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Sueño2014

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About Sueño2014

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  1. Adelaide, Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. Sorry for the delay in responding; I just saw your response today. It sounds like you and I have read similar advice online. While creative writing professors/instructors seem to be the best choices for LORs, it doesn't sound like a good candidate would be turned down just because of having non-CW letter writers. Joining the MFA Draft group is a great idea. I will definitely check it out. Good luck making your decision about applying or not!
  2. I'm planning to apply for MFA Creative Writing programs in Fiction for Fall 2019, but I'm not sure who to ask for letters of recommendation. From what I've read online, the writing sample is the most important part of the application, and the rec letters are mainly to show that the candidate is stable and will be able to complete the program. I've also read other advice, though, that said that it's pointless to get rec letters from non-writing professors or from those who can't attest to your creative writing abilities. I finished an MA in a different field last year, so I have professors who can vouch for my abilities as a student and my class participation, sanity, etc., but they can't vouch for my non-academic writing skills. Although I've been writing fairly regularly for most of my life, and I've participated in writing groups and events like NaNoWriMo, local informal writing groups, etc., I haven't taken any creative writing classes at a university for more than 10 years. When I took the university classes, my instructors told me they thought highly of my writing and thought I could be published one day (they were not the types to give out praise easily); in fact, one of the instructors contacted me about 5 years ago and offered to read anything I was working on (unfortunately, I was moving and didn't take him up on the offer, which I now regret). Should I ask them, even though I haven't had their classes for over 10 years? I've also signed up for an upcoming online writing class through a writing center in hopes that the instructor might be able to write me a letter (although that might be a bit overly optimistic, since deadlines are in December and April and the class starts this month). Most programs ask for 3 letters. Should I just ask 2 professors from my MA program and try to get a reference from one of my writing instructors (either one from the past or the upcoming course)? Or will it hurt my application to have 2 refs from people who aren't writers or creative writing instructors?
  3. Thank you! Good luck! Let us know how Barron's works for you.
  4. I went to a free Kaplan practice test event, and when the facilitator showed the costs of their courses, a few people in the room actually snorted in disbelief. Thanks!
  5. I got 170 V and 156 Q. I'm really happy with my score since I've been out of school for a long time and didn't think I'd do so well. When I took Barron's diagnostic test at the beginning of February, they predicted 161-167 V and 143-149 Q. I did use other study guides and took other practice tests, too, so I can't give Barron's all the credit, but I do think that it helped. Seeing my predicted scores on the site and watching them affected by the personalized prep and the practice tests motivated me to study more. And as far as I know, Barron's is the cheapest option out there. Their free course is good, too, but I wanted to have access to the practice tests, so I paid the $100. I think it was worth it.
  6. I love Barron's online prep. I took the free diagnostic test and did some of the personalized prep sections before deciding that I liked it enough to pay $100 for the 4 practice tests. It's a lot cheaper than (the ridiculously expensive) Kaplan courses, and I feel like the online practice has helped me a lot. I'm taking the GRE this weekend, so I'll let you know how my scores compare to what Barron's has predicted for me.
  7. Thanks, TheGirlWhoLived and Ibp2488. It looks like I might have to spend more on transcripts than I'd planned-glad I found that out now.
  8. Does anyone know if schools require official transcripts from the exchange program, or are copies of the transcript (as long as grades are listed) ok?
  9. Thanks, Vene. You're right; I'm sure the more academic LORs, the better. That's the hard part about only having professional references. Most of my fellow teachers who have gone for their MA in the field have chosen professional programs geared towards working adults. I'm hoping to make that transition into academia, so I'm going to have to get those academic LORs.
  10. Oh, and I did contact a few schools that I was interested in. I haven't heard back from 2 of them (I'm assuming they're still busy sending out letters for 2014), but one program's Graduate Advisor told me that while my professional references sounded good, if I had over a 3.0 as an undergrad, I should try for at least 1 LOR from that school. Since that grad program is one that doesn't specify that the LORs have to be academic, and I'd assumed that they would say that 3 professional LORs were fine, I was a bit worried by the response. I'm sure if/when I do hear from the other more-academic programs, they're going to want even more academic LORs.
  11. Thank you, Fuzzy Logician. It's really helpful to get advice from someone in the Linguistics field. That's a good idea. I've been thinking of it as an all-or-nothing situation, but if I get rejected the first year, I can always reapply.
  12. I've been teaching Adult ESL/EFL for the past 10 years, love the field, and want to start grad school Fall 2015. It looks like many MA TESOL programs are ok with all professional LORs, and I have great professional references so that wouldn’t be hard. The problem is that I don’t want to study in a professional program that focuses on pedagogy and just briefly covers theory, which is what many MA TESOL programs seem to do. I want some serious brain food from a good program that studies SLA in depth (ie MA Ling/Applied Ling/SLA). The more serious programs require academic LORs. That isn’t easy since I graduated from university (foreign language degree) 17 years ago and was a pretty underwhelming undergrad student. I entered school with good SATs, a few scholarships, and tested into the top 2% of all incoming freshman on my foreign language exam. However, I did not do my best in my classes and finished with only a 3.4 GPA (major and overall). I’m worried that none of my professors will be able to write me a strong LOR. I turned down some opportunities as an undergrad, which I’m sure made me look like a less-than-motivated student. I was a first-generation college student and was pretty clueless about how to succeed in college. Also, my family issues were so overwhelming that I considered dropping out of school several times. Most of college was about just doing my best to try to focus on school and not worry about family drama; I didn’t have the emotional resources for anything extra. I never talked to my profs about this b/c I didn’t want to sound like I was making excuses. So…with that said, here are some people I was considering asking for references: --Professor I had for 2 language courses. He chose me to go on an international summer research trip. I foolishly declined (family issues). My thinking (possibly wishful) is that he might be able to write me an LOR saying that he viewed me as a strong candidate for research as an undergrad. --Professor of 2 language translation courses (both A-). No research involved in class; purely translation work, but one was a graduate level course, so I was hoping that might count for something. --Grad TA who was my mentor for an internship in the Study Abroad Office (SAO staff personally chose students to intern in office, but since they were not professors, I assume they wouldn’t count as effective LOR writers), which included an independent language research project. --Professor of one seminar class in my major; I got an A- in the class and wrote a research paper. He told me he would like me to stay on at the university and do research with him, but I declined due to family issues. He saw my work and obviously liked my research potential—but I only had him for one class. Those were my only experiences with actual research as an undergrad. I did complete a related certificate in foreign language/culture, and studied abroad (and received a scholarship), but neither of those accomplishments were specifically tied to research or a specific professor so wouldn’t help with LORs. What do you think? Should I contact my undergrad profs (most of whom are no longer at the school; I’d first contact department for their contact info) and hope that at least one is willing to write a strong LOR, or delay grad school and take courses at a local uni to get more recent LORs?
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