Thursday, November 18, 2010

Where Are You Applying? (Nov. 18), Pt. 1

Post here and put in your two cents! (And for helpful MFA data, including MFA rankings, see The Suburban Ecstasies sidebar.)

160 comments:

EGS said...

First? :D

IF I finish up my writing sample, I would like to apply to these schools in fiction:

WashU
U of Iowa
U of Arkansas
U of Mississippi

I can't afford to apply to any more than that, really. It's nice, though, that so many of the fully-funded programs are in the Mid-West and South, since I'm currently located in MO. I'd love to go back to the West Coast for school again, but the thought of having to drive back out there again from MO...ugh, no thanks.

Writer Dude said...

Second?

Fiction -- almost positive this is my final list:

Iowa
Michigan
Wash U
Indiana U
Vandy
Southern Illinois Carbondale
Alabama
Ole Miss
Notre Dame


I may have forgotten one...but I think that's it.

Carry on!

Karissa said...

Final list in POETRY:

Virginia Tech
Hollins
Syracuse
Virginia
UNC Greensboro
NC State
VCU
Bowling Green
George Mason
West Virginia
Michener
Michigan
Cornell (joint MFA/PhD)

I said...

FINAL in POETRY:

UMass-Amherst
Iowa
Wash U
Michigan
Indiana U
Texas (Michener)
Ohio State
Hopkins
Minnesota
Wisconsin
Johns Hopkins
Brown

kaybay said...

Final, final, final list for fiction:

UF
Iowa
Notre Dame
Ohio State
North Carolina
Bowling Green
Virginia Commonwealth
Michigan
Vanderbilt
South Carolina
Syracuse
Penn State
Virginia Tech

OLIVIA said...

Final list, nonfiction:

Columbia
Sarah Lawrence
Iowa
UNC Wilmington
U of Arizona
U of Minnesota
U of Wyoming
UT Houston
Georgia College & State
UC Riverside
UC Boulder

JNOV said...

@EGS: Do MFA programs offer application fee waivers?

EGS said...

@JNOV

They might...but to be honest, I'm not sure if I want to apply to too many more. I have a full-time job at the moment (all that money goes towards bills), so if I don't get into grad school, I won't be without something to fall back on. And I just graduated from undergrad in June 09 so I still have lots of time to go back to school.

popsicledeath said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jonathan said...

I've posted my list in a previous mailbag, but here it is again. I'm committed to this one. It's not changing.

Iowa
Texas
Oregon
Florida
LSU
Ohio State
South Carolina
VCU
Old Dominion

Blob said...

For Poetry, in random order:

UMass
UT-Austin
Iowa's Writers Workshop
Alabama
FSU
Florida
Oregon
UC Irvine
WashU
University of Washington
Cornell
LSU
Michigan
Wisconsin

Tony V. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tony V. said...

For Fiction:

Wash U.
Iowa
Southern Illinois - Carbondale
Alabama
Iowa
Brown
Notre Dame
Vandy
VTech
SAIC
Syracuse
UNCG

Mike said...

Also already posted, but again. Almost only looking for fully funded programs.

Fiction

Louisiana State
Syracuse
Florida
Virginia
Southern Illinois Carbondale
Minnesota
Oregon
U. Colorado
Alabama
Hollins

Jami said...

I already wrote this in the other thread, but here's my list for nonfiction (except for a couple that are fiction.)

University of Pittsburgh
University of Iowa
University of Illinois
Florida State
UNC-Wilmington
Portland State
Iowa State
Penn State
Miami of Ohio (MA program)
Louisiana State
Hunter
Hollins
McNeese

Ryder said...

For Fiction:

Iowa
Virginia
Hopkins
Virginia Tech
UNC-Wilmington
Penn State
Syracuse
New Hampshire

Gabriella said...

I'm applying in no particular order to the following programs for poetry.

Arizona
Montana
Alabama
Iowa Writers Workshop
Houston
Boise State
Oregon
Arkansas
Kansas

Allison Leigh Peters said...

Poetry,

Michigan
Iowa
Wisconsin

and the Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford

with possibly

Brown
Syracruse
California-Irvine

if I find me with the money

G said...

Okay... here it goes (I think)
UC San Diego
UC Irvine
Brooklyn
The New School
Columbia
Hunter
Low Res:
Rutgers
Warren Wilson
Vermont
Pacific
Antioch
Bennington
Stone Coast

Oh, and that's mostly fiction, some poetry

kbtoys said...

Hey all, I'm applying to:

Sarah Lawrence
Penn State
The New School
Hunter
Cornell
NYU
Brooklyn College

Alexis said...

(in Fiction)

Iowa
Cornell
Johns Hopkins
NYU
WVU
South Carolina
NC State
Memphis

CharlieGordon said...

My final list for fiction:

Alabama
U of Arkansas
U of Wyoming
U of Montana
U of Oregon
Oregon State
Michener
Virginia Tech
Cornell
SIUC
South Carolina

Coire said...

For Fiction

Iowa
Brown
Syracuse
Wash U.
Southern Illinois
Notre Dame
UC San Diego
Alabama
Michener
Arizona State

Aelfkin said...

Poetry, with my partner applying to the same list also for poetry:

Arizona State U
Bowling Green State U
Indiana U at Bloomington
Ohio State U
Southern Illinois U
Syracuse U
U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
U of Michigan
U of Oregon
U of Wyoming
Virginia Polytechnic Institute
Washington University

Maddie said...

Final list POETRY

Iowa
Michigan
Cornell
Brown
Houston
U.Mass (Amherst)
NYU
UCSD

Paulette said...

Oh my gosh I swore I would have my list narrowed down this week. I still have 18!

UT (fiction)
UF (fiction)
University of Michigan (fiction)
Vanderbilt (fiction and free online app. Holla!)
UC @ Irvine (fiction)
Brown
University of Iowa (nonfiction)
University of Virginia (fiction)
University of Oregon (fiction)
University of Montana (nonfiction)
George Mason (nonfiction)
Columbia (fiction)
University of San Francisco (nonfiction)
New School (fiction)
University of Colorado @ Boulder (fiction)
Hunter College (fiction)


That's 16, and I still want to put Cornell and Syracuse back on the list! I got about 8 waivers for being a returned Peace Corps volunteer. I'm a former journalist who just wants to get this fiction book out of my head and onto paper, but I'm still applying to some nonfiction programs. I could use advice narrowing it down further!

