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  • Application Season
    2019 Fall

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  1. Since we've been flooded with a lot of responses this past week and will be flooded with more tomorrow and the coming week, just a reminder to everybody who's been refreshing this thread and the results page a million times an hour, in case you need to hear this: You are a writer. You will always be a writer. Nothing these results say will change that. You're dedicated. You're passionate. Nobody spends hundreds (or even thousands) on application fees for the heck of it. Writing is probably not your day job, but you do it anyway, don't you? You squeeze it into your free time, lose sleep, suffer your shit 9-5 just so you can get home and put words on the page. Nobody is forcing you to do this. You do this because you LOVE it. Because you'd probably stop breathing before you'd stop writing. It is statistically more likely that you will be mugged than get into a good number of the top MFA programs in the country, based on the applicant size last year and the number of admitted students. Rejection does not mean that you are the worst. It does not mean that you are a failure. It means that there is an EXTREMELY limited number of spots in any given MFA program, and these programs have an insanely difficult task in selecting from a massive pool of talented people based on a single writing sample. It's irrational to read a rejection as "I didn't deserve it" or "I'm no good." The fact is that loads and loads of people (yes, yourself included) are good, insanely good, wildly good, and writing is an artform, not a perfectly quantifiable and measurable skill. There is no secret formula you're missing. Cohorts are assembled in a lot of ways. Ask folks who have read applications before and they will tell you -- there's a lot that goes into the decisions, and it's not exactly replicable from program to program. There's no point to wondering what you did "wrong" because "wrong" isn't the point. You're good, okay? You're super good. And this is who you are, and this is what you do. You write. No matter what those results say, you won't stop writing. You'll keep writing because you are a writer. I completely get it. Look, it is natural for us to pin our dreams to things that are literally Our Dreams. Reading that rejection SUCKS, no getting around it. I got rejected across the board last year. I spent my rent on application fees, tanked my budget while telling myself it would all be worth it, and then felt like a shitty fraud as the rejections rolled in. I made the fatal mistake of taking every single one of those rejections personally. I would read the email, have a long and hard sob at my desk, and then decide I was terrible. I refreshed this website more times than I'd like to admit, rode a lot of gnarly anxiety waves, and when that final letter from Iowa arrived in March saying the game was up, I was donezo. With everything. It was a Big Bad Very Shit Time and I wish that at some point somebody had pulled me aside and said hey pal, look, it's not you. It ain't personal. There is no Committee of People Who Decide Who Is a Real Writer and you did not just Fail Spectacularly Before Said Committee. I did not stop writing. You won't stop writing either. I'm waiting on all but one of my results, and there's a darn good probability that I've got at least one rejection in my future. I mean, that's just statistics. Can't really argue with statistics. When that rejection comes, eh. It won't feel great, sure, because I really wanted it. But it is not the final decider on my work, or my worth as a writer, or my potential. The only person who owns your future is you. Not an admissions committee (who are honestly just doing their best with a process that is really truly tough on everybody) and not an admissions result. You wrote before this. You will write when this is all said and done. You will keep writing. You are a writer, period.
  2. oh god, do not give me that kind of hope! hope is the thing with feathers that does NOT the heck come around during MFA results season.
  3. For people who checked ApplyWeb and found rejections, where was that in the portal? I've searched the living daylights out of that page and I can't find anything.
  4. It looks like they probably have. Deep breath! This is just the start of a long couple of months. Decisions are completely out of our hands, and we can be proud of the kickass applications we put together no matter the results. Whatever the email says, it is not the final say on your talent, your hard work, your merit, or your craft! Don't let this time get you down - use it to be good to yourself and manage all the ups and downs to come.
  5. Looks like there's an acceptance posted to the results page. Congrats to that person! Hang tight everyone else.
  6. No nerves now! You've got this! You've worked and worked to put together the best possible application. You turned it in, and in doing so, put your best foot forward. You've already done everything that would impact the results, which means what happens now is out of your hands. You have no control over the situation, so putting energy into stress and nerves is energy better spent taking care of yourself - write, work, create, relax, consume art, make a nice meal, listen to music. Leave your computer and device alone until later today - maybe this evening after dinner, or before you go to bed. Checking it constantly will amp your nerves up and make you more tense each time your inbox doesn't contain what you're seeking. These next months are really tough and this is just the start of the gauntlet. Be proud of yourself and let yourself let go of stress over results - you've already done so much, now is the time to relax.
  7. I think reasons like wanting experience teaching, structure, having room to experiment are all valid reasons for an MFA, that makes sense. Also, I think a lot of folx applying for MFAs have the same academic experience and major you do, so that makes more sense now, too. Long story short, your age shouldn't be a problem, and if you decide to apply, it won't count against you.
  8. I know current students in a few different programs and they all say there are recent grads in their workshops. So no, it doesn't seem to count someone out. Your post is super interesting, though. Just out of curiosity, what do you want from an MFA? You've just received a degree in creative writing, which means you've recently been saturated in the workshop environment. That's more than the usual MFA applicant can say, since most colleges don't offer undergraduate degrees in creative writing, and undergrads are usually limited to a handful of opportunities to take writing workshops along with the rest of their course load and major requirements. I think many people pursue MFAs specifically because they weren't able to dedicate their academic experience to their writing, and the MFA allows them to do that for the first time. You say you've got publishing credentials, and you've already got an agent. For a lot of people, an agent and connections in the publishing/agency/academic world are the ultimate end goals of the MFA experience, not to mention getting published. I'm not saying this to discourage you at all. I'm just thinking about the reasons I hear for why most people apply, and the value that the MFA offers you based on your circumstances. Do you need an MFA? There are rare writers among us who don't need one, because they've already got a lot of what people are trying to get out of an MFA, and you seem like the rare bird that has all that already. You might be better served taking the time to be outside academia for a while, working on something you can pass on to your agent. Honestly, those nice publishing credentials and that agent will likely get you further than most MFA grads will go thanks to their degree. Take this with a grain of salt, but you might save some time and money and just use those tools because they are very fine tools indeed.
