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writerle


Feb 5, 2010, 4:24 PM

Post #2126 of 2631 (17854 views)
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Re: [wendybird] Anyone Heard? [In reply to] Can't Post

I graduated from VC in 2008, also fiction.

I would be happy to answer any specific questions that either of you may have.

Congratulations!


wendybird


Feb 5, 2010, 8:48 PM

Post #2127 of 2631 (17823 views)
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Re: [writerle] Anyone Heard? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks writerle! What was your concentration?

I've been doing my research, and I think I understand the program format, which is similar to other low-res programs. I guess at this point I'm tying to figure out how to tell if a specific program "fits". It seems that the faculty writing styles vary pretty widely, which is probably a good sign. Is there a specific type of writing that the program encourages, or do students maintain an eclectic mix of styles? Is there a noticeable preference for short stories/novels?

Some low-res programs give out small scholarships/funding, and the website suggests that there is "some" funding that is parceled out after acceptance. Does VC award any kind of merit scholarships?

Finally, did you participate in the Slovenia residency or the translation concentration? I'm interested in both...

Thanks again!

~Wendy~


writerle


Feb 6, 2010, 10:58 AM

Post #2128 of 2631 (17782 views)
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Re: [wendybird] Anyone Heard? [In reply to] Can't Post

My concentration was in fiction.

The faculty does have a very wide range in styles, and they are quite comfortable working with students who have a different style from their own. I went into the program thinking I knew exactly which advisors I wanted to work with, based on reading that I did prior to the application process, but once I was in, many of these preconceived notions of who would be the best "fit" for me flew right out the window. I learned a tremendous amount from all of the faculty that I worked with, both my advisors and my workshop leaders. Some of the best "fits" for me were advisors I had never even considered working with prior to starting the program.

The students are a very eclectic mix. I couldn't see any one style that seemed to dominate. Nor is there much of a preference in the way of short story vs. novel. Most advisors are very happy to work with you on whatever projects you choose. I worked mostly on a novel, though I did do some short stories as well.

As far as scholarships go, there is some money, but it is very small. You certainly won't find the full-ride funding options commonly available at the traditional full-residency MFA programs, but I think that's true of most of the low-res programs. I did get a small merit scholarship, but it was pretty much just enough to cover the cost of my residency.

I did not go to Slovenia or do the translation concentration, so I won't be able to speak to that.

I have applied for a graduate assistantship for this summer's residency, but I won't know if I get it until sometime around April. Maybe I'll see you there.

What other schools did you apply to? I know it's a very tough decision. I think making the decision was the hardest part for me, but I believe VC was the right choice and the best fit for what I was looking for in a program.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask or you can always pm me.

Good luck!


Fellowette


Feb 23, 2010, 4:28 PM

Post #2129 of 2631 (17600 views)
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Re: [coffeehound] Anyone Heard? [In reply to] Can't Post

Wendybird and Coffeehound


A third VCFA acceptee here. Probably going (99%). I haven't heard a single negative thing, except perhaps that the residencies go over New Years and July 4th. My fiance is not thrilled with that.

Please personal message me if you decide to take the plunge and go to VCFA. Would be great to connect virtually before June.

-Sarah


ouibet9


Feb 23, 2010, 6:25 PM

Post #2130 of 2631 (17578 views)
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Re: [Fellowette] Anyone Heard? [In reply to] Can't Post

In at VCFA here, too! Super excited. I've talked to a faculty member and two alums so far, and had really positive feedback all around. No one can tell me about Slovenia yet, besides that they were jealous of everyone who went.

I'm curious to hear, actually, if anyone is in or finishing from Vermont (or any other low-res), how they feel about their experience versus the traditional program approach. I've heard fantastic things, mostly, and it actually seems more suited to my personality anyway (I like time to think and process and work on my own without a chorus of workshop voices in my head), but if anyone has any thoughts on the two experiences post-MFA, I'd love to hear it.

