Nov 14, 2009, 12:41 AM
Post #1270 of 2090
Re: [sayno] University of Missouri
[In reply to]
ssouri ( if Iím correct, they didnít admit any outside applicants this year)
I am checking this board for the first time in eons to find so much activity, so much bustling, and so much--well--stuff. Don't know what to make of it. I'm still reading all of these months of posting to catch up.
I want to comment on the above quote, though, about Mizzou. Last year, the program admitted 1 student who was completing his master's program into the doctoral program. It was an exceptional situation; Eric is a really phenomenal fiction writer, and his writing--as well as his critical work--held up to snuff, ultimately, in final application consideration. The fiction side of the program also admitted one "outside applicant" who moved to Missouri from Wyoming to join our program. She is also a phenomenal writer, and her novella which fairly recently won a contest has just been published.
The non-fiction side of the program admitted two students to the doctoral program. One moved here from Miami, the other from Wyoming.
On the poetry side of things, we admitted one MA student and *four* PhD students. None of these students were from the MA program ranks or from the BA program ranks. All admitted doctoral students had their MFA degrees in Creative Writing before admission. The MA student didn't (but that's typical of an MA student).
Mizzou's funding is phenomenal, so much as these things go. Unless a student is on fellowship (which for the creative writers is a 1/1 teaching load guaranteed for 5 years), a student is on a 2/2 teaching load with funding guaranteed for 5 years. After the first semester (in which students teach composition), all students have the opportunity to teach composition, business writing, honors composition, American literature, British literature, World literature, creative writing (in their given genre), or Writing About Literature. While the stipend certainly does often feel a bit modest at around 13.5K/year, this is after tuition and student health insurance are taken care of. One can easily find a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment in town for under $500, and areas of town surrounding campus (especially the downtown area within a 2-ish mile radius) is very easily walkable and bikeable.
Mizzou's creative writing program prides itself on its excellent job placement rates (it officially states something over 90% of graduating students finding jobs) and the department holds very rigorous job workshops/application assistance/mock job talk sessions and professional writing workshops to help post-comps exam students who are ready to engage in such things. Students take these seriously, really tend to be of wonderful help to each other.
The department in general is great at rallying around its students endeavors (i.e. medievalists will go to creative writers' readings, CRW folks will go to colloquiua with visiting scholars in 18th C. Brit lit, etc.), the department's grad student association is incredibly active, and resources as well as conference, journal submission, fellowship, etc. opportunities are widely shared between faculty and students. The department also sponsors numerous publishing internship opportunities (I am working with the poetry series of a rather venerable independent press, and I am serving as poetry editor of one of the nationally-distributed lit journals on campus). As your work begins to really take a specific (dissertation-able...manuscript-like...etc...) sort of a shape for you, people have their doors open and are willing to help you out. I've been amazingly fortunate to get important support from my boss at my publishing internship (who has read my manuscript as if I submitted it to him to consider for publication and who has offered some important feedback) as well as the poetry professors in my program. And these people check in with me. They want to see my work get published, they want to see me submit my work to contests and see where it can land, and when some of my programmates have been lucky enough to get their books accepted for publication, these professors of ours--so accomplished as they are--kept their doors open to listen as things like contract terms, proof reading, publicity, etc. needed to be considered.
Even on my most frustrated day, I do not at all regret coming here. Even on my days where I miss living in Boston the most or miss being on the East Coast, I do not regret moving to central Missouri and coming to this university. When someone is admitted to the program, the faculty hopes like hell that you come here and will do what they can to help you get here. Once you are here, the faculty cares about you--so sincerely--and is there to listen to you and to help you be as successful as possible in pursuing your goals and finding your confidence as a writer with a definite sense of voice, specific professional interests, and as much smarts as creative talents to really be as seriously considered a scholar as you are a poet/essayist/memoirist/fiction writer/etc.
I'm happy here. I'm thriving quite ridiculously well. I'm grateful as all hell that all worked out, but I also knew when I applied that this was my top choice. I researched my programs incredibly well, and I put together applications that I believed were sincere, thoughtful, and representative of my intelligence, my accomplishments, the "holes" in my education that I thought Mizzou (and my other programs) could help me fill, and my own understanding of my sense of poetics and where I had yet to investigate and come to understand. I've made many sacrifices to be here (and I won't lie--there are times where money feels tight--doable, but tight), but things that opened up for me--that I never thought possible, or that I never even had a means of articulating--between having a manuscript that is now out at contests and really transforming my notion of "yeah, I guess I'm a smart kid..." to an understanding of all of the things I have to say--and the voice that I have as a scholar of 20th C. American poetry--is phenomenal.
Apply to Mizzou. Even if you're on the fence about it. Do some research, get on the website, fill out the online application. You have a couple of weeks. And message me. It's a crazy point in the semester right now, but somewhere in the next few days I can respond to your questions.