Len said...

Looking at some of these lists, I wonder if I'm applying to enough programs...

Oh well. Here's what I have narrowed it down to for poetry:

Iowa
Washington U.
Mississippi
Arkansas
Bowling Green
New Mexico State
UNLV

Gena said...

Final-final-for-sure-(not-surish!)-final-list:

For fiction:

Alabama
American
Arizona State
Colorado
George Mason
Iowa
Johns Hopkins
Maryland
Michener
Minnesota
New Mexico State
Portland State
Syracuse
Wash U.

13 was my unlucky number last year... so this year we're resting on the evens at 14.

Kate said...

This list is shorter than most, but here goes:
Michener
UC Irvine
USC
Rutgers
UFL
Vanderbilt

Karissa said...

Does anyone else look through these lists, hoping that nobody else in your respective genre is applying to your top choice programs?

Or is that just me?

(Shamefully hides in corner.)

Boyce said...

My final in fiction:

Iowa
Oregon
Boise State
SIUC
Montana
Colorado
Portland State
Kansas
Witchita State

C. Nickolas Carlson said...

Final list, Fiction:

Iowa
Iowa State
Ohio State
UNLV
Portland State
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Michigan

I honestly can't afford more than seven. With transcripts from all of the schools I've attended (both undergrad and grad), these seven are gonna cost almost $1000. And even if I could afford more, I think I would stick to a small number. I like the idea of only applying to programs in which I'm really interested and about which I'm passionate, and I don't think I could get excited for twice as many programs. UC Irvine has a good program, but that doesn't mean it would be a good fit for me (plus living that near LA causes madness).

Katie Oh said...

fiction

iowa
umass
brown
cornell
penn state
ohio state
indiana
oregon

my chances? slim to none, but i'll never know if i don't go for it! trying to apply and write my undergrad thesis might be the death of my soul, though. woof.

Scout said...

@ karissa

You are NOT alone!

Rochelle said...

These are the places I'll be applying to in poetry writing:

University of British Columbia
University of Illinois
Johns Hopkins
Sarah Lawrence
University of Iowa (Writers Workshop)
Brooklyn College
University of Virginia
University of Houston

IM GRACEN GLORY said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
IM GRACEN GLORY said...

I have yet to see anyone apply to BostonU for any genre. Any reasons for this? I'm curious because I was thinking of applying there, but the absence of interest here makes me wonder if there's something I should know...

Marti said...

@ IM GRACEN GLORY

I could be mistaken, but I don't think Boston has much funding, which is why it's probably not on a lot of lists. I think the absence is not a reflection of the program, but more so its costs.

Jonathan said...

@im gracen glory

Also, Boston's MFA is only a one year program. I've heard several past/current MFA-ers say that even two year programs can feel abbreviated, so I can only imagine how fast one year would go.

Their own website says, "We are not the place for a leisurely discovery of yourself as a writer or person." I know I'm taking that out of context, but I still thought it was funny. :)

DaveESLetc said...

List for fiction:

UT Austin
UF
Wash U
Indiana U
U of Minnesota
LSU
Cornell
U of Michigan
Ohio State University
Colorado State
Virginia Tech
UNC Wilmington
Arizona State
University of South Carolina
Iowa State

Eric said...

Poetry:

Iowa
Brown
Madison
Minnesota
Michigan
UMASS
NYU
George Mason

Ava said...

I do it too, Karissa!

At least we are not alone in our shame! Haha

Writer Dude said...

@ Karissa, Scount, and Ava

As long as you guys aren't signing on fake profiles to post and spread negative propaganda about the schools you want to attend then I don't think it's necessarily bad or wrong, your feelings.

Not that I'm doing that...

PH said...

Brown
Michener
Wallace Stegner
Wash U St Louis
Louisiana
Florida
Alabama
Oregon
Minnesota
Michigan
and Vandie, cause it's free :)

I write pretty dark, strange lit fiction, though. I'm not going to change the way I write for an application story because that seems dishonest--but I also don't want to waste money applying to schools that are super conservative. So if anybody's got advice against my applying my weirdo self to any of the above, I'd appreciate it! Also love workshopping stories via email, as always :D

Shane said...

My list (fiction):

Iowa
Michigan
Columbia College (Chicago)
Minnesota State, Makato
Iowa State
Kansas
Western Michigan

Adam Palumbo said...

applying for poetry. this is the long list, so to speak

VCU
Va Tech
George Mason
Penn State
UMass
Colorado State
Alabama
Houston

Marisa said...

MY LIST--FICTION

Virginia
Iowa
Brown
Hopkins
NC State
UNC at Wilmington
Hollins
American
Maryland

Brandi Wells said...

I'm in my first semester at alabama for fiction, so if anyone has a question about the area or the program, feel free to shoot me an email.

brandiwells at gmail dot com

thereandbackagain said...

Cornell University
Michener Center for Writers
Iowa Writers' Workshop
Indiana University
University of Kansas
University of Michigan
University of Wisconsin
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Southern Illinois University
Washington University, St. Louis
University of Arkansas,
McNeese State University
Louisiana State University
University of Alabama
University of South Carolina
Old Dominion University
Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Tech
West Virginia University
Ohio State University

in poetry (and posted in a previous mailbag).

Writer Dude said...

@thereandbackagain

I think you got em all ;)

thereandbackagain said...

@Writer Dude

This is Pokemon, right? ;) I'm going to feel like an idiot if I don't get in anywhere. I'm also applying to a couple of MA Lit programs as back up. Waves of panic are coming with alarming regularity now.

etrangette said...

