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February is almost over, which means we're finally nearing the halfway point. Congratulations on making it this far, everyone! Even if you haven't heard any good news yet, I hope you take a moment to

I'm not on Draft but a few people here are and they all implied it took some waiting. Not very helpful!  But I hear you in the whole OCD component! We write- we have trained ourselves that we are

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Hey All,

I took some time away from these boards, thinking I could spare myself some mental anguish, but it turns out there's no such thing as sparing yourself mental anguish in the MFA process. So here I am again.

So far: wait listed at 3 very competitive programs (read: no one's declining their offers or moving off the wait lists), and rejected from a handful more. Still waiting to hear back from a couple others. Now I'm busy focusing on what to do next, if school isn't in the cards. I'm a mid-30s applicant with a good job, so for me this was never a pathway toward a different profession, necessarily, but I'm still pretty bummed about the prospect of having to apply again in the future.

The good news: just found out that I got into the Kenyon Review summer workshop and Bread Loaf's Sicily workshop. Pro tip for any newbies: summer workshops completely changed my perspective on all things writing, and I'm pretty certain the improvements I made during those summer sessions were the only reason I stood a fighting chance at the MFA programs I applied to.

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Hello there!

I'm getting my MFA in creative writing in the Fall. (nonfiction)

I've been accepted to 2 programs (WOOO!!!!)- one at Columbia University and one at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. Both are excellent programs, making it extremely hard to choose. Does anyone have any opinions regarding either program?

Columbia is like 3x the cost of NC with very little funding, but it's been my dream school for a very long time. It has a stellar faculty and when it comes to publishing, you can't really beat NYC. It's a 2 year program, but after those 2 years are up, I worry about being in debt for the rest of my life. I got a scholarship that will cover like 1/4 of tuition, but it's still a shit ton of money that I don't have. It also has a much larger cohort, but I like that- more writers to connect with! Aside from the cost, the program is a dream. 

North Carolina has a great program, but I'm not very excited to live in NC. I'm pretty liberal, as well as disabled. I've heard that Wilmington is very *southern* in its mentality. (Not to bash southern states. I know most people and places are probably lovely!) I've read on numerous forums that Wilmington is not the most tolerant place and is known for being fairly racist. I fear individuals will also be ableist, and I don't want to subject myself to that kind of environment. These are just things I've read, though. Does anyone know anything else about Wilmington or UNCW? What the culture of the city is like? It's a 3 year program, and while much cheaper than Columbia, I would hate to go there and be absolutely miserable. (I haven't received funding info from this school yet)

Any and all advice/ insight is appreciated!

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21 minutes ago, somethingtothinkabout said:

Hello there!

I'm getting my MFA in creative writing in the Fall. (nonfiction)

I've been accepted to 2 programs (WOOO!!!!)- one at Columbia University and one at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. Both are excellent programs, making it extremely hard to choose. Does anyone have any opinions regarding either program?

Columbia is like 3x the cost of NC with very little funding, but it's been my dream school for a very long time. It has a stellar faculty and when it comes to publishing, you can't really beat NYC. It's a 2 year program, but after those 2 years are up, I worry about being in debt for the rest of my life. I got a scholarship that will cover like 1/4 of tuition, but it's still a shit ton of money that I don't have. It also has a much larger cohort, but I like that- more writers to connect with! Aside from the cost, the program is a dream. 

North Carolina has a great program, but I'm not very excited to live in NC. I'm pretty liberal, as well as disabled. I've heard that Wilmington is very *southern* in its mentality. (Not to bash southern states. I know most people and places are probably lovely!) I've read on numerous forums that Wilmington is not the most tolerant place and is known for being fairly racist. I fear individuals will also be ableist, and I don't want to subject myself to that kind of environment. These are just things I've read, though. Does anyone know anything else about Wilmington or UNCW? What the culture of the city is like? It's a 3 year program, and while much cheaper than Columbia, I would hate to go there and be absolutely miserable. (I haven't received funding info from this school yet)

Any and all advice/ insight is appreciated!

As a liberal who grew up in a very conservative town, I would not worry about it in the slightest. NC generally has the same laws and protections as anywhere in the United States, especially on college campuses. And, in my experience, southerners do not discriminate against those with disabilities. 

