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This is my second round applying and after the NY Portfolio Review I will be changing my application approach. It was quite an eye opener.  

How many fellow MFA applicants are over 50?

Have you been told Universities are concerned that they don't know how to handle mature students?

Worried you are to stuck in your ways and not fit into their programs?

How did you convince them that you are the kind of students they desire?

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Not an issue or at least it shouldn't be.

If your work is current ie you have a good knowledge of contemporary art you will be fine. You will have much to offer an MFA program. If a school doesn't know how to handle mature students then it is not for you anyway!

You do need to have a thick skin as you will receive frank feedback on your work and have reviews.

You need to be open, flexible and take suggestions.

Your portfolio is most important in the application process. Be confident.

Get along well with your younger classmates.  Many will be 23-30 years old. You don't have to be a party person :Dbut you do need to show an interest in their work. Your classmates will be your support in the future after graduation.

If you are going in hopes of securing  a teaching job after graduation be realistic about the number of full time professor jobs available,  the competition and the need for an exhibition record and several years of adjuncting experience. Apply to schools with funding. Going into debt later or at any time for that matter in life not worth it.

Edited by worldly

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I don't know if this is helpful or not - but Mills College in Oakland CA has a great (small, but great) MFA program and an overall student body with many older students even in undergrad. I don't know what their funding looks like, but you should take a peek. (the undergrad IS all-women, but the grad programs are any-gender)

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Mills student here! I'm currently finishing my BA, but I'm in the English Lit department and just finished my applications for MFA programs, plus, I'm over 30...! (Yay?) I think you're as competitive as your portfolio is--age seems less of a concern from what I've read.

Anyhow, I can attest that Mills has a decent amount of returning students (or older students) on campus. Last year I made a friend in a Lit seminar who's 50+. 

We have a really talented faculty--I  work closely with some of the faculty members that are positioned in the MFA program. It's a small campus so you get a lot of time with your professors. Plus you have access to the Bay Area writing scene which is large and active. Not sure what funding looks like though, but it is at least partially funded! 

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Thank you guys. I get along with about any age group. Critique is part of the whole process, I try to write down the feedback I get and go read over them after some time has passed. It allows me to look at it with an open mind. 

When it comes to the teaching part, I look at it this way if the opportunity comes along great. The MFA is one more tool in my toolbox and it will allow me to become an educator at a University. I find myself teaching on an unofficial level all the time. That comes when you worked in a field for an extended time. Someone bound to come along and ask you advise. My dream is to gain gallery representation on an international level. I myself like it when my professors are working artists. 

I am very open to feedback not only from faculty, but from fellow students. I often ask my kids to look at my work to give me feedback. If you want honest and brutal feedback ask a child. Since I am just the mom they do not hold back. Most every time the feedback is really good. They in return are learning how to look at art from a different perspective. 

I am not worried to be the only older student in an MFA program. I returned to school after working as a professional photographer for over 20 years to complete my BFA. I was by far the oldest student in all the classes. 

Most all the MFA program I applied for this round I opted for the funded ones. They for the most part have the advantage of gaining teaching experience on top of the artistic growth in their program. Any new skill gained is a bonus. As an experienced photographer I have something to offer to a MFA program. It's another way of giving back to the arts community. 

So if you hear a German accent talk to that person it might be me.  I was not aware of Mills College in Oakland CA MFA program. I see I have still time to look into it some more. Thanks

Edited by IrisR

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On 1/12/2018 at 4:02 AM, IrisR said:

Thank you guys. I get along with about any age group. Critique is part of the whole process, I try to write down the feedback I get and go read over them after some time has passed. It allows me to look at it with an open mind. 

When it comes to the teaching part, I look at it this way if the opportunity comes along great. The MFA is one more tool in my toolbox and it will allow me to become an educator at a University. I find myself teaching on an unofficial level all the time. That comes when you worked in a field for an extended time. Someone bound to come along and ask you advise. My dream is to gain gallery representation on an international level. I myself like it when my professors are working artists. 

I am very open to feedback not only from faculty, but from fellow students. I often ask my kids to look at my work to give me feedback. If you want honest and brutal feedback ask a child. Since I am just the mom they do not hold back. Most every time the feedback is really good. They in return are learning how to look at art from a different perspective. 

I am not worried to be the only older student in an MFA program. I returned to school after working as a professional photographer for over 20 years to complete my BFA. I was by far the oldest student in all the classes. 

Most all the MFA program I applied for this round I opted for the funded ones. They for the most part have the advantage of gaining teaching experience on top of the artistic growth in their program. Any new skill gained is a bonus. As an experienced photographer I have something to offer to a MFA program. It's another way of giving back to the arts community. 

So if you hear a German accent talk to that person it might be me.  I was not aware of Mills College in Oakland CA MFA program. I see I have still time to look into it some more. Thanks

I'm not in the over 50 club, but I am returning to school to get my MFA next year after working in the entertainment industry for a lengthy time and wanted to hear what others experiences are, since I haven't heard back from others on a different thread. I did however grow up in the Bay Area and Mills is a highly reputable school, although very over looked because of how small it is with a lot of other larger schools so close by. I know a lot of people that either attended both at under and grad levels or teach there, they all loved it! If you get a chance I highly recommend you to visit!

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Good to know and people will read your post long after we have out degrees. I know there are older students out there but few reach out to ask for help. Hopefully I can be a voice one day to ensure people there is never a wrong time to expand your horizons. 

 

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Update: I found my MFA home at SACI Florence Italy. My two-year journey will begin in September. My goal is to not only become a better artist but to add another language. I will certainly block and talk about my journey on all the major SN sites. If I am not too busy I come back and post an update here about my experience. 

https://twitter.com/IrisKnowsArt

https://instagram/IrisKnowsArt

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/IrisRichardson

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Oregon College of Art and Craft is a very good school for mixing generations together in a small sized class where you often don't feel over pressured. I couldn't believe when I started that some of my classmates were over 60, some were 23. Most were mid 30's! I enjoy it so much because of the different life perspective. It is very welcomed here. Its a great school, new program but so individually crafted that I couldn't receive such attention at anywhere else. I got into great programs, Tyler, Cranbrook, but OCAC professors are just too incredible. It can be difficult for some to be in a small setting, but for many people who don't want high competition or who haven't received their bachelors in the last decade, its really a great place to continue education. I am 29 but have been in the professional setting for a long time so I didn't want a school with a bunch of students in their 20's. Our professors all come from Cranbrook, Albert, OSU, Goldsmiths, so really all the network is still there too.

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Posted (edited)

Martini, that is good to know thank you for chiming in. 

 

Edited by IrisR

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