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Hi, all! 

I'm here because I work remotely, am able to pop on here fairly often, need distractions, and want to offer up what wisdom (?) I can, having wrapped up my MFA in August of 2019. I had some very, very bad experiences with my program--alongside some very, very good ones!--and for that reason I'd rather not name the school right off the bat. 

...lest my username seem super ominous, know that it's a quote from a novel I gained an affinity for amidst one of my lit classes, Salome of the Tenements by Anzia Yezierska. 

Disclaimer, I'm one person with one set of experiences and opinions. Your mileage may vary. As may my ability to respond quickly. But I've been in your shoes and made it through. 

Also? We're going through some really intense shit right now. Please make sure you're reaching out to your communities, offering up what you can when you can and asking for what you need when you need it. Consult this Coronavirus Resource Kit to see if there's already a mutual aid network in place near you. We're not going through any of these struggles alone. 

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Hey, thanks so much for offering up your knowledge!

To start off which, can you share the biggest positives and negatives from your MFA experience?

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Sure thing! Thanks for kicking things off! 

 

A big negative is that my original thesis advisor stole my intellectual labor. I had read about such things occurring at the graduate level, moreso in the sciences, but thought that KNOWING it could happen would be sufficient to avoid it. Before and beyond that, my mental health suffered greatly. There are a lot of institutional factors at play here, a lot of systemic factors at play, but if you are at all able, I would advise anyone out there to go to your school's counseling center the moment your insurance starts up. 

 

Positives. Deadlines. Having deadlines is a tremendously helpful thing that you may or may not have access to outside of an MFA space. I'd gone into my program wanting to get experience running a reading series, and I was able to do that. There were employment opportunities on campus that I would not have otherwise had access to, some geared specifically towards grad students. It's also really great to get to be in the company of people who are really excited and nerdy about the things you're excited and nerdy about! I enjoyed hearing about what other grad students outside of my program and outside of my department were up to, too--we're making shit happen!

 

And I do think I came out of it a much better writer. Unsolicited comment, but please know that "time to write" as a selling point of these programs is a lie. Teaching will take more out of you than you think. The only places where the "time to write" thing MAY be true is at, like, Michener or other places that have fellowship years. What almost all MFAs will do is force you to focus on your writing. To think about your writing. But the time you have to do it will be the time you can carve out rather than time granted by your institution. 

 

Aaand quick additional background note on me, I was very tapped into Draft my application season and the first 2.5 years of my program; I'm just one person, but I've encountered folks at a lot of other programs out there and will do my darnedest to provide what insights I can.

 

I don't regret getting an MFA. I would do it again. It wasn't easy.

 

 

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I just got accepted into Reinhardt's MFA program, but another poster said it was a "profit machine." It's regionally accredited... do you know anything about this program? Should I keep applying to other programs?

Thanks for any advice or resources

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On 3/16/2020 at 2:22 PM, forthetruththeyburnyou said:

Hi, all! 

I'm here because I work remotely, am able to pop on here fairly often, need distractions, and want to offer up what wisdom (?) I can, having wrapped up my MFA in August of 2019. I had some very, very bad experiences with my program--alongside some very, very good ones!--and for that reason I'd rather not name the school right off the bat. 

...lest my username seem super ominous, know that it's a quote from a novel I gained an affinity for amidst one of my lit classes, Salome of the Tenements by Anzia Yezierska. 

Disclaimer, I'm one person with one set of experiences and opinions. Your mileage may vary. As may my ability to respond quickly. But I've been in your shoes and made it through. 

Also? We're going through some really intense shit right now. Please make sure you're reaching out to your communities, offering up what you can when you can and asking for what you need when you need it. Consult this Coronavirus Resource Kit to see if there's already a mutual aid network in place near you. We're not going through any of these struggles alone. 

Was your MFA Poetry or Fiction? I am trying to decide between two Poetry programs and would like feedback!

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On 3/24/2020 at 6:46 PM, MFAquest said:

I just got accepted into Reinhardt's MFA program, but another poster said it was a "profit machine." It's regionally accredited... do you know anything about this program? Should I keep applying to other programs?

Thanks for any advice or resources

Hi! Sorry for the delay! Just... ::gestures wildly at the world:: Know also my propensity is to be a bit long-winded in the interest of trying to give as complete an answer as possible!

 

I don't know anything about Reinhardt, but I took a cursory look at its website. To better answer your questions, I'd need to know a bit more about who was asking you and what you're looking for. Reinhardt's low-res, and the popular opinion is that those are "cash cows" relative to most full-res programs that offer "full funding." Low-res programs the vast majority of the time CAN"T offer those teaching opportunities that full-res programs use to cover the tuitions of students; they also don't tend to offer much in the way of scholarships. Reinhardt looks as legit as any low-res program I've seen. It seems to have a regional focus. So, if you are already where it is and DON'T want to move elsewhere. If you were already planning on moving there. If you already have a well-paying job that you don't want to lose (...for example, I took a substantial pay cut when I stopped waiting tables and starting grad school) and CAN AFFORD tuition/any in-person components of Reinhardt...

tldr it doesn't strike me as a profit machine based on cursory clicking around their program's website, it just looks very small and not well known and it seemed like it wouldn't be able to offer you much funding. I didn't look too extensively or Google any further, so please do correct me if I'm off base.

 

On 3/26/2020 at 12:17 AM, Poesis said:

Was your MFA Poetry or Fiction? I am trying to decide between two Poetry programs and would like feedback!

I was admitted to my program in Poetry. Which two Poetry programs are you looking at?

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