Monday, August 25, 2008

Blogger MFA Rankings



Seth Abramson is at it again. This time with the 2008 Blogger Top 100 MFA Rankings. Check it out at the Suburban Ecstacies!

24 comments:

Seth Abramson said...

Lomo,

Before I answer your question--moved up here from the long comment thread several posts below--I need to know whether you have geographic restrictions, and if so what they are. Several of those Virginia/Maryland-area schools are great calls in poetry--both for reputation and funding--like Virginia, Virginia Tech, Johns Hopkins, and (a little further out) Wilmington, which has a roughly 40% coverage for funding (approximately 40% of students get full funding). Iowa is obviously a solid choice. Maryland has fairly poor funding but a good reputation, so it's a strong higher-odds choice if you're willing to roll the dice re: whether you get one of their fairly limited funded spots (of course, you already noted the bad funding, so it seems you're all caught up there). Given the area you're looking at, I'd add Greensboro--excellent in poetry, and apparently the funding is even better than they've been advertising, students there say--and also VCU, which again has both funding and looks promising in poetry. Baltimore I don't know as much about, though I think it'd probably be the lowest-tier program on any list you ultimately create for application. The good news is, the area you're looking in has tons of other great poetry options besides those you mentioned. George Mason is excellent for poetry, as is Hollins, and both are between 40% and 55% funded, I'd say. The great thing is that you're looking at one of the best concentrated areas for strong poetry programs. I'd point out that, if you are willing to apply to an unfunded, higher-odds option, I'd put American University well above U. of Baltimore. So, I could actually see a very healthy, very balanced, albeit geographically-restrained list in poetry of:

Virginia
Virginia Tech
Virginia Commonwealth
Maryland
George Mason
Hollins
American
UNC Greensboro
UNC Wilmington
Johns Hopkins
+ Iowa

While it'd be a somewhat short list, and I'd expand it--still roughly within that geographic node--to include Penn State, West Virginia U., and perhaps even Rutgers at Newark, it's a good start.

Best of luck,
Seth

gulfcoasting said...

Seth,

I know you've been busy and the first thread got cluttered, so I'm reposting my list here. I've also revised it a little.

For Poetry:
Alabama
Columbia College
Columbia University
Florida
George Mason
Hollins
Houston
Iowa
Johns Hopkins
LSU
NYU
NC State
Texas
Texas State
University of New Orleans
UNC Greensboro
Virginia
VCU
Virginia Tech
Wash U

I'm still looking to cut at least 3-5 schools but I don't know which ones. I'd also be open to adding any other good poetry options in the South.

Please tell me what you think I should do to balance out my list. Thank you!

lomo said...

Seth,

Many thanks for the advice. As per your suggestions, I have added
American, Virginia Commonwealth and Hollins to my list. I am geographically restrained, mostly for personal reasons, but Iowa has always been my dream school I would move to Iowa City in a heartbeat if they accepted me. From everything I've heard, the experiences there is just completely unique and inspiring.

I appreciate the feedback more than you can imagine.

Take care!

gail said...

I am applying for fiction to a total of nine programs--seven regular MFAs and two low residency MFAs. Ideally I would like to add three, possibly four, more schools to my total list, either regular MFA programs or low residency. I know less about low residency programs but would be interested to know more, particularly about the one at Nebraska.

This is my list--first to last in terms of personal desirability

1. University of Iowa
2. University of Virginia
3. Hollins University
4. University of North Carolina, Greensboro
5. NYU
6. Western Michigan University
7. Portland State

Low Residency

1. Warren Wilson
2. Bennington College

Lautreamont said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shiloh said...

Lautreamont,

He has compiled a list of acceptance rates on his blog, Suburban Ecstasies.

It's listed as "Acceptance Rates" and you can find it on the right hand side.

Cheers!

Seth Abramson said...

Thanks Shiloh.

I should also mention--apart from the fact that Columbia is one of the easiest schools to get into in America (especially off the waitlist) of those programs with known acceptance rates--that it has taken months and months and months to compile this acceptance-rate data. I think Lautreamont (and others) should know that the programs do not want this data out there in many instances, so creating that table on my blog was a huge effort.

If anything was easy in the field of MFA data collection, L., we wouldn't really need blogs like this one, or mine, etcetera(!) As it is, there's no one out there nationally trying to gather this information except, well...

Seth

vix said...

Re Posting from another thread:

Hello Seth,
Have been reading the blog and the book since I started this whole application process. You guys do an amazing job!

I have registered for the GRE, sent away for transcripts and now I want to draw my line in the sand by sharing with the world the schools I´m applying to.