That being said, I'd encourage visiting both campuses or getting in touch with former students. And if you see problems at UNC, remember that they could use someone with an alternate point of view - someone like you. Best of luck on your decision! 

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1 hour ago, somethingtothinkabout said:

Hello there!

I'm getting my MFA in creative writing in the Fall. (nonfiction)

I've been accepted to 2 programs (WOOO!!!!)- one at Columbia University and one at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. Both are excellent programs, making it extremely hard to choose. Does anyone have any opinions regarding either program?

Columbia is like 3x the cost of NC with very little funding, but it's been my dream school for a very long time. It has a stellar faculty and when it comes to publishing, you can't really beat NYC. It's a 2 year program, but after those 2 years are up, I worry about being in debt for the rest of my life. I got a scholarship that will cover like 1/4 of tuition, but it's still a shit ton of money that I don't have. It also has a much larger cohort, but I like that- more writers to connect with! Aside from the cost, the program is a dream. 

North Carolina has a great program, but I'm not very excited to live in NC. I'm pretty liberal, as well as disabled. I've heard that Wilmington is very *southern* in its mentality. (Not to bash southern states. I know most people and places are probably lovely!) I've read on numerous forums that Wilmington is not the most tolerant place and is known for being fairly racist. I fear individuals will also be ableist, and I don't want to subject myself to that kind of environment. These are just things I've read, though. Does anyone know anything else about Wilmington or UNCW? What the culture of the city is like? It's a 3 year program, and while much cheaper than Columbia, I would hate to go there and be absolutely miserable. (I haven't received funding info from this school yet)

Any and all advice/ insight is appreciated!

Don't go to Columbia. Not worth the debt. Period. I think @DangerDetective is right about visiting campus--see how it is. Also, see if there are groups on campus you can join. Honestly, you're just as likely to have an asshole bro in your workshop at Columbia. They're everywhere. I guarantee they're are some at Columbia by default because the program is so big and has such a high acceptance rate. UNC-W is a decent sized campus--there's likely to be awesome student groups, etc. And I'm sure most of your cohort will be cool people. Even if they aren't up on disability studies / politics, I'm going to assume that most of them will adapt quickly and be cool people about it if you point it out to them. There will, without doubt, be some safer spaces on campus, but there's no guarantee the workshop will be that space. Anywhere. That's just the shitty reality of things. That three years to work on writing / building a manuscript is awesome though. I wouldn't treat it lightly.

Edited by FalloutCoversEverything
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@FalloutCoversEverything @JeremyCrickets thanks so much! I suddenly have adult decisions I have to make, so it's a whole other level of stress now. I mean, it's Alaska! I love the idea of going there, and I've heard wonderful things about the program. But at the same time, it's Alaska, the stipend is a little tight for how expensive Fairbanks is, I don't think I can work out a campus visit, and I just suddenly remembered that I'm terrible at skiing. Still, it's a wonderful offer. But I have a lot to think about.

If the four schools I'm waiting on want to hurry it up a little though, I would be very grateful. I'm about two days away from caving and calling Irvine just to put myself out of my misery.

 

1 hour ago, somethingtothinkabout said:

Hello there!

I'm getting my MFA in creative writing in the Fall. (nonfiction)

I've been accepted to 2 programs (WOOO!!!!)- one at Columbia University and one at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. Both are excellent programs, making it extremely hard to choose. Does anyone have any opinions regarding either program?

Columbia is like 3x the cost of NC with very little funding, but it's been my dream school for a very long time. It has a stellar faculty and when it comes to publishing, you can't really beat NYC. It's a 2 year program, but after those 2 years are up, I worry about being in debt for the rest of my life. I got a scholarship that will cover like 1/4 of tuition, but it's still a shit ton of money that I don't have. It also has a much larger cohort, but I like that- more writers to connect with! Aside from the cost, the program is a dream. 