Fiction (in no particular order):

U of Iowa
UVA
NYU
U of Indiana
Ohio State
U of Minnesota
U of Michigan
Brown
Cornell
Syracuse
U of Oregon
UC Irvine
UC San Diego
U of Miami
U of Colorado, Boulder
Wash U St. Luis
U of Illinois

I would love to get into any one of these - just one and I would be ecstatic. Let's see if I can get all those applications in on time...

W.G. said...

Ok, so I'm applying to a bunch of tough admits. Probabaly not the best strategy, but whatever--if I don't get in, there's always next year, right?

For Fiction:

Michigan
Cornell
Iowa
Brown
Syracuse
Virginia
Johns Hopkins
UC Irvine

hopefulscribbler said...

Hi,

Sorry to go a bit off topic but I was wondering if there was anyone out there who's in the Michener program and would be willing to share their SOP? I know it's a bit cheeky but the 350 word requirement has me stumped!

Alternatively, anyone else applying to Michener who's having the same head-splitting problem? I'm just not sure what info to keep and what shouldn't make the cut.

PS: My list for fiction (posted elsewhere too)

Syracuse
Cornell
Ole Miss
ASU
LSU
Michener
Brown
Oregon
Michigan
UNC Greensboro
UCI

meghan said...

The more I want to finalize my list, the more doubts I have! I am giving myself until the end of the week to make the final cut. Arg.

Anyway, list for poetry:

-UVA (would sell my soul)
-Hollins
-VCU
-VA Tech
-ODU?
-George Mason?
-West Virginia?

Low Res

-Goucher? (MD)
-Queens (Charlotte)
-Warren Wilson (Asheville)
-Sewanee
-Lesley? (Cambridge)

I am kind of in a weird situation b/c my husband and I are both lawyers- we live in Richmond, VA and he likes his job and makes an income. So I feel like if I could stay in VA, that would be preferable.

But maybe a low res program could work just in case I can't commute and then we wouldn't have to move? But the funding isn't great. I am so torn.

Any thoughts on any great low res programs? I read Tom's book, and I have heard good things about Lesley.

Also, I would love to workshop poems through email- I am taking a workshop right now, but I always like more feedback! Good luck everyone. Sorry for the book.

meghan said...

Speaking of which, does anyone have any opinions about Hollin's traditional residency program? In Tom's book, there seemed to be some uncertainty about the nature of the new program... the funding definitely seems a little iffy.

Any other opinions on ODU, West Virginia, VCU, George Mason? Besides their websites, it would be great to hear other perspectives.

thereandbackagain said...

@ Meghan

Have you looked at Spalding in Louisville? I'm friends with quite a few people who have graduated from that program and they really liked it. You might consider dropping Kathleen Driskell a line and asking her any questions you might have. If I didn't need something fully funded, I'd consider applying there in a heartbeat.

Carol said...

Thought you might be interested...Blog Jog Day is a one-day event where we all post links forwarding to each others Blogs--most are author and book sites. You can read more about it at http://blogjogday.blogspot.com. Our next Blog Jog Day is November 21st. Warm Regards!

Lucas said...

Meghan,

What would you like to know about ODU? You should apply; I know that much. I'm a first year fiction writer here (there?). Email me with questions.

Seth Abramson said...

Hi guys,

For those interested in discussions of programs rather than posting lists of programs to which you're applying -- I re-posted the mailbag, so you'll probably find it easier and more fruitful to have such discussions there (see main page).

S.

Joel said...

List for poetry (finalized)

Iowa
Houston
NYU
Montana
Boise State
Oregon

mekko said...

fiction:
michigan
minnesota
indi
washington u stl
u florida
oregon
asu
u washington seattle
u texas

any reason why so few people are applying to u washington? how bad is their funding?

Nick Breakwell said...

Fiction:

Wash U. St. Louis
Iowa
Brown
Virginia Tech
Southern Illinois University
Illinois
Notre Dame
Vanderbilt
Ohio State
Arizona State
Michener

Seth Abramson said...

Mekko,
Atrocious.
S.

Monica said...

This is where I'm going to be applying in poetry . . .

Brooklyn College
New School
Cornell U
U of Mass, Amherst
U of Iowa
U of Minnesota
Penn State
Sarah Lawrence
Johns Hopkins

mekko said...

Thanks Seth! Maybe I'll drop Seattle after all.

dan b. said...

final for fiction

iowa
uva
va tech
hunter
rutgers, newark
unc, wilm.
memphis
ole miss
'bama

Brooke said...

I'm feeling totally overwhelmed by this whole process, but assuming I get my act together, these are the schools I plan to apply to, in no particular order, for fiction:

Syracuse
Brown
Virginia
Iowa
LSU
Texas State
Colorado
Montana

Ughh. Just looking at that list freaks me out. Good luck everyone!

Sam Mitchell said...

Final list for Fiction:

UVA
Iowa
Boston U
Emerson
UMass Amherst
Hollins
Univ. of New Hampshire
Southern Connecticut State Univ.

Courtney said...

For Fiction:

Michener
Irvine
Iowa
Cornell
Arkansas
South Carolina
Florida
Bowling Greene
LSU
McNeese
Southern Illinois - Carbondale
Illinois - Urbana-Champaigne
Georgia College State University
UC - San Diego
Indiana University
Vanderbilt

So much frickin' money. Still haven't figured that out yet.

Jeff said...

Here it is, etched in stone. If Seth & Co. are curious, Location, Funding, and Length (2-4 yr.) were my three major factors:

1-University of Texas (Michener)
2-McNeese State University
3-Oregon State University
4-University of Iowa
5-University of Arkansas
6-University of Alabama
7-Ohio State University
8-Texas State University
9-Washington University (St. Louis)
10-University of Wyoming
11-Arizona State University
12-University of Mississippi

jaime said...

Anyone know anything about Iowa's nonfiction program? It's not part of the Writer's Workshop.

Monique said...

Just five for me. In fiction.

Iowa
Michigan
UMass
Texas State
U. Minnesota

Courtney said...

Meh. Meant to say ASU, not South Carolina.

Belinda said...

For fiction I'm applying to...

Arizona
UCSD
Cal Arts
Houston
Texas State
Iowa

amanda said...

