Saturday, June 24, 2006

How to Create a Username for Comments

Creating a username (so you can leave comments on the MFA Blog and any other Blogger site) is easy.

1. Click here.
2. Fill in the information on page 1 and click the "Continue" arrow.
3. If you want to create your own blog, just continue to fill out the information on pages 2 and 3.
4. If you DON'T want your own blog, simply navigate away after that first page.

Rock on and start commenting.

57 comments:

Ozark said...

What do you think of University of Arkansas's MFA program (the one in Fayetteville), which offers full funding to basically everyone who is admitted? It take 3-4 years to finish.

Ozark said...

Corrected: What do you think of the University of Arkansas' MFA program, which offers funding to basically everyone who is admitted. It takes 3-4 years to finish.

(I replaced the "take" in my previous attempt with "takes"--lest I confirm the stereotype that Arkansas is synonymous with "semi-literate." But I'm not originally from Arkansas anyway.)

sva said...

Sorry to come on this discussion with a question totally off the topic, but I can't seem to post a new question.

My first question then is how do I post a new question.

Second question (which really is my primary question): how can I get statistics on acceptance rates of MFA prorgrams, numbers of programs with MFAs in memoir writing or creative non-fiction, and numbers of other kinds of writing programs? Anybody know?

Thanks

cat said...

I applied to four Creative Writing MFA programs a few years ago when I was finishing my BA in English. I wasn't accepted, which I think was good at the time, because I really wasn't ready. I'd been in school my whole life and needed some time doing other things. Writing (fiction) is something I've always done (since I was 3 or 4 and would draw pictures or tell stories out loud)and is without a doubt my passion, and I've had a lot more time to work on it these past few years than I did when I was in school. I think this time has been good, but I tend to feel overwhelmed and not know how to proceed. I know I could start by sending stories to magazines, at least TRYING to get published, but I also worry about the future of my writing. I know I suffer from a lack of self-confidence, and that's a major problem, which I need to get over. But I also feel like I need to be in a more stimulating environment than the one I'm in (currently, a gray cubicle from which I proofread for a broadcast media company...until recently I was waiting tables, which sometimes I do think I enjoyed more). Thus, I've started looking at MFA Creative Writing programs again. I feel like the time could be ripe, because I'm really excited about it--but also scared and overwhelmed, as usual. I was glad to see the program at Purdue praised, because that's one of the ones I'm looking at. My focus is currently on the Midwest, because I think that's where I want to move, but I'm open to suggestion. Other programs, tentatively, that I'm (tentatively)considering are the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Ball State and the School at the Art Institute of Chicago. I'd appreciate any feedback on these programs, or just advice and inspiration dealing with the writing life in general...I'm sorry if I've droned on for too long but I do tend to be long-winded.

HeartInSFCA said...

Hey Tom,
I'm looking into programs for Fall 2007 and have my heart set on returning to San Francisco for my MFA (lived there a few years back). What are your thoughts on New College's MFA in Writing and Consciousness? Also -- same question regarding SF State's University of San Francisco's MFA programs? Any other thoughts would be greatly appreciated too!!

HeartInSFCA said...

Hey Tom,
I'm looking into programs for Fall 2007 and have my heart set on returning to San Francisco for my MFA (lived there a few years back). What are your thoughts on New College's MFA in Writing and Consciousness? Also -- same question regarding SF State's University of San Francisco's MFA programs? Any other thoughts would be greatly appreciated too!!

hotpants ukulele said...

hey, this is a way (way) cool site, many thanks for the info, and i dig the snappy style. continue, please, to rock it like you own it

pulgita said...

Hi Tom,

Do you have any information on Dartmouth's MA in Liberal Studies program? They offer a concentration in Creative Writing, and I was wondering if you'd heard anything about it either from students or other professors?

Thanks so much for all of this great info. Your book is saving my life!

val said...

I am a 52 year old woman completing her Bachelors in English in May 07. I want to apply to several schools but I fear my age will be a problem. What do you think?

Thanks
Valianth

such_momjeans said...

VAL, age 52 -
You cannot change the wrongheaded notions others might choose to believe. Gilda Radner said, "It's always something..."
You CAN do what is best for you, however.
My eldest graduates high school the day I graduate college (BA Philosophy). My plan is simple: research MFA programs, apply to ones better suited to personal goals and needs, get accepted, and go. The husband knows where I keep the can opener. The dog can open the fridge by himself. No more worries on my part.
Illegitimus Non Tatum Carborundum.
Never let the bastards get you down.

Cid said...

hey tom and everyone else,

would you happen to know the top 10 public mfa schools? top 10 private mfa schools? can u recommend a good site for this info? thanks.

madhu said...

i am 40 and i would like to do a mfa.can some one guide me as i would not like to take the gre and tell me which are the best schools to apply which dont demand a gre and only focus on the writing sample?

