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I received an admit from Butler University in Indianapolis. It was the only place I applied to, because by the time I decided to apply, deadlines for almost all schools had passed. Does anyone here have any reviews for the Butler MFA fiction program.?

Insights appreciated!!

Edited by rbr542

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35 minutes ago, rbr542 said:

I received an admit from Butler University in Indianapolis. It was the only place I applied to, because by the time I decided to apply, deadlines for almost all schools had passed. Does anyone here have any reviews for the Butler MFA fiction program.?

Insights appreciated!!

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 Keep in mind that time (not a fancy degree) is the #1 thing unpublished writers lack.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.

Edited by feralgrad

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22 hours ago, feralgrad said:

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.

Thank you your response (soapbox and all, very nice of you)

My issue is that I'm in the US on a highly restrictive visa (H4). For better or worse, I'm stuck with it and cannot switch over to a student visa (another story). This visa does not allow me to have an income, even if that income is from a university and involves a GTA position. I don't know of any Universities that provide a no-strings-attached / no-teaching-responsibilities funding ( except the Stegner program which I got rejected from this year)
I have no choice but to pay for an MFA, if I want an MFA. Otherwise, I would have to write on my own (which I have been doing) and hope for the best in terms of book publication success. Butler does seem to have a reading series, their tuition is not  cheap, and I really don't know much about their students or alumni...

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48 minutes ago, rbr542 said:

Thank you your response (soapbox and all, very nice of you)

My issue is that I'm in the US on a highly restrictive visa (H4). For better or worse, I'm stuck with it and cannot switch over to a student visa (another story). This visa does not allow me to have an income, even if that income is from a university and involves a GTA position. I don't know of any Universities that provide a no-strings-attached / no-teaching-responsibilities funding ( except the Stegner program which I got rejected from this year)
I have no choice but to pay for an MFA, if I want an MFA. Otherwise, I would have to write on my own (which I have been doing) and hope for the best in terms of book publication success. Butler does seem to have a reading series, their tuition is not  cheap, and I really don't know much about their students or alumni...

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.

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On April 9, 2019 at 11:23 AM, rbr542 said:

I received an admit from Butler University in Indianapolis. It was the only place I applied to, because by the time I decided to apply, deadlines for almost all schools had passed. Does anyone here have any reviews for the Butler MFA fiction program.?

Insights appreciated!!

I graduated from Butler's MFA last year. While it's not *fully funded*, there are work opportunities and tuition support through TAs. It's a new/small program so there's lots of individual attention. The reading series is tops. It gave several alum the credibility to go on to publish and PhD programs. If you can swing it, Indy is a great place (cheap, too.) 

Edited by SylviaForsythia

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On 4/13/2019 at 9:13 AM, SylviaForsythia said:

 I graduated from Butler's MFA last year. While it's not *fully funded*, there are work opportunities and tuition support through TAs. It's a new/small program so there's lots of individual attention. The reading series is tops. It gave several alum the credibility to go on to publish and PhD programs. If you can swing it, Indy is a great place (cheap, too.)  

Thanks....that helps.

I have another application whose result is pending. It's the Wayne State University's MA English program with concentration in creative writing. It's a tiny cross-disciplinary program, located about 30 minutes from where I live, with in-state tuition and good chances later funding. I'm strongly inclined towards this program if accepted, specially because I'm in two minds regarding a pure MFA (doubtful if that's going to be very beneficial towards my development as a writer) and an MA might be enough to either keep in afloat with a teaching job in a small school/ community college, or allow me to work towards a PhD if I'm so inclined later on.

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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.

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Edited by feralgrad

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Hi all,

 

I know this thread is probably dormant, I thought I'd reach out anyway. I applied (and did not get in) to an MFA program two years ago, but I'm going to try again this winter. My question is, what's the consensus about submitting the same writing sample again? Last time I sent (what is still) my strongest work along with something much rougher. This time I was planning on sending the same first story again along with two other stories that complement it.  Is this a terrible idea?

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On 6/21/2019 at 8:38 PM, wolfiebird said:

This time I was planning on sending the same first story again along with two other stories that complement it.  Is this a terrible idea?

I'd be wary, especially if you're applying to some of the same programs. A prof once instructed my class to bring in a revision we were working on, and I selected a dramatically revised short story from my CW sample. The protagonist went from being a young woman to an old woman, the tone went from serious to light and humorous and the entire plot had changed. My prof still recognized it as being from my CW sample (not that that was a bad thing given that she asked for a revision--I was just surprised by her memory), so there's a chance the admissions committees might recognize yours and it all ends up the same way.

I know time is hard to come by, but ideally, you should be writing and revising as much as you can (especially if being a writer is a long-term goal of yours). It's highly possible you'll create something even better than the story you treasure (hold onto it!--just maybe not for this). The applicant pool changes every year, so there's always a chance an admissions committees could privilege a portfolio of yours containing this partciular story over other applicants this year, but I think you significantly improve your chances if you try to deliver different and even better the next go around. And if you're starting to work on your applications this early in the game, you've got plenty of time to bring some work to life before most CW programs' deadlines.

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On 7/1/2019 at 9:45 PM, ACurlyShepherdLad said:

I'd be wary, especially if you're applying to some of the same programs.

Thanks for your input--this was my gut instinct as well, but I kind of keep convincing myself that I should go for it since it's my only published piece. That said, I'll submit new work this time around (and apply more broadly too).

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