Monday, December 27, 2010

Mailbag (Dec. 27)

{NB: Moving this up}. I think it's that time again. Have at it!

616 comments:

1 – 200 of 616   Newer›   Newest»
the Pensive Monkey said...

First!

SOP is finally DONE!!!!

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

subscribing!

apps are going fine. 6 done, 5 to go. i WILL be done before christmas!

the Pensive Monkey said...

Am I the only one left on here who still hasn't submitted a single application? I've started all of them and I'll be mailing this weekend and then focusing on the all online apps that are due a week from today...but I scrapped my original SOP and started over, and I have some last minute changes to make to my sample. This is kind of how I roll, so I'm not freaking out...until I come on this blog and see how you all are done with so many already!

farfromgruntled said...

@ the pensive monkey

i think some of us just had early deadlines. i had to get my stuff together for two dec. 1 dates, and then it was easier to just keep going.

Blob said...

@pensive
My good friend who is also applying this year just finalized his list, hasn't done a single SOP or online application yet. You're definitely not the only one.

Like Farfromgruntled I had a Dec. 1st deadline. Plus I had a week off over thanksgiving so I just tried to knock as many out as I could. And still only got about half way through!

I said...

I have two applications left, out of twelve total: Michigan and Hopkins. Both require slightly different things for their statements than my other applications have, which is why I've saved them for last.

Kaushik said...

I've sent out one (Notre Dame) and a half out of twelve. The half is the snail mail materials for UCI - I still need to fill in the online application and submit it to make it 2/12.

Renee said...

I've done 4/9, but two had Dec 1 deadlines and the two with Dec 15 deadlines were fairly easy so I did them all at once.

... now I'm taking a break before the Jan 1 and later apps are due.

& my third recommender finally submitted his recommendations! Hooray.

the Pensive Monkey said...

I still have exactly zero recommendations in. Fantabulous...

Kaushik said...

Regarding Syracuse, does anyone have application info that's better than what's in their MFA brochure?

How long do the Personal and Teaching Statements need to be? When they say writing samples need to be mailed directly to the director of the programme, does that mean emailed? I'm guessing it does, because the brochure only carries his email address.

Writer Dude said...

RE: Progress Update

Not a single app completed but all online apps are submitted and paid up (except IU), but I have yet to pull the trigger on writing samples.

All LoRs are either submitted online (except IU) or mailed or read to be mailed in my packets (Iowa and Bama)

I'm excited to get it done and not give it second thought until February (I lie real good).

Carry on!

the Pensive Monkey said...

Is anyone who's applying to schools with February deadlines actually waiting until February to submit? (One of my schools has a deadline of 2/1 and one is 2/15.) That feels so, so far away and I have every intention of getting those apps in with the rest this weekend.

Jami said...

@ the Pensive Monkey:
No, I'm not waiting till February. I suppose there's some merit in waiting and looking over samples and SOPs again, but I simply cannot bear to let the process drag on that long. I'm done with 10 out of 15 apps, but only because so many had December/early January deadlines, and I am a student with a six week winter break, so I figured this is my only time to really get them done!

@ Louise (from old mailbag)
Re: the Iowa grad application, I was honest and wrote "writing therapy" under "Other".

Eric said...

Here is an odd question for the group:

When programs have "thesis hours" built into their structure (for example, Wisconsin has grad students take 3 thesis hours per semester) what does that entail?

I'm sure there are meeting set up with faculty, but is "thesis hours" just another way of saying, write a lot?

Thanks!

DMC1985 said...

Every interaction I've had with the University of Illinois so far has been outstanding. Just this morning they emailed me to double check something on my application. It was the last school I added to my list, but it's become one of my top choices. It seems like they're really invested in and excited about the program and their students.

Anyone else surprised or disappointed with the application process/interactions with different schools?

Blob said...

@DMC1985

Haven't seen you around here in awhile!

I've been really pleased with University of Wisconsin. They also contacted me to double check something on my application, made me feel really good about the program. Their grad school's status website on the other hand is a mess, but that's not their fault!

UT-Austin has also been really helpful the 2 times I've called (both of which were back in september or october).

anotherjenny said...

I have just returned from mailing final hardcopy stuff to my schools. I am officially DONE with MFA applications.

The contenders:

Indiana U
Penn State
Southern Illinois U, Carbondale
Syracuse U
U of Michigan
U of Texas, Austin
Western Michigan U

It's been raining buckets all morning here in Seattle but when I finished sealing the last envelope (whispering a "please" into the UM one for good measure) the skies miraculously cleared and the sun came out. As I made my way to the corner post office with my envelopes clutched to my chest I kept expecting to be hit by a car or maybe mauled by an errant bear, but I made it there and back safely.

I purchased delivery confirmation for all and did priority mail on Austin jusssst to be sure it gets there by the 15th. I hope all of you feel as good when you're done as I do right now.

Things I'm looking forward to now: baking Christmas cookies for this Saturday's ugly sweater party. I've got my sweater already, and it's pretty hideous, but I'm going to make it worse. You see, there's a Michael's near my house that sells little bells, plastic gold jewels, and gold embroidery thread. Oh, it will be so much worse.

I said...

@anotherjenny, congratulations! I hope to be enjoying the sweet taste of completion come this Friday. enjoy it. your sweater does indeed sound hideous.

Blob said...

sigh, I fail.

I just found I listed my year of birth as 1885 for wisconsin in my already submitted application. For shame.

I did not get delivery confirmation for any of mine. Which is fine. But now I'm starting to needlessly worry since I have no proof any of my material sent over thanksgiving actually arrived. I wish one of the schools would update the statuses...

Sarah said...

@ Kaushik

I mailed in a hard copy of my writing sample to Christopher Kennedy at Syracuse. I didn't even look at a brochure, but on the website it had his address and I believe it said to mail materials there. Let me know if you find out differently!

Raine said...

@Kaushik,

If you go to Syracuse's website here: http://english.syr.edu/graduate/apply.htm, you can find word limits for the personal and teaching statements (500 and 600 respectively) and the mailing address for the manuscript. (I snail-mailed it to that address last year and received an email when they received it.)

anotherjenny said...

@ Blob

Don't worry; for the majority of my apps, when they asked me to list the date I'd be living at my current address until, I put July 2010. Which has already passed.

So apparently I was already too cool for them to contact me back in summer. Booyah.

On the other hand, think of all the authors who where still alive in the 1900s. Your apps will actually appear much stronger now that you were able to kanoodle with Hemingway. Also, you're the oldest human alive. That HAS to count for more than GRE scores.

Gummy Bear Sacrifice said...

@ Kaushik

I also have a novel excerpt and a short story. I believe my novel is the stronger of the bunch, which is fine for the places that I can send both in, but I have no idea what to do for the places that have a 25 page limit.

Jami said...

@ Blob:
Well, I applied for a nonfiction program at FSU that doesn't exist. *hangs head in shame* I specifically divided my applications on my spreadsheet into fiction and nonfiction (I'm applying to mostly nonfiction, but a few fiction) and somehow FSU got lumped into the wrong category... and somehow I never caught that error. *death*

Blob said...

@Jami and Anotherjenny

such a stressful process. No wonder we all make mistakes.

