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Applying to PhDs in Creative Writing: Let's keep each other sane (r)


Jaslet

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I have an MFA and have unsuccessfully applied to PhDs in literature once in the past. I finally decided (five years later) that a PhD in Creative Writing is probably perfect for me, even if such programs are new in the academic world and don't inspire universal prestige as the lit phd might. The schools I've applied to are: 

UIC, Texas Tech, UGa, Missouri, Ohio U, and Cincinnati.

So many questions: has anyone been through this process before? When are decisions made? (from looking at last years' threads, it seems like as early as the first week in Feb. but other testimony is welcome!) How many do these programs take in each genre? What's the latest funding profile for these schools (their websites are so vague about how much they are likely to provide you if accepted). 

And most importantly, for anyone already in one of these programs, how do you like it?!

Thanks for your help!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, Jaslet. I considered applying to PhDs while in the MFA (grad 2013), but this is my first time. I only applied to FSU, Missouri, and Cincinnati. I don't have the answers you're looking for, though based on past threads, decisions should post in the next 34-46 days. Good luck to us both!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just saw all of these! Wonderful. Good luck to us all! I have heard that I am in from Missouri and Cincinnati, but nowhere else, and funding is not finalized. 

I hope to read some good news from you all soon.

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On 2/9/2016 at 7:22 PM, coriander said:

Wow! Congrats, Jaslet!

I haven't heard anything yet. Do acceptances arrive as calls, letters, or emails? This is the first year I've applied for the PhD, so I don't know the mechanics.

Have you heard anything yet? I haven't heard anything.... starting to freak out.

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1 hour ago, PattiJeane said:

Have you heard anything yet? I haven't heard anything.... starting to freak out.

No, I haven't heard anything. A lot of placements seem to be moving on the board right now. If it helps, we should hear something by March 1st, based on the last few years' of posts. 

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Hi all! 

I was really nervous applying to CW PhDs since I was coming from a Classical Studies undergrad and a Religious Studies masters but here's hoping.

I've applied to Denver (my top choice), Santa Cruz, Florida, Houston, Ohio, Cincinnati, Albany, Binghamton, Illinois, and two Canadian schools just in case, New Brunswick and Calgary. (and for extra paranoia points, I also applied to 6 MFAs)

So far it was a no from Calgary, NB, and UIC (after a huge administrative headache from them where they made me pay some ridiculous fee a few days before I received a rejection, meaning they had already made their decision but were successful in squeezing some more money out of me, absolutely infuriating), still waiting to hear from other places. 

Let me know how you guys do! Fingers crossed we all get some good news soon!

 

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Hey! Please let me know if you hear from Ohio--I'm still waiting on them! 

I am sort of disgusted by your story about UIC. They kept sending me emails about how they didn't get my gre, which they had, and no one would respond to me in any way except one email that said nothing. That coupled with their crappy way of letting you know you're rejected and the story you told, I'd dissuade anyone in the future from applying there. Good luck with the schools you're still waiting on!

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@Jaslet honestly it was the worst, I told myself even if they accepted me I wouldn't have gone there, because it's very telling about a school if you suffer admin issues before you're even a part of their system lol! 

Thank you good luck as well!! Of course I'll let you know, I'll post results as soon as I hear them :) 

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17 hours ago, kelkh036 said:

@Jaslet honestly it was the worst, I told myself even if they accepted me I wouldn't have gone there, because it's very telling about a school if you suffer admin issues before you're even a part of their system lol! 

Thank you good luck as well!! Of course I'll let you know, I'll post results as soon as I hear them :) 

I live in Chicago and didn't apply to UIC... I know someone in their CW PhD program, and they have not enjoyed the experience at all. 

I'm waiting to hear back from Western Michigan, Denver, Florida State, Oklahoma State, and University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Got rejected from University of Kansas and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. 

I'm starting to feel less and less like it's gonna happen for me... I think it's the combination of seeing how many people get rejected vs. accepted on the results board. I don't know. I would love at least a wait list! 

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11 hours ago, PattiJeane said:

I live in Chicago and didn't apply to UIC... I know someone in their CW PhD program, and they have not enjoyed the experience at all. 

I'm waiting to hear back from Western Michigan, Denver, Florida State, Oklahoma State, and University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Got rejected from University of Kansas and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. 

I'm starting to feel less and less like it's gonna happen for me... I think it's the combination of seeing how many people get rejected vs. accepted on the results board. I don't know. I would love at least a wait list! 

Gosh dodged a bullet then haha!

Don't lose hope <3

I mean this is just a part of life, you stumble and sometimes stop but something good is just around the corner, we can't live our lives regretting choices we've made or are afraid to make. I hate to be all "everything happens for a reason" cliche-y but that's been my experience in life so far, a lot of hardship and seemingly dead ends but then something good happens (however small) and it makes me excited for the future.

Oh I also forgot to ask you guys for advice/opinions on the GRE Lit test, my test date is in April and I'm really nervous!! (been making a ton of cue cards and study notes but I'm still basically cramming an entire English undergrad degree into a few months)

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Did you buy the study guide? I took the gre literature test in 2006 and felt this was a godsend. I used it (the updated version) again for the test this past Sept. and I did not feel as prepared. I got a somewhat higher score this time, but then I've been reading in the nine and a half intervening years, which I'd say accounted for it. 

