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works_on_paper

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About works_on_paper

  • Rank
    Decaf
  • Birthday 06/11/1967

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Not Telling
  • Location
    West Coast, Best Coast
  • Application Season
    2017 Fall
  • Program
    MFA Drawing/Painting

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  1. works_on_paper

    Thank you's to Recommenders

    I was a non-trad student, and had close relationships with my advisor/mentor and the other two profs who wrote letters for me. I went up to campus to see them and give the good news, and took gifts. I knew their particular tastes, so two of them got bottles of top-shelf liquor, and the third got a really nice bottle of wine. If I hadn't known them as well as I did, and if I hadn't still been living close to campus, I probably would have just written them each a thank-you letter, and sent some sort of nice food item as a token of my thanks. Worst case, they would have put it in the staff break room for everybody to share, but given the support I got from the department staff and other profs during my undergrad, that's not such an awful thing.
  2. works_on_paper

    How Hard is it?

    I never took the SAT or ACT, and it's been a long time since I last took the GRE. But the available practice tests gave me a good idea of what to expect on the real thing. I felt I had to brush up on math so I wouldn't thoroughly embarrass myself (even though I was applying to history programs), but I did well on the first try. So do as many practice tests as you can get your hands on, until you feel confident in your ability to identify what they're asking and give the best answer. That said, some people are better at taking those sorts of computer-assisted tests than others. I know that for myself, I have an easier time reading printed materials than those on a screen, and being able to scribble notes on paper helps me think more clearly. Some people get anxious when they're stumped by a question, and have a hard time winging an answer before moving on to the next. Others get really anxious when there's a clock ticking down, and that can mess with your thinking ability. Since I dislike computerized tests, I made sure to take the GRE early (in the spring, months before application deadlines), and told myself that if I didn't do well on the first try, it was perfectly okay to take it again. I took that first attempt seriously, because who really wants to take a test twice if you don't have to? But knowing I had plenty of time to re-take it, and that I would know better what to expect the next time, really helped me relax and focus.
  3. works_on_paper

    Palo Alto, CA

    Whenever student housing says, "No pets," they mean NO PETS. No cats, no dogs, no reptiles, no rodents/ferrets, etc. "Just bring the cat" is terrible advice; don't bring the cat at all unless you have explicit permission in your housing contract to do so. Disabled students with service animals might get an exemption, but trying to smuggle a cat into student housing is a very bad idea. If you get caught (and the chances you will are very high), you'll face an immediate choice of either getting rid of the cat or (if you don't want to do that, and are made of money) moving out. Which would you choose, assuming you had 24 hours or less to make the decision and act on it? Is either one going to be acceptable and/or practical for you? My current housemate used to work doing intake at an animal shelter near a major university. Multiple times throughout the academic year, she'd have to deal with sobbing, heartbroken girls (it was always girls) bringing their kittens or cats in to surrender because they'd been caught with them in their dorm rooms or student apartments. The cats had to go immediately, thus there was no time to find other homes for them, so to the shelter they went. Is that worth the risk, to you? tl;dr: If you're smart enough to get into Stanford, don't do something stupid that puts your cat (and possibly your continued residence on-campus) at risk. Really--just don't.
  4. works_on_paper

    2016 MFA Interview Thread

    @altiplanoChances are good you'll spend most of your time indoors, in which case just about every place will be ridiculously over-heated! (I had the opposite experience of packing my lightest summer clothes for my very first trip to Texas one July, and just about froze to death under the ever-present air conditioning). So I second 2222222's advice: if you have a warm coat or jacket, and a sweater you can wear under that, then your regular clothes under that, you should do fine. And warm, dry feet are essential, so thick socks and reasonably waterproof shoes/boots are always a good idea. Good luck with your interview!
  5. works_on_paper