I actually got a very nice email from someone at uwisconsin saying that she'd change my birthdate and that I would have been the oldest applicant! ha! Maybe I should have kept it for brownie points!

Elsa said...

Looking for one or two people to do last-minute fiction swaps with me. I have a 30-pg sample that I'm hoping to send out tomorrow or Friday. Applying to Michener, U Mich, Southern Illinois, U Illinois, Ohio State, and the like. girling4444 at gmail dot com

LMeerts said...

So.. who has written a critical essay for their applications? I'm working on mine and I feel lost. Some people suggest it's a place to show how you read as a writer while others suggest it should be academic in nature, which I interpret to mean I should use literary terms (like irony!) and compare a book to, oh, I don't know, Shakespear. So, please, if you've written one, let me know how you focused it. You can email me at lmeerts(at)gmail.com.

Thanks!

kaybay said...

I, too, am a little stressed out with everything. I'm completely done with about six applications and half-way done with several others. BUT, even just printing everything out, stuffing it into various envelopes, making sure everything's going to the right place, buying postage, filling out stupid apps, is driving me nuts. Especially when I am reapplying to places and don't know what to do. And, yes, I've had several schools not respond to me at all and that's frustrating.

Pensive - I wouldn't worry about being behind, but that January 1st deadline is going to be a bitch. If you get all of your things in order and send everything out as soon as you get your letters, I think you'll be fine. I don't think it'll make a difference if they like you or not, either, although I did see on North Carolina's website that they "prefer" you to send everything early on because it would be "competing with as many as 50 others" if turned in close to the deadline. Just a thought :)

kaybay said...

Aaaand, subscribing :)

the Pensive Monkey said...

@kaybay, the good news as far as my recommendations is that they're all sending the letters straight to the schools, so I can get my side of it all in without waiting for them. I do want to send a reminder email, but with next week being finals week, I don't want to be a thorn in their sides...and who knows, maybe they have sent them in and the websites just aren't showing the correct status. Le sigh. Can't wait until this is all over and I can sit back and wait for the rejection letters to pour in.

kaybay said...

@Pensive :( think positive!

Open Spaces said...

If anyone out there wants me to take a look at their writing sample, I'm happy to do it. I'm not an expert, but I'm a second pair of eyes. I can send you mine if you would like, but I've already started sending it out to schools - and at this point I'm not even sure I want to hear about mistakes.

terryjassen at yahoo.com

DougO said...

I've got all my materials done for Michigan except for my writing sample--I'll worry about ASU after the new year.

Marti said...

@ Jami I emailed FSU long ago and they told me there is a nonfiction concentration. It contradicted what was on the P&W pdf, but I trust the school.
@pensivemonkey I've got nothing sent yet. And with my first two deadlines looming next week, I'm suddenly hopelessly unsure of one essay, chopping it and cutting and pasting things into different orders, and it's still in sad shape, far as I'm concerned. I'm gonna be knee-deep in Microsoft Word till Monday.

the Pensive Monkey said...

Um, yeah, so...I'm reviewing South Carolina's requirements, and it says the application will not be considered until ALL components are received. My transcripts have made it, but the site is showing no GRE scores for me. I sent my scores electronically when I took the test in August. How could they not have been received?

Jonathan said...

@Pensive Monkey

South Carolina's website is also showing no GRE scores for me, despite the fact that I sent everyone my scores at the same time in October, and other schools have confirmed their arrival. I'm hoping it's an issue with their website (and the fact that we're having the same problem might support this). Either way, I think I'll e-mail them soon.

the Pensive Monkey said...

@Johnathan,

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one...I have yet to see confirmation from any of my schools that the GRE scores have arrived. Not sure what to do about this. I sent them to 4 schools when I took the test and paid to have them sent to 3 more schools after that...this is so frustrating. At $23 a pop, I will not be pleased if no one receives the scores, but I just don't see how that's possible! I'm hoping it's just these sites not being updated properly...

Jonathan said...

@Pensive Monkey

It seems odd to me as well that scores could possibly get lost (wouldn't they be sent electronically anyway? I don't know..). I understand that it happens, however, so it's smart of us to confirm. Texas and Oregon have confirmed that my scores were received, so I know that they at least got somewhere, even if most schools don't have anything updated.

I'm hoping that the trouble is coming because we're sending our GRE scores to their English and CW departments, then checking our application statuses from the grad school admissions offices. And the two separate offices/departments might not be sharing all their info. But obviously that's just a guess.

Kaushik said...

Illinois appers,

The website asks for a 300-500 word SOP, but the application form says the statement should be limited to 1500 words and include a personal statement.

What to do?

Kaushik said...

Illinois Urbana-Champaign, that is.

Loren said...

@ kaushik

I would go by the department requirements. I'm pretty sure the online form is for all grad students. Like U of Florida has a place to write a SOP on their online app but the department is very clear that they don't want you to send in a SOP

Kaushik said...

Thanks Loren, that's what I guessed. Just wanted another opinion on it.

Leanne said...

so, i'm an international student. after reading the MFA handbook and the websites of all of the places i decided to apply to, i found in some of the schools' application forms that i need to prove that i have financial backing for the first year.

the problem? i don't. my family isn't well off and i'm basically depending on getting funding/TA-ships, because otherwise even if i got into a school, i wouldn't be able to afford it.

should i just not apply to those schools who require that?

Blob said...

last night I dreamt of rejection letters...

Leanne said...

@the Pensive Monkey

nah, you're not alone, i just started my applications recently. i'm only applying to places with deadlines in january and feburary, clearly.

Blob said...

Umass folks:

Has anyone seen their mailed in materials (writing sample, etc) show up on the status page? Mine isn't up yet and I'm assuming that's because they haven't updated (which is totally understandable and believable), but I thought I'd check and see if others had had their stuff show up yet.

I said...

@Blob, for UMass my status lists "Personal Statement" (twice) but not writing sample.

Blob said...

@I
hmmm....that makes me worry (a tad) when did you mail your stuff out?

I'm also missing one rec for umass! aack! I'm a bit terrified to contact/harass that recommender. But, it's a week past deadline...

I said...

@Blob,

I mailed my UMass packet on 11/24 and I believe it was delivered on the 26th.

You might want to email that recommender. In my experience, if you can do it politely, they'll appreciate the reminder and not be annoyed.

Blob said...

@I

hmmm, I mailed mine the 29th. So I guess you have a few days on me. I'll wait until Monday before I call UMass to double check. Of course by then, if it's not in, I'm probably just screwed, which sucks considering it's my first choice. Maybe I'll call tomorrow...

I agree about the gentle reminder. But unfortunately I gave him one of those November 30th and I'm worried that this might be too soon to remind again?

Lucas said...

Eric,

As far as your question about thesis hours goes, in a word, yes. You will have some oversight, and, here, they have a thesis colloquium course that actually meets as a class and helps students prepare (geared towards the accompanying statement, I think). I'm a first year and not an expert, but I have another grad degree, and I believe thesis hours: you take less classes that semester and start meeting overseen deadlines for the thesis.

And to Blob,

1885...that's hilarious. If they ask, just tell them you were William Dean Howell's coffee bitch at The Atlantic, and that you actually discovered Theadore Dreiser. Major street cred.

I said...