  9. This is round two for me, too, and I 100% feel you on the wondering why I'm putting myself through this another time. Last March ended with me in the deepest mental pit of my life, so there's a part of me that is like "girl, are you for real with this shit? again? really?" but I want this, I've got the correct dosage of antidepressants to get me through it, and weed's legal in Massachusetts so I'm way better equipped to handle this wackass process! Bring it on, y'all! I've got my statement of purpose in another tab, and my Arizona application in yet another tab, so we're on the same page! Just remember that the sample is like 95% of the application. Just get your statement to the point that it's not a liability and you're good. It doesn't need to be a Pulitzer-winning work of unimaginable genius, and it shouldn't demand all your stress and anxiety like the sample (kind of rightly) does. I've sort of smushed together all the articles I've found online and followed their guidelines, but I'm definitely still sitting here staring my SOP down anyway. I can't take my own advice.
  10. Yeah, I have to say, I feel really weird about this. Say you get an acceptance via letter and no phone call. Does that mean you're probably going to be lower on the funding-type pole than the ones that got the phone call? It makes you wonder why they could take the time to call some people but not others. Surely printing, sealing envelopes, and sending them in the mail is a time commitment, too, right? My gut feeling is that everyone who's been accepted should be contacted about it in the same way. Otherwise you're going into the program with a shade of at least some hierarchy right off the bat. And offering back the typical "well, don't buy into it, then" that's given to any criticism of Iowa is a bit of a cop-out considering every other program doesn't seem to have this issue.
  11. Has there been anything from Arizona for fiction? Seems late this year. I'm not on the Draft because I have to preserve my shaky hold on sanity somehow, but I didn't know if anyone else had heard results yet.
  12. Is anyone else struggling this season? Because this whole process has me racing headfirst into the flaming sun of struggle, self-doubt, and what--the-hell-was-I-thinking. I know we've still got a decent stretch of time from now to the end of results, but I'm already feeling an uncomfortable dissonance between what all "this" is - the MFA application process, the weird tense social networks that have risen up in response to it - and the magic of writing, of thinking I am a "writer", of wanting to be a part of "the writing world". And it's not just the rejections. Not really. Of course, the rejections are hard, even when I think I'm mentally prepared for it. I mean, I knew exactly the odds of this crazy race, right? MFA programs are the most selective graduate programs out there. Someone told me before this process began that by the time the whole thing was finished, it would feel as much like entering a lottery as submitting work for fair judgment. But it's still miserable to keep hearing no, even considering that it's not necessarily because my quality wasn't up to snuff (but it could have been not quite up to snuff, that could have been it) or that I don't have potential (I very well could not have potential, my life dream might be a delusion, who knows) or that my style isn't what they were looking for this year (and might not be what they're looking for next year, or the year after that, or) or some other uncontrollable factor I have no part in as a writer who wrote a thing and asked to be accepted based on the thing. Even knowing all that, and knowing that the cycle of rejection is part of the life of any artist in the world today and I probably should buck the hell up and get used to it, it's pretty discouraging. So, yeah. I don't know if I'm alone in this, but I'm failing spectacularly at not taking this personally. I'm having a really tough time separating what writing has given me all this time - the feeling that I am alive when I write - and this system. Even with all that rational thought and the statistics in front of me, my overly sensitive ass is over here taking it personally and doubting myself left and right. It doesn't matter how we're supposed to be taking these rejections on paper, because I'm still up in my head wondering how I thought I was going to make this work. What's wrong with my work? What's wrong with me? Am I actually good at writing? Do I have potential? What was I not "enough" of to not make it into this program? What was I "too much" of? Am I ready to commit to the struggle of trying to make it in writing without going through the MFA trajectory? Can I do this for however many more years without having a nervous breakdown? That last one was slight hyperbole. Slight. But you get the idea. All that said, I know this week is when most of the big guns start firing, and I've heard back from a few (I'm sure you can guess what they said). Even if there is a silver lining to all this, the meantime has been pretty awful and I feel like a total weakling for letting any of this bother me. So: Is anyone else having a hard time this season? What are you doing to not internalize all the rejection? How do you reconcile your love of writing with not getting through the big pearly gates of literary career heaven?
  13. Does anyone know the deal with Vanderbilt? I know they have three spots for fiction (three? ...three? like, really...three? are you sure? THREE? three...) and I saw that someone reported a phone call acceptance. Now someone has reported an email telling them their place on the waitlist. Should we assume they're done with acceptances/waitlists?
  14. To the person who posted the following on Results: Has anyone heard from the Michener Center yet? They’re about a week behind on responses so far. I’m anxious, I suppose. Michener goes through two initial rounds of rejections. That's why you've seen rejections going out in early-mid January and late January. Acceptances will go out in February. So no, they're not behind, there's no lag. Take a deep breath and feel very good that if you haven't heard back yet, you've made it to the final decision pile, so to speak
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