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feralgrad

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About feralgrad

  • Rank
    Double Shot

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  • Application Season
    2019 Fall
  • Program
    MFA Creative Writing

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  1. I'm in the process of my second round MFA applications, and I've started contacting my LoR writers again. Somehow I feel like I'm asking so much by sending a new writing sample and requesting them to update my reference. I'm still doing it, since I need to, but it's making me anxious. I hate asking for favors!
  2. Have you considered asking the clinical professor to back you up? Not sure if that would be appropriate, but I agree that that's unacceptable. You're right: this is a workplace, not a daycare, and a grown man should not be allowed to throw a temper tantrum. Quite frankly, I don't think someone so immature and aggressive belongs in a PhD program...
  3. I'm not sure when it gets busy, but by the time I made my account last year (around January-February, when admissions results were coming in) the forum was pretty active.
  4. Hello again, Grad Cafe. The application process was /so much fun/ last year, I came back for more. This time around, I'm putting much more emphasis on funding. Does anyone have recommendations for programs that have ample (not necessarily full) funding that will welcome a horror/science fiction author? Bonus points for programs in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic. Thanks in advance!
  5. Whelp, no full funding for me this year. I've decided to reapply next year, and in the meantime I'm planning to tutor so I'll be more competitive for TA positions. Congrats to everyone who's going to school this year! For those who aren't, hopefully I'll see you on the MFA 2020 forum.
  6. Whelp, according to Draft, TA offers went out for the only program where I have a shot for funding. Looking more and more like this is the end of the road for 2019...
  7. Short answer: Don't go. Long answer: I didn't have to take out loans for my undergrad either, but I'm still not going into debt for an MFA. Generally, debt is not conducive to a positive MFA experience or a successful writing career. The whole point of an MFA is giving you time and freedom to write, and debt will take that away from you. You want a fully-funded degree so that you don't have to balance work with school/writing, and so you can take that unpaid internship at a major publishing house. Moreover, loan payments will put a LOT of financial pressure on you after graduation (easily hundreds per month with Columbia's tuition rates). This often leads graduates to taking on a full-time job outside the literary world, where they have less time to write than ever. Based on my research, this is the #1 reason some MFA graduates never publish (and why some regret getting their degree). Columbia is a well-respected program, but it's generally believed that it's not competitive to get in. Due to the cost, many applicants turn down their acceptances, leading to a large number of accepted applicants come April. And frankly, I think you're overestimating what an MFA can do for you. This degree will not give you money, success, or career opportunities. You get those things from networking, sending out manuscripts over and over (despite countless rejections), and writing consistently. An MFA can certainly help with those three things, but only if you have the time, energy, and financial flexibility to begin with. If you want this degree, by all means go get it. But in my opinion, the best way to do that is to keep applying until someone funds you. I know reapplying next year would suck -- trust me, I'll probably be in the same boat, and I'm not happy about that. But 2-3 years of fun is not worth decades of soul-crushing debt. I hope that's not too harsh. I'm just telling you what I wish someone had told me when I started applying to schools with minimal funding.
  8. I'm glad you two were able to see eye-to-eye. Admitting to your misjudgement doesn't make you an idiot. It shows respect for your daughter, and I'm sure it means a lot to her. Congrats to you both!
  9. It's not too early to think about this, but I'd recommend keeping multiple schools in mind and putting finances over a "name brand" school. Based on the website, Harvard's program looks pretty expensive. If your plan is to teach children, I see no reason to get an expensive degree from a fancy school. Your Master's will offer you the same pay increase whether you get it from Harvard or the University of Arkansas, and it's not like the job market for high school teachers is competitive. Also, keep in mind that a school's undergrad reputation =/= its grad reputation. I don't know about Harvard, but there are Ivy Leagues out there with Master's programs that are essentially cash cows (i.e. they aren't competitive to get into and they're very pricey). Some of Columbia's programs have this reputation, for example. Anyway, in the meantime I'd recommend getting tutoring experience where you can. Consider volunteering at your university's writing center. That will make you more competitive for the program and fellowships. I know this answer isn't as tailored as you wanted, but I hope it's helpful!
  10. That is a really difficult position to be in, and admittedly one I don't know much about as an American citizen. But if possible, I would still advise shopping around more (i.e. reapplying next year) instead of making an expensive decision under duress. There are better-known (and ergo better-networked) programs that are less expensive. A large public institution may offer cheaper tuition and more scholarships. I understand wanting to go for it instead of continuing to write on your own. I feel the same way. But ultimately, the MFA is offering very little that you can't get for free if you're crafty (especially if you're not looking to TA). You can find a local community of writers through the internet, and if you want help publishing you can find an agent. I totally get why you want an MFA, but you simply don't need one -- no one does. Remember that many successful writers do not have one, while some MFA graduates never publish. How will you feel if you end up in the latter group? Seriously consider whether a couple fun, creative years is worth decades of debt. I recognize there's probably a lot factoring into this decision that I don't know about, but that's my stance. I hope you can find the best option for you.
  11. Wine night was yesterday for me. Holding off tonight so it doesn't become Wine Week haha
  12. Mixing up my whining with something visual:
  13. From what I've heard, it's a nice way to accumulate tens of thousands in debt for a degree with no value on the job market. It's common for them to advertise the program to rejected applicants, who may be facing the possibility of reapplying next year. I'd pass.
  14. MFA lurker, but as someone who lives in an expensive city I'd like to offer my two cents. As trytostay says, you can make it work with sacrifices, but you should consider if those sacrifices are viable long-term. If rent is your primary expense and you have little to no savings, will you be able to weather an unexpected expense? Can you rely on your family to throw you $500 for an unplanned hospital stay or a vet bill? This, in my opinion, is the difference between surviving and floundering for many young people in expensive cities.
  15. After looking at their website, what stands out to me is that they offer very little funding. You've probably heard this before (possibly ad nauseum), but you should not pay for an MFA. I didn't take this advice too seriously when I first started applying, as I have no undergrad debt, and now I'm kicking myself for applying to several programs with meager funding. Over the course of this application cycle I realized how vital funding can be to one's success as a writer. Debt is not conducive to a successful writing career. Being debt-free will help you get the most out of your degree during and after the program. If you decide to pay for an MFA with loans, you will likely be working while you obtain your degree. After graduation, you may feel pressured to get a full-time job outside of writing to pay off loans (which will easily add $200-400 per month to your expenses). These financial demands (and the resulting stress) could make it very difficult to devote ample time to your craft, which is the entire point of getting an MFA. Yes, an MFA can help you get a job or a publishing deal down the line, but only if you have the time and resources to pursue those opportunities. Keep in mind that time (not a fancy degree) is the #1 thing unpublished writers lack. Sorry to get up on a soapbox, especially if you do have the money to pay for your degree without loans (in which case, do whatever you like). However, I wrestled with this issue a lot this year, and this is what I've concluded. Personally, I'd recommend beefing up your application and applying next year if you don't get the funding you need now. There's no age limit for getting an MFA, so I think you should wait until you can get the most out of it.
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