Ranjani said...

Hi Tom, I'm from India, and I'm applying to nearly 8 schools, like you've mentioned. But, I haven't published anything yet, and I wanted to know if that will deter the process.

JK said...
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JK said...
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JK said...
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JK said...

Tom,
I have a question about fiction writing samples, which everyone seems to say are the most important part of an application. Currently, I have one story that I know I am going to submit. I now need to decide which one or two other stories I will spend time revising. Are programs more interested in our range as writers? Or are programs looking to see that applicants have a distinct voice and style? In other words, assuming all else is equal, is it preferable to submit stories that vary in style, subject matter, setting, etc.? Or to submit stories that could all be part of a single collection?

I apologize if you’ve answered this question in previous posts.

Best,

Tired of Waking up to Write before Work

Anonymous said...

Hi Tom,

This blog has been so useful I went out and bought your book! It has helped me a ton. I know the answer to this question is always "go with your best work" but my two best short stories total 17 pages. Do you think this will hurt my chances?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know anything about National University in La Jolla, CA? It offers an MFA in Creative Writing w/o residency.

Julietime said...

Hi, Tom -

I finally have an opportunity to interview with "someone on the acceptance committee" of the school that just happens to be my #1 choice. I've been told the committee will be meeting over the next two weeks to start making decisions, so time is of the essence.

My aim is to explain why my GPA is not as stellar as it could have been...that's about it. I really liked my writing sample and hope those in conjunction with my fairly good GRE scores negate the GPA issue, but I'm a little worried.

Any suggestions? Should I just leave well enough alone, or defend my GPA? Any absolute no-no's to avoid while interviewing?

Thanks a bunch...

Brooke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brooke said...

Hi Tom,

Thanks for all of the great information on this site. I just finished at a two-year school and am applying to 4-year universities this fall. I have already had a few stories published and would like to pursue an MFA after I graduate. I was wondering if you would recommend a BA in English Literature or a BA in English-Creative Writing? The more prestigious schools I've applied to don't offer Creative Writing undergraduate concentrations (UT Austin, Baylor) while the others have great MFA programs (University of Houston, Texas State) and offer creative writing for undergraduates. Thanks for your advice in advance.

Gridiron Star said...

I'm starting FSU's MFa program in the fall. Does anyone know of anyone in that program currently that I could ask questions of - about profs, courseload, what to do in Tallahassee, etc?

Joanna said...

To anyone reading and willing to help:

I have been reading that an MA qualifies you to teach at the secondary and community college levels and that an MFA qualifies you to teach at the college & university levels. Does this mean that one with an MFA is NOT qualified to teach at a community college or high school even?

Thanks...

claudia said...

hello, i am kind of having a freak out before starting my mfa at sarah lawrence. i was waitlisted at nyu and st. mary's and accepted to sarah lawrence. i deferred a year because i was unsure about paying so much money and now i have decided to suck it up and go. my worries are these: should i have applied to three year instead of two year programs? will it be hard for me to find teaching work after i graduate because, although sarah lawrence lets you ta a comp class, it does not let you teach your own class? what do you think of the sarah lawrence program? does it seem like a place where writers thrive?

claudia said...

to cat... if you are looking at the midwest, three excellent programs are: university of michigan, bowling green, and university of pittsburgh

donmaximo said...

Hi. I'm currently wrapping up my BA in Creative Writing at Concordia University in Montreal, CA. I've been looking at MA programs but am seriously interested in writing for the graphic novel medium and cannot find any schools that offer this type of specialized program. Any help or hints are welcome. Thanks.

grumpyoldman said...

Val: I'm 54 and I was recently accepted by two low-res programs, Goddard and Antioch. For all I know, my additional years may have been regarded as a plus by the powers that be. I admit that it will seem weird being back in class after so many years, but I am looking forward to it eagerly.

debby jo said...

I have been accepted in poetry at the 4 low-residency places I applied (Bennington, Warren Wilson, Antioch and Lesley). I am leaning towards lesley because of the BALANCE between creature comforts (can have privavcy and stay in a hotel, be near fabulous Harvard Square and close to a major airport (I live in Tucson)) and the quality of the program. I think WW and Bennington are the best programs, but require travel from the airport and a stay in the dorms. I think both AQntioch and Lesley are very good programs, maybe a step down. A I crazy to turn down Bennington or WW? I am a 50-year old just retired physician, totally dedicated to my writing, very experienced with classes and workshops and am looking for a tough, exciting program. I don't care too much about nurturing. I care about trying new things in my writing and being exposed to excellence in the faculty and my peers. Don't know what else to say , except I have to decide in a week!!!! Thanks for any comments.

a.d. said...

