Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Hi, all! I'm posting this thread because I have not yet found anything for Fall 2015 MFA applicants thus far. I'm hoping that this could be a thread where we all get to share advice, updates, uncontrollable anxiety, etc. regarding the application process.

As for my own grad school situation, I'm an English (Creative Writing Emphasis) BA graduate who plans on applying to around 11 or 12 programs. All of them are fully funded or have a strong chance at full funding, as I won't be able to attend a graduate program if I have to pay tuition. I plan on applying to the following MFA programs: Brown, Cornell, Vanderbilt, WUSTL, Syracuse, U.T Austin (Michener), U Florida, U Wyoming, U Michigan, U Virginia. The MA English programs (which offer an emphasis in Creative Writing) that I'm considering are U Maine and U Missouri.

I have a fairly strong academic record but realize that the MFA programs base their choice almost entirely on the writing sample. Since most of the creative writing I did for my BA was in the short-forms genre (and the novel excerpt I was planning on submitting is unacceptable because it falls into the "magical realism" category), I'm currently in the process of writing a story for my sample. Writing with so much at stake is stressful, to say the least, and my procrastination is all the more problematic because I leave the country to teach English abroad at the end of August. Yes, that's right - I'm going to be applying to English graduate programs while out of the country. Specifically in a country that doesn't speak much English. Or have dependable WiFi access. Am I insane? Yeah.

Anyway, I don't know if anyone has questions, concerns or curiosity about other applicant's experiences so far, but I know that I do. I'm eager to hear where everyone else is in the process - do you have your letters of recommendation assembled, writing sample written, program choices solidified?

Good luck to everyone!

-Poola

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
  • Replies 453
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

this forum is pathetic 

First of all, congratulations —that's a big accomplishment!  Things you should know: The New School is expensive. Prohibitively so. A 25% funding offer will still put you 40k+ / year in loans. So is

Good news! I was accepted to the New School in NYC. When I met with their faculty they said they offer almost no scholarships, but I was awarded a merit scholarship anyway, yay!

Applied to Cornell, Michigan, and Wisconsin-Madison last year -- rejected at the first two, waitlisted at Madison but didn't get in.

 

I'll say this much: I don't know if you're a "genre" writer or not, but I submitted one non-genre story to Madison, two stories (one genre, one not) to Michigan, and 3 (two genre, one not) to Cornell. So based on that very limited sample, I'd say mainstream is the way to go.

 

I was also told to avoid first-person narration, as it's very common in MFA writing samples.

 

Any idea what the funding at U. Maine is like? I haven't done much digging into M.A. programs, since the MFA is considered a "terminal degree" and the MA isn't. Off the top of my head, I know the funding at Cornell is supposed to be really strong (24-27k, depending on the source, with a two-year teaching fellowship after graduation), and the funding at Brown is actually quite iffy (only 9k the first year, so don't quit your day job).

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Hello, TonyB! 

 

As far as I know, U Maine offers a stipend around $14,000 per year to those who are accepted with teaching assistantships. Maine does have a pretty high cost of living, albeit. 

 

I admire the confidence you showed in applying to only three schools, and very prestigious ones at that. As for the genre writing, I'll keep pursuing that but have heeded the advice about the writing sample. Speaking of, have you refurbished your writing sample from last year, or are you submitting something entirely new? Here's to better luck this time around! 

 

-Poola

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello. I will certainly be glad to share my uncontrollable bouts of anxiety with others! And advice, too, of course.

 

I'll be applying for Fall 2015 (fiction) fresh out of undergrad with a BFA in Creative Writing. My list, which is more or less finalized, is:

 

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Washington University in St. Louis

Wichita State University

Vanderbilt

Brown University

University of Michigan

Cornell

Virginia Tech

University of Alabama

University of Minnesota

 

I already know one story that will definitely be part of my writing sample (once it's been gone over a few dozen times). Other than that, I'm taking everything as it comes to me. My hope is to get a good chunk of the process out of the way before my senior year starts in August. I would really rather avoid the frazzled rush of students who wait until the very last second to ask for rec letters.

 

Poola, I'm rooting for you! I don't think I could pull off applying to so many schools while overseas.

 

 

-- Jessica 

 

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Poola,

 

Don't admire me too much! As it didn't exactly work out for me, LoL. I'm planning on applying to at least 6 programs this year, possibly as many as 8 (if I can swing it).

 

Jessica,

 

As I told Poola earlier, I would avoid applying with genre work, and one of the profs on the admissions committee at UW: Madison (where I was waitlisted, but not ultimately admitted) told me to avoid first-person narration, as it's apparently very common in MFA applications.