@Blob

I wouldn't feel bad about emailing again. They're the one a week past deadline, you know? You're allowed, especially for your top choice. Good luck with it! Also, as a reminder, it's still early enough that having one letter out still isn't a big deal, I don't think. If it is, I'd hope they'd let you know.

Lucas said...

Theodore...whatevs. Spell his name right or they won't believe you.

Writer Dude said...

RE: Thesis "Hours"

In my undergrad study our thesis was also "3 hours"...but that entailed a half hour meeting every week with a faculty adviser (which mine forgot about A LOT haha) and deadlines for certain pieces/parts. The amount of time wasn't a literal representation of time spent on the thesis or in a classroom/meeting...but instead the "3 hour" part is the 'weight' it is given when calculating GPA (and credits needed to graduate).

An A in a 4-hour credit course would be worth slightly more than an A in a 3-hour course...whereas an A in a 1-hour course (like the shining A+ I got in GOLF lol) will hardly dent an overall GPA.

Lucas said...

To build on Writer Dude's point:

Most (all?) grad courses are three hours. And, yeah, other than meetings and stuff, you take the hours instead of a class but work on your thesis whenever you want. I think this has been established, and I'm going to resume homework now. Good luck, y'all.

Eric said...

Thanks for your replies Lucas and Writer Dude!

Jami said...

@ Marti:
Thank you, thank you, thank you for verifying that I'm *not* crazy. I knew I wouldn't have put FSU in the nonfiction category for no reason! Haha, that's exactly how I verified too-- the P&W pdf-- which made me think I was wrong. *whew*

Keep trucking along, everyone!

Marti said...

@ Jami
Yeah, it's a little confusing. The first person I talked to told me that the concentration offered was "creative writing," and I was like, that doesn't help! But then I talked to a student who said that CNF is "certainly offered" and that the fiction profs support it. This gave me the impression that perhaps CNF isn't as central to the program as fiction is, but at least we know it's an option.

Blob said...

this is shockingly premature. None of us should even really be worrying about anything but getting apps out and staying sane through Jan and Feb.

But here's an interesting post on MFA Chronicles about decision making. Some of the comments are quite good.

http://mfachronicles.blogspot.com/2010/02/decision-time-discussion-question-no-1.html

I said...

So my OSU status says incomplete, and when I click for details, it says that my transcript has been "Initiated" (versus "Completed", I suppose). What does that even mean? I emailed the Grad Admissions office about it two days ago, since that's who's listed as the contact for that piece of the app, but haven't heard back. Does anyone else's say this? I'm not sure how to proceed.

I said...

(I forgot to state the obvious- my transcript was mailed to them on 11/16)

Blob said...

@I

I don't know for sure, but my guess is that means they've received your transcript but have not had a chance to verify it (ie cross check with your online application information and make sure you have all the schools and that it's a complete transcript).

Writer Dude said...

Loose leaf, staples, or paper clips?

Does it matter?

Katie Oh said...

i think i'm going to get out brown and cornell this weekend and finish up the rest on monday and tuesday.

my sample is finally 100% done, i just need to tweak my SOPs for each school and i think i'm done! this is terrifying!

Blob said...

Staples or loose leaf.


I've seen a couple programs specify that they do NOT want paper clips and some to say to staple. But no place has seemed in favor of paperclips. So I say staple or leave things loose. I stapled my manuscript together and the pages of my SOP together but did not bind the full application together.

Katie Oh said...

@ Blob -

UMass isn't even listing my Personal Statement, let alone any of my paper materials. buhhh? Maybe they're just waiting to update them all in one big stack? I imagine the past two weeks have brought all the packets and they're prob just not updating yet.

Blob said...

Signs of my insanity:

1. I put my birth year down as 1885
2. Last night after watching Harry Potter, I dreamt that my rejection letters were coming to me in the form of quidditch golden snitches, that would fly up to me, open up, announce 'rejected!', and then follow me around forever.
3. I have been reading the "i didn't get in" forum on the PW speakeasy
4. I joined a gym

Courtney said...

I keep adding schools.

I don't know why.

Maybe it's because the application process is the one thing that I have control over.

Now I'm up to twenty. So. Much. Money. Sorry, Mum. No Kitchen Aid Mixer for Christmas this year...

Pinkis4gangstas said...

GOD BLESS THIS BLOG!! I'm trying to decide what MA program to go into and this has popped up in my research.

Gummy Bear Sacrifice said...

I need to get out of work for tomorrow so I can spend all day working on UT Austin. What's a good excuse besides "sick" *cough cough*

Writer Dude said...

@ Gummy Bear Sacrifice

I saw a comedian one time championing the concept of "calling in horny"...

Carry on!

Victoria said...

I'm halfway done with apps! Woohoo!

Do you guys know if all the schools do interviews before making the final decision?

Blob said...

@victoria

I don't believe any of the schools do interviews before acceptances.

UMass does TA interviews for those that fill out TA applications. But you can get accepted to UMass and not get a TAship. You can also get a TAship interview and not end up getting accepted (I believe). But that's the only school I know of that has any interview aspect to it.

Do people know of other schools that interview?

I would actually love an interview. I like them!

Pedro Eler said...

I have finished pretty much everything. TOEFL scores should be getting to schools next week, GRE got there last week, the recommenders are going well...
BUT... THERE IS this one recommender that sent his letter to 7 universities but just ignored the other 3... JUST IGNORED them, and I have sent him countless emails and he still hasn't sent the letters, and one of them is U. of Texas, and the deadline is this wednsday... so getting a little worried, but I am sure he will submitt it by then... I have to have faith, right? LOL

Kaushik said...

@ Leanne

If they are programmes with full funding it might not be necessary for you to show that you have financial backing. That section could be there for other grad school applicants. But this is only my guess.
If you're worried about it, I'd say explain it briefly in your SOP or somewhere else in your application.

@Blob and others

No paperclips? I kept agonising over it and finally put paperclips on my UCI materials because I figured they're easier to remove than staples. What's the logic behind preferring staples to paperclips?
And if I choose neither, is it a good idea to put the materials in a file or detachable binder of some sort? I'm couriering my materials from India, and putting loose sheets in an envelope sounds like a sure way for them to reach in a mangled state.

whydontyoudance said...

My writing sample is 25 pages, about 5300 words. There are a few programs that specifically ask for 30-40 pages like Indiana, Cornell, Iowa.

Do you think it's a problem submitting slightly fewer pages?

Jami said...

@ whydontyoudance
I think if a program asked for around 30 pages, 25 is fine, but not if they asked for around 40-- I would throw in another story unless you absolutely don't have anything that's polished enough.

I paperclipped my samples, I didn't know some schools had a problem with it. Oh well- what's done is done. I don't think any of my schools said anything specifically against it so I'm not going to worry about little things I can't change anymore, right? Right.

Also, I lost my USPS tracking number for my Pittsburgh application so I can't even check if it got there... ack.

Jami said...

Well, found the tracking number, only to discover it's still not there. *sobs* It was supposed to be there the 4th... and now the application is due tomorrow and it's still at the Pittsburgh sorting facility, *not* at the university! What should I do?

the Pensive Monkey said...

@whydontyoudance, how are you formatting your story? One of mine is around 6800 words and I fit it onto 19-20 pages, depending on font, margins, etc. If you mess around with formatting, you could cut down the pages and add another shorter story, no?

