: A Creative Writing Community
here's to a new year, a new mail bag, and some acceptance letters coming in our way!
yay new mail bag! subscribing!iowa's in. i only have oregon and penn state left to go, i'm hoping to get them done this week. so close to the end! then comes the waiting. D:
@ blob!hear, hear! i got everything mailed off that needed mailing today, so i'm really done.except, i'm still waiting for an answering from ODU about something. started having panic dreams a couple of days ago. this should be lots of fun.
Subscribing.If I do this again, I'm going to procrastinate more. Waiting actually sucks more than panickining, in a sense. :).
Smart girl forgot to subscribe. Really subscribing.
@genaI hear you, waiting is definitely the worst part. I don't know what's worse...waiting for February or waiting during February. Probably the latter, except hopefully I'll have other people's news to occupy myself with, which might lead to panic, but we've decided that panicking is better than waiting...
@Egs - if you scroll down to the bottom of the TA application, it will tell you the additional materials you need for the app, to be submitted by Feb 1st:http://www.uark.edu/depts/english/ta-app-07.pdf Sorry :(@Hopefulscriber!! That's a great sign! That actually reminds me that I should inform everyone of Good News Emails or (GNEs). Many, many programs send emails asking for additional materials or even just to say "your work is being well-received." Sometimes, there's a phone call. I would say 9 out of 10 times it is a sign that you are about to be accepted. Not always, though. On the flip side, many are accepted to great programs without any GNE, so... Anyway, it's a great sign! I didn't apply to Cornell and I am super jealous!!!
@Blob (from last mailbag) - I'm more confident in my work this year than I was last year, so if I don't get in this year I'll take that waaay harder than I did last year. I think I'll apply again if I don't, but probably to less programs (I know, contrary to advice) and not invest very much in the process; I'd probably only send apps to my top five or so. God, I hope that doesn't happen. I am NOT asking for letters again!! :DAs for what I'd do differently, I hope this doesn't sound vain, but not much. I made sure to not make the same mistakes I did last year and got a lot done early. Still got stressed in December, but I think it's inevitable. Gotta admit though, I've been preparing for this go-around since April of last year. Kinda lame, me thinks...
@kaybaygreat, now I have GNEs and the lack of them to stress about. Does Wisconsin emailing me because my birth year was 1885 and that can't be right, count?? Surely, it does...ADDED. STRESS. EEP.
Blob - oh, totally. It's torture. I get so sad when people get those and I don't :( I didn't get a single one last year. Wahh!
@kaybaysomehow I missed these in all the mailbag raking I've done. Sigh. Now I feel discouraged. Life is hard.This reminds me of a time when my cousins and I were little and were were pretending to be animals. And most of us were normal things, like tigers and monkeys. And one of my cousins, who was probably around 7, at the time said that he wanted to be, and I quote, "a sad kola bear with big eyes sitting a puddle singing 'somebody taaaake me, somebody take me!'"At the time we laughed. But yeah, that's pretty much how I feel these days. Kola bear with big sad eyes in a puddle, don't forget the puddle.
and yes, I meant Koala bear, not kola bear (though that would be cool too)
do you think it would help if i stood outside admissions holding a boombox over my head that's playing peter gabriel?
@The Tree That Wanders Quite A Bit Thanks for the advice. I think I'm more concerned with missing typos and I'd hate to get rejected because of one or two typos, you know? DX
Not to cast doubt on the goodness of the GNE received, but are admissions committees really reading applications already? I kind of assumed that between finals and winter break and all that they didn't even start until the 15th.
@Gummy BearFair enough. In that case, I'd just pass your work off to someone you know with a careful eye. I wouldn't spend money on line editing since friendly grammarians abound. I wouldn't worry about stories being absolutely perfect though. Depending on the journal, you may have to work with an editor on changes anyway. I doubt many editors reject b/c of the occasional typo, although some level of polish is expected.
@DMC - I am certainly not in the position to know if she really did get a GNE (totally wish I was!) but I would venture to say Cornell started reading in December; they have to sift through a lot of applications for their treasured spots. Besides, there was an interview with the director of Cornell last year in early January (wish I could find that link) and he said they were already reading. Venture to say most of the heavy-hitters have already started. Nerve-wracking? Youbetcha!
@DMCpast mailbags and driftless house show that people start hearing as early as end of January, which means they'd have to be already digging through applications, otherwise there just wouldn't be enough time. Also regardless of whether GNEs happen frequently or anything like that, cornell folks are clearly reading applications because they found out about the novel through her SOP which they want to see excerpts from. And whatever that means, it's most certainly a good thing. Someone wants to read more.
Yeah, I would certainly say that's an unusual (in a good way) request from a school. It's pretty awesome. Sooooo envious. All I can think about is myself, of course :POn a side note, I caved and checked some of my application statuses (statusi? kidding) and Michigan still has my transcripts/GRE scores as missing when they were sent in November. Anyone else having this issue? Should I call or email?
Yes! I found the link! I'm a super dork, I know, willing to sift through old emails for it, but I was wondering if I was talking out my ass (frankly, I have a terrible memory. I lose my keys more than... God I really thought I could come up with a clever metaphor there. Or is it an analogy? Whatever). Anyway, I was not talking out of my butthole. So, here's for all your reading enjoyment. Very informative:http://wardsix.blogspot.com/2010/01/mfa-application-time.html
@kaybay: I'm noticing a lot of schools aren't showing that they received my transcripts, either. I wonder if it just takes them a long time to process them (or, in my case, since I have a different last name than my undergrad name, that might be causing trouble, too). But Michigan doesn't require GRE scores, so worse case, if it didn't get them, that's one less thing to worry about.