Hi everyone! I was in the same boat as you all two years ago and was a regular on this blog. I'm currently a second year poetry student at Sarah Lawrence. For those of you considering applying to SLC, I would be more than happy to answer any questions you have and to chat about the program.

You can email me at:
SarahLawrencePoetry AT gmail DOT com

Best of luck to all! :)
-Amanda

x said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kat said...

Maybe probably almost definitely my full application list (though it started at 12 and I keep adding schools that accept file reference letters 'cause, hey, I don't mind the extra work as long as I'm not bugging my recommenders):

UMass Amherst
Minnesota
Irvine
Michener
Syracuse
Alabama
Iowa
Indiana
Ann Arbor
Emerson
Eugene
ASU
Houston (probably)
Louisiana State
McNeese
Vandy

DougO said...

Hey everyone--I'm applying to:

U. Michigan
UC-Irvine
ASU
New School
Brooklyn College

Jeff said...

It would be interesting if posters would include their top three reasons for picking the programs they chose.

For me, it was location, funding, and the length of the program. These three points correlate directly with my reasoning behind going to grad school in the first place. I want the education, but I refuse to foot the bill (i.e. funding). I need what little funding I'll have to stretch, and worrying about money is a huge impediment to your writing. Living in the cultural epicenter of the world doesn't mean squat if you can't afford rent (i.e. location). Time sweet time. The older you get the more you realize how fast it slips away. Not only do I need a comfortable environment, I want plenty of time to write (i.e. length of program).

There it is.

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

@ Jeff, and everyone really.

My only real concern is funding. If I had the money and time to apply to every program that guaranteed full-funding, I would.

Everything else is the proverbial icing on the cake (cupcake these days?). If a school offers screenwriting and/or play-writing, their program made my list (LSU, Georgia College, and Michener, obvi...but that was there before). I prefer three year programs over two, and better yet four year programs (hence Arkansas, and I just added Alabama to the list since they guarantee funding for a fourth year).

Faculty proved barely a consideration.

I also prefer schools that offer a more flexible course load. Taking only English classes as electives wouldn't be very fulfilling.

My final list (which has actually changed from my previous listing on here because I copy and pasted the wrong doc. Doh.)I also included the main reason for wanting to apply.

Michener - allowed to choose a secondary focus (screenwriting!), flexible course load, not forced to take random lit classes that have no craft or writing focus, great funding, in a great city, 3 years

Iowa - no reason except that it's Iowa

Indiana - 3 years, good funding, would be close to my hometown, Indianapolis, and the joint MFA/MA in African American studies (which I plan to apply for, and is actually 4 years), commitment to diversity

Alabama - 3-4 years, funding

Georgia College - screenwriting, has decent funding (but not for all)

UC San Diego - open to cross genre work, diverse faculty, open to experimentation, I like their vibe, would be in San Diego

McNeese - no application fee at this point, 3 years, can earn MA alongside MFA

LSU - 3 years, screenwriting, good funding, love Cajun accents

Irvine - because it's Irvine, good funding, focus on writing rather than teaching

Cornell - one of the few where faculty factored in (Helena Viramontes, J. Robert Lennon), great funding

Southern Illinois (Carbondale) - liked their vibe, good funding, allowed to do independent study for electives, good interaction with community

Arkansas - 4 years, baller translation program

ASU - like the vibe, funding

Vanderbilt - like the vibe, funding, Nashville

South Carolina - 3 years, good funding, as a big stick it to Janette Turner Hospital

Florida - 3 years, like the faculty, like the vibe, fantastically designed website

I'd be curious to see other people's reasons for various schools, too.

Maia said...

I don't want to post my list until after I've actually applied everywhere I say I'm going to apply, but I like Jeff's question about priorities.

Funding of course is my top priority. Length as well; I strongly prefer 3-year programs. But I have to say faculty is my #2, over prestige of program, and even over location. There are a number of reasons for this.

I'm not concerned with the fame factor of faculty at all, but personally I want to feel a deep connection to and enthusiasm for the art that my professors are creating. Most of the schools on my current list are all small to minuscule, which means I will probably be working closely with the faculty, and I think it would be foolish, considering the intimacy of the programs, to choose someone as a teacher whose work I don't love and admire.

I really didn't want to mention anything about this criterion of mine, at the risk of perpetuating misconceptions about the MFA as being some sort of -- what was it? -- conservative Medieval apprenticeship, in which a pupil inherits and internalizes a set of craft-related rules from a master. Besides, based on the samples of their work that I have read (and I have made a point of reading a few pages of work by every faculty member at every program I've considered), faculty at MFA programs are clearly operating on, questioning, breaking, and rewriting all kinds of different literary rules.

Furthermore, I have signed up for writing workshops on the basis of the instructor's work before, and I have found often that if I feel a connection with a writer's art, s/he is more likely to feel a connection with mine. I have also found that the reverse is true: if I feel that someone's art feels foreign or even appalling to me aesthetically, s/he is likely not going to be my biggest fan either. I admit have this crazy and probably unfounded idea that I have a better chance of getting into a place to begin with if I click with the work of the faculty.

Finally, I am an ethnic minority, and I have a lot of questions about fiction writing from the perspective of an ethnic minority, so seeing an all-white faculty on a webpage sometimes gives me pause. I am applying to many places with all-white faculty anyway, because otherwise I would have to rule out far too many otherwise wonderful programs; but schools like Miami, where M. Evelina Galang is the Program Director, make my list almost automatically. I'm Filipina; there have been maybe four of us in the literary world for the past century (everybody else is in medicine), and I have felt inspired by Ms. Galang from a distance since I started writing.

This post turned out to be much longer than I had intended it. Sorry to interrupt the flow of lists. But I do like Jeff's question and also wonder sometimes about the logic, motive and expectation behind the hard lists.

Karissa said...

Funding is also my top priority, followed by cost of living and TA opportunities. My ultimate goal is to go into a critical PhD, so it's also important for me to have a more "academic" setting as opposed to a completely "studio" one.