North Carolina has a great program, but I'm not very excited to live in NC. I'm pretty liberal, as well as disabled. I've heard that Wilmington is very *southern* in its mentality. (Not to bash southern states. I know most people and places are probably lovely!) I've read on numerous forums that Wilmington is not the most tolerant place and is known for being fairly racist. I fear individuals will also be ableist, and I don't want to subject myself to that kind of environment. These are just things I've read, though. Does anyone know anything else about Wilmington or UNCW? What the culture of the city is like? It's a 3 year program, and while much cheaper than Columbia, I would hate to go there and be absolutely miserable. (I haven't received funding info from this school yet)

Any and all advice/ insight is appreciated!

You're going to get a lot of advice about going into Columbia without funding and a lot of is going to be, "Don't do it." But if you do want to hear a different perspective, Scott Kenemore has an article in Slate  that you might consider looking at. I personally don't agree with him (and think he doesn't come across all that well as a person). But there are people who have gone to Columbia, taken on a lot of debt, and are apparently still happy with that decision.

Now, would I do it? Not a chance.

As for UNC, I also agree with the campus visit suggestion. If you don't like it, consider trying again next year to see if you can find somewhere that won't put you in debt and you can be comfortable on campus. And if you end up loving UNC, then there you go!

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22 minutes ago, GlowStick said:

You're going to get a lot of advice about going into Columbia without funding and a lot of is going to be, "Don't do it." But if you do want to hear a different perspective, Scott Kenemore has an article in Slate  that you might consider looking at. I personally don't agree with him (and think he doesn't come across all that well as a person). But there are people who have gone to Columbia, taken on a lot of debt, and are apparently still happy with that decision.

Now, would I do it? Not a chance.

As for UNC, I also agree with the campus visit suggestion. If you don't like it, consider trying again next year to see if you can find somewhere that won't put you in debt and you can be comfortable on campus. And if you end up loving UNC, then there you go!

I've seen that article before. That guy / his article suck. His ego is hurt because his MFA program is no longer rated #2. 

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28 minutes ago, GlowStick said:

@FalloutCoversEverything @JeremyCrickets thanks so much! I suddenly have adult decisions I have to make, so it's a whole other level of stress now. I mean, it's Alaska! I love the idea of going there, and I've heard wonderful things about the program. But at the same time, it's Alaska, the stipend is a little tight for how expensive Fairbanks is, I don't think I can work out a campus visit, and I just suddenly remembered that I'm terrible at skiing. Still, it's a wonderful offer. But I have a lot to think about.

If the four schools I'm waiting on want to hurry it up a little though, I would be very grateful. I'm about two days away from caving and calling Irvine just to put myself out of my misery.

You should read things like Cheryl Strayed's Wild, Into The Wild, etc. and then do questionable things in the woods and then write a nonfiction thing about it >.O

Also, honestly, that sounds super fun--you'll have plenty of writing time. Make sure you invest in some good winter clothes.

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You guys! Long time no see. 

First thing is first: congrats to all who got acceptances! And hugs for all who've been at the receiving end of rejections. 

I just got rejected by a certain university (after the weirdest exchange ever!). Even though I will probably write about this in public someday, can't go into detail right now because I actually work for said university in a temporary capacity (i.e. disposable like a kleenex) and I don't want to create problems for myself (when you have gotten involved in third world politics, then you can judge me for my paranoia :)). But just for the benefit of applicants who may find themselves in a similar position, I will say this: if a Program asks you if you have pending offers elsewhere before they make you a written offer, DO NOT BLABBER. I am not saying you should lie and say you don't have offers if you do have them, but phrase whatever you say in such a way that maximum stroking of egos is achieved. Basically: tell them that, yes, you do have some offers but not too satisfied and are particularly interested in what this Program has to offer you because they're your better choice, etc...etc. You can provide details about your offers during negotiations later on, after you have received a written offer, which they can't take back for non-extreme cases (like lies on application, etc...). But don't say/show anything that might make them feel like you're going to turn down their offer and, thus, waste their time. I have so much to say about this, but, as I said, don't want to get into detail right now...