    Finding info on city tools & other things

    If you're looking for info on a larger city from people who actually live there, I recommend Reddit. Most Reddit users tend to be young (in their 20s and early 30s), and share a lot of similar concerns about finding affordable housing, cheap places to eat/drink, low-cost entertainment, and what businesses are worth patronizing. Most questions you might have about a particular city get asked on a regular basis, so simply reading back through previous posts, or searching within a subreddit, will bring up recent discussions. Some have FAQs in their sidebar links (which may not be visible on a phone, but they're there), and those can be good starting points. I thought I'd include this because a lot of sites that provide statistical data about a city don't really provide relevant information. Many relocation guides are geared toward homeowners, not impoverished grad students. Trying to get a feel for the "flavor" of a particular city isn't something you can really get from statistics, or a canned article, but reading about what the locals love (or love to complain about), and their take on local housing and employment issues, can give you a much better picture of what a place is like. There are also subreddits devoted to individual universities, but these may or may not be very active, and tend to be undergrad-oriented. Still, they might also be worth checking out.
  6. works_on_paper

    Scored low on GRE but not interested in retaking..

    Definitely retake it. Your verbal's in the 33rd percentile, and your quant is way down in the first. Your GPA is solid, but not spectacular enough to overcome GRE scores that low. In the first round of screening applicants, admissions committees are looking for clear reasons to reject you. They're trying to winnow down a mass of applications to the most promising ones (which then get narrowed down further in each round, based on narrower and narrower criteria). Extremely low GRE scores (especially Q, if you're going into Public Health) will kill your application in the first round. So I agree with the others who recommend taking it again after further study. You say you're "naturally bad" at taking tests, as if you're doomed, and there's nothing you can do about it. I disagree. I don't like taking tests on a computer, am not comfortable with it, and get performance anxiety whenever I have to do so. I tend to second-guess myself, and linger too long over questions because I know I can't go back. But here's the thing: with the GRE, you can re-take it. You can take it up to five times in a 12-month period (after waiting three weeks between tests). So bad scores the first time around do not mean you're doomed; you do have the opportunity to improve them. And having already taken the GRE, you have an advantage for next time in that you know what to expect from the experience. You know what you need to study; you know where you got bogged down; you might have insights into how to use your time more effectively. All of these can help you relax, so you'll do better. And you can do better--don't give up on yourself, and write yourself off as a bad test taker, as if there's nothing you can do about it. Study. Take lots of practice tests. Try again. Because if you really want to get into grad school, you will have to.
  7. works_on_paper

    PhD Interview But Asked to Accept A Master Program?

    I don't think you did yourself any real damage by answering as you did. I wouldn't worry about it, especially if the interview only felt "so-so." But I would be prepared with an answer for that question, in case it comes up again, because you're not the first person I've seen who was asked it. If it was me, I'd tell them that a Master's would be unacceptable because my goals required a PhD, and be ready to explain why (if it wasn't already obvious). What that does is tell them that you're fully committed to pursuing the PhD, know exactly why you're doing it, and aren't willing to settle for less. A surprising number of people will say "Yes" to settling for a Master's program, and in doing so reveal that they're either desperate to get in somewhere, or don't really have a grasp of which degree will best serve their long-term goals. If you want a PhD, and need it in order to do what you want to do, then insist upon it. And it's probably not a bad idea to email your interviewers and let them know that you were surprised by the question, but now that you've had a chance to think about it you would not be interested in a Master's, only the PhD. They may still decide to reject you, but at least lack of ambition and commitment on your part won't be the reason why.
  8. If asked, I would say, "I'm sorry, but I prefer not to share that information right now. However, I can tell you that I only applied to programs where I felt confident I would fit in well and can do the work I'm interested in doing. If I didn't honestly think this program was a good fit for me, and didn't want to be here, I never would have applied in the first place." And I'd be prepared with some specific things about that program that appealed to me that I could drop into the conversation (including the geographic location, or lower cost of living, or some other thing not program-related). I think what interviewers want to hear is reassurance that you genuinely want to be there, and if they make a firm admissions offer, you're likely to take it. But you're not under any obligation to tell them where else you applied, or are interviewing, and firmly but graciously keeping that information to yourself could work in your favor.
  9. If you're going for an MFA in visual arts, and are being asked to provide an artist's CV/resume, the only work experience that belongs in it is that which is directly art-related (shows, teaching, gallery representation, publications, volunteering, grants/awards). You may not have much, if anything; lots of recent undergrads don't. But whatever you've got, that's what the CV is for, unless the program's admissions guidelines specifically state otherwise. If any of the jobs you've had have strongly influenced your work in a crucial way (be it medium, process, or concept); or is relevant to your professional goals as an artist, that should be mentioned in your personal statement. For example, if you have significant teaching experience, and one of your goals is to teach art, that's worth mentioning. But a resume listing all the non-art jobs you've ever had hasn't been a requirement for any of the art MFA programs I've ever looked at. And I should add that a lot of artists have scattered and sketchy work and academic backgrounds, which is why nobody cares about your job history or GRE math score. What MFA admissions committees generally want to see is that you're actively developing the technical skill and conceptual toolkit needed to make quality work; have the drive and self-discipline to actually spend long hours in the studio making art; and that you as an artist and human being will be a good fit within a given program.
  10. works_on_paper