SparksTed said...

Hey all-

Quick question on Statement of Purposes: how important do you consider the "I wish to study a your X school under Y and Z professors?" paragraph? I ask because some of the schools I'm applying to have a word count minimum, and I've received mixed advice on whether to focus the SOP on my background over studying at a specific program. Thanks!

Kaushik said...

@ SparksTed,

In the MFA Handbook Tom advises applicants against referencing specific professors, because you never know if they're the ones who are going to be reading your sample, or if they are away on sabbatical, or if most applicants seem to want to work with the same professors.
At the same time, however, I've seen some program websites ask applicants to mention it, so I'm not sure.

My personal opinion is if there's a professor whom you're genuinely interested in working with for a specific reason, mention it. Don't drop names just for the heck of it. Either way, it shouldn't take up too much of your SOP.

Shawn said...

getting there, but boy is the stress piling up. first app should be out tomorrow. most of the others (the jan 1 schools) to follow on tuesday or wednesday. doesn't help that finals are starting next week.

about the manuscript. since i'm sending most of my material in one big envelope, how should i organize it? i know it varies school by school, but if there isn't a preference listed, should there be a manuscript cover sheet with the two stories stapled one following the other? or should they be stapled separately? i don't even know. any ideas?

Karissa said...

@Blob

Virginia Tech requires a phone interview prior to admittance.

Last year, my boyfriend had a phone interview at SAIC prior to acceptance, as well.

Todd Gray said...

It's official. I bombed the GRE. Yay!

Raine said...

@Jami and others using USPS tracking,

While tracking is reassuring (I've used it for my applications), be aware that sometimes it isn't accurate. If a USPS employee forgets to scan the tracking bar code at a certain step (such as delivery), then that step won't show up on the website. This becomes more and more possible as we move into the busy mailing schedule around Christmas, when USPS employees are extremely busy. This happened to me last year, where the tracker told me my application was still in the sort facility long after it was due to be delivered (and was never shown as delivered on the tracker). Eventually I found out that it did, in fact, arrive to the program on time.

Leanne said...

@ kaushik: thanks! a few quick calls revealed that i only have to fill those forms in if i get accepted.

another quick question, this time about CVs/resumes: i don't know whether to attach the resume i've been using to apply to jobs (1 page, succint, mostly journalistic and writing jobs, among other things). did you use different formatting or include different things for the copy of your resume you submitted to the MFA programs?

thanks!

Leanne said...

@ todd gray: i felt the same way. woohoo. i guess that's what happens if you only study for a week.

Eli Lindert said...

Anyone want to do a last minute SOP critique exchange? e-mail me yours and I'll e-mail you mine

elindert at gmail dot com

thereandbackagain said...

I can't believe there was a new mailbag for a day and a half and I didn't notice. I blame my students. That said, I'm done with them for the semester and their grades are in. All I have to do is some paperwork and my semester will be done. Now, I just have to keep my fingers crossed that I will have a job in spring. UGH!

I have 5 of 20 MFA applications completed. I'm hoping to finish Illinois U-C and WUSTL today and Cornell's (I still need to edit my thesis and I'm just getting final comments back today) this weekend. Then I'll start on the Dec. 31 - Jan. 3 deadline schools next week. Fun times.

Re: interviews:
South Carolina apparently requires a phone interview. This prospect stresses me out. I'm sure that I will either sound like a blithering idiot or I will burst into unseemly tears during the interview.

In other news, I should be able to check my GRE Literature in English score on Monday. I'm terrified that I did awful and that Cornell will just laugh at my application for the MFA/PHD program. :/

All this to say: subscribing!

Jonathan said...

@thereandbackagain

Bummer about South Carolina and the interview. Where'd you hear that?

thereandbackagain said...

@ Jonathan

Only in my brain, apparently. I was mixing them up with Virginia Tech.

So, no phone interview with South Carolina. Sorry!

I'm clearly losing my mind.

Jami said...

@ Raine:
Okay, that gives me a semblance of relief. I emailed the program and let them know that it may be a couple days late and hopefully that will be okay since it's clearly postmarked by the date and everything else is in.

@others
I believe Hunter requires some type of phone interview, as well.

Todd Gray said...

@Leanne I wouldn't mind as much, except I didn't make the "generally expected" score LSU wanted. I'm really interested in their program. I haven't decide whether to apply or not--as it has started coming down to a financial issue. I'd rather spend my money where it's going to be the most effective...

Blob said...

@todd gray

for what it's worth, I know people who were accepted to LSU without the recommended GRE score. And I am applying being under that as well.

Todd Gray said...

@Blob That does make me feel better. Thanks for putting that out there. It's good to know. I really didn't want to cross them off my list.

Jami said...

@ Todd:
I would go ahead and do it anyway, especially if you're really interested in LSU.

Speaking of LSU, two days ago I realized I had been linked to their *old* creative writing website (complete with blocky frames and bright blue underlined links) this whole time without realizing they had a new website elsewhere. No wonder I couldn't find information anywhere.

Blob said...

@jami

can you link their new website? I don't think i've found it yet...

Jami said...

@ Blob:
Here you go:
http://uiswcmsweb.prod.lsu.edu/ArtSci/english/CreativeWriting/index.html#

Be forewarned: information is still limited, but not nearly as obstructed as at this website, which was the one I had been going to:
http://www.lsu.edu/creativewriting/

--
In other news, I may or may not have spent from, say, one to four am this morning skimming all the entries on MFA Chronicles.

Which brought me to this point: since my applications are soon going to all be in, I should spend my time reading, reading, reading. I'm not an English major, I don't have any type of literature background. I fear that if I actually am accepted into an MFA program I will be light years behind everyone else in terms of being well-read. I'm a psych person, I can out-Freud you with the best of them, but when it comes to literature-- zip. zilch. Does anyone have any recommendations, or possible links/lists they can turn me to, of where to get a start? Thanks so much!

Jami said...

@ Blob:
oops, the link seems to be too long to show up. Here it is again, cropped this time:
http://uiswcmsweb.prod.lsu.edu/
ArtSci/english/CreativeWriting/
item22414.html

Leanne said...

ughhhhh. i just realized that one of the programs i'm applying to (johns hopkins) "strongly suggests" that applicants take the GRE literature subject test. i'm at home in hong kong now and i don't think there's any way i can take the test before the application deadline. should i still apply? gah.

thanks for the help, everyone.

Leanne said...

@ Todd ah, lame. well, best of luck...

Todd said...

@Jami I don't know what you've read, so I don't know what to suggest. I'm not an English major either, but I'm an avid reader.
What do you like? Read that. If you pick something up and don't like it, then, try to figure out why. That's solely from looking at it from out a writer's lenses.


It might be fun to read the debut novels of both Hemingway and Fitzgerald. The Sun Also Rises (Hemingway) and This Side of Paradise (Fitzgerald), especially if you've read their later stuff. This way you could think of their progression. Most people were made to read both The Great Gasby and the Old Man and the Sea in high school.

