: A Creative Writing Community
I've spent the past 15 months or so researching MFA programs and reading everything I could find online and in book stores. My decision to apply to the following programs is based upon that research and long discussions with my wife. I'm 39 years old, my wife teaches middle school, and we have a house to sell before we relocate for grad school, so she has a big say in the final decision! I would prefer a three year program, as I like the idea of a full year to work on the creative thesis.I'm applying to eleven programs, but they're broken into three tiers in my mind (Tier One: I'd jump at the chance to attend any of these--they meet all my criteria; TIER TWO: Excited about the programs, less than excited about locales; TIER THREE: same as Tier Two, only less so). I believe they are all strong programs with good or great faculty.TIER ONE: 1. Texas@ Austin (great funding, great locale, 3 years)2. Iowa (great program, great locale, affordable)Minnesota (good funding, great locale, 3 years)3. Colorado State Univ (ok funding, great locale, 3 year option, know graduates who rave about the program)4. Indiana (good funding, good locale, 3 years)TIER TWO:PurdueNotre DameIllinoisTIER THREE:Bowling GreenWestern MichiganMinnesota State/ MankatoIf anybody sees any red flags here, please respond. Apps haven't gone out just yet!Hunkering down Down East,Saltwater Farmer
A quick thought: the majority of people applying from MFAs are desperate for information and I imagine that near every serious applicant is aware of this blog. Given the lack of resources and Im assuming high traffic of this site, how much impact does this the blog have on where people apply? Will it lead to a bit more parity away from just the big name programs? Considering we are all fighting for a precious few spots and funding I feel a little reluctant to gush about lesser known programs I am high on. You can boo me, but I see a serious conflict of interest. Am I overthinking this?
saltwater farmer, I like your first tier choices, but, if I were you, I'd take another look at Indiana's teaching load. Do you really want to teach two, perhaps even three, classes while trying to finish your book-length thesis? Best of luck,Monketah
What I meant to say is that the teaching load increases with each year of enrollment; therefore, you would have more classes to teach while you're trying to complete your thesis.
The schools I like the most: UT-Austin (Great city, great funding, good faculty)UVA (good city, good faculty, great program, good fudning)Columbia (maybe the best faculty, best location, great program, but bad funding)Syracuse (great faculty, good funding, great program, but mediocre location)New School (Best city, great faculty, good program, but bad funding)Iowa (Great program and good faculty, affordable even without funding, but horrible location and narrow focus stylewise)Cornell (great funding, good program and faculty, but far too small)Johns Hopkins (good faculty, good funding, good location, good program)Those are my tops.
sarahscousin, I can see what you're saying. I admit I've paused before raving about my top choices because that might mean more people will apply. But overall, I don't think that's the way to go about it. Trying to withhold information to avoid competition seems almost cowardly. It's more worthwhile to make sure your own writing is the absolute best it can be. Wouldn't you rather have a program select you based on your amazing writing and not because no one else very good applied?I don't know if that made sense or not, but purposely hoarding information to prevent others from applying doesn't seem like a great idea. I don't mean you or other individual applicants, but rather larger ways to get MFA info across, such as this blog. I, for one, am extremely happy that this blog and Kealey's book exist. Even if it does mean a lot more people might apply to my favorite program. :)
I really like Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. For me, it has all the basics such as good funding, and there are other little tidbits that I find really appealing, like monthly open mics for graduates and undergraduates.Another quick thought for sarahscousin: bear in mind that it's mid-November, and most of us already know where we're applying. This isn't to boo you, just to say I wouldn't worry about it...
UTx-Austin is an obvious Shangri-La for many of us; great funding, hip city, dedicated faculty. Bitchin'. So I second (third? eighteenth?) it as a top contender.Other programs I am pretty excited about are U Montana (the students seem really psyched about their experience), LSU (they work hard to fund applicants and the faculty have already proved remarkably accessible), and U Arkansas (bias applies here; one of my favorite contemporary poets is the Director). I love that UNLV enables students to spend a term abroad, and I find the desert inspiring (though the neon lights less so...). That's all I got---postmarking my applications next week. Good luck, everyone!
Hate to stand out here, guys, but Austin actually DOESN'T stand out to me as the best, because the chance of getting in to Austin without first earning an MA are comparable (and I mean this literally) to winning the lottery, and I have virtually no interest in earning one degree so I can get another. Austin is awesome, and so is free grad school, but it is what it is.Cornell impressed me with funding. UNC-Greensboro has my vote for best young(er) program.Warren Wilson still looks like the best bet for low-res.
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