Lis


jaywalke


Feb 24, 2010, 12:10 PM

Post #2131 of 2631 (17536 views)
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Re: [lishamilton] Anyone Heard? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I'm curious to hear, actually, if anyone is in or finishing from Vermont (or any other low-res), how they feel about their experience versus the traditional program approach.


I can't really compare the two (since I only did one) but I would not trade my time at Queens for anything. My only regret is that I graduated a month ago, and will not be able to go back in May. Actually, I'm going back on one weekend for the socializing and to see friends graduate, but it won't be the same.

Queens uses a workshop format for the distance segments, which is perfect because it is basically training for post-grad life. The online community is pre-built (via email and Facebook), and everyone has been trained for two years in providing written critiques of each others' work. I'm still in touch with the Queenies whose comments were the most helpful, and we trade work regularly. I feel as if I'm still there. The only thing missing is the deadlines.


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Feb 24, 2010, 12:56 PM

Post #2132 of 2631 (17522 views)
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Re: [jaywalke] Anyone Heard? [In reply to] Can't Post

One advantage of Goddard is the Clockhouse Writers Conference, which combines workshops with an annual reunion of MFA graduates. You can go back every summer.


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


jaywalke


Feb 24, 2010, 1:02 PM

Post #2133 of 2631 (17516 views)
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Re: [pongo] Anyone Heard? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
One advantage of Goddard is the Clockhouse Writers Conference, which combines workshops with an annual reunion of MFA graduates. You can go back every summer.


Queens has an alumni program, but it focuses more on schmoozing agents and editors than workshopping.

My classmates and I have thrown around the idea of setting up our own remote reunions--either attending and over-running the same summer conference en masse, or simply renting a house somewhere interesting.


jlgwriter
Jeanne Lyet Gassman
e-mail user

Feb 24, 2010, 1:14 PM

Post #2134 of 2631 (17510 views)
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Re: [jaywalke] Anyone Heard? [In reply to] Can't Post

VCAFA also has a post-grad workshop, but since I just graduated in Jan., I haven't gone yet. A lot of the VCFA people do keep in close touch via FaceBook and email.

It's almost impossible to make the comparison between residency and low-res programs because most of us have experienced either one or the other--not both. For me, low-res was the best option. As someone who has nearly grown children and a spouse settled into a career, I couldn't consider relocating across the country to pursue an MFA. The low-res program allowed me to maintain my current lifestyle while participating in an intensive MFA program focused entirely on the writing craft.

Although I have no experience with the residency programs, I do get the feeling that the low-res MFA is more intense. It requires a high level of self-discipline and organization (no classes to remind you of deadlines), and the workload is almost never-ending for the entire two years. Unlike a residency program that has winter, spring, and summer breaks, low-res programs go all year. The only downtime takes place the final weeks before residency when everything has to be turned in. And the residency can be either relaxing or frenetic, depending on your choices.

Still, I wouldn't have done it any other way. I learned so much in two years. My only regret is that I didn't do this ten years ago.

Jeanne


http://www.jeannelyetgassman.com
http://jeannelyetgassman.blogspot.com


sud


Feb 25, 2010, 1:51 AM

Post #2135 of 2631 (17449 views)
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Re: [lishamilton] Anyone Heard? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Lisa, When did you hear? And when did send your app? I sent my app in right before the Feb 1 deadline and am still waiting to hear something. Thanks! Susa


ouibet9


Feb 25, 2010, 7:03 AM

Post #2136 of 2631 (17438 views)
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Re: [sud] Anyone Heard? [In reply to] Can't Post

I sent my app in around then, too, and I heard a little earlier than they told me I would- around the 16th. The waiting sucks, I know. This is the third round of apps for me, so belieeeve me I feel for you about the waiting. Good luck!