Fiction
In no particular order:
NYU
UT Michener
UC Irvine
Virginia
Columbia
UMass Amherst
Brown
Oregon
Brooklyn
Maryland
UC San Diego
San Diego State
BU

I also considered:
Northwestern
Chatham
Uni Washington

Location was the major deciding factor for me. I would love to hear your opinion on the mix of schools. Especially regarding actual possibility of funding at some of them. (I know Columbia is not very highly regarded in this respect but read that this might change this coming year. Any truth to this?)


Thanks!!

Vicky

Seth Abramson said...

Vix,

Will be back in a bit with some more analysis (I owe Kim one from way back, too), but just to be clear about Columbia: its funding situation is improving slightly, yes. The problem is that, even with this improvement, it remains one of the worst-funded programs out there. I really don't want people to mistake improvement (a purely relative measure) with endorsement (an absolute measure of whether a program could or would appear in the forthcoming Abramson/Kealey Top 50 Funding Ranking, or the ten-school Honorable Mention category of programs beyond that ranking).

Right now, Columbia would likely be ranked about #210 among all graduate creative writing programs in the U.S. (purely as to funding). That is essentially a tie for last, with the only programs behind that being high-cost private-school low-res programs with no funding for anyone (Bennington, historically, would have been a good example of this). Even programs like SFSU and USF rank slightly ahead of Columbia (perhaps at #200), because, while their program locale's cost of living is also obscenely high, and while they also fund very few admittees, their cost of tuition is also less than Columbia's.

Best,
Seth

Matt D said...

So, this is my first post on the blog, and I've found all the information here and in the book very helpful so far. I've compiled a preliminary list for applications for Fall 2009, but I'm not sure if I'm tapping all my options. Or whether I have a balanced list at all. I'm going for Fiction, and as of right now, I'm restricting location to the Northeast (extending to Penn. in the West, and either Maryland or possibly Virginia South...) Here's what I have:

Massachusetts
U. Maryland
Johns Hopkins
Cornell
Brown
Syracuse
UNLV*
Pennsylvania State

*The program just intrigues me, so I think I'll apply there anyway.

Here's some I know less about, but want to learn more about:

Rutgers at Newark
Brooklyn College
Hunter College
Hollins
VCU

What I'm worried about is that my primary list is the ones I'm really excited about right now, and it's also full of schools that are either extremely selective (i.e. Syracuse, Brown, Cornell, UMass) or not well-funded (i.e. U. Maryland). Is there a good way to formulate my list, possibly with additions I haven't considered, given the geographic connstraints I may have?

g.d. said...

I am new to this blog too--applying for fiction this fall. As a single 25 year old, I don't have a lot of geographic limitations (or preferences for that matter). I'm essentially open to moving just about anywhere as long as the program seems like it might be a good fit.

Here is my current list, which I have changed a tad in the past few days.

Johns Hopkins
Notre Dame
Iowa
ASU
UC Davis
UC San Diego
Florida State
Illinois

As I said, I am applying for fiction writing, so I would be particularly interested in hearing about the fiction side of these programs.

latecoffee said...

seth--

any opinions/recommendations on phd programs for poetry? a former professor has strongly advised me against pursuing the phd in creative writing, but i may be coming up at the last good point in my life to completely devote myself to this, and i'm still intrigued. i've considered looking into phd programs in lit or comp/rhet, but am not positive that's for me, given that i don't want it to distract from my own writing.

i'm actually looking into programs all over the us and in the uk. any thoughts?

Anca said...

This is my first post here. I'm applying for fiction in 2009. I live in Brooklyn and my husband is an urban planner so if we do move (staying in NYC would be ideal), it has to be a city we both like and that he can work in. So here is my list. Any feedback and information is most welcome!

In NYC:
NYU
Brooklyn College
Hunter College
City College

Out of NYC:
University of Minnesota
University of Washington-Seattle

I know its a small-ish list but I don't think I can afford to many more schools than that! Since leaving NYC would be a bigger risk for us, any info on UMinn and UWash would be especially useful, and also any info on City College (can't seem to gather much from their website) would also be nice.

Thanks for a very helpful site!

Anca

Gordon said...

i' m a newbie too. i don't know how i missed this site before but it's quite frankly an answer to my prayers. thanks to seth, raysen, and many others for your helpful posts about these programs.

with so many good ones out there, it's nearly impossible to create a normal size list, but this is what i came up with.

i'm applying for fiction to the following

oregon
alabama
penn state
bowling green
iowa
rutgers, newark
boston university
sarah lawrence

would people consider boston university a long shot for fiction? i know jhumpa lahiri went there. and does anyone know about the newish program at umass, boston. i would like to add 1 more boston school to my list, but i have just learned about the cost and poor funding at emerson, so that's no longer an option.

peace,
gordon

r.p. said...

