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Should I Go? (College of New Rochelle, Fiction)


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I applied to approximately 11 schools for MFA in fiction and I was rejected from 10 of them. The school that did accept me was College of New Rochelle in Westchester, NY.   While the program is tempting given its proximity to NYC, its social justice theme and its exceptional 'newness' (it was launched in 2015), they only offered about 5,000 in merit scholarship overall, and for a school that's $10,000 a semester it barely covers much, especially for someone who has to simultaneously live in new york that is, in of itself, unaffordable. 

As such, that makes going to get an MFA less than an obvious choice. I am a relatively new writer, wet behind the ears and still trying to get a handle on my work ethic and routine, and as such didn't have much a portfolio to cull from when sending out samples (This was probably what shot me in the foot). Still, I was taken by how impressed the college was by my work, and appreciated their personal approach to writing. My question for the folks here on this forum is thus: should I attend the program at College of New Rochelle now, or should I wait it out and develop a better voice on my own terms and have a better body of work to submit should I apply again?  I'm just afraid that if i let too much time elapse, I'll  never do this, or if I enter the fray again, I'lll just be rejected across the board again.

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Why do you want to go now? If you're a new writer, it makes sense to wait a year or 2 to work on your craft and improve what you can without guidance. An MFA is really geared toward someone who has done as much work on their own as possible, and has reached a plateau where they need that extra boost of time and mentorship. Wait until you reach your plateau. It's not easy to switch MFAs or get a second one, so it's worth waiting for one that's a good fit-- & especially one that gives you tuition remission PLUS a stipend.

This is one of the rare and wonderful things about an MFA in creative writing: it's not a very "useful" degree, but there are lots of prestigious options that will pay for you to attend. So you're essentially getting 2 paid years to write your book. This is in stark contrast to, say, MFAs in visual arts or photography. So in my opinion, it's never worth it to pay for an MFA in creative writing.

If you spend more time working on your writing, your chances of getting into a good program will only improve. And if you're worried that if you don't go now, you never will, then I have to be frank: maybe writing isn't your game. Wait to see if you're committed to your art-- this will narrow your intentions and reflect in your work. 

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