean we think you're perfect. In fact, if we think you're perfect, we suggest you go somewhere else.

10. If you get rejected, look at items 1-9 above. Admissions committees love to accept good applicants, and if you study a program carefully and decide that it's the one for you, you'll get our benign attention.


Hope this helps.


Raysen


Mar 28, 2009, 7:33 PM

Post #1992 of 2662 (20555 views)
Shortcut
Re: [jdog] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow! A lot of great advice for applicants of both low-res and conventional MFA programs! I personally broke some of the "rules." For example, I hardly read the works of the faculty (#3) and did not tailor my personal essay to each program (31). It's a combination of laziness and needing time in the day to read more Dickens. I also did not send the sixth draft; I sent in recent work that had been revised and revised approximately 20 times. (I'm very obsessive-compulsive with revisions) If I had sent out my sixth draft, oy vei, I'd be the laughing stock of all the MFA faculty members who read my "work." The humiliation would be too much to bear.

I personally would not want to be the "top" candidate at an MFA program. The pressure would be too much and more than likely, I'll end up disappointing the faculty. I remember back in high school, I played soccer for my team. I wasn't very good. One afternoon, a fantastic player from Germany guest-visited to participate in a scrimmage. In the first few moments, I intercepted a pass and then dribbled down the field and did a little give-and-go on the fastbreak (the soccer equivalent) with the German dude. He was very impressed. I got lucky. Well, a few minutes later, we broke up and we picked teams. The German guy picked me -- the number one overall pick in the draft. I was shocked. During the course of the game, I think he realized how bad I really was. Good thing it was just a friendly practice. In real life, if he were the GM and picked a sad player like me in the draft, he'd be fired in an instant.


(This post was edited by Raysen on Mar 28, 2009, 7:39 PM)


havana5am



Mar 29, 2009, 12:11 AM

Post #1993 of 2662 (20495 views)
Shortcut
Re: [jdog] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree there are some excellent points, but I find #6 a bit disturbing. Are we supposed to apply to just one or two of our top choices? Everyone has a backup. It's essential to have one. Even the programs have backup students in case their top applicants decline. Also, why would the admissions committee waste time googling applicants and reading their blogs? Aren't they pressed for time as it is, having hundreds of applications to read and judge?


jillstegman


Mar 29, 2009, 8:40 AM

Post #1994 of 2662 (20459 views)
Shortcut
Re: [jdog] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, number 6 was an eye-opener. I'm very surprised that anyone would take the time to Google the applicant. I didn't interpret it to mean that you should only apply to a few schools; rather, you should be quiet on your blog about ranking choices. I was also surprised by some of the other "pointers." I read some work by the faculty, but I didn't include that I had in my letter and I still got in nearly everywhere I applied. I also heard that the most important part of the application was the writing sample, and that the rest of the application was basically a formality. Too bad this person didn't come in a little earlier. Might have helped some of the others.


bighark


Mar 29, 2009, 9:27 AM

Post #1995 of 2662 (20457 views)
Shortcut
Re: [havana5am] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Don't announce your back-up schools on the internet. Seems like good advice.

Similarly, it's a little naive to think that your name won't be googled by anybody who has it. Googling is what people do now. Your employers do it. Your dates do it. Why not your grad school admission committes?

I don't think this is a waste of time. It's more like due diligence. A waste of time would be if they googled every applicant instead of the few most promising.


havana5am



Mar 29, 2009, 9:53 AM

Post #1996 of 2662 (20445 views)
Shortcut
Re: [jillstegman] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Weird. I also thought the writing sample is the only thing they look at. Then the personal essay and other things only when a tiebreaker is necessary. Now I'm thinking they even look at this forum and try to guess who's who. I don't think I want to go to a school that does something stupid like that anyway.