Here's my other suggestions (just personal likes):

Short Stories Collections
Winesboro Ohio - Sherwood Anderson
A Good Man is Hard to Find - Flannery O'Connor
My Name is Aram - William Saroyan
Nine Stories - J.D. Salinger
And any one of Hemingway's collections

Novels
As I Lay Dying - Faulkner
Sound and the Fury - Faulkner
Of Mice and Men - Steinbeck
On the Road - Kerouac
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper
Breakfast at Tiffany's - Capote

p.s. Thanks for LSU's new website

Jonathan said...

@Jami

It's sort of funny that you mention your desire to read, because I just had a similar thought. I spend way too much time trolling blogs and reading on the internet, time (at least some of which) I really probably should spend reading and writing. I know others have talked about wanting to use the time between application deadlines and notices well, and I feel exactly the same way.

As for reading... If you're looking for something more contemporary, I'd check out this list of the best books of the last decade (obviously just some peoples' opinions): http://www.themillions.com/2009/09/best-of-the-millennium-pros-versus-readers.html

And if you're looking for something a bit older, a couple years ago Time Magazine put out a list of the best books of the last century of so:
http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,1951793,00.html

Todd said...

I'm currently reading the master-piece, wait for it, it's going to be legen--wait for it--dary...Jaws by Peter Benchley.
Yeah, it was a book before it was a movie (go figure). I've never actually seen the movie in its entirety, but sharks freak the hell out of me anyway.
The book is decent enough.

Todd said...

@ Jonathan Cool lists! But the TIME one cut-off. Could you re-post?

Leanne said...

@Jami: i'm no expert, but my feeling is that you probably aren't at as much of a disadvantage as you think having not been an English major. beyond reading "classics" like Shakespeare, Beowulf, and some other things, i don't think i'm necessarily more well-read than my other college friends of different majors. plus there's the whole bringing a different background to the plate, etc.

that said, here's some of my suggestions/likes. some of them were translated from other languages, fyi:

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

The Joke by Milan Kundera

Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee

The Metamorphosis by Kafka (or any of his short story collections)

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Dracula by Bram Stoker

The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky

... if it makes you feel better, i was an English major but have little to no knowledge of American literature, as i ended up sticking to British works. oops!

Todd said...

@Leanne Beowulf is actually pretty legit. It's kind of sad hardly no one but lit freaks read it.
I would recommend it to someone that hasn't read it before. I picked it up after watching the CGI movie.

I've The Metamorphosis somewhere. I need to read it now.

Writer Dude said...

Ooh...Book Suggestions!

If you haven't read Red Sky At Morning by Richard Bradford...you must!

Also:

Steinbeck -- Cannery Row and its sequel Sweet Thursday (I'm paraphrasing author Chris Moore here (see below): 'shorter than grapes of wrath and hardly anyone has to kill their retarded friend')

Chris Moore -- "Lamb: the Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal"; "Dirty Job"; or "Fool" (for you shakespeare enthusiasts out there)...he isn't "literary" but eff-word it, they are entertaining.

Tom Robbins: Jitterbug Perfume; Still Life with a Woodpecker


Kurt Vonnegut: ALL

whydontyoudance said...

@pensivemonkey

Yeah, it's a novel excerpt, so throwing a short story in there wouldn't really work. I spend a lot of time rewriting each short chapter of the novel, so I was inclined not to push material that wasn't ready.

It's formatted in courier and because there are lots of short chapters, 5300 words becomes 25 pages.

Todd said...

@WriterDude But the killing of the retarded friend was one of the best parts! (I can't get through Grapes of Wrath no matter how many times I try)

But seriously, Still Life with Woodpecker is a great book. I want to read more of his stuff but haven't.

Vonnegut--also good.

Leanne said...

@ todd: oh, i liked beowulf a lot, actually. i'm glad i got to read it. i just sometimes question why certain things are considered "required reading" when other works of the same caliber aren't...

Todd said...

@Leanne Yeah, I completely agree. I don't know how one work makes the list and another not.

Beowulf was definitely deserving. Some others I question.

Sometimes I wish I had majored in English, just so I could've been introduced to works I wouldn't have been otherwise. But at the same time, I know I had some "required" reading that I despised in my own time too.

I don't know if its better to read it on your own or have it forced on you--really.

I think it's unfortunate when friends I have dislike some great book--just because they were made to read it in 7th or 8th grade (and really weren't old enough to understand it).

At the same time, I have friends that don't read but have a favorite book (one of the only they've read) because they were made to read it.

I don't know. Double-edged sword I suppose.

Blob said...

FSU folks:

do you know if the GRE score should be sent to the department or to the graduate school?

Jonathan said...

@Todd

Oops, sorry about the bad link. If you're still interested, hopefully this will work. I tried to put it on a few lines. This is the extent to my computer knowledge.

http://www.time.com/time/specials
/packages/completelist
/0,29569,1951793,00.html

thereandbackagain said...

@ Folks applying to Wash U - St. Louis

I've got to get to my brother's senior art show, so I'm hoping to get a quick answer while I'm getting ready. Where did y'all send your transcripts? I'm guess that they should go attn: Kathy Schneider, but I want to be sure. (I've also emailed Kathy, but I don't know when she'll be able to get back to me, and I'd love to get these in the mail today since they are due on the 15th).

Thanks! :)

Jonathan said...

Also, I love hearing about everyone's favorite books! For me, if we're talking "classics," I'd say Faulkner is my favorite, particularly Light in August. It's still uniquely his, yet so much more accessible than As I Lay Dying or the Sound and the Fury.

For contemporary authors, I really admire Michael Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, The Yiddish Policemen's Union) and Marilynne Robinson (Gilead, Home). They're pretty different from each other, but both so fantastic.

Writer Dude said...

Also: Ethan Frome...don't do it!

Blob said...

@thereandbackagain

I got the impression that they only needed an electronic one uploaded and did not have one sent...

if you hear back from Kathy, will you also let me know?

Blob said...

also, I'm starting to get really nervous about my umass status still saying that NOTHING has been received except my gre score and transcripts (which were sent around the same time as my other materials but obviously not all together).

thereandbackagain said...

@ Blob

Well, that is what I thought, but I have completed the application and there is no place to upload transcripts (or maybe I missed it). Then on the application instructions page, it says to mail them in. Frustrating.

Blob said...

ok, another question, sorry.

For Florida applicants: have any of you found a status checking website for UF? It's the online online application I've submitted that doesn't involve some kind of 'check your status' link. Am I missing something or does it not exist?

Todd said...

@thereandbackagain

Wash@StLouis writing sample can be uploaded under Supplemental Forms tab.

I haven't uploaded mine yet, but that's where I found to do it. Planning to myself this weekend. TGIF.

thereandbackagain said...

@ Todd

I'm just trying to figure out the transcript situation, not the writing sample. I've already submitted the application.

Todd said...

@thereandbackagain Oh! I had to think about this one, too, when you add your schools--it'll show a paperclip icon to the left of the school. Click on that, and you should be able to attach a copy of your transcripts that way.
I don't know what to do if you've already submitted it, as that's still within the application. I'd email, I guess and ask. If you can't go back in and add things that is.

thereandbackagain said...

Ok. Here's the deal on Wash U. straight from Bridgitte in the Graduate Admissions office. Yes, you can upload unofficial transcripts on the application (still don't know how I missed that), but they also need the official transcripts for the application to be considered complete. Of course, the MFA program may not require the transcripts in hard copy, but it might be best to check. Hope that helps. I'm off to the post office again. YAY?