I'm sure someone has asked this, but i couldn't find it -

For a poetry writing sample (for mfa applications) is it more important to show a cohesive body of work, or to select one's strongest poems even if they don't really go together?

thanks,
alex

jenabeejo said...

Does anyone have any comments regarding the National University MFA? It is completely online(no residency).

Thanks
Jenn

J. R. Acosta said...

I'm an Argentinian writer applying for an MFA. Does anybody have any advice for a foreign MFA applicant from a non english speaking country? Will my application be treated differently than the rest?

EllaT said...

Here's a last minute portfolio question. Any thoughts on whether or not it's okay to include two stories that are very different from each other in your writing sample? I wrote one story five years ago that I still really like but it's a totally different style than what I write now. What should I do?

Wanderluster said...

Does anyone have information on the new low-residency program at U of Alaska Anchorage? Specifically, is their normal residency program a done deal, and what is the likelihood of being able to work across genres in the low-res program? Their website leaves much to the imagination. Any info on the place in general would be helpful.

Poet Laureate of Bent Creek Apts. said...

Long time listener, first time caller. Not sure where this commentage should go. But I'm a first-year poet in the MFA program at Hollins University located in Roanoke, VA. I have a relatively underdeveloped (after seeing this one) blog about my MFA experience located here:

http://proofofblog.blogspot.com/

Cheers,
LJ

agreer said...

i was wondering if anyone had an more tips on writing the personal statement. im applying for dramatic writing and trying to figure out the balance between being creative and directly answering the questions. (pretty straight forward...like...what are your goals as a writer and why are you applying to this program?)

i feel very stressed about writing a personal statement that "a writer" would write...

any suggestions?

Ophelia said...

My question is about cover letters. I've sent out my first two applications electronically and have four left to send by mail.

Are cover letters an essential and expected part of your application even if it is not mentioned in the admission requirements?

If so, what information should you include in it and how detailed should it be?

Thanks!

Evo said...

Does anyone have any information on/experience with the University of New Orleans MFA program? I'm considering a last-minute (to say the least) effort to join up as an aspiring screenwriter.

Any information on UNO or good MFA Screenwriting programs in general would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Alan said...

The NC State MFA information page states that "many of our candidates are in their 30s, 40s, 50s, even 60s" and offers a rationale for this bias: "you must have lived which is to be expected as richly lived lives often yield the best stories and experiences for art"... Anyone else notice this? Oh, I see. NCSU has a young program for old people.

lavademon said...

Hey all,

First time posting. Have been an avid reader and have benefitted immensely. The only acceptance I have gotten so far is from the infamous Emerson in Boston. Reading the posts about it has been interesting because there seems to be a diversity of opinion. One post claimed the TA funding is terrible and another student says it is a good deal. Can both be true??? Also I've read complaints of overworked faculty and that the BFA may be regarded as better than the MFA. Are there any current/former students that could weigh in, I feel as though I may get more candid responses about the program on a blog than through students that the program puts me in touch with. Has there been any effort to improve these things? Also, generally how do people feel about asking really pointed questions to faculty/students on a visit, such as "I hear your faculty are overworked and underpaid and your funding is really bad and that your BFA's are openly known to be better than your MFA's. What are your thoughts on these criticisms that seem to be widespread on writers' blogs?"

Restless in B said...

Hello Tom,

First of all, I apologize in advance if this is the wrong section to post in. I tried to post in "Screenwriting" with no apparent success.

I was wondering if you had any idea about MFA rankings or university reps or prestige in the area of screenwriting? I am particularly interested in AFI and Columbia.

Thank you

alison said...

Thank you so much for this blog and your book. Though I've never engaged in the conversations, I've certainly drawn guidance from the posts and the MFA blog community. I'm such a techno dummy; I think I just accidentally started a blog.....

I recently got accepted in the University of British Columbia at Vancouver and University of California-Riverside. I had an interest in them for their multi-genre components. Does anyone know anything about either program, or has anyone participated in a multi-genre program and have any thoughts on how they are organized? I'm wondering if multi-genre programs, enticing as they sound, take away focus from a student's primary genre or spread's him/her too thin. I've also applied to programs that are only in fiction, so I am wondering if anyone has thoughts on multi-genre programs in general or if anyone is familiar with either the Riverside or the UBC Program.

Thanks again for all your help!

Brett said...

I was wondering about people's opinions are in regards to going directly into a MFA program after graduating with a BA. On one hand, writing is my passion and I can't imagine doing anything else. On the other, a lot of people whose opinions I value have told me to wait and get some job experience.

olga said...
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aa said...

I'm intend to pursue an MFA in 2 years. In the meantime I really want to take an NYC based fiction course/workshop with a 5 week maximum duration. Ideally the course should begin in April 2009. My schedule is constrained because 5 weeks is the maximum amount of vacation I can take.
I'd be really greatful for any suggestions.

