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Everything posted by B-612

  1. I hope you don't mind my bullet-pointing because it helps me organize my thoughts a bit better. Make sure you're researching the fully-funded programs as deeply as you can. A lot of the info that comes up first in Google searches is old. There are some up-and-coming programs that have either recently become fully-funded or are in the works to (although if they're not fully-funded yet, they won't be for your incoming year, so might be best to look elsewhere or hold off). There are also ways to get funded through something other than an acceptance. In my case, the program to which I was accepted granted teaching assistantships the first year which covered tuition and gave a nice stipend that was livable. Going into my second year, I got really lucky. I applied for a graduate assistantship at another office on campus which granted the same benefits and luckily got the job. It just happened to be right up my alley. However, I was on a small campus and I don't think there were a great deal of these opportunities, so I might be in the minority. Larger universities with larger programs, though, will have more of these (likely). To be honest, I'm not sure how important your letters of recommendation are. None of my previous professors had major connections with any of the universities to which I was applying, so I don't think my acceptances and rejections hinged on that. I think I remember reading once that someone who was accepted to the Writers' Workshop (Iowa) got a letter of recommendation from a co-worker at a factory. I think it goes back to that "this person is unique and we can see how their life experience shapes their vision for their work" thing. I'd say don't spend more money on a certificate and just throw your efforts into finding people you already know who can attest well to your talents and achievements but I also don't know much about certificates in the subject in general. And yes, definitely let others give you feedback, but make sure they're trustworthy and they understand you and what you want of your work. I don't think editing/publishing work or working at a literary magazine would necessarily make your application stronger. Most programs only have a course or two offered on the subject, and I think a lot of students get by without ever taking one on it. The job you're in now might do better to distinguish you from other candidates. But also, I don't think I was asked for a resume or CV by any of the programs to which I applied (it's been a while) so I don't know that any jobs came up outside of what I chose to include in my statement of purpose. Do you mind if I ask what genre(s) you prefer when it comes to your own writing? I don't know if that'll change much but you never know.
  2. Thank you! I certainly will do some investigating on those. I think rather than applying this fall, I'll apply next. That gives me more time to study for the subject test and it might allow me to audit some classes at my alma mater so that I have a better vocabulary to draw from. Thank you so much!
  3. Doesn't sound nuts at all to me. Writers come from a multitude of backgrounds, and I think those backgrounds influence our writing in interesting ways whether we're conscious of it or not. I'll say that--from what I can remember--the MFA programs I applied to didn't care one whit whether I'd already been published or not. They wanted to know my educational background, they wanted to see a portfolio and they wanted to know a little bit about why I was applying. My applications were rushed because I'd actually planned on applying to a PhD program in religion that applications season. Much like you, my heart said, "That isn't where you're meant to be," so I did a 180. I'd already missed the deadline for several MFA programs I was so late in the game. Here in late September I think you should be fine. That said, things to consider. You might want to try having a piece in your portfolio that reflects your ecology background. My background was religion, so I made sure at least one of my pieces spoke to this. If you have the time, write something new if you need to. Make sure you've edited and revised whatever prior work you're going to submit in your portfolio, but don't overedit so that it loses its heart. Make sure your statement of purpose distinguishes you from the rest. Your background already does a bit, so make sure that comes across in your statement. Don't go to an MFA if you think the job market will get much better for you. Do consider programs that will let you teach, possibly in exchange for tuition, as this experience will be an asset once you do hit the job market, often more so than the degree. Don't go to an MFA thinking it's your only way to get published. Lots of writers have been successful without going anywhere near an MFA. Also, real talk: it often gets hard to separate the bad advice from the good, your work will get heavily criticized and possibly even torn apart, and a lot of writers come out of MFA programs feeling creatively and emotionally exhausted, so make sure you're prepared for the ups and downs. A lot of us take a bit of a writing break after graduation because of this. It's helpful knowing it's not you, though, and that a lot of people feel that way. Your MFA can be a helpful place to make connections but it's not guaranteed, so make the most of events like the AWP conference and local readings. Anyway, all this to say, don't talk yourself out of it! The quality of your work and what unique insights you bring are the most important things they're going to be looking for.
