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Accepted to several Creative Writing programs; need advice on how to choose between them.


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Long story short, I've been accepted to a chunk of the schools I've applied to for a Creative Writing MFA. I'm most interested in Eastern Washington U, Stony Brook, UNC Greensboro, and Old Dominion (and I'm waiting to hear back from NC State).

Of the four, Stony Brook is the only one not offering an assistantship. The others are waiving tuition and providing a stipend if I choose to attend. Old Dominion is offering a fellowship (Perry Morgan Fellowship), but it's a three year program and the school seems to rank fairly low on lists, though I'm not sure what that would mean for an MFA program (it otherwise looks pretty good).

Does anyone have any advice or experience in choosing between those programs? Are any of them clearly superior to the others in terms of academics and professors? What should I look for in choosing the best among the English MFA programs? On talking to students and professors working at those places, I'm not getting a distinct feel for the advantages or what makes those programs attractive compared to others. What questions should I ask, what signs are there that a program is desirable or should be avoided? What metrics, if any, can I use to measure the effectiveness of these programs?

(My goals for the program are probably fairly typical--time to practice and perfect writing, study the craft, etc. I plan on studying fiction, with the end goal of publishing novels (as opposed to entering academia). I have experience as a copy-editor, and I can at the very least round out my portfolio with work at a journal to speed my progression in that field so that I'll have regular work to support myself with after graduate school. I don't plan on pursuing a PhD.)

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