sud


Feb 25, 2010, 10:00 AM

Post #2137 of 2631 (17413 views)
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Re: [lishamilton] Anyone Heard? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Lisa,
Great, thanks so much for the info. Since there have been a few more that were accepted on the 16th, I'm thinking it's a no for me, or I would have heard something by now. I have acceptances at two other low res places and am still waiting on some late notifiers. If I end up getting into VCFA, I'll let you know.
All the best,
Susan


raindrops


Feb 25, 2010, 7:33 PM

Post #2138 of 2631 (17355 views)
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NEW [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow, where have I been this whole time? The last time I checked, this thread was pretty inactive. I have also been accepted into VCFA. I'm in love with the program, and actually went all the way up to Montpelier (from New York City) a couple of weeks ago to check out the school and the area. What a lovely little place! With amazing food! (In the course of one and a half days, my boyfriend and I somehow ate three times at The Skinny Pancake.) And I've been in touch with four or five alumni and everyone had only amazing things to say. What genres are you guys in? I'm in for fiction.


sud


Feb 25, 2010, 7:48 PM

Post #2139 of 2631 (17350 views)
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Re: [raindrops] NEW [In reply to] Can't Post

Raindrops, can I ask when you got your notice, and when did you send your app? I'm still waiting to hear....Thanks:)


raindrops


Feb 25, 2010, 7:53 PM

Post #2140 of 2631 (17347 views)
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Re: [sud] NEW [In reply to] Can't Post

They confirmed receipt of all my application materials on January 25th, and then called me on February 3rd. They called my house phone in Jersey (complicated: I actually live in New York City), and since it went to voicemail they sent me an email the same morning.


sud


Feb 25, 2010, 8:03 PM

Post #2141 of 2631 (17340 views)
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Re: [raindrops] NEW [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow, that's great....nice quick response for you. I had similar responses from two schools that were further down on my list, but at least I got acceptances. I'm going to stop thinking about VCFA now and await the March notices. I sent my stuff to VCFA around the 30th of Jan and they told me it would take 3-4 weeks, but apparently that's not how it always works.
Thanks for your quick reply.


ouibet9


Feb 26, 2010, 2:43 PM

Post #2142 of 2631 (17286 views)
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Re: [raindrops] NEW [In reply to] Can't Post

Raindrops, I'm in for fiction. Would you be willing to share (pm me if you'd like) what the alums said? I've spoken to two, but really trying to get a strong sense of the program by reading as many views as possible (of course, so far it's all pretty positive).


umass76


Feb 26, 2010, 3:56 PM

Post #2143 of 2631 (17266 views)
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Re: Low-Residency Program Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

[NB: Apparently my browser automatically takes me to two pages prior to the current page of comments, so it looks like I've just answered a query Bardberry made in December 2009! Sorry about that. The link is still good though].

Bardberry,

The current low-residency rankings (and the only comprehensive rankings of such programs ever done) can be found here.

Keep in mind that the 2007 "lists" in The Atlantic were explicitly designed to be non-ranked and non-exhaustive. The five low-res programs listed in that article were not claimed to be the "top five" low-residency programs but rather (and crucially, as the article's author conceded) "five top" programs. Likewise, the lists were based primarily on one journalist's opinions. The ranking linked to above polled nearly 200 low-residency applicants over a five-year period.

The only other ranking done which included low-residency rankings was done in 1996, about fifteen years ago, by U.S. News and World Report. But it was a mixed ranking, including full-residency MFAs, MA programs, and doctoral programs also. In fact only four low-res programs were even include: Warren Wilson came out at #20, Bennington #37, Vermont College #69, and Goddard College #83. I wouldn't rely on those way-outdated rankings, though -- not only because they only included those four low-res MFA programs, but also because there are about 300% more low-res programs now than there were in 1996. The current rankings (as you can see at the link) include only low-res programs, and have Warren Wilson and Vermont College tied for #1, followed by Bennington at #3 (and Goddard still strong at #9).

Hope this helps,

Be well,
Seth Abramson
The Suburban Ecstasies


(This post was edited by umass76 on Feb 26, 2010, 4:06 PM)


bardberry


Feb 26, 2010, 4:31 PM

Post #2144 of 2631 (17244 views)
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Re: [umass76] Low-Residency Program Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks, Seth! Since that post, I did discover your low-res rankings on TSE. Much appreciated--I also found the selectivity rankings of low-res programs useful as well. I've heard nothing but good things about VCFA, and the admissions office there has been very welcoming and warm. I'm curious what Bennington alumni have to say about their program.

