Meliorated in Mass writes in...
Last spring, my nine fiction MFA applications were answered by nine unremarkable rejection letters. To be fair, I filled my list with competitive schools, (Johns Hopkins, Brown, and Michener to name a few). After a brief period of abject mourning, I made a resolution that I would do everything I could to produce a blindingly brilliant application for the next application cycle. I've finally managed to scrape up some writing cohorts for crit-trades, am producing work like mad, reading lots, and going into debt in order to attend my first writing conference (at your MFA alma mater, by the way). This is not to mention the continuous writing-work I've done since sending out my apps last winter.
My question is one that I suspect you've answered before, but please bear with me if you can. Should I include what I've gone through in my personal statements? Obviously, schools I will be applying to for the first time don't need to hear it. But might those I still have my eye on, like Brown and Michigan, be interested in a report of my efforts and dedication as long as it's accompanied by new, breathtaking writing samples?
Or does it not matter at all?
It matters, MiM. Definitely don't do it.
If I'm at, say, Michigan, I'd hear that as "I didn't get into Iowa, so I'm applying at your school this time around." Don't mention previous rejections at all.
Show your effort and dedication to writing, not to applying to MFA programs. Rock on.