I was very surprised by the lit GRE this Sept. Compared with the one I took in 2006 and the two practice tests I took before it this time, it was very heavy on nonfiction. Essays, journalism, literary theory. It felt like very little poetry and fiction, especially contemporary, and while that's always the case, this felt different than my many experiences taking this test. It was the first time taking any standardized test that I really felt that I ran out of time because I was just so confounded by the questions and the masses of text that went with them. My advice is to watch the clock like a hawk, and definitely do the first pass second pass third pass. Leave the huge, dense sections of nonfiction for second pass. When I realized there were 20 min. left, I began madly rushing through the rest of the test and found so many questions I could have done well on, including a section on Middlemarch, which I had just read (love middlemarch!) I know they always tell you this about passes and running out of time, but I'd taken this test before and it had never happened to me. The people who are trying to keep this test hard and unpredictable are doing their job.

All that said, I do not think this test is very important. Most programs don't require it. I took it only to apply to one of the six schools, although I sent it to the others (because 5 are included with the fee). i got not that great of a score but the percentage was still pretty good and I wound up getting into the program that required it. Thus I think that it's more one of those hoops they put up for you to jump through (to deter the faint of heart) but they're not selecting based upon it. Hit me up with any other questions--I studied for this baby all summer and it wasn't the first time:)

 

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ps. most of the test is reading, not identification, so I wouldn't waste too much time cramming. So many of the passages are by god-knows-who and are meant to be obscure so you're not familiar with them (and you usually don't have to identify the author of these). Spend your time taking as many practice tests as you can get a hold of so you can get a sense for the time and practice answering reading questions quickly!

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1 hour ago, Jaslet said:

ps. most of the test is reading, not identification, so I wouldn't waste too much time cramming. So many of the passages are by god-knows-who and are meant to be obscure so you're not familiar with them (and you usually don't have to identify the author of these). Spend your time taking as many practice tests as you can get a hold of so you can get a sense for the time and practice answering reading questions quickly!

Thanks so much Jaslet!! 

I do have the Princeton guide (and will take the GRE online practice test after I've studied more), I also bought some other literary must-haves (Penguin literary terms and theories, Oxford companion etc) and borrowed my Eng major friend's anthologies (because I couldn't find those cheap online jeeze!!)

I am worried about the time, but I have taken a 200+ question final exam during my undergrad once before, but the questions weren't very long so I'm nervous if the passages are huge and I have like 0.5 seconds to read it, analyse it, then pick an answer.

The good thing is is that I've encountered a bunch of lit theoriest/theorists before during my Religion masters (so Saussure, Levi-Strauss, Foucault etc. semiotics bla bla) downside was that I'd read a lot of the ~classic lit~ stuff when I was younger or obviously heard of XYZ by So and So and knew the plot despite not reading it, but I was worried because I don't have much/any exposure to the contemporary stuff especially non-fiction :/ 

I'm the same, I only need to take it for Denver (which is my top choice god shoot me now lol) 

That being said, I also watched this video, and am using this website and this reading list (gosh everyone's so thirsty for Milton, slow your rolls guys) as a base for studying (also SparkNotes because god bless the "Key Facts" section for the works that'll give me the quick and dirty for themes, symbols, motifs etc.)  

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Hey guys,

Also applying. Anyone have any intel on Cincinnati or Ohio University? From what I've been seeing on the boards, there appears to be a waiting list in place at UC, but I'm too chicken to ask if I've made it on. I wonder if all rejections have been sent? 

Good luck to everyone!

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6 hours ago, left_write said:

Hey guys,

Also applying. Anyone have any intel on Cincinnati or Ohio University? From what I've been seeing on the boards, there appears to be a waiting list in place at UC, but I'm too chicken to ask if I've made it on. I wonder if all rejections have been sent? 

Good luck to everyone!

Hi! I sent them emails enquiring about results on Friday but haven't received a reply so I expect one today/business day. Fingers crossed! 

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Received a reply from Jennifer Habel at UC this morning:

"I believe you will hear something from our Director of Graduate Studies in the next day or two. Thanks for your interest in our program and your patience. 

Best, 
Jennifer"
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20 minutes ago, kelkh036 said:

Received a reply from Jennifer Habel at UC this morning:

"I believe you will hear something from our Director of Graduate Studies in the next day or two. Thanks for your interest in our program and your patience. 

Best, 
Jennifer"

Oy. Thanks so much for the update. I'm just going to go hide under the covers for awhile.

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1 hour ago, left_write said:

Oy. Thanks so much for the update. I'm just going to go hide under the covers for awhile.

Well, it was a no for me from Cincinnati, but a really nice personal email (which I think is somehow worse than a generic rejection and now I'm really upset) 

5r/0w/0a 

7 phds and 5 mfas left :(

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2 minutes ago, kelkh036 said:

Well, it was a no for me from Cincinnati, but a really nice personal email (which I think is somehow worse than a generic rejection and now I'm really upset) 

5r/0w/0a 

7 phds and 5 mfas left :(

Getting rejected feels so awful - I've got three so far myself. All that time and money and then *blink!* I haven't heard anything from UC yet, and at this point no news is good news? Jeez. Good luck with the rest of your apps.

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