  4. Hi, everyone: I've recently begun researching PhD programs in psychology and I wanted to ask your advice given my educational background might be somewhat atypical for applicants. I graduated from college with a bachelor of arts in English, writing and philosophy/religion and went immediately to a divinity school afterward. I'm gay and I was living in the Bible belt at the time, so I thought I might study the Bible in order to be a better resource for other LGBTQ+ people and a stronger advocate. My trajectory shifted, however, when I discovered I loved ministering and caring for LGBTQ+ people so much more than biblical scholarship, and pastoral care/counseling became of greater interest. My thesis on gender and sexual minorities, religion, bullying and suicide wound up being incredibly psychological in nature, and it was really well-received by my university, which seemed like a sign I was moving in the right direction. I put off aspirations of a PhD in Bible studies and in the years after have been glad, as my thesis topic is where my interest remains. However, I'm not sure how people from non-psych backgrounds (no B.S. with a psych major, no master's degrees in psych, etc.) are received as applicants by admissions committees, so I thought I might ask people here, as well as ask if any schools out there might be open to someone interested in the intersections of queerness, religion, bullying, oppression, trauma, and loneliness.
  5. Hi, everyone: Just wondering if there are any good resources online or elsewhere for someone to figure out what they're even qualified to do. I ask because I've reached burnout with adjuncting. I've got two terminal degrees with honors from good universities (not that that matters outside of academia) and 8 years experience in higher ed with a couple of years in government (doing human rights advocacy) and church. Because I haven't published a book yet and I don't have a PhD, I haven't had much luck finding a secure teaching job with a sustainable wage, and because I'm not ordained (yet--though I'd like to change that), I haven't had much luck finding a church positions. My plan for now is to move closer to home (I came far from family for my MFA) and work on seeing if I'm priest material/hopefully doing some chaplain-ing, but until then I need to figure out what sorts of jobs I'm eligible for that would pay the bills. My educational and professional backgrounds are in English/writing, religion/ministry and LGBTQ+ interests. Lots of teaching, lots of proofreading/editing/publishing, and ministry/activism. I used LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed and various others but have not found them to be super helpful, but whether that's the platform or because my skills are not in high demand is another question. I went to the career center and spoke with a career advisor at both my master's programs' respected universities but did not find a great deal of specifics, though I received good "you're worth something and you can do it" pep talks. All ideas welcome and appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  6. I was considering chaplaincy for a couple of reasons. I am really drawn to the up close and personal aspect of ministry. I originally went to div school as an MTS student with the intention of pursuing a PhD after, but the ministry classes (i.e. pastoral care and homiletics) took my heart. I thought this might help me test the waters to see if chaplaincy would be a good fit for me. I've worked in the Episcopal Church and have been prayerful lately about whether I'm feeling called to ordained ministry, and I thought this might be a good experience along the way. I know that neither of those things are necessary for the other, but I can see how the experience could be transformative. I guess "chaplain" is a pretty general term... Is it the case that certain institutions (campuses, residences for the aged, etc) wouldn't expect you to have actual clinical pastoral education since the focus there is on hospital environments? You all are helping me so much with this. I truly appreciate it. (The Little Prince is just the best. I had to read it for a philosophy capstone class in undergrad almost a decade ago and instantly fell in love with it. I would love to be a fly on the wall of your study!)
  7. Yes, I'd say your personal statement is a good opportunity to give them your voice as a writer and the "why" of your writing as well. Prior to my MFA I was in a super intense grad program in a completely different field, and I'm still trying to purge my writing of Latinate academic language. That'd be the thing I would most want to revise about my statement. In it, though, I mentioned a queer writer whose debut novel reached me in a period of total isolation. A lot of my faculty stress the social importance of writing, so I think my values connected with theirs on this score. They want to know that you're good, you're unique and you share interests/style/values with at least one of them.
  8. That's heartening! Thank you so much for your reply. i would love a parish-based or university-based chaplaincy, but I also have a heart for the aged, and one of my best friends (one of the chaplain buddies I mentioned) has been working in that capacity since we were in div school way back when. I'm a bit nervous about this--I'm a somewhat shy introvert, despite being deeply drawn to people and caring about them--but I figure if I can walk into a college classroom every day and teach for hours, I should be able to get over that initial trepidation for something I'm even more excited about.
  9. Hi, everyone: I had some questions (mostly pragmatics) regarding CPE for any of you who've gone through it. I finished my M.Div. in 2011. I moved back home--a couple states away--and fell into a vocational black hole. I moved halfway across the country after a couple of years when offered a job, and I've been teaching English up here since. I think I've been running from "the call" for a while now, and I'm feeling curious about chaplaincy. But I'm having a hard time navigating the ACPE site and understanding the requirements. Some chaplain friends of mine said that some programs require--for a year-long stipended residency--one or two units of CPE already under your belt. But they also said some don't. In divinity school, we had two units of ministerial internships in which we had weekly meetups with a group to share case studies and reflections, much in the way one does in CPE. I was a chaplain on the university's campus. I wasn't sure if that might count. I'm concerned that I'm not in a financially secure enough position to add CPE to my schedule if it's not stipended, but am wondering how others managed their situations. I certainly wish I were. One final question: do you have thoughts or suggestions re: the type of CPE program? I've heard that in addition to hospital/hospice positions, there are parish-based opportunities, opportunities to work with the aged/elderly, and opportunities to work with folks with disabilities. All of these sound especially appealing to me. Thanks in advance for your time and thoughts. Most grateful.