Drew said...

in poetry:


University of California, S.D.
UMass, Amherst
Brown
University of Texas, Austin
Washington University, St. Louis
University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa
Michigan, Ann Arbor
Notre Dame
University of Montana
Syracuse
Louisiana State University

Jeff said...

@Courtney

The Arkansas MFA in Translation has two of the best people in the world working there: John Duval and Geoffrey Brock. Brock's wife, Padma Viswanathan, is actually a novelist who took her MFA at Arizona, I believe.

Unbeatable.

Mr. Miller said...

Well, I've already submitted all of mine.

For Fiction:

UVA
Vanderbilt
UofM
Penn State
UNC Greensboro

Now, I wait!

thereandbackagain said...

@ Maia

I'd probably feel the same way about faculty as you, given that I've had similar experiences with workshops (and there was a moment there, when I realized where Ted Kooser was teaching, that I was thinking about changing my list - and if Adam Zagajewski was teaching in an MFA program, I'd have to apply there) if my friend (who is chair of our English dept and is an MFA and creative dissertation PhD poetry person) hadn't pointed out that I still may not gel with that person. She told me that she wound up having her dissertation supervised by someone who wrote vastly different poetry and that it worked out so much better than had she tried to stay with the person she wanted to work with when she first got in the program. Anyway, that was why I focused less on faculty and more on cost of living (location)( and funding and length of program. I'm hoping that the 'Field of Dreams' approach will work - if I show up at the MFA program, my mentor will come.... :) Are you applying to Georgia? I realize that she is Puerto Rican, but I got to hear Judith Ortiz Cofer at the Sigma Tau Delta conference last March, and I have a feeling that she would be phenomenal to work with.

Jessica B. said...

My (almost) final list for Poetry in no particular order:

Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison
Washington University, St. Louis
Cornell
Ohio State
Virginia Tech
Univ. Mich Ann Arbor
UNC Greensboro
UNC Wilmington
George Mason Univ.
UVA
Vanderbilt
Univ. FL
So. Ill. Carbondale
USC

My main considerations: location, funding, faculty & vibe.

Jessica B. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Denny said...

My final list for "fiction"

Iowa
Hopkins
Minnesota
Virginia
Alabama
Vanderbilt
Arizona

Loren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mickey said...

Hey all! I was in this exact position last year and wanted to check in with the application season. I am currently pursuing my MFA in poetry at Colorado State University and absolutely love everything about this program. The process is grueling and competitive, but keep at it! Good luck to everyone, it only gets crazier when you're waiting to hear back in February.

Rich said...

okay, this is mine for poetry

umass-amherst
nyu
rutgers-newark
hunter
iowa
montana
asu
ucsd

Jami said...

I'm only applying to seven schools.

[For Fiction]

1.Virginia Commonwealth U
2.U of Maryland (College Park)
3.Hollins College
4.U of Iowa
5.U of Pittsburgh
6.Georgia College & St. U.
7.U of Miami

DigAPony said...

Hey everyone,

I just wanted to jump back in and mention Oregon State University- please consider applying! I'm a first-year fiction MFA and am really loving the program. I'd be happy to answer any questions via email. Good luck to you all!

baowrites said...

Has anyone heard or know anything about the Writers' Institute at CUNY? It's not an MFA program per se but a yearlong program taught by editors.

EGS said...

WashU - I live on MO already, so it wouldn't be a very far move. And it's a good school.

U of Iowa - Because it's U of Iowa

U of Arkansas - I don't have to mess with an application or application fee unless they like your writing. Sweet.

U of Mississippi - Interesting program, and late deadline (Feb. 1)

SIUC (recently added) - Underrated and thus not as heavily applied to, plus it's not far from where I'm living now.

All about location and funding! And deadlines, heh.

Gorky's Z. said...

EGS,

I need to stick close to St. Louis. What, other than the aforementioned, drew you to Wash U. and SIUC? So far, the only other schools I'm looking at are Memphis, Spalding, Vanderbilt, and Illinois. I'm sort of late in the game as far as applying, so I'm just going by location.

EGS said...

@Gorky's Z.

Well, besides the funding of both, I've always heard good things of WashU - it's probably the best school here in MO. And their faculty is impressive. It would also be nice to go to a school where I didn't have to mess with becoming a resident for tuition purposes. I did that as an undergrad, and although it's not particularly difficult to do, it would be one less thing to think about.

As for SIUC, I was intrigued by their literary journal that you can intern for, which would be amazing since I hope eventually to get into publishing.

Funding and location are the most important to me. I also have two cats that will be going wherever I go, and I'd rather not have to drive cross-country with the boogers.

Pedro Eler said...

Here is my list for fiction:

Cornell
Michiner
U. of Wyoming
U. of Michigan
LSU
Washington U.
Virginia Tech
Purdue

Amaya said...

poetry list-

NYU
Houston
Oregon
Montana
Iowa
Arizona
UNLV

Zak Nelson said...

Fiction, final list (in order by deadline):

1- U Massachusetts Amherst
2- U Minnesota Minneapolis
3- UC Irvine
4- U Texas Austin
5- Cornell University
6- Brown University
7- U Michigan Ann Arbor
8- Syracuse University
9- U Iowa (Writers Workshop)
10- U Montana Missoula
11- Johns Hopkins University
12- U Oregon Eugene
13- U Wyoming Laramie

Zak Nelson said...

Oh, and for what it's worth... my main criteria, in order of importance, were:

1) Funding
2) Location
3) Reputation
4) job prospects for spouse (health care)

Jeff said...

A pattern I've seen on here is that a lot of us are applying to Iowa just for the fact that it's Iowa.

I suppose reputation goes a long way, but how many of you have actually heard anything good about the program? You may argue that writers X and Y and Z who graduated from Iowa have published X many great books, but who's to say they wouldn't have done the same if they graduated instead from Florida or Vanderbilt or Michigan?

I don't know why I'm posting this. Iowa's on my list, too. I suppose I'm doing it because it ranks #1 on my list of cohort quality. But I've heard a lot of terrible things about their instructors and the administration surrounding the MFA program. Some harpy in the English office actually hung up on an applicant last spring! But I suppose they can do this--since they're THE Iowa Writer's Workshop.