But I will definitely write about this at some point because I feel like that Program's exchange with me reveals something important about the way admissions decisions are undertaken. (Not that we haven't suspected these things before.) It's likely that this Program had no intention of accepting me, but was just considering me for a wait-list and, after finding out that I have "a particularly excellent" (yep, used those words and it's true!) offer elsewhere, they figured it's just going to be a waste of their time. But here is the thing: for aspiring writers (which an overwhelming majority of us applicants are) who are emotionally vulnerable and desperate for some validation, making it to the waitlist of a highly-rated competitive Program would be a compliment on its own. But now, thanks to that exchange I had with them, I will never find out that I made it that far. I'll just get a mass printed generic rejection letter saying, sorry, you weren't good enough. I am extremely lucky to be in a position where I have received acceptances from some awesome programs and got positive feedback from writers I didn't expect to be having conversations with at this stage in my writing career. And for that reason, I (and everyone I know) was more amused by the way this Program behaved than hurt. But imagine if I wasn't in that place. Imagine I was so desperately waiting for what this Program in question has to say. Think of how hurtful it would have been! And since I would have nothing to go by, I would be imagining three million possible reasons for the rejection and feeling worthless. That's why I think somebody needs to write about the politics behind the scenes of admissions processes; to help young and vulnerable writers realize that it isn't always about their writing. 

That said: five acceptances and two rejections so far. I have decided where I want to go, but still waiting to hear from four schools. Paid $$ to apply after all; why not find out what everyone has to say. In any case, considering that the fear of being rejected by every single Program I applied to was so prominently featured in my thoughts in the months after application deadlines, I have come a long way! I know I am very lucky! 

Good luck, everyone!

 

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9 hours ago, holycat said:

You guys! Long time no see. 

First thing is first: congrats to all who got acceptances! And hugs for all who've been at the receiving end of rejections. 

I just got rejected by a certain university (after the weirdest exchange ever!). Even though I will probably write about this in public someday, can't go into detail right now because I actually work for said university in a temporary capacity (i.e. disposable like a kleenex) and I don't want to create problems for myself (when you have gotten involved in third world politics, then you can judge me for my paranoia :)). But just for the benefit of applicants who may find themselves in a similar position, I will say this: if a Program asks you if you have pending offers elsewhere before they make you a written offer, DO NOT BLABBER. I am not saying you should lie and say you don't have offers if you do have them, but phrase whatever you say in such a way that maximum stroking of egos is achieved. Basically: tell them that, yes, you do have some offers but not too satisfied and are particularly interested in what this Program has to offer you because they're your better choice, etc...etc. You can provide details about your offers during negotiations later on, after you have received a written offer, which they can't take back for non-extreme cases (like lies on application, etc...). But don't say/show anything that might make them feel like you're going to turn down their offer and, thus, waste their time. I have so much to say about this, but, as I said, don't want to get into detail right now...

But I will definitely write about this at some point because I feel like that Program's exchange with me reveals something important about the way admissions decisions are undertaken. (Not that we haven't suspected these things before.) It's likely that this Program had no intention of accepting me, but was just considering me for a wait-list and, after finding out that I have "a particularly excellent" (yep, used those words and it's true!) offer elsewhere, they figured it's just going to be a waste of their time. But here is the thing: for aspiring writers (which an overwhelming majority of us applicants are) who are emotionally vulnerable and desperate for some validation, making it to the waitlist of a highly-rated competitive Program would be a compliment on its own. But now, thanks to that exchange I had with them, I will never find out that I made it that far. I'll just get a mass printed generic rejection letter saying, sorry, you weren't good enough. I am extremely lucky to be in a position where I have received acceptances from some awesome programs and got positive feedback from writers I didn't expect to be having conversations with at this stage in my writing career. And for that reason, I (and everyone I know) was more amused by the way this Program behaved than hurt. But imagine if I wasn't in that place. Imagine I was so desperately waiting for what this Program in question has to say. Think of how hurtful it would have been! And since I would have nothing to go by, I would be imagining three million possible reasons for the rejection and feeling worthless. That's why I think somebody needs to write about the politics behind the scenes of admissions processes; to help young and vulnerable writers realize that it isn't always about their writing. 

That said: five acceptances and two rejections so far. I have decided where I want to go, but still waiting to hear from four schools. Paid $$ to apply after all; why not find out what everyone has to say. In any case, considering that the fear of being rejected by every single Program I applied to was so prominently featured in my thoughts in the months after application deadlines, I have come a long way! I know I am very lucky! 

Good luck, everyone!

