Monday, October 10, 2005

Mailbag for October 10, 2005

This week's mailbag is going to be rushed. I'm writing this on the steps of the library, with my class 30 minutes away. Future questions can be sent to my email address.

AJ in NYC wants to know if he/she will be throwing money away by applying to a program like Columbia or NYU since his/her GPA was 2.85, strong GREs and writing sample. AJ, I can't speak to each and every program, but for the most part your GPA won't matter too much. 2.85 is not great, but you should be fine. The writing sample will get you in or out. By the way, I've warned students about Columbia in past mailbags. My main point being that $35,000 a year is a lot to pay for being a writer. This is true at NYU as well, though the possibility of funding is higher there.

Brian wants to know what score range he should shoot for in the GRE. The first answer is, I don't know. The secondary answer is, your GRE scores need to fall somewhere in the average for graduate students at that university. My last answer, and stretching here, so take it with a grain of salt, is to aim for scoring at least 1100 for most graduate universities. My answer is relevant to MFA programs, as MA and Ph.D. programs will weigh the GREs more heavily.

Ryan returns and wants to know if I know anything about the University of Florida graduate program. He's heard some rumors that I'll not publish here, because, as he acknowledges, they are just that, rumors. He wants to know how an average writer can get the scoop. That's easy: Get in touch with current students. Tell them you're thinking about the program, and ask them about their experience. The program coordinator will likely have a few emails addresses for you, so get in contact with that person. Personally, I haven't heard anything negative about Florida, in fact I've consistently heard positive news.

Cynthia wants to know about online MFA programs. If she's asking about low-residency programs, she can read much about them in previous mailbag. Otherwise, the only online university I'm familiar with is Warnborough University, in the U.K. I don't have any inside scoop, but I know their web address is If Cynthia, or anyone else, has a list of other online universities, I'd like to see it.

Thanks for the questions.

Sorry for the brevity this week. Those were the only four questions though. Do check out last week's comments section (scroll down) for more from readers about experimental programs and undergraduate programs in NYC.

-- TK