Beyond that, I can tell you that Carbondale is a pretty well-respected school, but offers a small stipend ($12k/year, I think). I'm also pen-pals with a recent MFA grad who started out there, but later transferred to a low-res program; she said she had some trouble controlling the students in her freshman comp classes -- in particular, a male student got very aggressive with her, threatening her and such. She said the administration was not very helpful with the situation, and she was basically just told to "deal with it."

I've looked at Wichita State as well; heard some good things about them, but their stipend is VERY small ($7-8k), so just bear that in mind, if funding is a big concern for you.

 

The others on your list are all well-respected mainstays, of course. Good luck!

Link to post
Share on other sites

By the way, do all MFA applications require you to send in an official transcript? I thought that they would only require that you send in an official one in the case of acceptance, but U Michigan seems to want them in before the application deadline. Since I'm going to be out of the country, this could get interesting...

 

http://www.rackham.umich.edu/prospective-students/admissions/transcripts

Link to post
Share on other sites

Some specify that you can send in an unofficial one, I think. If in doubt you can always contact someone in the program via email... they tend to be pretty responsive about stuff like that, often times.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

The MFA is a backup option for me, but I've considered it at the Mountain States schools I'm applying to in English Lit.

 

Utah, Wyoming, and Boulder* all have MFAs that interest me. BYU's does not, don't know much about CSU, and USU's is kind of a hybrid deal. Wyoming probably has the best funding of these six schools.

 

*although their MFA site has to be one of the worst I've seen. Is this even a real thing? Their English Lit is excellent.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm starting to feel the possibilities out- maybe for next year! I just graduated with an MFA in Art Studio, but as part of that I also self-published two poetry books and my writing practice has become a much bigger part of what I do. I am thinking an MFA would be worth the concentrated time, especially since I am not coming from an English or Creative Writing background. A break out of school might also be even more wise. It certainly was good for my art practice and I would also be interested in teaching the two.

Very glad to see that there are several programs in Virginia where I am headed!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

I've been thinking about an MFA for a few years, this year I am pretty serious. I think the timing is good for me to get in there. I'm still finalizing my list of places I want to apply to. I am applying to a combination of low res programs and full residency on the East Coast. I LOVE California but I don't know if I'm prepared to go across the country.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/24/2014 at 7:27 PM, Kaitipoola said:

By the way, do all MFA applications require you to send in an official transcript? I thought that they would only require that you send in an official one in the case of acceptance, but U Michigan seems to want them in before the application deadline. Since I'm going to be out of the country, this could get interesting...

 

http://www.rackham.umich.edu/prospective-students/admissions/transcripts

 

I know that WUSTL and University of Minnesota do not require you to send official transcripts unless you are selected. Which is nice, because that saves a little money...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello all,

 

I thought I'd chime in on this topic. I am in the process of applying to MFA programs, mostly in the Midwest (my immediate family is in the Madison, WI area). I have a fairly solid list of schools but I am unsure about a few and keep going back and forth on them. Mainly, University of Montana, SIU Carbondale and West Virginia University. My concern with Montana is that it's very far away from my family and from what I understand, fairly remote, and travel to and from Missoula is a bit difficult. My sister already lives in Edmonton, Alberta and it's been a bit hard (and expensive!) to visit. I  think the program sounds awesome and I'm enthusiastic about the faculty, but I also worry my husband, who is a mechanical engineer, would have a difficult time finding a job there.

 

Same for SIUC: I have a lot of extended family in the Edwardsville / St. Louis area, but Carbondale is even 2 hours south of there, and I've never been to this town. The program looks great, but I'm a little concerned about the heavy teaching load- 2 sections of comp. per semester- would I be killing myself? Has anyone experienced this in their MFA program? Is it doable?

 

WVU also looks like a fine program that would suit me well, and would be close to my husband's family in West Virginia and Delaware- but again, I wonder about the job situation and the remoteness of the location. Being surrounded by mountains, rivers and forests is very appealing to me... But is it too remote?

 

Does anyone have experience with any of these programs- or other programs in small-ish towns where your spouse had to find work? Any of these programs you'd recommend crossing off my list? Any input is appreciated. Thanks! 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd be very wary of getting a spouse to leave their job--if they have a job they like and are doing well in--to follow you while you get an MFA. The majority of people getting an MFA will never publish a book and will never make money from their MFA. It's a bit of a vanity degree. You could wind up broke, using your stipend to support two people, and that might be very hard on a marriage. I would only go to a program that has a great stipend (Michener, WashU?) and with a good record of students getting book deals (Iowa?). Even then it's a gamble. And I don't mean to be overly cynical--I have an MFA and I'm glad I did it. You might want to look into low-res programs, so your husband won't have to give up his job.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Hello all,

 

I also worry my husband, who is a mechanical engineer, would have a difficult time finding a job there.

