Mom in a Muddle is choosing between a Residency and a Low-Residency program. She wants my advice. Oh man, I am dreading this one. I almost always tick a Low Residency student off in these cases. Let’s see how I do this time. MiM writes…
Thanks for all the great advice and insights.
Here's my situation:
Got accepted by The New School (nonfiction). I live in commuting distance of the city. But I figured I would not get into TNS, so my other apps were to low res (acceptances from Lesley, Southern Maine (Stonecoast), and West.Ct.SU; waiting to hear from Goucher).
I'm thinking TNS will provide more of a community of writers, give me more structure and help me make more connections within literary circles and publishing in Manhattan. However, the scheduling (2-3 nights a week) presents a challenge -- train timetables, snow delays, outrageous parking rates if I have to drive. You also need to attend 5-7 other evening events (reading, panels, etc.) each semester -- a good thing, I know, but more commuting.
As a mom, low res make sense -- easier for my family to cope w/me being gone twice a year for 10 days, than running in and out of the city at rush hour several times a week for 2 years.
I don't know how to compare the two experiences. It's not as if you can compare the programs exactly; it's a whole other dimension.
So my questions are:
-- It is ever a good idea to turn down a "normal" program in favor of low res?
-- How to compare the programs of each school vs. the experience of low res/"normal"?
MiM, first of all, I think you’ve done a nice job of breaking down the advantages and disadvantages of each school. That said, I don’t know if a residency program will necessarily provide more structure than a low-residency program. It could, and in some cases it does, but the low-residency model has a structure of its own too. I’m man-facting here, but it just seems to me, based on what you’ve written, that the low-residency programs are a better fit for you. Who needs the traffic, right? And why put the strain on you and your family if the advantages are small? I’m obviously a fan of the Lesley Program, so if you’re asking for my opinion, I’d nudge you that way. Best of luck MiM.