ABC said...

I've submitted all my applications and sent all my holiday cards. You'd think I'd feel self-satisfied and perhaps even a bit smug. And yet, I feel nauseated every day and wonder how I'll get through these next months until all decisions go out. Tonight I plan to distract with karaoke. Anyone else?

Blob said...

@ABC
Oh, if it makes you feel any better, acceptances start going out as early as early february, less than 2 months away!

Blob said...

@thereandback

did she say where to have it sent?

kaybay said...

OoooOOOoooh, pretty new design :D

Congrats to all who have finished, I'm almost there! 1.5 more to go!

BUT, I made a giant boo-boo and sent one of my GRE scores to South Carolina State instead of USC and had to fork over the $23 to send it again because (quoting ETS), it was "my own mistake." Duh, but c'mon. Give me a friggin' break. >:(

ABC said...

@Blob Thanks! I feel that many days more comforted :-)

D├ęborah N Kabwang said...

Anyone else who wants to swap?

Raine said...

Re: WashU, I don't remember what address I sent my transcripts to. Fingers crossed they end up there. But I did just find a link through the graduate school to the mailing address for supporting documents (including transcripts) for each program. The MFA is the last on the list: http://graduateschool.wustl.edu/prospective_students/admissions/departments_deadlines

Raine said...

Re: Reading

Samuel R. Delany has a book about writing called, appropriately, About Writing. It includes interviews and essays, and in one of the essays he lists a bunch of writers he recommends reading to "begin to absorb some of the more ambitious models for what the novel can be." So I've been reading through that list, one novel by each author mentioned, starting with Balzac, Flaubert, etc, then Austen, Thackeray, etc. It's been a lot of fun. Who would have guessed that I'd love Middlemarch? Not I.

thereandbackagain said...

@ Blob

I didn't hear back from her today, and I wanted to mail it this afternoon so that I wouldn't have to fork over more money to the USPS than 1st class mail. I sent it to the address on the link given just above. Sorry for the delay - my brother had his senior art show tonight and my cousin was in A Christmas Carol, so I've been out and about. Off to house/dog/cat sit for my aunt and uncle. This weekend will be dedicated to chilling out and working on my Cornell app. We'll see how well that goes. :)

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

@Leanne,

I <3 Kafka and I <3 J.M. Coetzee.
Coetzee is coming to the Jaipur Literary Fest in January. I live in the South of India, but I am definitely travelling to Jaipur with all my Coetzee novels in the hope of meeting him and getting him to sign my books.
Also, I need to think of some good questions to ask him and find a way to slip him my writing sample...

Jeff said...

Do a lot of universities consider their campuses an actual city/town? The address I've got for the University of Iowa graduate school is:

The Graduate Admissions Office
107 Calvin Hall,
University of Iowa, IA 52242

I know Creative Writing materials go to a different address at Iowa, but I had to have a double-take at this one.

hopefulscribbler said...

I'm trying to submit my payment to Iowa online but it keeps declining all my cards. There isn't a problem with either card I've tried to use but perhaps it's because I'm international? Very odd, because I've tried using a visa and a mastercard. Has anyone else had a problem with their site?

the Pensive Monkey said...

Well here we go...mailed South Carolina today, and the rest of the submissions begin...NOW. Eeeeeek!!! I'm about to be very, very poor. If I could be any poorer than I already was...

Also, I had refrained from visiting the P&W forum...until the other evening, when I found myself OBSESSING over the threads about acceptances/denials. Why? What purpose does this serve? Nada. These next couple of months are going to kill me. And I am trying HARD to prepare myself mentally to get nothing but rejections, but those closest to me assure me that they will be shocked if I don't get in...they clearly don't understand how hard this process is! They think I'm just being humble or pessimistic, but I'm really being REAListic!!

thereandbackagain said...

I don't know if anyone else is waiting on Nov 13 GRE Literature in English scores, but they are now available by phone. Considering how I thought the test went, I'm quite happy with my score - 630/79%. I think that 630 was the score I got on the last practice test, so yay. Good luck to everyone. Glad to have that behind me.

Marti said...

Hey Jeff,
Looks like you chopped something out of the address. From the NWP page, the correct address is:
Office of Admissions
The University of Iowa
107 Calvin Hall
Iowa City, IA 52242-1396

Gena said...

Yay ABC and anyone else who recently finished! (I also totally missed the new mailbag... I only wondered at the sudden silence of my inbox. Teehee.)

Kaybay-- almost done!

Blob-- Did your dad fight in the civil war?

Anyone talking about book rec's, like a few others, I'm all about the Faulkner. I'll get all traditional and go Absalom, Absalom!. In a non-English slant, I'm also gonna recommend Borges' Ficciones collection for a quick mind-melt or Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich for a quick mind-wipe. Though really anything by either author is good for a break from life. Oh, and if plays float your boat, I'm going to suggest the same thing I did last year-- Copenhagen my Michael Frayn.

And, for those freaking out, I thought of something that made me kind of happy-- last year, it seemed that 70%+ people talking on the blog got in somewhere, so chances are you or the people you're chatting with are going to succeed! :).

Gena said...

And apparently I own Michael Frayn. That should read "by", of course.

Jonathan said...

@Pensive Monkey

Regarding South Carolina and GRE scores...

I got a (harried-sounding) email today from the grad student coordinator that basically said the website isn't always up to date. So if our GRE scores are not appearing online, it doesn't meant they haven't arrived. Of course, it doesn't mean they HAVE arrived either, but what can we do about that?

the Pensive Monkey said...

@Jonathan, thanks for the update about SC. Almost seems like it'd be better to have zero app updates online, since they seem to cause more confusion than anything.

Kat said...

Urgh, is the UC Irvine Autobiographical Sketch giving anyone else a rough time? I was plugging away so steadily at my MFA apps (11 out of 17 done, baby!), but I've spent the past three workin' nights staring at this essay and feeling like I'm having an aneurysm.

Whatever I write tonight, I'm just sending in, no matter what.

ABC said...

@Kat - I put off the Irvine stuff 'til last because I dreaded it so. And eventually I just wrote it and sent it in. I haven't gone back to read it, either. I really don't want to know what I wrote!

@the Pensive Monkey - I know what you mean re people thinking you'll definitely get in. It's great to have the support but I'm tired from explaining over and over how slim the odds are for some of these programs. I don't think most people realize that there would even be competition for a poetry program. "that many people really want to study something so useless?"

Blob said...

aaaaannd I SUCK. I just noticed an author's name is misspelled on ALL of the SOPs I've turned in thus far (11).

FML

ABC said...

@Blob - if you didn't notice it after looking at those SOPs so much, then the programs may not notice either. did you put an extra L in a name? easy to miss. they devote, what, 30 seconds to reading each one? best to scream, breathe, have a drink, and laugh. you are braver than I am; I won't read a thing I sent in 'cause I don't want to see the mistakes.

Blob said...

@ABC

Sigh, I'm not brave. Just clearly ignorant. I've been using the same template and yet it took me 11+ times to notice that I was missing the c in Jacqueline. It's possible someone could miss it. But if they don't, oy. Looks very clumsy on my part.

I shouldn't have even mentioned the name.

