@Warelin Thanks so much for replying so quickly! This is helpful--maybe backup wasn't the best word. I just noticed that if you don't get into their PhD. track, then they automatically consider you for the MFA track. Both are definitely not easy to get into! End goal is to be a Creative Writing professor and continue pursuing writing--the reason I like the idea of the U is because it is close to family and if the PHD program takes 5-6 years, it would be nice to spend it nearby. Also, I am impressed by their program and like the writers who have come out of it. I've also considered applying to low residency MFA programs for similar reasons of being able to live near family while studying. What would be the best way to prepare for that plan?
Okay, that makes sense. Freshman year, I took a Creative Nonfiction course (and creative nonfiction is what I hope to continue pursuing--if not that, then probably fiction). This semester, I took a Writing Fiction course and will need to take a couple more courses before completing the minor. Would those be the professors I would want to ask for letters of recommendations from? How could I work on making good connections with them? I like them and respect them a lot, but as an introvert, this is difficult for me. I would want the connections to be authentic and not just "hey there i need a recommend" but usually keep to myself. Is there anything else in addition to that which would help my application?