    best smaller cities to live without a car

    I live in Seattle, and don't currently own a car. I get around just fine on transit within Seattle, and to some locations in the surrounding suburbs. But I also use two car-sharing services (Car2Go and Zipcar) for those occasions when I really do need a car, or when I don't feel like spending hours on transit. Those options tend to get overlooked in discussions of which cities are easy to go car-free in, and for me they've been real game-changers. For a long time, I used transit most of the time (because traffic is hellish here), but kept my old car because I still needed it to get cats to the vet, haul large/heavy things home, etc. With car-sharing services, I don't need to maintain a car of my own anymore, and only pay when I need one--all the gas, insurance, and other costs are covered in each service's fees. So I advise looking into the availability of car-sharing services, as well as public transit.
  11. works_on_paper

    does MFA program welcome people without BA/BFA ?

    My own case is kind of odd--I'm 47 years old, with a BA in History and Anthropology. I would like to get into a top MFA program for drawing/painting, and have decided to apply for fall 2016 or '17. And I think this is perfectly do-able. That said, I toyed with the idea of going back to school for a postbac BFA, just to get back into "student mode," and perhaps to give my application a boost. I took a printmaking class at my local university this summer as a non-matriculated student just to test the waters. And while the class was great fun and gave me a creative kick in the pants, I've decided not to go for the postbac degree. My skill level is generally high (after all these years it should be, darn it). I read artist bios and books on art history and contemporary art for fun. I go look at art whenever possible. I've made friends in my local arts community. I finally have a clear idea of what I'm painting about, and can talk intelligently about that. I'm sure there are things I could get out of the BFA experience, but at this point my art would be much better served by simply making more of it and getting it out there in the world much more often. I don't have a very disciplined studio practice right now, and I could be much more productive if I worked on that. I ought to put together a website by the end of this year, because I have zero internet presence. My work is already good enough to go pro; I just need to start acting like a professional artist, and doing things to build a resume. Having two years of sales and exhibition history, and maybe a few juried show awards, and a big, fat body of coherent, professional work, and a nice website that shows it all off will do me a lot more good than coughing up tuition for another degree. Short version: Go make art. Be an artist! Build your portfolio. Apply. Don't worry (HA!). As far as MFA candidates' all having BFAs? Well, of course they do. Most people who decide they want to be artists make that decision very early in life, and by the time they get into an MFA Program they have been on that trajectory for years. But just because the current batch all have BFAs doesn't mean there are never non-BFA holders in that program, or that you can't be the exception in your cohort. Good luck!
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