 

That sucks. I don't know the full details but it might have come from a desire to have you relocate for your MFA program (?)--especially if you're willing to (not all people can). I think a lot of programs think this is for the best when it comes to local applicants because it "pushes" people more than going to a program locally. This happened to me when I applied to MA programs--they didn't reject me, but my advisor outright said I should go somewhere else. It looks better on a resume, etc. Many programs at high ranked schools outright won't accept people from the same school for graduate study there (especially not right out of undergrad unless it is one of those BA/MA programs).

But, yeah, don't sweat it too much. Sounds like you got a ton of offers and you have a place to go! So yay!

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18 hours ago, FalloutCoversEverything said:

I've seen that article before. That guy / his article suck. His ego is hurt because his MFA program is no longer rated #2. 

"Year after year, their ranking of Columbia University—my alma mater—has steadily fallen. I can remember when it was in the toppermost tier."

"Columbia is a school for people who actually want to become better writers, get books published, and survive—or even thrive—in the rough-and-tumble world of American letters. It is not a holistic weekend retreat. Columbia is a place for people who want to be the best and study with the best. (Or, OK, the best after Iowa.) It's for people whose genitals still work, dammit. For writers who want to be brave and persevere in the real world where people often fail."

Oy.

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1 hour ago, DangerDetective said:

"Year after year, their ranking of Columbia University—my alma mater—has steadily fallen. I can remember when it was in the toppermost tier."

"Columbia is a school for people who actually want to become better writers, get books published, and survive—or even thrive—in the rough-and-tumble world of American letters. It is not a holistic weekend retreat. Columbia is a place for people who want to be the best and study with the best. (Or, OK, the best after Iowa.) It's for people whose genitals still work, dammit. For writers who want to be brave and persevere in the real world where people often fail."

Oy.

Lol. Who told him all of our loins were busted?? Fess up!

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8 hours ago, FalloutCoversEverything said:

That sucks. I don't know the full details but it might have come from a desire to have you relocate for your MFA program (?)--especially if you're willing to (not all people can). I think a lot of programs think this is for the best when it comes to local applicants because it "pushes" people more than going to a program locally. This happened to me when I applied to MA programs--they didn't reject me, but my advisor outright said I should go somewhere else. It looks better on a resume, etc. Many programs at high ranked schools outright won't accept people from the same school for graduate study there (especially not right out of undergrad unless it is one of those BA/MA programs).

But, yeah, don't sweat it too much. Sounds like you got a ton of offers and you have a place to go! So yay!

Thanks! Not sweating it at all; just intrigued! And learning more and more about the politics that goes into the admissions process. I was invited to step into a similar (but not so obvious) trap by another Program yesterday and responded with a different approach just to see what happens. I'm curious. :)

AND: just got rejected by Brooklyn College. (That $125 in application fees is going to haunt me for a long time!) 

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Hi all! 

Congrats to al acceptances out there. I only applied to one school and got wait listed yesterday (UW Seattle) for fiction. I really hope that someone turns down their offer so I can potentially go! (If you got in and are going to turn it down, feel free to tell me, haha.) 

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4 hours ago, holycat said:

Thanks! Not sweating it at all; just intrigued! And learning more and more about the politics that goes into the admissions process. I was invited to step into a similar (but not so obvious) trap by another Program yesterday and responded with a different approach just to see what happens. I'm curious. :)

AND: just got rejected by Brooklyn College. (That $125 in application fees is going to haunt me for a long time!) 

Yeah, with some of the schools (especially the NYC schools now) I'm just like why did I apply there. NYU especially (I'm learning more and more about how little funding they actually have after being waitlisted and seeing the large number of people who've received poorly funded offers). I wish I hadn't wasted the money. If I get rejected from Columbia (or accepted without funding), fine. At least I know they have 10 funded spots. That said, that guy in the posts above is making me super skeptical of Columbia at the moment. Heh. But it's a huge program so I'm sure there are great people too. But, jeez, what an asshole.

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56 minutes ago, FalloutCoversEverything said:

Yeah, with some of the schools (especially the NYC schools now) I'm just like why did I apply there. NYU especially (I'm learning more and more about how little funding they actually have after being waitlisted and seeing the large number of people who've received poorly funded offers). I wish I hadn't wasted the money. If I get rejected from Columbia (or accepted without funding), fine. At least I know they have 10 funded spots. That said, that guy in the posts above is making me super skeptical of Columbia at the moment. Heh. But it's a huge program so I'm sure there are great people too. But, jeez, what an asshole.