EGS said...

@Jeff

What have you heard about Iowa that's bad? Besides the receptionist hanging up on somebody (although I must add that I work as a receptionist at a med school and sometimes you don't mean to hang up on somebody and just press the wrong button, not to mention 95% of the questions thrown our way could easily be googled, thus wasting everyone's time. Just saying.)

LMeerts said...

I'm wondering what you folks think the best Chicago school is for literary nonfiction. I'm apply to ten programs, but am thinking about adding an eleventh because my boyfriend said he'd be interested in moving back home to Chicago. I guess I'm looking at Roosevelt, Columbia College or the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Thoughts?

Michael said...

@Jeff

I don't know what you may have heard about Iowa, but as a fairly recent graduate of the program I can tell you that I can't think of one person I knew while I was there who didn't love it.

And, for the record, what makes Iowa such an amazing place is not it's long list of famous almuni, though that may be why some people have put it on their list. What makes Iowa great, in my opinion, is the amazing community of writers that exists there and the generally supportive and nurturing environment that revolves around the Workshop. For me, it's a perfect-sized program, small enough that everyone knows everyone, but large enough that there's a diversity of styles and, more importantly, that you're not always workshopping with the same group of writers. On top of that the funding is great, especially when you consider the generous post-graduate Michener fellowships that are available, the talent level in classes is extremely high, and the faculty are supurb. Again, I don't know what you may have heard, but on the fiction side I can think of three better teachers than Marilynne Robinson, Jim McPherson and Lan Samantha Chang. And the list of visiting professors is equally strong (for example, last year's visiting fiction professor was recent Pulitzer Prize-winner Paul Harding.) Add to that the fact that Iowa City is probably the most literary town in the country outside of New York, the incredible visiting reading series at Prairie Lights Bookstore, the constant literary events, the summer writing conference, etc. As for the prestige factor, it's simply a bonus. It's true that the Iowa name can open certain doors for you in both the literary and academic worlds, and yes, there's a certain mystique about the place, but that's not really the most valuable thing you get from it. The most valuable thing is the community itself and the experience of being part of such a community of talented and supportive people. That's what it was for me.

Gummy Bear Sacrifice said...

School of Arts Institute of Chicago is apparently amazing. I'm thinking of adding it instead of Columbia College. I'm also looking at Houston (Texas) on a random note.

Jessica B. said...

@ Michael...Geez, now I want to apply to Iowa; I just don't think I'll get in :(

Alicia said...

Jeff,

Yeah, when people say "I'm applying to Iowa because it's Iowa," I just take that to mean that they're applying to Iowa because it's basically the full package: great funding, famous faculty, alumni success out the wazoo, apparently a very cool place to live for writer types, and yeah, the famous legacy and prestige of being the top-ranked program and all that goes along with that. Not a lot of downsides. That's all I take it to mean.

Amy said...

@LMeerts,

I have a friend who is in the art program at the School of Art Institute. She raves about the community and the school in general. I've heard good things.

Jeff said...

I have a friend who's a successful writer, a novelist. When he was applying to MFA programs, he was accepted to a variety of schools, one of which was Iowa. He takes what he's doing very seriously, so he wanted to visit every campus and visit with the instructors in the program. He called ahead to make sure someone would be there to meet him and drove 900 miles for the trip.

No one was there. The secretary in the English office--probably the same one who likes to dial tone applicants--was rude and unhelpful. He went and saw a movie, got something to eat, came back. No one was there, again. And the secretary treated him like a dolt because he didn't go see a foreign film. So, an 1,800-mile round trip for nothing. Thus he turned Iowa down and opted for another program, where they actually talk to prospective students. And like I said, he went on to great success and has just published his third novel.

I hear a lot of things like this about Iowa. I have heard that Lan Samantha Chang is trying to make changes, which is good. And please understand that I'm not accusing their program of incompetence. To me, it's about attitude. It's about treating people like human beings. It's about being considerate.

Go to YouTube and search under: Sandra Cisneros Hate Iowa. I realize this happened years ago and much has changed, but how many horror stories do I have to hear before they have a cumulative effect?

Michael said...

@Jeff,

I don't know what to tell you. I tried in a friendly way to answer your question about Iowa based on my own firsthand experience as a student in the program (as well as the experiences of my friends), but you seem to be pretty deadset on your own opinion.

I really don't know what to say. I can tell you I know all of the secretaries in the program personally, and they are all incredibly nice people. If your friend had a bad experience, I'm sure it was an aberration or perhaps a misunderstanding. As for them not being in the office, that happens sometimes (in all departments in all universities). Maybe they were out to lunch? Maybe he caught them during a particularly busy time in the semester? In any event, I wouldn't really describe his experience as a "horror story."

As for Sandra Cisneros, she went to Iowa in the mid-70s, over 35 years ago, when the program was completely different and whennone of the current fiction faculty were even teaching there. For more recent accounts, you might want to check out the YouTube videos of Michael Cunningham, Marilynne Robinson, ZZ Packer and Curtis Sittenfeld talking about their "recent" experiences there.

Jeff said...

Michael:

Please understand that I'm just relaying what I've heard. It's just that I've heard a lot of it, and it's come from various sources. You did answer my question, and I appreciate your input. Because you're someone in the know, your opinion is important.

I'm not going to post on this topic again. Seth asked that we reserve this thread for posting our MFA picks, and I don't want to rile him up.

Thanks.

Courtney said...

I think I was the first to say "Iowa because it's Iowa."

Nothing about the program particularly astounds me, which is why I said that. The only reason I'm applying is the prestige factor - and that it's obviously not a bad place to go to school. I've heard rumors that it's ultra-competitive. But rumors are just rumors, and I put little weight into them.

Their website is a little snobby. I hate their insistence that writing is a talent one has or doesn't have. I simply don't think that's true. But whatever. That's my personal hang-up.