JonesyCA said...

Hi All,

I've been a silent participant for some time here, and it's been quite encouraging to read the posts as I've been trudging through the application process (what a process!). This is my THIRD time applying.

The first time I applied, I was a freshman in college working toward my BA in Literary Writing. I only applied to one school and was accepted. (amazing, right?) Silly and immature as I as, I decided not to attend, not even to defer a year, because I had no guidance and as I saw my college years closing, all I could focus on was the supposedly insurmountable debt that I was incurring and how much I missed my home state.

The second time I applied, I decided to try 3 schools all in the same state: Cal Arts (asked me to please apply again once I'd gained more life experience), Cal State Long Beach (did not get accepted due to technicality - make sure ALL your materials get in on time!!!), UCI (my DREAM school at the time - dumped).

Fast forward many years...here I am. Trying "one last time" and trying, above all, to get it right this time. I find myself at the witching hour finalizing the package to send to the very last school and I'm having some See's and wine...yippeeeee! Because I am DONE with applications. Whew! Methinks I'll be celebrating ALL weekend. Here are my choices this go-round:

Iowa
Brown
ASU
U of AZ
U of OR
UNM
UCR
Texas State, San Marcos

I opted NOT to take the GRE again, even though my scores were good the first time. That was 5 years ago. My question is, how does NOT taking the GRE factor into TAship decisions? Does it matter much at all?

And for the rest of you out there...are any of you that are going back after years outside of academia quite nervous about it? Are you feeling even the slightest bit hesitant about leaving your comfort zone (i.e. family, friends, places of residence) for this adventure?

Thanks!!! :-)

magali said...

Hi.

I'm desperate for inside information about Hunter's Nonfiction MFA program. I'm almost done with my application but am having second thoughts. I didn't get the chance to go to their open house, as I was overseas, so I'm wondering if there's anyone out there who can give me some insight.

I'm concerned that the program focuses solely on memoir. Having studied nonfiction as an undergraduate, I've done a lot of memoir-type writing, and am now more interested in exploring other forms of nonfiction (essays, biographies, portraits, nature writing, just anything where I'm not talking about myself!). Now, I know that memoir is an excellent spring board for exploring these other forms and I shouldn't have such a narrow view about, but I'm just curious - is the program worth it if I'm not too keen on just memoir? I'd appreciate any help - I'm just full of doubts, my brain is fried, and I'm worried about wasting $125 on an application fee! Thanks.

Emily said...

Hi all,

Alas, today is the long-awaited April 15th. I was wondering if anyone could give me advice on my situation--I'm currently sitting at the top of Cornell's waitlist (poetry) and wasn't sure if it would be appropriate to give the Admissions a call to see if my status has changed, since today is, after all, deadline day. Is this overstepping my bounds? Patience is wearing thin...

Thanks for any advice.

Grateful Lady said...

Thank you! I've been looking at MFA degrees for a while, and your site makes it so much easier.

Sallie said...

I've got a couple of years before I can start applying to MFA programs, and I'd like to use this time to enhance my application. Which would you recommend: completing a two-year graduate level Creative Writing Certificate program at a respected university or earning a second undergrad degree in English Lit or Creative Writing (my first is in Journalism)?

Claire said...

Hi,

I've been looking around for a list of programs that feature the creative MFA combined with the critical PhD, but haven't found any such list. I know of two right now: Cornell and Indiana, and I also know Wisconsin-Madison offers something similar. Are there any other MFA/PhD programs I should know about?

Northwestern MA/MFA said...

The Northwestern graduate program in creative writing has a new blog, with a place for potential students to ask questions and also many lit links. You can find us at http://northwesternmamfa.blogspot.com
Best,
Sandi Wisenberg
co-director, MA/MFA in Creative Writing program

JG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anthazia said...

I am presently completing my hons in English and philosphy and is considering to move on to my MFA- creative writing- in Toronto.
How competive is the MFA programme in Toronto.
I am in my final yr in my degree programme and is urgently looking for vital info.

LP said...

Hello! I am looking for MFA programs that seem to have emphasis or make room for novel writing in workshop context--I tend to write longer stuff, and some workshop classes I've had are not conducive to providing and receiving good feedback on this form. Has anyone had any good experiences with classes or programs that cater to larger projects, rather than the short story?

takhalluss said...

Hello,

Can you please help me understand how critical letters of recommendation are? Are they mandatory? I love to write short stories and poetry - have been writing since my teenage years - but hardly anyone knows about this so not sure who can vouch for these talents. I read somewhere that one letter should preferably come from a fellow writer or editor and another from a teacher. But I did my undergrad in science and have been working in the IT industry for the past 8 years and no one from school or work fits the bill. Please advise.

Thanks!!

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