"Let them think what they liked, but I didn't mean to drown myself. I meant to swim till I sank - but that's not the same thing." -- Joseph Conrad


jillstegman


Mar 29, 2009, 11:12 AM

Post #1997 of 2662 (20429 views)
Shortcut
Re: [havana5am] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I received calls from some admissions directors, and one of them had Googled me and read some of my work online. I was slightly chagrined because my online work is not my best, but he was apparently not put off. I agree that it's a little weird and slightly creepy to be reading applicants blogs to be finding out more about them. It's hard to believe it's a common practice. Keep us posted about your last few acceptances.


havana5am



Mar 29, 2009, 11:34 AM

Post #1998 of 2662 (20419 views)
Shortcut
Re: [jillstegman] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I will. I'm here to share my experiences with fellow writers and MFA applicants, vent and be available for support. It's what I'd be doing on my blog also, if I had one. And if a program is insecure enough to reject me because I state that it is my safety school, then I guess that's why it would be my safety school. Good luck to everyone.


"Let them think what they liked, but I didn't mean to drown myself. I meant to swim till I sank - but that's not the same thing." -- Joseph Conrad


cantonioni


Mar 29, 2009, 1:35 PM

Post #1999 of 2662 (20388 views)
Shortcut
Re: [jdog] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

jdog-
This is an incredibly instructive list of general advice that I hope applicants will at least take into consideration, coming, as it does, directly from the horse's mouth.

Obviously, there has been a lot of effigy burning on this board because rejections are in the air and tensions are high (and because it is easy to write terse comments when we are responding to sentences on a forum vs. faces in front of us).

I'm not sure that there is anything creepy or insecure - or even surprising - about committees trying to find out more about an applicant by doing some research. In their submitted materials, people are trying to put the professional foot forward, obviously, which is great, but it's not always completely honest. When you have somewhere between four and seven people who will be working together intimately with each other and with faculty for the next couple of years, personalities can be a major component of ensuring that everyone gains the most out of the experience that he or she can. And a blog is not private; it's public; and it is probably going to be more revealing (e.g.: Is this person satisfied that he or she already knows all there is to know about writing and is just seeking an MFA program to gain a teaching credential?) than a cover letter or personal statement is likely to be.

Not to mention that if I were making an admissions decision and were tied between two people whose work I absolutely loved, which is when I assume the googling comes into play, finding out that my program is one applicant's backup plan, while the other applicant wants nothing more in life than to work with a member of my program's faculty - might that not be a tiebreaker that potentially does both applicants a favor in the long run?

-c


Tabby


e-mail user

Mar 29, 2009, 7:07 PM

Post #2000 of 2662 (20327 views)
Shortcut
Re: [cantonioni] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Yep, great list. I certainly would not publicly post about favorites. The creative writing world is pretty small.
I would caution against expressing a preference for particular faculty member (I could be wrong but I believe Tom Kealy, MFA applicant guru, advises the same). Maybe for low-res this is different? But I know that at my residency program the readers change from year to year. What if you wax on about how you love so and so, but that's not the faculty who reads your app? Doh! Also, that faculty member you claimed is what motivated you from birth might be putting their notice, or going on sabbatical. Even worse, sometimes more well known writers are put on the roster to make the program look good even though they don't actually teach that often, meaning you have exposed yourself as a rube.

I DO think it's nice to list reasons why you prefer the program. For my SOP I had a paragraph that I adjusted for each school. For my UNL PhD app, for example, I noticed a general trend in their catalog for lit classes of a women's studies bent, so I mentioned my interest, and I gave due respect to Prairie Schooner and the summer writing conference. For UGA I noticed their interest in multi-genre so I wrote a little about my interests matched that.

I'm glad to see an applicant reader saying it doesn't hurt to inject some personality into that app. Everyone applying to MFAs should volunteer to read for a lit mag. This gives you an idea of how freaking excited you get when something that piques your interest turns up.


http://www.kellykathleenferguson.com

First page Previous page 1 ... 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 ... 107 Next page Last page  View All

Main Index » Writing and Publishing » MFA Programs

 


P&W Newsletters

Sign up to receive our monthly email newsletter to stay informed of the latest news, events and more.

Click to Sign Up

Subscribe to P&W Magazine | Donate Now | Advertise | Sign up for E-Newsletter | About Us | Contact Us

© Copyright Poets & Writers 2011. All Rights Reserved