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About feralgrad

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    MFA Creative Writing

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  1. I tend to be suspicious of casting a wide net for grad apps. That strategy can make it harder to research each program thoroughly, which can lead you to attend one that's a poor fit. For example, there have been a few people in my program that ended up disappointed because they actually wanted cohort with a more conservative, literary aesthetic (in other words, they probably didn't do any research aside from reading the website...). I know the feeling: you're itching to get in and want to ensure success. But I think you can save yourself a lot of trouble by looking for a handful of progra
  2. Hey, y'all! Glad to see some familiar faces around here. For those of you who don't know me, I've been on GradCafe for a couple years. I did two rounds of applications before I got into the right program, and this board was so helpful! I'll be popping in occasionally to offer my opinions/bother y'all. It's still way early in the cycle, but I will say: don't underestimate the importance of the research phase! I rushed through it my first round, and it bit me in the butt. If funding is a major concern (and it should be for most applicants), I recommend digging deep for less famous programs.
  3. Other people may be able to answer this quesiton more fully, but my understanding is that most grants are given for a single academic year. As a result, you'd likely have to apply for more grants during your first year (and second year, if you attend a 3 year program). Personally, I think this option would be high-stress given how competitive/labor-intensive grant applications are, as well as the fact that you'd almost certainly need multiple grants to cover school and living expenses.
  4. Lots of good points here. I would also add that the MFA can actually offer you some great professional skills, but mostly through extracurriculars or funded positions. Your /coursework/ won't usually get you a job, but volunteering for a lit mag or the program's events might (think graphic design, social media, PR, event planning, etc). I know several graduating students who are leveraging this type of experience to find jobs. However, these are often volunteer positions that require free time outside of class. If you're working retail through your MFA, you'll actually be missing out on profes
  5. @itsalwayssunnyinjackieI was in basically the same position as you my first year of apps. Was thinking of accepting a partially-funded offer for a city I loved. I crunched the numbers, and it would have been $40-50k of debt. When I calculated the loan repayments, it was a couple hundred dollars a month -- not something I was comfortable taking on as a """creative""" in this job market. The difference between you and I is that I had zero fully-funded offers (hence the second app cycle). Forunately, I snagged a fully-funded offer at a program I love last year. As a DC native, I'm sorry t
  6. Seconding @Greel-- writing a lot on the job makes it harder for me to write in my spare time. Using the same "mental muscles" at work and home exhausts me. I liked (or at least tolerated) admin work, because it allowed me to save my mental resources for my own projects.
  7. I would hypothesize that they'd choose the waitlisers based on who turned their spots down -- i.e. to ensure aesthetic diversity in the program. Just a theory ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  8. "Extenuating" generally means something unforeseen. If another program asks why you're transferring, and you say it's because you're unfunded, they'll wonder why you accepted the offer in the first place. Moreover, I think it's a big gamble to pay for that first year when you have no guarantee of transferring into a funded program.
  9. The MA-first route is an option for PhD programs, but I don't really hear of people doing it for MFAs. Honestly I don't see the point since MAs in creative writing are almost exclusively unfunded, so you're in the same boat. As for accepting no funding and trying for the next year: In some programs it's possible, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you're 100% prepared for that plan to fail. It's a gamble. Transferring to another program is rare. As with any terminal degree, it's expected that you're committed to the program unless there's some extenuating circumstance. Personall
  10. @sandy duncan go to therapy
  11. That's tough. In my mind there are several factors to consider. Low-res (to my knowledge) doesn't usually offer funding, but it's easier to hold a job outside the university. That can be valuable if you're already on your career path. Personally, I had no strong career prospects yet. The work I do as a TA is preferable to my other options on the job market. The professionalization of the MFA (via teaching, lit mags, etc) is valuable for me. At this age (24), I can afford to take the pay cut (my stiped is about $18k right outside a major city). Not to mention I wanted a close-knit com
  12. Ah, I see where you're coming from. I think you can hedge your statement a bit and say that you want to attend, but you're /concerned/ about finances (i.e. the viability of the stipend). You could also ask about additional funding sources outside the department; I've never tried this, but now that I'm in school I'm continually surprised at how many opportunities there are.
  13. I did this before in a different field and am pretty sure I just sent an email saying “I’d love to attend your program, but I can’t afford it without more aid.” And I got more aid (but didn’t attend anyway—long story). Dunno if that’s especially good advice, LOL, but it’s my experience. Seconding this strategy; I've used it as well with some success. Even if the program doesn't have more moeny immediately, it can bump you higher on the list if more funding opens up. You can also leverage other offers/funding sources if you have them ("I'm choosing between multiple programs, and fund
  14. I'll admit that "lesser-known" is super subjective. But anything outside of Iowa, Michener, Brown, and the NYC mileiu is a good start. A decent measure is how often you're seeing fellow applicants here and on Draft (by this metric, I'd also consider UVA, for example, in the "super competitive" tier). The list you have here seems strong to me. I've heard good things about many of those programs, and they're not what I would call "household names." To be clear, there's nothing wrong with applying to the big names. I'm just encouraging people to be strategic. Plus it breaks my heart to
  15. Honestly, rather than having a high number of applications, I'd consider including some lesser-known well-funded programs. You had a decent selection this year, but I'd consider them all "upper echelon" programs -- very well-known and very competitive. Nothing wrong with shooting for the stars! But there are a lot of well-funded programs which are significantly less competitive while still offering a "top tier" experience (Miami U Ohio and Bowling Green State come to mind). Of course, no fully-funded program is easy to get into, but I think we underestimate how big of a difference it make
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