Thanks so much for the blog. I wish that I had known
about it when I was applying for programs last year.
I am considering transferring to another MFA program.
The funding at my program is terrible, and because we
are in a very small town, my husband and I are having
problems finding work. We are living off of student
loan money, which is deteriorating rapidly. l love
everything else about my current program, but our
money problems are ruining it for me.
I would like to transfer to a program in a larger
city, but I'm wondering if I should mention the money
problems as the reason for the transfer. How can I
explain this to adcoms without looking like a flake?
I hope that my experience will serve as a warning to
your readers. Funding is the most important thing.
Looking for Larger Pastures
That's definitely a problem, LLP. You don't want to come across in your letter like, "I'd like to come to your program primarily because you offer money."
I've listed a number of well-funded programs in the book and on this blog, so you'll know which ones those are. One downside: The programs in larger cities, genererally speaking, have less funding.
That's not painting a very rosy picture, is it? My overall advice for letters: I'd stick to what you want to do and learn as a writer, as well as your experience beforehand. And yes, since part of your experience beforehand is your current program, you've got to mention why you're looking for another place. Do mention the money situation, and yes, you can say "We want to be able to afford this experience." But just stay away from listing it as the main reason for attending this new program.
And of course: Don't worry over this too much. It's writing sample, writing sample, writing sample. Rock on.