If I got into Iowa (which I won't), I might go - but I'd probably prefer to attend every other school on my list because they have something that makes them stand out to me. Iowa doesn't. Meh, and it's only 2 years. I have a strong preference for 3 year programs.

This came off more like a rant than I attended. Iowa is a great school, I'm sure. But when I say I'm applying to Iowa because it's Iowa, it's like saying I'm applying to Harvard Law School because it's Harvard Law School. It's viewed in our society as the be-all/end-all, and I've fallen for the hype.

EGS said...

Eh, I think you could categorize most MFA programs, whether they're in creative writing, dance, painting, music, what have you, as being snotty. I'm not saying all artists are snobs, but there are certainly plenty of them in these particular areas of study.

Megan said...

For what it's worth, Iowa has been my top choice all along for three main reasons:

1. Talent level of fellow students. (I've always believed being around writers who are better than you makes you better, and from what I've heard and read a lot of the the students there are crazy talented)

2. Marilynne Robinson!!! (my favorite writer, plus I hear a brilliant teacher)

3. The International Writing Program. (not technically a part of the workshop, but just having access to writers from all over the world seems really cool!)

I really, really doubt I'll get in, but those are my reasons.

Here's what my whole list looks like...oh, and I'm applying in fiction

1) Iowa
2) Cornell
3) Brown
4) Syracuse
5) Johns Hopkins
6) Virginia
7) UC Irvine
8) Oregon

No real safeties, right? We'll see what happens!

Courtney said...

@ Megan:

Are there any so-called safeties (or "safers" at least?) that have okay funding?

Maia said...

@ Courtney

Plenty of sleeper programs are well-funded -- Seth's recent article helped me find several:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/seth-abramson/the-top-20-underrated-cre_b_736052.html

(Sorry, not html-savvy)

WanderingTree (Sequoia N.) said...

Thanks for posting that, Maia. I think folks should keep in mind that your lists should cast a wide net no matter what. Many of the programs on the sleeper list are still in the top 50 and have acceptance rates below 5%. There really are no safety schools with regards to MFA applications. People sometimes have to apply two or even three years in a row, and I know people who didn't get into any of their 10-15 programs (even the "safety" schools) except one top program. I'll also add that while you want to construct a smart list with regards to competitiveness and funding, you also want to make sure that you are sincerely interested (at least with some aspect) of a particular program or else you're just wasting application fees. I see a lot of people on this site applying to programs that they admit they don't really want to go to or couldn't afford to go to unless some miracle happened.

Derrick said...

This is my third year applying for poetry. 13 schools listed in order of deadline. I totaled my cost today and cried over how having dreams is expensive.

Michener
Brown
Washington U. in St. Louis
Cornell
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Michigan
Syracuse University
Virginia Tech
UNC Greensboro
Purdue
University of Colorado at Boulder
University of Iowa
Penn State

Christina V. said...

So I'm applying to 3 low residency programs and 5 full residency in the Midwest. Location is my #1 priority, reputation my #2.

Full Residency

Indiana
Purdue
Iowa
Ilinois (Champaign)
Minnesota

Low Residency

Warren Wilson
Vermont College
Bennington

Courtney said...

@ Gena:

ASU - English
Creative Writing Program
P.O. Box 870302
Tempe, AZ 85287-0302

I'm pretty sure you send it to the same place where you send your writing sample, which is the above address.

anotherjenny said...

Not about where I'm applying--

CVs. Every sample I see online has endless lists of academic accomplishments, teaching gigs, publications, etc. What if (like me) you're a relatively new graduate and don't have much to your name other than the classes you took and a test prep teaching gig?

Does anyone have any CVs they'd be willing to share?

Pema D said...

@ Paulette:
about potentially trimming programs off your list.. how important is funding for you? what about location and close-knit-ness of the mfa community?
i was accepted to montana and george mason's nonfiction programs for nonfiction but decided against them for different reasons. montana's nf faculty is really small (just judy blunt) and as far as i knew, they had no TAships available for nonfiction students, and they were strapped for cash all around. also, it took them weeks to reply to my emails and generally didn't seem to have their shit together. others in my current cohort said the same thing about montana, and opted against going there as well.
george mason seems like it has really great NF faculty. but, the location is super stripmally and it's a commuter campus; the program is big, if you'd prefer more anonymity and not necessarily a close community, that might be a good choice. but it was also really difficult to get a TAship there as well, i think they only fund 1/3 of their students.
i ended up going to the university of wyoming, guaranteed full funding and intimate community.
not sure that helps at all... but thought i'd chime in. best of luck with your apps!

Pema D said...

*ps: sorry about the typos, didn't read over my comment (!)

BookDust said...

I’d encourage you to add UMass Amherst to your list. Although it’s a state school, there are lots of graduate assistantships (aka: funding) to be had - both in and outside the program. The professors are wonderful, and there is a surprisingly big writing community in the area. There are soooo many readings. There is also Live Lit - MFA students read at Amherst Books every other Friday.

Check out:
route9litmag.com
www.flying-object.org
www.massreview.org
www.montaguebookmill.com

I went through the application process last year and am happy to answer questions about the process in general and/or UMass Amherst.

Eric said...

@BookDust

The UMASS site says there are MFA Fellowships available alongside the TA opportunities. Do you know how many of those are distributed to incoming students and what they may include?

Thank you in advance for your help.

Jessica B. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jessica B. said...

@Pema,

thanks for posting that about GM; they were on my list but your description of it being a commuter / stripmall campus give me a lot of pause. What is the funding situation like at UWyoming? Is it a guarantee or subject to change during the two years? I like their emphasis on nurturing students' talent.

Thanks,

Jessica

Seth Abramson said...

Hi all,

Just wanted to remind everyone that there's a mailbag post right below this one -- it'd be great if we could focus this one on application lists and leave longer queries and responses for the mailbag. That way everyone can benefit from the information(!) -- because not everyone checks this thread once they've posted their application list.

Be well,
Seth

Andrew P said...

