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M(allthevowels)H last won the day on April 9 2018

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About M(allthevowels)H

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    English PhD

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  1. Not only did I not have an MA while applying (MFA in Fiction whoop!) but even my BA was in Creative Writing. Honestly, I don't think anyone cared. If your sample shows that you can do the work, you can do the work. Most of the PhDs I applied to didn't allow transfer credit, so whether your classes would have transferred or not doesn't matter as everyone begins with a blank slate. I got A's in all my Lit classes during my MFA, so my transcript demonstrated ability to function in a graduate level English course, but honestly I think all they cared about was the sample and SoP. If you can convince them you know what you're doing when you talk about your field/project they don't seem to care if your proficiency came from a your MA or that summer you spent reading theory in a dive bar. If you're still publishing, I've heard of some places getting iffy about non-academic writing publications, but everyone here just gets really stoked about it. The only unforeseen consequence to having an MFA is how many professors have done creative writing on the side and will definitely want to talk to you about it (which is, actually, quite nifty). Edited to Add: Not sure how other programs work, but in mine everyone earns another MA in their first year, even if you already had one.
  2. @WildeThing I didn't know you were applying to Vanderbilt this cycle!! Good luck! I have zero power whatsoever but hit me up if you've got questions. We've got two new AfAm faculty coming in the fall too, so I'll extra cross my fingers for you.
  3. I'm Lit not Rhet/Comp so GRAIN OF SALT but I applied with an MFA and I don't think I found a single school that took issue with it. One DGS said that transcripts - ideally you've taken a handful of non-creative English classes with good grades - and writing sample would demonstrate experience. Again, this is Lit vs R/C so definitely research the specific programs you're interested in, but you have cause to be optimistic. I also don't think I mentioned or tried to explain my MFA in my SoP. Space was limited and it seemed non-essential from talking to people at the programs I was eyeing.
  4. Hey! I'm not eco-crit but I sat in on an eco-crit lecture at Ole Miss and it made me wish I was eco-crit. I can message you if you want details about that program/area. Also, maybe look into Rice? I spoke to a few eco-crit scholars while I was there and they were very happy, plus the location - that intersection of the oil industry and hurricanes - adds an odd immediacy to the work if that's your area. It was 100% the prettiest campus and most livable city of the schools I toured. Obviously I'm a fan of Vandy, but I know nothing about their eco-crit. Side note: I don't know anyone's life, so I say apply to as many schools as you have a good fit and that would have a beneficial effect on you as a scholar as you can afford*. Some people have awkward fits or limited budgets, so they have four. Some people have a bit of disposable income and a well represented field, so they have 15. It's case-by-case. You don't want to be fabricating fits to meet a set minimum number of apps, but neither do you want to be cutting out schools with good fits because of some equally arbitrary maximum number. *As @Warelin said in another thread, familiarizing yourself with fee waiver policies can help with this, too.
  5. I was going to send out 6 for sure, 8 at the most. My department chair/letter writer/honorary grandma berated me until I agreed to go at least 8-10. I don't know where this number comes from, but it's oft repeated. And I would like to emphasize what @Warelin said about familiarizing yourself with fee waiver policies so you can let fit limit your apps rather than cost.
  6. I will never not upvote "The GRE is trash posts." I went to take the GRE with a friend of mine. The computers on his side all had a couple minute power outage. At the end, he scored ten who points lower than me in the quantitative even though HE WAS THE ONE WHO TUTORED ME ON THE QUANTITATIVE SECTION. Anyway, the GRE is awful and actually just reflects stress levels while taking the test rather than actual knowledge. The end.
  7. Kind of piggybacking off of @jrockford27's point. I did an MFA first with the intent of using that time to A) hone writing skills and make connections and B ) talk myself out of getting a Lit PhD. The latter didn't work, obviously, but the former did. Based on your passion it almost seems like MFA first is the way to go (or if you can do one of the hybrids mentioned). I wouldn't worry about your background. In MFA applications the whole "the sample is what matters" thing is 100% true. Your best bet is to use the summer to find a workshop/local writers group to go over your nonfiction work a million times. And obviously the Personal Statement is a slightly different can of worms than the Statement of Purpose, but you'll likely be good at it if you're already comfortable with memoir writing (Also, if you want I can send you mine from my MFA app). HOWEVER if you expect to teach creative writing right out of your degree, the MFA might let you down. As @rising_star mentioned, there isn't really an immediately Post-MFA job market. I've said somewhere on this forum before that the general expectations with Lit/Comp PhDs is that they qualify you to teach, where as with MFAs you'll be taught to make better art and then the strength of your publications down the road is what actually gets you teaching jobs that don't suck. It's a longer process, so you'd have to be okay with freelancing or working a non-creative job to support yourself while you do your creative work.
  8. Preemptive congratulations! Also, I second furbabies being hassle enough (How, oh how, did I end up with a dog that has more anxieties than me?). You are really wise to think about both commutes in your housing search. We got distracted by a good deal and shiny amenities and for my whole MFA I had a fifteen minute commute, while my partner had nearly an hour. ?
  9. Same all around, with the exception of being an international student. The best part about dragging my partner across the country for my MFA was I had a built-in person to do stuff with when I wanted to explore the area. "Who wants to volunteer to clean up an abandoned graveyard and then hunt for Maillard's Automaton at the Franklin Institute? You do, because you're stuck with me." I will say, and this may not be the case for my upcoming graduate program, the MFA skewed older. I was 25ish when I started, and that put me maybe lower middle of the pack, with a good number of my cohort in the early to mid 30s when we started. That might just be the nature of writing programs, though. It sounds like maybe Lit PhDs skew younger. Okay, but isn't this the strangest reaction? I had one woman in my MFA cohort, who was also married and had opted for a long distance option, actually kind of sneer at me? She said something along the lines of "Oh, they don't have their own career?" I'm happy to say she was an outlier. Most of the coupled cohort brought their partners with them, and those who didn't (usually because they were attending somewhere else) often had them visit and would even get permission for them to sit in on classes.
  10. Vanderbilt does too, though I second WUSTL and U Denver. I'd check out programs you have a good fit in, find the ones with MFA programs, and ask on a case-by-case basis (For example, Ole Miss has a banging MFA program, but Lit students have never typically taken classes with them, so you'd have to try for special permission or something. Maybe possible, but not a function of the program). Maybe UC Riverside?
  11. Congratulations! I know nothing about your field or this department, but it sounds impressive! Congratulations! In my head there are many whimsical statues around campus in honor of Dr. Seuss. Don't correct me if I'm wrong. The illusive negotiation! Congrats!
  12. Congratulations on the acceptance! And on Rochester, (I swear I'm only a little salty they didn't love me back.)
  13. Hey! You and I are in the exact same boat. I'm starting my lit PhD in the fall after graduating from my MFA, ( I took a year off before applying), and I've already committed to continuing my writing career during my PhD. A large part of the reason I applied to Rice and Vanderbilt is that you don't teach during coursework. Since the MFA was teaching + coursework + side writing, my plan is that creative writing will occupy the space on my schedule that teaching/lesson planning/grading occupied before. It might be worth a shot to look at programs with a similar set up, especially if you have teaching experience from your masters so your CV won't be disadvantaged by having less during your PhD. (I wrote this assuming you haven't already applied, please disregard if not so ?)
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