 

For the job situation, you might check out Wichita State. There are several aircraft companies in town and he might have a good chance of finding a decent job. Airbus has particularly good benefits, but there's also Cessna, Hawker Beechcraft, Boeing (or Spirit, actually), etc.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm applying to several universities in order to up my chances of acceptance, since programs are very competitive. Does anyone know how this range of schools ranks (good mix of top, middle, and lower)?

University of Minnesota

Florida State

University of Kansas

Boise State University

University of Arizona

University of Alabama

University of Iowa

Pacific University

University of Wyoming

Oregon State

Oklahoma State

University of Florida

Sarah Lawrence College

Minnesota State

Washington University

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Hey! I know this isn't a super active forum, but I figured I would pop by.

 

I am applying this round to a good number of schools. I am a nonfiction writer, so I know yall seem to be more fiction writers, but still. 

 

I am applying to: 

Chatham

New School

Northwestern

San Francisco State

WashU

Sarah Lawrence

Emerson

 

Location is one of the biggest factors for me as I currently attend a rural school and hate it. I am graduating this spring with a degree in writing with a minor in theater and a minor in anthropology. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just finished all my apps, now I'm bored! Ha. Hope everyone's apps are going well.

 

Here's where I applied:

Iowa

U of Texas Austin

Vanderbilt

Syracuse

U of Michigan

Ohio State U

UC Irvine

U of Florida

WashU

U or Oregon

Cornell

 

Best of luck to everyone!

Link to post
Share on other sites

applications here we goooo. nonfiction mfa , im interested in writing crime. giving it a crack for the second time, the first being prettty unsuccessful...

ive been tinkering and tinkering on my statement of purpose bc thats where i think i bombed last year. :// anyways...heres my complete list.

alaska,

kalamazoo,

new orleans

u new hampshire

emerson

oregon,

alabama,

iowa,

wyoming.

anyone heard much about unh?

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Hi!

I'm graduating in the Spring from my undergraduate program and I've been applying to Fiction MFA programs on my own (neither of my parents went to college and none of my professors have an MFA), but I have several publications and I have been told (through awards and professors) that I have the talent and capacity to succeed in a graduate school setting, but I also cannot go to grad school unless I attend a school with a tuition waiver. After doing some research, I realized that I applied to some of the most selective schools in the country (not realizing that while a school may not be "fully funded" they may still offer a substantial amount of financial aid) I have decided that if I am rejected then I will keep writing and working and reapply (have to carry on) but does anyone have an idea as to when schools will either start calling for interviews and/or sending out acceptance/rejection information. As I'm sure many of you know, the waiting is the hardest part, but if you have applied to any of the schools listed below and have an idea as to when they start contacting people (for anything) I would really appreciate the information. Good luck to everyone with their programs.

Schools where I have applied:

University of Michigan- Ann Arbor

University of Alabama

Washington University in St. Louis

Boise State

Cornell

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I'm glad someone made this thread because I feel as though I've been running around in circles trying to pull everything together in the last few weeks. I'm finishing an undergraduate degree in English Education after having dropped out of school over a decade ago, and I still can't figure out how much of a hindrance that'll be. Furthermore, despite having had a background in fiction workshops and all, I arrived kinda late to the creative nonfiction game for which I'm applying to programs. Deadlines have kept me from applying to a lot of the presumable "top" schools, though I'm still swinging for the fences in a couple of instances, I think.

 

Thankfully, above anything else, my professor believes I have something to offer at the next level, which I always have to remember when I'm putting my head on my desk and feeling like no one's going to give me a chance.

 

Applications done already:

University of Alabama

University of Wyoming

University of San Francisco

Washington University in St. Louis

 

Applications still to come:

Fresno State

Northern Arizona

San Jose State

Link to post
Share on other sites

Top 10 Funding Package rankings:
1. University of Texas (Michener)
2. Cornell University (Ithaca)
3. University of Michigan (Ann Arbor)
4. Johns Hopkins University (JHU)
5. Washington University in St. Louis (WashU/WUSTL)
6. Louisiana State University (LSU)
7. Vanderbilt University (Nashville)
8. University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa)
9. University of Florida (Gainesville)
10. University of Oregon (Eugene)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey guys.

I have so far been accepted to:

Chatham University

Kingston University

Lindenwood University

I am waiting on:

University of Alabama

Brown University

The University of Iowa

Washington University in St. Louis

The University of Massachusetts in Amherst

Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anyone know whether there is an interview stage for top 50 MFA programs? If so, any clue what the interviews are like? Just saw someone on the Facebook MFA Draft who was invited to interview with a school.

I'm applying to the following MFAs: Washington University in St. Louis, U Virginia, Cornell, Vanderbilt, Brown, U Michigan, U Wyoming, U Florida, Louisiana State U.

The following MA programs with a Creative Writing emphasis: U Maine, U Missouri.

Any interview knowledge to share regarding these schools? I was kind of hoping there was nothing to do but wait for acceptance/rejection at this point...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.