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feralgrad last won the day on December 18 2022

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  • Application Season
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    MFA Creative Writing

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  1. Hi liebkuchen. Yes, there are a number of programs that will fund you without teaching requirements. My MFA alma mater, George Mason, funds people a variety of ways. Some teach (GTAs), while others are GPAs -- graduate professional assistants. These people worked in a variety of positions, including: giving feedback on scholarship apps at the Office of Fellowships; social media/outreach for the department; reading and editing for our small press, Stillhouse; etc. Interestingly, working at our literary magazines was an extracurricular, but some programs offer funding for editorial positions at their lit mags. In short, different programs will have a variety of funding options. Some will fund you with no work requirements, although these will tend to be the more competitive programs. I would start by browsing this list of fully-funded programs: https://readtheworkshop.com/resources/fully-funded-programs/ You can also browse the Poets & Writers MFA database, which includes funding info for each program: https://www.pw.org/mfa Note that George Mason isn't on the list of fully-funded programs, as they fund most but not all students. There are other strong programs that aren't fully-funded, and they may have more options for funding routes. They will also tend to be wayyy less competitive, so I highly recommend applying these programs in addition to the "big names." Note that if the program's website/Poets & Writers entry says something like "The program offers scholarships, grants, federal financial aid, and federal work-study positions" they will offer very little money. Scholarships at the Master's level are usually $1-3k per semester, which won't even cover tuition fully. Hope that helps!
  2. It's possible you'll hear from them well into the summer; there are always a few people on the results page who get notifications in June or July. However, I would focus on making other plans at this stage. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but fwiw the waitlists mean your work is strong!
  3. Congrats on getting funded by two strong programs! It does happen that people drop out last minute. I think you may have to pay some fees if you already committed to NYU, but at the end of the day, they can't stop you from withdrawing. You may burn those professional bridges, but honestly I think you can get around it as long as you're not planning to, like, apply for jobs at NYU. Just be polite if you turn down their offer. While I wouldn't call one program objectively better, here are the pros of each option in my mind: Pro-Syracuse: From reading thru these forums, NYU seems to accept a lot of unfunded/minimally-funded students. Those unfunded students will be in your workshops, and their work will tend to be lower quality. I attended a program that doesn't fund everyone, and there's a palpable divide in quality/work ethic between funded and unfunded students. George Saunders is George Saunders. I read A Swim in the Pond in the Rain and wanted desperately to take his Russian literature course. The stipend is about the same as NYU, and it will go much farther, obviously. Also, the extra year makes a BIG difference. I went to a 3 year program and cannot imagine trying to develop a thesis in only 2 years. Pro-NYU: I can tell you from experience that teaching takes A LOT of time away from writing. I can't seem to find info on Syracuse's teaching load, but FYI: 2:2 (two classes per semester) is high, and 1:2 or 2:1 is standard. Easy access to the NYC literary scene is a plus. A bigger program offers more aesthetic variety in the cohort, and you can easily carve out a creative niche for yourself. Based on this, you can see I'd lean towards Syracuse. Hope that helps!
  4. Hearty congrats to everyone who got accepted this year (+ everyone who made it through app season alive). My MFA journey is officially coming to an end this month :') It's been an insanely valuable, exciting, and stressful 3 years. I'm happy to field questions from anyone who wants my two cents on MFA life and how to make the most of it.
  5. Congrats!! I haven't heard of the program before, but I checked out their website, and it looks great! Seems like they have a lot of unique professional opportunities.
  6. April 15th is the deadline for funded applicants to respond to funded offers (full or partial), suggested by the Council of Graduate Schools. How stringently that's enforced varies depending on the institution/program. Occasionally, people who initially accepted funded offers decline them after April 15th -- sometimes well into the summer. So if you're on a waitlist, there's a chance you'll hear later. However, if you haven't heard anything after this week, I would suggest assuming a rejection to preserve your sanity.
  7. You could be on a waitlist, but based on what I've heard about NYU, if you received an offer it would likely be unfunded. Sorry to say so :(
  8. Late reply, but I don't think you've gotten any responses yet -- I don't think you're required to say anything until the decision deadline. I would only respond to confirm interest (and acceptance elsewhere) if you haven't received funding yet, because that can tip the scales.