  10. Any word on UC - Riverside, Old Dominion, Washington University in St.Louis, McNeese, Johns Hopkins, West Virginia, and University of Florida? I'm in this horrible place of being accepted to two with funding up in the air and wait-listed for another program that's fully funded. I'm really hoping my work is good enough for just one school to say, "You were among our crop of first choices for acceptance AND fund you!" I have Vanderbilt debt and cannot sign much more of my soul over to Sallie Mae. I've read Doctor Faustus. I know how this works.
  11. Dear prospective programs: Pick me. Choose me. Love me.

    1. likemythesis


      Grey's is my saving grace in these difficult times

  12. I'm sorry it's taken me two months to give you my thanks, Tony, but I very much appreciate your reply! I will say that I applied to Georgia College knowing about the Flannery O'Connor connection and was accepted there. Let's hope that the blend of gender, sexuality and religion makes me an interesting candidate to my other prospective programs.
  13. As far as Iowa, not a single soul I've spoken with on here or the MFA Draft (Facebook) has heard back from them, so cling firmly to that hope! There's still some left. EDIT: Actually, three people on the MFA Draft page have confirmed acceptances from Iowa. Maybe more if I've missed them. Uh-oh.
  14. Does anyone know what the typical process is for providing admissions information to applicants? Someone near the beginning of this thread posted a long list of schools that are already notifying students of acceptances, rejections and/or wait-lists. I applied to several of those schools and I haven't heard a word either way, so I'm curious as to how faculties and admissions committees go about this. I have yet to hear back from nine programs.
  15. I just heard back that I've been waitlisted at Arizona. Accepted to two (interviewing for assistantships) and rejected from two. Nine left to hear from. Assuming rejection from the Writers' Workshop as well. Tucson is a lovely place but with all the hubbub in the news I'm not sure I could tolerate the political climate. But the program is impeccable.
  16. I agree with the others that there is no real way to boost your chances. However, I always think visiting is a good thing (if only to make sure you actually want to be there) and affirms the interest you have in the program. I'm terribly sorry that this happened to you. It's unprofessional to botch the delivery of this kind of information to an applicant when you invested time and money in applying. Not to mention that you could have rejected other acceptances for this school only to learn that you were on the wait list. My heart goes out to you and my hope is that whatever is the best for you will happen. Please keep us updated! Best of luck.
  17. Hi everyone, I've sent out fourteen applications for MFA programs (fiction) this cycle and have since heard back from four: two acceptances, two rejections. The schools accepting me want to interview me over the phone for teaching assistantships. These are imperative for my enrollment. I attended a master's program at Vanderbilt and worry about taking on more debt, so being funded well is the number one priority in determining a school. They want to talk to me about my thoughts on teaching and relevant experience I have. While I've never taught a semester course, I do have experience working in universities and schools (as a writing tutor, as a chaplain and as someone who managed a tutoring center) and I also have experience teaching workshops, serving as a panelist in educational forums and teaching church classes. I'm mainly worried about the "thoughts on teaching" part. Seems pretty broad. I've never written out my own pedagogy. Any advice for what to say and not to say in these interviews?
  18. Yeah, no. I don't think I meant that. My samples have been edited on multiple occasions by myself and have also been included in workshops in my graduate program. But thanks for the sneak preview of the kind of prickly comments I can expect in MFAs, lol.
  19. Hi everyone, I'm getting ready to submit applications for MFA programs and I'm getting a little worried about my manuscripts. Stylistically, I'm very influenced by Jose Saramago, Virginia Woolf and others who construct longer, more complex sentences. I'm fairly confident in my word choices and the mature themes in my work, but I know experimental styles can often be controversial in writing communities. Do you think this could make or break my application? Should I submit other work even if it's not as true to my style?
  20. I think I could accomplish my goals with a degree from American, GWU or NYU. I'm a GWU legacy. I'm not sure how much of a role that plays these days when it comes to admissiosn (and there's certainly no way of mentioning it nonchalantly that wouldn't make me feel like a--well, not very nice word). Would that really hinder my job opportunities do you think or are those schools still well-respected?