What's done is done. There's always next year. BUT, I'd really hate for a stupid mistake to weigh negatively on my application.

I think the panic is starting to settle in.

I said...

@Blob: I second what ABC said! Easier said than done, but try not to worry about it. One typo, IMO, is pretty minor in terms of the overall package an application- and if they love your writing sample, it won't change their mind, IF they even notice it.

Kaushik said...

@ Blob,

That's not as bad as opening your SOP with a grammatical error - my first sentence had a blatant ugly dangling participle, and what makes it worse is the fact that I've said later on that I'm interested in the grammatical aspects of language.

Luckily that one went out to only two places, and I spotted the error before I sent it out again.

Eli Lindert said...

I'm going to send out one more plea for an SOP exchange! My first deadline is 2 days away and no one else has read it yet. I'm worried I'm missing something terribly obvious, and also of sounding too lofty.

Again, please e-mail me yours at elindert at gmail dot com and I'll critique it and send you a copy of mine.

Eli Lindert said...

You guys are wonderful, I've already received several responses, mostly from people who don't need a reciprocal critique.

kaybay said...

Ugh, my last application is Michigan (unless I apply to Penn State, which I may or may not do). I'm procrastinating because I just hate the autobiographical personal statement. Everything I write either seems narcissistic, whiny, or silly. If I re-write it to be less crappy, it seems vague and non-specific. I'm just a product of suburbia with stupid problems like everyone else! I've never done anything really interesting! Why make me write about that?! I feel like just writing the words "I'm boring" on blank piece of paper and leaving it at that.

I know people have been mentioning Irvine's autobiographical sketch, but what is everyone doing for Michigan?

Is anyone else as uninteresting as I am?!?! >:(

Blob said...

@kaybay

I'm applying to both Michigan and UCI so I have that extra pesky essay for both. My plan is to adapt my UMass diversity statement, which talks about my family background and how that has influenced me as a writer, for the autobiographical statements.

In other news, I was talking to a former professor and mentor of mine about the application process for me thus far. He said that he suspects that mfa applications will become a lot more streamlined in the next several years. Too bad that isn't the case now!

I'd love a system of one application that you send to multiple schools. Even the forms become tricky when you have to do so many of them. Hence, my 1885. Womp.

Kat said...

@Shawn: Regarding how to order the materials in the big envelope, I've just been putting in papers in the order in which they're listed on the program's website. And as for the portfolio, I've been stapling both of my stories together, so the whole manuscript is held by a single staple. I figure it's easier that way, as my materials go from reader to reader. Diminishes the chance of one story breaking free and getting lost. Just my two cents.

@Leanne: Re: resumes, for what it's worth, I tweaked my normal job-gettin' resume for MFA programs. Specifically, I added sections for Publications and Teaching Experience right under my Education section, which shunted most of my (non-writing-related) work experience to the second page. And good riddance to it, I say.

Blob said...

I only have three applications left: Iowa, UCI, and LSU. But for some reason doing them seems like an impossible feat.

I still can't really figure out exactly what LSU wants me to send. And the Iowa TA application's second part is totally daunting. Sighhhh, I really wish now that I was able to power through all 14 at once. I just want to fast forward to February.

Amy Bernhard said...

I sent the wrong SOP to the wrong school today.


YEAH FOR AWKWARD ACADEMIC BLUNDERS!

dadofwriter said...

@leanne: Although Hopkins strongly recommend the GRE in literature, my son and others were accepted without this.

Marti said...

http://www.1truesentence.com/2010/09/22/this-just-in-i-am-very-very-old/

I just found this and it made me laugh and I'd like to share it with all the other olds out there. If I get in anywhere, I'll be 35 by the first day of classes. Which I really didn't think was that old. Then I read this account of a first-year MFA who's 28 and has people treating her like a geriatric. Funny. She's at Memphis, btw.

thereandbackagain said...

@ Marti,

By this logic, I'll be attending as a ghost since I'll be turning 41 in Sept. 2011.

I love it.

BOO!

Eric said...

@Leanne

I was also accepted to the JHU MFA program without taking the GRE literature exam. It's by no means required.


E

ABC said...

@ Marti - Thanks for that! I am also old ;-)

andy jess said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
andy jess said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Blob said...

@andy jess

I sure secretly hope so. It's one of my top picks.

kaybay said...

I would totally apply to Alabama again if I felt that they weren't only looking for experimental stories. I swapped samples with a girl who got accepted there last year and while it was amazing (seriously, very good stuff), it certainly wasn't traditional. My sample this year is actually pretty "normal," which is funny because it wasn't last year.

Can anyone dispel this perception of mine? Because I applied there last year, I would just need to send a new sample, SOP, and fifty bucks. I can do that. Anyone??

I *might* be willing to get over my contempt for the football program :D

Natalie said...

Hi - I am gearing up to apply to Creative Writing MFAs in the UK, but am having trouble finding a resource to help me vet programs. There are plenty of sites and books for programs stateside, but nothing equivalent for across the pond. Can anybody help point me to a starting point? I have heard the Creative Writing MFA Handbook is helpful, but am unsure if it has international information... any advice is appreciated!

andy jess said...

@Marti

Don't worry about the age thing. It shouldn't be a big deal.

@Kaybay

I'm sure you should be able to do that. Have you tried calling them?

Blob said...

@kaybay

I think I can!!

But, do do keep in mind that what I'm saying comes from a poetry prescriptive, but still...

I am by no means experimental, not even close to experimental, especially for poetry, which can be really out there. When I was deciding on my list, I spoke to a mentor of mine, one of my undergrad creative writing professors. He gave me a lot of good advice. He told me some programs he thought wouldn't be a great fit for various reasons and some that would. Brown, for example, he said might be too experimental for me.

He very strongly recommended Alabama to me. He said that though they have a bit of a reputation for being experimental, that they're not really. He said that they are one of the programs that are more open to experimental work than some other traditional programs, but they don't actually have any preference for it. In fact, one of the reasons he liked it so much for me is because works with such a wide range.

He works fairly closely with Alabama, since they partnered with my school for some stuff and has had former students go there.

JohnStamos said...

@kaybay

Try calling the English dept, and asking to speak with the person in charge of graduate admissions. They should be able to answer your question.

@Blob

I got into Alabama last year for poetry. I can affirm that there is a wide variety of stuff that is being produced. They pretty much let you do what you want. I can't recommend it highly enough.

kaybay said...

Thanks Blob and others! Hmmm, I just might apply there over Penn State. Although it really sucks to have already spent money on transcripts and a GRE report for PSU. But, I respect that poop out Bama's program and I have friends in Auburn and Birmingham and my mom's currently in south AL, although she might be moving to Florida in a few years. It would be nice to be closer to everyone. I could apply to both if I had an extra $115! I'm just not having that loving feeling about Penn State for some reason and I don't know why.

kaybay said...

Who'd a thought John Stamos was a student at Alabama. Now I'm definitely applying :P

Blob said...

@kaybay

Part of 'bama's initial appeal was that I too have family in the south (Atlanta) and being within driving distance would be nice. But the more I hear about the program the more I like it.
In my effort to be neutral and not get attached, it's one of the few that stick out.