Hey everyone- I applied last year and Seth's blog was extremely helpful. I can't thank him enough for it.

After I was accepted, I made a list of "affordable" MFAs-- really, MFA programs that give you enough financial aide to be there and possibly not work outside of teaching or working on their journal, etc.

I hope you find it useful!
www.affordingthemfa.blogspot.com

Brooklyn said...

Hi,

Maybe this is the wrong place for this question, but am new to this site and can't seem to find a way to put in a question that is up to date! I'm very, very appreciative of the work you've all done with rankings and acceptance rates- helpful and interesting for so many.

Thing is, I just put in applications for three low res programs (Warren Wilson, Bennington, and Vermont College) for their Sept. deadline- January beginning. Can't seem to find any info on acceptance rates for these schools at this time- it's all about the March deadline- summer begin. I'd love to know how long I should expect to wait to hear one way or the other- also if the number of apps they get for this round is higher or lower than the amount they get during the other window (March). And most of all, if anyone else has just applied and wants to share their own acceptance/ rejection info as it comes in, that would be great!

pratt said...

I have a question, but first, this is my list for Fiction programs:

1. Virginia
2. NYU
3. Hopkins
4. Iowa
5. Columbia College (not University)
6. American
7. Arkansas

Now, my question. Does anyone here have firsthand knowledge about the Arkansas program? I added it to my list at the suggestion of a friend, but it's still a mystery to me. Ellen Gilchrist is the only name I recognize on the faculty.

Clayton said...

So I left a post on the other blog and you said to switch it over to here. So here is my original post:

In poetry, I'm looking for a 3 year school (for the most part), in the Midwest (for the most part), with good funding made available by strong teaching opportunities (without question). Here's where I am (in no particular order):

Washington @ St. Louis
LSU
Indiana
Alabama
Michigan
Southern Illinois - Carbondale
Minnesota
Purdue
Wisconsin
Illinois
Vanderbilt
McNeese St.

And then I need to cut this list down to 2 or 3:

Univ of Missouri - St. Louis
Virginia Commonwealth
Virginia Tech
Old Dominion
Ohio State
West Virginia
Notre Dame
Arkansas

Teaching and funding are most important to me. Any thoughts on how to whittle down that second list? Or perhaps to trade out with some on the first list? I'm using the second list to cast my net a little wider and increase my chance of being accepted somewhere with good funding.

Thanks,
Clayton

Kim said...

Hi Seth,

I'm reposting my list here in hopes of getting some feedback:

Well, I wish I could just edit my last comment, but I wanted to post my new and improved list (poetry), put together after a whole lot of internet/library time.

Michigan
Syracuse
Virginia
Irvine
Iowa
ASU
U. of Arizona
NYU
Colorado State
Southern Illinois
W. Michigan
Florida State
Maryland
UNC Wilmington
Ohio State

Any advice on where I could trim, in addition to my earlier question about the Impossibility of Irvine/the odds at University of Arizona? I'm aware, of course, of NYU's funding issues...but am very attached to the idea of Yusef Komunyakka, Sharon Olds, and Philip Levine.

And...one last question...(sorry)...I've got an MA in English from Columbia. Do you think this could be a disadvantage of some kind I might need to address in my statements, and might it be especially unattractive to those programs with a heavy lit/theory component (like double dipping?) Any English MA's out there with experience applying to MFA's?

Gbrown said...

Hey Seth,

Wonderful job you’re doing chronicling the MFA world. Keep up the fine work. I’m a little late to this strand, but I’d love to get your take. I’m still trimming down my list and would prefer to apply to about ten to twelve programs. Funding and location (SW, NW, Plains, NE, Mid-Atlantic / upper south) are key for me, followed by faculty. Anyways, on to the list. Thanks, Seth!

Iowa
Texas
Michigan
Amherst
Hollins
Montana
UNC-Greensboro
Colorado State
University of Washington
New Hampshire
New Mexico
Arizona
Vanderbilt
Wyoming

Best,
Greg

Clayton said...

So my original list was not final. Here is my FINAL list, notice the capital letters. Applying in poetry for a 3-year (mostly), midwestern (mostly), fully-funded program made possible by strong teaching, and possibly editing, opportunities (definitely). In no order:

Washington @ St. Louis
LSU
Indiana
Alabama
Arkansas
Southern Illinois - Carbondale
Minnesota
Purdue
Wisconsin
Illinois
Old Dominion
McNeese St.
University of Missouri-St. Louis
Ohio State
Virginia Commonwealth

I'm thinking this provides a mix of "prestigious" as well as less selective schools, some with large admitted classes. Thoughts?

gregory said...

has anyone heard anything about university of central florida?
such a mystery...i have a void that needs to be filled by something.
also, what southern schools excite people?

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