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MFA 2023 Freak Out Forum


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Hey everyone, I've got one last update, haha. After months and months of asking why there was a "pending items" notification in my ASU file, I finally figured out that they forgot to send the slideroom link to me. The website had originally said that would be a separate link, but I never got anything, and it was so hectic with all the other schools I applied to, I didn't think about it. So basically, I never really applied to ASU, haha. Also, I got an official offer letter from NTNU yesterday, but there is ZERO funding, so I decided to decline. 

Here's what everything looks like at the end of this cycle:


Hello everyone, First post. Decided to stop lurking and contribute, lol. Happy to know I’m not crazy in this whole process, and that everyone else is just as stressed as me! Here’s my status on applications so far:


1. Trondheim academy of Fine Arts/NTNUAdmission offer 5/4 (I declined).

2. Oslo National Academy of the Arts: Rejection 3/3.

3. Colorado State UniversityRejection 3/13
4. New Mexico State University: Admission offer 3/15, accepted 3/20

5. Boise State UniversityWaitlisted 2/28 (I declined).

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On 5/4/2023 at 9:05 AM, arthoe1997 said:

Is it normal to still have radio silence from waitlisted school? Should I just take it as a rejection..sos

I would say if you have any other offers, take those instead at this point. Even if you were eventually accepted, it's getting late in the year for extra internal grants, Assistantships have probably been handed out, etc. 


Which school are you waiting to hear back from?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello, everyone. I've finally heard back from everywhere I applied to and will post timelines and results for future applicants.


School Visited campus and representatives? Date asking For Interview Date of Interview Date of Results
Wisconsin-Madison No. 1/9/2023 1/20/2023 2/17/2023
Indiana-Bloomington Yes, met with professor. 1/25/2023 1/27/2023 2/1/2023
Arizona Yes, met with professor. 1/29/2023 2/3/2023 2/23/2023
Missouri Yes, met with three professors/entire department. 1/30/2023 2/1/2023 2/10/2023
Kansas State No. n/a n/a 2/6/2023
Georgia State Yes, with professor. 2/14/2023 2/16/2023 2/23/2023
Iowa Yes, with professor. n/a n/a 2/17/2023
Nebraska-Lincoln No. n/a n/a 2/21/2023
Ohio Yes, with current students. 2/22/2023 2/24/2023 3/1/2023
Oklahoma No. n/a n/a 2/24/2023
Florida State No. n/a n/a 4/24/2023
Michigan State Yes, with professor. n/a n/a 4/25/2023


Final Results:

School Results
Wisconsin-Madison Rejected.
Indiana-Bloomington Accepted offer. Fully funded tuition with $22,000 stipend. Healthcare and fees included.
Arizona Rejected.
Missouri Accepted, but turned down offer. Fully funded tuition with $17,3000 stipend. Responsible for fees and health insurance.
Kansas State Rejected.
Georgia State Accepted, but turned down offer. Fully funded tuition with $6,000 stipend. Responsible for fees and health insurance.
Iowa Accepted, but turned down offer. Declined offer while they were getting the financial package together, but I want to say it was Fully funded tuition with $10,000 stipend.
Nebraska-Lincoln Rejected.
Ohio Accepted, but turned down offer. Fully funded tuition with $5,994 stipend. Responsible for fees and health insurance.
Oklahoma Put on waitlist, asked to be removed.
Florida State Rejected.
Michigan State Rejected.


Indiana was my second interview (late January) and they offered the next week so I was guaranteed to be going somewhere regardless of other results. I got lucky and knew I had a great offer in my back pocket so it was relatively a stress-free experience.

I honestly had great experiences with all of the universities, but Indiana made me feel like a priority by acting quickly and being so professional at all touchpoints. Their offer letter itemized everything I was receiving clearly and the whole experience left me impressed.

I had an equally impressive experience with Missouri. I got to meet with the entire graphic design department because they told me upfront that they loved my portfolio. They don't get many good graphic design applicants and they rolled out the red carpet for me.

I was torn between going there and Indiana but went with Indiana because I would've been leaving $15,000 over 3 years on the table and I wanted the extra money for emergencies. I had also tried to negotiate by using Indiana's letter to get more money, but they were unable to give me. My biggest thing was that I didn't want to take out loans and take on debt and I felt Indiana gave me the best chance. It could've gone either way.

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Before I leave this forum, I wanted to share some things that I learned from my experience applying to programs. My hope is that you will have a better of idea of what to expect and to help mitigate any problems you might encounter.

1. Give yourself enough time. I spent two years preparing to apply and it helped out tremendously. I spent the first year researching schools I wanted to apply to and emailing graduate coordinators about their programs, financial aid, etc. I was also focused on saving money for taking trips to visit campuses and meet professors and coordinators. The second year I spent working on my portfolio. Most places accept 15-20 images for a portfolio, so you will want at least 10 of your newest pieces in there. You can try to budget one to two projects per month and you should have the amount of new work necessary to apply. 

You will also need to wrangle letters of recommendation, request transcripts, write personal statements, and fill out applications. Give yourself a full year at least, starting with January, and be ready to apply in December/Early next January to take advantage of early scholarship/financial aid deadlines.

2. Set up on-campus visits with universities and coordinators/professors. Visiting in the Spring or Fall while students are on campus works best, but I have visited some in Summer with success. While this can be expensive, it’s a great way to get your foot in the door. Every one of my five acceptances, I had met and spoke with a professor, coordinator, or current student. It's are a great way to put a face to a name, and shows incentive. This is especially helpful if they ask for an interview, as you will both be familiar with each other and it makes for a more casual experience. You may also weed out options, as I once took a tour of a program that was interdisciplinary, but by looking at the work in the studios, I knew I didn’t belong there.

You can try to plan trips around clusters of universities, (UCLA, USC, UCI, Art Center, Otis) or (Ohio State, Ohio, Michigan, Michigan State) for example, to try to make the most of each trip. Expect a lot of driving!

3. Some universities also offer virtual information sessions. I attended ones for Arizona State, Arizona, Missouri, Michigan State, Georgia State, and UCF. I believe Wisconsin has one as well as graduate student visit days. I was able to get in touch with current students through there and they were nice enough to show their portfolio and personal statements when they were accepted. They sometimes advertise these events through Instagram or through email subscriptions, so be sure to follow.

4. Ask for help. Always. I had so much help throughout the process. I had a college professor refine my artist and teaching statements. I asked applicants from Grad Cafe who were recently accepted to share their portfolios. I had messaged current students at MFA programs to share portfolios and their statements. You won’t get help if you don’t ask, and even if somebody doesn’t respond to your questions, at least you tried. Don’t take it personally.

An MFA program is an experience to learn, grow, and meet interesting people in a new location. It is not a measure of your ability or a pathway to guaranteed success. Be sure to temper expectations. At the end of the day, the most important thing you can do to succeed is to find or make the time to do the work. An MFA can help with some things in your artistic career, but it is no substitute for discipline.

“The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things.” -Sister Corita Kent

Best of luck on your artistic journeys! It's been a pleasure interacting with everyone in this community! Feel free to DM me if you have any questions or want to follow each other on Instagram!

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I feel like I should post my post-mortem:

Yale: short list

SAIC: short list

Guelph: short list (shout out to any Canadians reading this who are familiar with their really cool program)

Concordia: short list

Cranbrook: Hard pass

Looking forward to next season, my therapy bills have increased drastically. 

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