As for losing excitement over a school, I know that too. I'm starting to lose my steam for LSU. Nothing to do with the program, just the fact that it's the last of my applications due and I STILL can't figure out how or where I'm supposed to apply! Even the new website is confusing. I don't know what should be mailed in, what should be done online, if anything even should be done online, and whether I'm really supposed to fill out that archaic paper application.
I need a tutorial.

thereandbackagain said...

Just a heads up to people applying to Alabama. (Especially since it seems like we're all in love with the program.) You need to get your application in a bit ahead of the deadline because you can't upload your statement of purpose until you get an ID number, and you can't get an ID number until you fill out the application. According to the message I got, it can take a day or two to get the ID number via email.

P.S. @ John Stamos - do you know if it's possible to take classes in the Book Arts program?

JohnStamos said...

@thereandbackagain

Yes, it's possible. You can take classes from all over the university, as long as you meet the minimum number of graduate hours each semester.

buster10 said...

Hey Gang!

I've been lurking, but desperation has driven me into the open.

HOW LONG ARE PEOPLE MAKING THEIR IOWA PERSONAL STATEMENTS???! They give NO indication of how long they want 'em, and this is making me insane. I feel like the other programs vary so wildly in their length specs and give such clear instructions, and then Iowa has this really high page max for the writing sample, and I just feel... like.... AARGHHH! I mean, obviously they don't care or they'd say, and I should just pick another personal statement and send that, but.... I'm incapable. Should it be short? Should it be long? What are other people doing? This application process is clearly affecting my mind.

Thanks!

Marti said...

@ andy jess
Thanks! I'm not worried, though, just think it's funny that 28 is considered old in some circles...

Justin T said...

This late in the game and I decided I want to apply in both Poetry And Fiction! Now in addition to finalizing my short stories I need to write and edit my poetry! What a mess I've gotten myself in..

On the bright side, still a month before my applications are due and I only need to bother one last person for my letter of recommendation!

Gummy Bear Sacrifice said...

Finally finished 3 apps. It's hard for me to stay motivated when I think about the abysmally low acceptance rates.

Kaushik said...

@kaybay,
Maybe you could say in your Autobiographical Sketch that writing is your only means of escape from a boring uneventful suburban existence. Those of us who don't run away from home in search of more exciting lives choose find our excitement in art instead.

Gummy Bear Sacrifice said...

@buster10

No more than two pages for a personal statement unless the school specifies otherwise.

Todd said...

I'm hoping to get Illinois, Washington@StLouis, Cornell and Brown all in today after work.
That said, I'm totally overwhelmed with all that I've left to do. That's only half my schools. Ugh. I need to just...take a baseball bat to something.
No idea how I'm going to get all this done.
About ALABAMA, the SOP isn't mailed? Or do you upload the SOP again with the online application?
Also, I'm totally confused by LSU's website as well.

Blob said...

I'll need to spend some time looking over LSU, maybe together we can sort of figure it out... It shouldn't be so hard.

in other news, so far I've been good about recognizing and realizing that I probably won't get in anywhere and that's ok. But lately my thoughts have started to wander and I've let myself get excited about the prospect of getting in. This can't be healthy.

Writer Dude said...

@ Todd, RE: Bama

I believe you upload the SOP online when applying online (it's a separate link for "supplemental forms" or something like that"), actually after you finish the app.

Then you also mail the SOP to the writing department with your sample, applicant cover sheet (print it out from their site), your LoRs, and unofficial transcripts.

Jonathan said...

Re: LSU

I'm 90% sure that you fill out the general grad school app online, then mail to the English dept the paper app, along with your SOP, list of English courses taken, and writing sample. Transcripts and LORs come in separately, from your schools/recommenders.

At least I hope that's how it's done, because thats what I did! :)

Blob said...

@jonathan

what about that form on the website? That paper application thingy?

I said...

@Seth or others in the know:

What is Johns Hopkins' current stipend? The only number I could find online was $18,900 from a 2008 blog post, but I imagine it's gone up since then?

the Pensive Monkey said...

Relief...just emailed my recommenders to touch base on their letters. I don't think any of them have sent their letters yet and I never heard back when I got in touch with all three of them a month or so ago, so I was getting nervous. I got responses from 2 out of 3 within minutes, so yay! Hope this is the last that I have to pester them!

So...what, if anything, did all of you get as a thank you to your references? I'm thinking I'll do a $15 gift card to a great independent bookstore in the city. Wish I could do more, but it adds up so quickly, and I just dropped a lot on my apps...you know how it is! My husband suggested waiting to give them anything until I have heard back from the schools so that I could let them know at that time where I'd been accepted (or rejected), but I don't want to wait that long, especially since it's Christmas...just seems like the right time.

I said...

@the Pensive Monkey:

I sent my recommenders letter-pressed broadsides from Etsy. There are some neat poetry-related ones if you search around, and at various prices.

I said...

PS: Gift card to the independent bookstore sounds like a great idea.

the Pensive Monkey said...

@I...I do love etsy...

thereandbackagain said...

@ Pensive Monkey

I got a book for one (which may have been crazy considering how much he reads and that he owns the independent bookstore here in town, but I'm hoping he hasn't read this one and will like it), a bottle of ink from another's amazon wish list, and a calendar for another. I spent around $15 - $20 each, which was more than I could afford, but they each wrote me 19 recommendations, so....

Blob said...

@pensive

I would not wait until you hear back. It might seem like you're only thanking them because you got in. Alternately, if you don't get in anywhere, it's a bit awkward to say 'thanks, but I failed.' I think it's better to gift now and just make it a 'thank you for your work and support.' And then a simple email letting them know the results should suffice :)

@thereandbackagain

Amazon wishlist?!? amazing, how did you find said person's wishlist??

thereandbackagain said...

@ Blob

She was talking about it one day, so I filed that information away and then went snooping. :) You can look up wish lists on amazon with only the person's name.

Jonathan said...

@Blob

That's what I meant by paper app.

I think it goes like this:
Fill out the general online form at http://www.gradschool.lsu.edu. Also, send GRE scores and transcripts to the grad school.

Then send to this address:
Director of Graduate Studies in English
Department of English
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803-5001

1.) The paper application from the website
2.) SOP
3.) Writing Sample
4.) List of English courses taken

LORs and transcripts can come separately or not, to the same address.

I know that there are two different websites (http://www.lsu.edu/creativewriting/ and http://uiswcmsweb.prod.lsu.edu/ArtSci/english/CreativeWriting/index.html#), the latter of which appears to be the newer one. However, they don't have any competing instructions. They say the same thing, the second one is just clearer.

If you go to the second, newer website, click on MFA Program, then How to Apply, you'll get a fairly clear set of instructions.

Blob said...

@jonathan

sigh, I STILL don't find the new website to be clear about what it wants. And while, of course, I'll do it. That paper application is a real pain. I wish they'd at least make it a word document so it was easier to use, same with Iowa's TA application, particularly the second part.

Also, just to add to the confusion, LoRs can be sent via the online application form also, which is what I opted to do since I couldn't make sense of anything else.

Jonathan said...

@Blob

Yeah, the paper application is annoying, and LSU is the only program I've seen that uses anything like it. This is the 21st century, people! C'mon!

Maybe you're aware of this already, but a website like www.pdfescape.com lets you insert text into PDF documents. Still not the easiest thing in the world, but I preferred it to my own handwriting.

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