  9. I'm sorry this cycle didn't work out. I had to do two app cycles myself, and it was very difficult when I realized I'd have to wait a year or more for my MFA dream. For what it's worth, you should feel proud of the work you did applying to programs. MFA apps are so much harder than undergrad apps; I experienced them as much more research-intensive, labor-intensive, and vulnerable. Here's something I've come to appreciate since I started teaching undergrads: Not everyone would be able to make a genuine, well-planned effort for these applications (especially if you did a lot of em). The ambition, patience, and planning required aren't as common as you probably think. And it's way, waaaay less common to care enough about your art to do all that work. (This isn't me complaining about my students btw. I'm just saying that it can be hard to see your virtues in a situation like this.) In hindsight, my first failed app cycle really helped me grow as a person. The apps were a bigger and more consequential project than anything I'd ever completed, and I consider that a milestone in my journey to becoming a "real" adult. I hope that doesn't sound corny lol -- I really mean it.
  10. Seconding this, and adding that determining "manageable debt" can be very difficult. @mosss (and @emikra since this seems relevant to you) I highly recommend crunching the numbers and putting them into a loan repayment calculator, which would show you how much you could pay on loans each month. Remember to include rent and living expenses in your calculations as well. That's what I did when I got a partially-funded offer that would've required loans. The results were sobering, to say the least, but I'm glad I had that reality check.
  11. I think this was good advice (and not evidence your writing was terrible lol). Academia functions so differently from the rest of the job market; it's good to have some experience working outside the ivory tower since most of us will leave it after the MFA. I think it also helps you gain some perspective on the insane working conditions in academia, where everyone has 3+ roles they're juggling.
  12. In my opinion there's a sweet spot between ~25 and 35, regardless of genre. At my program, the people fresh out of undergrad tend to be less certain of their creative goals, and sometimes they spin their wheels for a year+ trying to figure that out. My first time applying I was a year out of undergrad, and I'm glad I didn't get in. My writing transformed between my first and second app cycles. If I had gotten in in 2019, I would've completely wasted a year of funding on improvements I could have easily made outside the MFA. Hell, I might have even been a little better off if I'd waited an additional year to explore my craft independently. (I started at 24, for reference.) But no regrets because I'm glad I didn't have to spend Peak Covid working a desk job from home lmao. Tl;dr: No matter how talented you are, there's no replacement for time and life experience in determining your creative trajectory. If you're fresh out of undergrad and getting rejections, know that it's normal and probably better for you in the long run.
  13. I honestly wouldn't recommend this route unless you like the idea of doing a thesis on literature. (Remember the literary analysis essays you had to do in high school/gen ed? Something like that, but for 100 pages.) Any graduate program is a lot of work, and if you're not excited about it, you could get seriously burnt out. I don't think that having an MA in English inherently makes you more competitive; many fully-funded people in my program don't have English BAs or MAs, and many programs are explicit on their websites about not expecting this experience. Additionally, I could be wrong about this, but from what I've seen, funding seems rarer for English MAs than MFAs. I think you could expand you're literary experience in other ways that would be less labor-intensive. For example, volunteering as a reader for a literary magazine would look great on an MFA app.
  14. You got some great advice, so I won't belabor my point, but I do want to add: If you go into the MFA to start a career as a writer, you will may be disappointed. Making a career as a writer is almost impossible unless you're Jodi Picoult; the income is too sporadic for most people. A recent grad from my program just wrote a highly popular YA novel and received advances on two more, and he still had to get another job on top of that (and that's in a genre that's growing way faster than literary fiction or poetry). As for other options: The academic job market is extremely oversaturated, and applying for a professor position is the same amount of work as applying for a grad program (seriously). Working in publishing is competitive but possible, but only if you volunteer for lit mags, small presses, etc. as extracurriculars. Technical writing is way less competitive, but some people find it saps their energy to write creatively. I'm not saying this to scare you. However, I've seen a number of people go into MFA programs expecting career opportunities, and then they become embittered when those don't materialize. I don't know much about NYU, so I would recommend researching their extracurricular opportunities, career placement stats, etc. Regardless, it may be more realistic to think of the degree as a personal achievement rather than a professional one. Perhaps this is a detour where you can focus on work you find meaningful before returning to the field you've already been successful in.
  15. I'll pitch in since I've looked into them. My understanding is that the PhD involves producing some creative work, but most of the program is geared towards academic analysis of creative writing. It does improve your chances for landing a university teaching position, but not as much as a published book does.
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