Read that article a while back. Felt embarrassed for him, and I don't think I was able to finish.

As for NYC schools, it would be nice if all schools spelled out the financial aid packages they are able to offer. I've noticed from the acceptances I have gotten so far that the ones that provide vague information about their funding on their websites are the lousiest ones. They know if they said how much $$ they have, the number of applications will likely decrease + quality of applications will go downhill. They won't be getting applications from serious people. That would be one advice I'd give future applicants: don't waste your $$ and time applying to schools that don't say what they offer. 

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On 3/16/2016 at 8:42 AM, turtlesfordays said:

Does anyone know the acceptance rate for American University? I was accepted and now I'm curious. It seems like a big secret, because I can't seem to find out anywhere I look.

I suspect it is really, really high given that they have little to no funding. I don't have the number, but I will say: if you didn't get full funding and a stipend I wouldn't go. Period. It's not worth it. There are so many programs with full funding, or good funding (meaning they fund a substantial number of students), including two in the area (George Mason and Johns Hopkins). If you take out the amount of debt that I suspect American University is asking you to take out, you'll be paying it off for a decade. Or, you can work anywhere for a year and reapply and get paid to go to grad school. Again, not worth it. On the other hand, if you got one of a few great fellowships that pay tuition and a stipend, go. Don't worry about the acceptance rate. If nothing else, you were one of the top picks and their acceptance rate for those positions (I'm sure) is very, very low.

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12 hours ago, holycat said:

Read that article a while back. Felt embarrassed for him, and I don't think I was able to finish.

As for NYC schools, it would be nice if all schools spelled out the financial aid packages they are able to offer. I've noticed from the acceptances I have gotten so far that the ones that provide vague information about their funding on their websites are the lousiest ones. They know if they said how much $$ they have, the number of applications will likely decrease + quality of applications will go downhill. They won't be getting applications from serious people. That would be one advice I'd give future applicants: don't waste your $$ and time applying to schools that don't say what they offer. 

Yeah, I feel like the vague information is a joke. It's like "we have a number of fully funded positions" meaning maybe two or three? Ugh. It kind of sucks because you have these departments that are attached to these programs in terms of their budget/success. It's likely impossible/hard for them to go to the dean/president and say "this model of funding has become unacceptable." It's a shitty situation. 

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Apparently a U of O fiction acceptance has gone out now. :unsure: They're one of my very last hopes, so I'm really crossing my fingers for a spot on that waitlist. Other than that, I'm still waiting on ASU and McNeese. No good news yet. :(

I'm really not feeling confident about my abilities as a writer right now.

Edit: I'm now realizing that I could've used all that application $$ on a new laptop (mine is hanging on by a thread). Damn. Can I at least claim a few of these University donations on my tax return? 

Edited by JeremyCrickets
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3 hours ago, turtlesfordays said:

Does anyone know the acceptance rate for American University? I was accepted and now I'm curious. It seems like a big secret, because I can't seem to find out anywhere I look.

I'll email them and ask-- are you in fiction? 

Edit: I have your answer. Since they don't have the information published anywhere, I'm just going to DM you their exact response. :)

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5 hours ago, JeremyCrickets said:

 

34 minutes ago, milli said:

I was waitlisted for NYU, still waiting to hear back on Columbia. 

Anyone know if acceptances for poetry have already all been sent out? I can never tell if the posts on the results page are fake or not

Yeah, I believe acceptances they have gone out in poetry. Nothing for fiction yet though. Also, if it's helpful, I contacted NYU (I'm also waitlisted) and they said there was no chance of getting any substantial amount of funding off of the waitlist. I removed my name from the list upon hearing this.

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What happens if you're sitting on a waitlist and an acceptance, but you're much more enthusiastic about the waitlist than the acceptance? Do you wait it out and hope to god you get in?

What if people wait until 4/15 to notify? Is it possible that I could get my acceptance after the deadline? What should I do?! *loses mind*

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