  21. Gah, I was worried about that pesky quantitative score. I'm worried I won't have appropriate time to take the GRE again/study super hard and raise my quantitative score by the time applications are due. But I'm glad to know how they weigh the GRE score... I know some programs just kind of shrug it off, so good to know my money went to something important. Maybe it'll be in the cards for me next year, though I feel super hurried because I'm only getting older and we're not guaranteed a set amount of time on this earth. But if I need to be taking math classes to get in perhaps I'm better off applying next year. Part of me wants to chance it and see if I can nail it with my SoP and demonstrate how my work experience has made me effectual in all the right areas. We shall see, we shall see. Thank you so much for your advice!
  22. Hi everyone, I had two questions. I'm a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt who, after a few years working in the church, has realized that he does not feel a call to ordained ministry but instead a call to work internationally. I'm interested in security, human development and international business (some dual international affairs and MBA programs are especially appealing) and am trying to choose one. I wanted first to ask if there are jobs in these fields and if anyone could direct me to a site that might list some available ones. I'm hesitant to accumulate more debt until I know the job market can be navigated and that debt might be paid off. The other question is whether I need to do anything to improve my chances of getting accepted to a program. In undergrad I majored in English, writing, philosophy and religion (all four) and minored in global studies. We had a global perspectives program that shifted students' gaze from a national level to weigh the ripple out effect all of our actions had on an international one. I graduated cum laude and went on to Vanderbilt where I received my Master of Divinity, graduating with a 3.57 GPA and receiving "honors" for all of five courses in which it was available as well as an "honors" for my thesis. The M.Div. is a moral leadership degree and during this time I developed strong analytical and critical-thinking skills, as well as a concern on the issue of global poverty. A lot of the top programs in international affairs and business have explicit statements on ethics, so I think my background could factor in here. I've served in various student leadership positions, especially for LGBTQ organizations. I've been appointed by the dean to personnel and policy committees to work on the school's constitution and diversity statements. Professionally, I have served as a minister in a church, a chaplain on a university campus, a worker in various university student life offices and a consultant for a human rights agency within the government of a major metropolitan city. Human freedom and dignity is especially important to me and I try to work toward it both in my professional life and outside of it. For my GRE I made a 151 on the quantitative, a 162 on the verbal and a 5.5 on the analytical writing. I'm not a test taker. My other fear is that I don't have a lot of business or politics courses to my name in my undergraduate learning. Should I shell out the dough to take a few community college business classes without the guarantee of getting into a program? I'm hoping my theological/ethical background makes me an interesting candidate but I don't want to be so interesting they're scratching their heads as to why I'm applying. I'm confident I can write a stellar statement of purpose and that my references (an undergrad professor/boss who can explain the global perspectives program of my university and how it shaped me, my mentor during grad school who is also the assistant dean and the first reader of my thesis, and the person who oversaw my work within the human rights commission of the city in which I attended grad school) can do a good job. I'm just wondering what the rest of the "on paper" part looked like.
  23. I'd prefer twentieth century British literature. I think Christopher Isherwood, Jeanette Winterson, Angela Carter, Sarah Waters, and writers in that vein would be a delight to study. Or even ones as early as Virginia Woolf. Lots of great stuff regarding the intersection of social convention and sexuality there.
  24. Fiz, your story sounds so much like mine it's unbelievable. I got a 159V and 148Q. I got a 5.5 on analytical writing and am not sure what the expectations for that are, since I rarely hear anyone dole out the minimum score on that. Iowa was at the top of my list. I'm considering retaking the test, but the problem is test anxiety. I've had terrible, stress-related insomnia for the last 3 years. I didn't sleep for three nights before the GRE because of it. Like a genius, on the night before the GRE, I took some Nyquil hoping it'd bring sleep about more easily. It made me seriously groggy but didn't put me to sleep, so I went into the test in haze of confusion. My doctor just prescribed me (after three years of begging, it took an anecdote about leaving the food in the oven and swerving on the road due to sleeplessness) sleeping pills so I'm hoping this will get me the rest I need to enhance my study and retake it. I don't have much advice, other than to say I'm retaking it and I can empathize with you. I completed at Master of Divinity program at Vanderbilt and got honors for four classes and also my thesis, so I don't think I'm a stupid person by any means, just horrible when put on the spot for something like that. I would hope academia would recognize that a GRE is a fairly narrow window into a person's intellect and potential.
  25. What's the word on funding and tuition in the UK? I've always wanted to live other there, but from what I've heard tuition is relatively high if you're not in the EU, funding is hard to come by if you're not in the EU and if you come to the U.S. after completing your program, people will look down their nose at your degree unless it's from Oxford or Cambridge (generally because the programs are shorter).
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