I'm not completely sure whether I've posted my list before or not, but here is my list for poetry:

Oregon
Oregon State
Iowa
Iowa State
Mississippi
UMass-Amherst
Indiana
Wisconsin
Vanderbilt
McNeese
Arkansas
West Virginia
Virginia Tech

BookDust said...

@ Eric –

As per Seth’s request, I’ll answer your question about funding in the Nov. 3 mailbag.

Tyler said...

Fiction

NYU
Syracuse
Brooklyn College
City College
Hunter
Iowa
Washington University, St. Louis
Columbia College, Chicago
Western Michigan
Bowling Gree State

Paulita said...

@ Pema D
That's sucks to hear about Montana. I was really in love with the setting and already ordered some stuff sent there. Anyone else know anything?

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

Applying in Poetry:

Indiana
Iowa
Mankato
Michener
Michigan
Minnesota
Oregon
Purdue
Syracuse
Virginia
Washington
Wisconsin
Wyoming

Pema D said...

oops i am out of the loop with mfa blog mailbag protocol, i will happily answer any qs about uwyoming's program in the general mailbag!

Jeremy said...

Applying to these 7 schools in poetry

Brown
UVA
Cornell
Iowa
Michigan
Syracuse
UMass, Amherst

Mike said...

In poetry, almost finalized:

-UT Austin
-Wisconsin
-Houston
-U Washington
-Ohio State
-U Indiana
-U Alabama
-U Arkansas
-Arizona State
-Virginia Tech

Considering SIU Carbondale and Old Miss as well.

Sloan said...

for poetry (final):

houston
alabama
iowa
hollins
george mason
virginia tech
virginia
memphis
vanderbilt

Victoria said...

For fiction:

NYU
Hunter
Brooklyn
Syracuse
Cornell
Wash U.
Iowa
Michigan
Minnesota
Michener

Maybe UVA

I have a question about samples, which I asked in the last mail bag but will post here as well. Some places only take 25 pages while others take up to 80. I know Tom Kealey recommends sending the same stories everywhere, but I feel like...a chump if I only send Iowa or Michener 22 pages. What do you guys think?

Also, for the samples, I have one 21 page story I will send everywhere. I also have a humorous flash fiction piece I really love but wonder if it isn't "serious" or "lyrical" enough for a MFA application. Do you think the tone and the length (only 2 pages) will hurt me? Am I better off only sending the 1 long story to the places were lower page limits?

Julie said...

Does anybody have any thoughts about the University of Wyoming?

Seth Abramson said...

Julie,

I think this question is being discussed in the Mailbag (the post below this one) right now. That's a better place to get a response to this sort of question, in any case. Best wishes,

S.

rabbitoutofoklahoma said...

Today I sent off my complete application to UMass Amherst. It feels good to have that done. I plan on applying to

Brooklyn College
George Mason University
The New School
San Francisco State University

I hope to finish all of this by the end of November.

Ryan S. said...

Maybe this was a bad move, but I cut three schools off my list at the last minute. Partly for financial reasons, partly because I just wasn't totally sure about them.

What I'm left with now is this...

(in fiction)

UNC, Wilmington
West Virginia
Minnesota
Notre Dame
Iowa
Washington (St.L)
Arkansas
UC Irvine

the Pensive Monkey said...

I hate those of you who are applying to the same programs as me. Jerks. :)

Fiction, final list:

Wash U
Cornell
Univ. of VA
Univ. of IL - Urbana-Champaign
SIUC
Univ. of MO - STL
Univ. of South Carolina

Richard R said...

My final fiction list:

University of Iowa
Columbia University
University of Michigan
Syracuse University
Bowling Green State University
University of Florida
Florida State University
University of Montana
Boston University
Emerson

Josh said...

IN POETRY:

Cornell
Michigan
Iowa
Alabama
Syracuse
UM-Amherst
Houston
Virginia

Jim W said...

Poetry! Here goes:

UMass
Minnesota
Wisconsin
Illinois
Cornell
Texas (Austin)
Michigan
Purdue
Syracuse
Portland State
Arkansas
Penn State
Idaho

Calvin said...

The schools I'm appling to in Fiction-

University of Arizona
Arizona State University
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
University of California, Riverside
California College of the Arts
University of Kansas
Washington University - St. Louis
University of Missouri, Kansas City
University of Iowa
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Tasha said...

Poetry, final...

Johns Hopkins
Iowa
Virginia
NYU
UMass, Amherst
New Hampshire
Sarah Lawrence

Rorick said...

Final for Fiction:

Oregon
UC Irvine
Montana
Iowa
SIUC
Rutgers, Newark
Brown
Arkansas

Ruth said...

My long-ish list (poetry)

Iowa
Michigan
Wisconsin
Cornell
Virginia
South Carolina
Johns Hopkins
Syracuse
UMass, Amherst
Emerson
NYU
Maryland

E.T. said...

Applying to (fiction):

Minnesota
Cornell
Michener
Houston
Michigan
Iowa
Indiana
Illinois
Purdue
Vanderbilt
Syracuse

On average, how many times should a writer expect to go to bat before a base hit (or even a foul tip)?

Karissa said...

OKAY, I've posted my "final" list before. But this is the ACTUAL final list now that I've decided to apply to some MA Lit programs, as well:

MFA - Poetry:

Hollins University
Virginia Tech
Syracuse
University of North Carolina-Greensboro
North Carolina State
Virginia Commonwealth University
Bowling Green State University
George Mason University
West Virginia University
Columbia College

MA Lit:

UMass Boston
Syracuse
VA Tech
Buffalo
Carnegie Mellon

Tom said...

I'm joing the conversation late. I'm applying here in nonfiction (it may work to my advantage that I'm not seeing as many NF apps here...):

U of Minnesota
New Hampshire
Hollins
Wyoming
Northern Michigan
Iowa
Montana
Idaho
Memphis
U of Arizona

And applying in fiction here:

U of Texas
U of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

bruce said...

Whew, here goes. MY fiction list:

Virginia Tech
UVA
UCSD
Texas State
Idaho
Johns Hopkins
Maryland
Iowa
Iowa State
West Virgnia
NC State
SIUC

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