P.S. Any reason Bard College MFA wasn't included in the low-res rankings? Technically, they aren't low-res in the sense that students come to campus twice a year for ten days, but they do come to campus once a year for eight weeks in the summer, then work independently over the interim winters. It's an interdisciplinary studio art degree with writing as one of the disciplines. Perhaps those polled were not aware of its existence?

Best,
bardberry


umass76


Feb 26, 2010, 4:52 PM

Post #2145 of 2631 (17236 views)
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Re: [bardberry] Low-Residency Program Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Bardberry,

Bard was included in the full-res rankings, because (in terms of time spent on campus) it's more analagous (albeit not by much) to a short-duration full-res MFA like BU than 20-day-annual-residency low-res MFA*. Last year it was #124 among full-res programs, this year (thus far) #130. But if it starts appearing on low-residency lists also, it'll definitely end up in both rankings (albeit, from the looks of things presently, toward the back end of each). Be well,

S.

* What the P&W rankings currently say is this: "This program can neither be classified as a low- or full-residency MFA program, so it appears provisionally in this [full-residency] ranking." {Poets & Writers, November/December 2009}


bardberry


Feb 26, 2010, 4:55 PM

Post #2146 of 2631 (17232 views)
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Re: [umass76] Low-Residency Program Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks again, Seth. Take care. -bb


sud


Feb 27, 2010, 8:31 PM

Post #2147 of 2631 (17174 views)
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Anyone know about Carlow or Fairfield [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been accepted to both these programs and want to know if anyone out there has heard from other students?


ouibet9


Mar 1, 2010, 4:43 PM

Post #2148 of 2631 (17106 views)
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Alums from Bennington or Lesley? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi guys,

Couple of questions. Are there any alums on this board who would like to talk about their experiences at either Lesley or Bennington? In particular with Lesley, I'm curious about the interdisciplinary component. But very curious about Bennington, too. I know Bennington has excellent faculty, but I've heard the craft component of the program is not as structured—is this changing at all? (Btw, I haven't heard from either of these schools! But trying to do my research before I have to make a decision). Feel free to PM me, or share with all.

Cheers,

lis


ChoiceD


Mar 3, 2010, 10:15 PM

Post #2149 of 2631 (17014 views)
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Re: [sud] Anyone know about Carlow or Fairfield [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I've been accepted to Carlow, as well. Does anyone know about their program?


shyanne777


Mar 7, 2010, 1:55 PM

Post #2150 of 2631 (16918 views)
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Re: [ChoiceD] Anyone know about Carlow or Fairfield [In reply to] Can't Post

I would love to try Carlow since you take turns going to Ireland for residency! The first site I used for research was the Association of Writers (guideawpwriter.org) I put my info in that I was looking for low residency programs and they came up with 37. I really want Spalding in Kentucky. I've read some of the faculty. But I have certain restrictions such as I work full time. Spalding has a 9 month semester from July to March where you can either take your residency in Kentucky or whatever country they are headed to in Europe that summer. You can complete it in 2 years but can take up to 10. If you want to take fall and spring semesters you can finish in 2 years.

As i said i have several personal issues I must take into consideration besides the intellectual program itself. I need something rather close - I'm in GA and KY is closer than LA or VT. I work full-time and have several disabilities which is why I would want to stretch out my semester to 9 months. But you can change back and forth from 9 month semesters to 6 months. I feel as though some schools treat the students as though they are youngsters and have tight rules, which is fine. But at my age and with my issues I need a LOT of flexibility in a school.

I am changing careers also as I already have a masters in counseling but writing has always been my dream so before i get any older (i'm 55 now) i WILL live out my dream.

I just wanted to let ya'll know that AWP has some good information on low-residency and on campus schools you might want to check out.

Take care.

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