Remy - thanks for that, you're right about the GRE scores. Wow, I feel like a total dufus putting that in the email I accidentally sent to the program director, before writing a second "apology/d'oh" email, and then sending the first email to the program assistant. I'm having a bout of neuroticsim for some reason.
kaybay,how do you check your michigan application status?
It's a little confusing. I went to: https://weblogin.umich.edu/services/ and clicked on "wolverine access." You have to create an account (they'll ask you for your ID and it's something they email after confirming your application), friends of something or other.
Oh, and you click on "new and prospective student" business once you're there
Thanks for the Cornell/GNE info Kaybay and Blob.
I also think that the Cornell request for more material seems like a great sign and am trying not to be too disheartened that I did not receive a similar request. I'm pretending it's because I didn't mention a novel in progress in my SOP. Cause right now, my novel's in my head. Doh.
"I can tell you that all previous [application] volume records were broken this year--by a huge margin."--J. Robert LennonOh...crap.
@ Kaybay & Blob,Thanks for the words of encouragement. I've decided to take the email from Cornell as a good sign, but now I've got no time at all to knock my novel into shape and I'm really panicking! At least it shows the people who make the decisions really do take the time to read those pesky personal statements!
Hi all, Congratulations to everyone who is finished with their applications! Hope you celebrated. I've got 3 more to go...I wanted to ask: has anyone done anything with the FAFSA yet? When is that supposed to be filled in? Feeling utterly clueless about that.
@kaybay, I emailed Michigan a few days ago about the transcripts not showing on my status. Here's what I got back:"We do not update that part of the web site. You can check back after the 10th, we should have mail processed by then."
@KI filled out the FAFSA a couple nights ago but I'm still unsure about the whole thing so can't offer much insight.
I'm wondering about the FAFSA too. I've entirely ignored it up until now. Is it something we need to do? Even if I didn't see it mentioned in the instructions from any schools I applied to?
@I there's a back in forth of the very end of the last mailbag about the FAFSA. I'm not filling it out. Most of my schools are fully funded and without a TAship or a fellowship I likely won't be able to attend, with those things in place a FAFSA is useless since there will be little need for federal loans. Or, if necessary, I can always fill it out later.
@Blob, thanks! That clears it up - that's my situation too.
@ABC, @I, @BlobThanks for the info re: FAFSA! I went back and checked out that last mailbag. To make matters more complicated, I live abroad and so haven't done a normal US tax return for a few years, so when I do eventually get around to it (not all of the places I applied are fully-funded, so I'm going to fill it out), I expect it will be a real headache. Something to look forward to!
@kAre you a US Citizen? If not, you might want to check things more carefully. Some schools cannot offer full funding to international students. I believe UCI is one of them. But I don't know the full details. If you are a US citizen, who's just working/studying it shouldn't be a problem.
I got excited, I thought I had a GNE from FSU, but nope, just contact details. Oh well, at least it wasn't an early rejection for shockingly terrible work
doh, i just sent off three sops dated january 2, 2010! grr!!! well, not "just." i sent them two days ago, obviously :(
@Lauren, I did that for at least 2, Iowa being one of them. Sigh. Oh well, I'm sure, of all the typos to forgive, that's one that will be forgiven. After all, it'll take me at least 6 months to get used to typing 2011.
@ blob good to know i'm not the only one who made that mistake! i guess you're right that they'll probably forgive it (or, if they're like us, maybe they won't even notice it.) it is just annoying that that particular typo shows up first thing, right at the top of the page!
@BlobYep, I'm a US citizen but living in the UK.
Does anyone know of summer writing conferences/workshops that have deadlines in march or later?If I don't get in, I'd love to attend, but if I do, I doubt I'll have time.
@BlobNew York State Writer's Institute Summer program at Skidmore College. You can apply for a scholarship.http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/programpages/nysswi.htmlThey gave me one in 2008 and I got to study with Henri Cole.
the first acceptance posted to this blog last year was on January 25th. I feel my nervous energy rising.
I'm lucky enough to be having a baby in two weeks or less. Good distraction.
@ Blob -omg january 29th?!?! that's THIS MONTH.i may or may not now have tears in my eyes. that's SO SOON omg this is my future i can't even.and off i go to read all the comments on that entry...
25th, katie, 2-5. EVEN sooner. Eep!
@ blob -omg that's making me even more scared.i've now bumped up my "go ahead and panic" deadline to the end of february. looks like all my schools will have notified by mid-feb... oh god, so soon. D:
@The Pensive MonkeyCongrats on the baby! That will be a sufficient distraction from all this madness, I'm sure.
Yeah, Pensive! Congrats. I think that would distract me, if in the same situation ;)No babies for me. Just gnawing doubt, the feeling like I don't know what I'm doing, and the strong-ass desire to want to freaking know! Oh, bother...I'm kinda glad to see others just as anxious as I am. It makes me feel "normal." I wasn't like this last year; January was relatively easy. This year, not so much. I got a lot more riding on the 2nd go-around. I'll be really disheartened if I don't get in anywhere and that's a distinct possibility :*(
Oh! Almost forgot! Anyone want to do any last minute sample swaps? I don't need any feedback, just a distraction :) I won't provide back either, except that I'll probably tell you how awesome it was. If so, send me an email at kbritten @ yahoo . com
Um, should say "I won't provide any feedback..."
By the way, Almond Punch, that article was from LAST year, thank goodness. I don't think any records will be shattered this year, but maybe I'm wrong. Here's to ignorance ;)
kaybay, I'd be happy to swap. All my apps are done, but I am ever curious to read more people's samples! It's fun. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just lit up my first post-application cigarette. Cheers!
Wasn't freaking out but yeah. Jan 25th? February? GNEs? Ugh. Can't I just hibernate or something?
@toddsorry for helping to fuel anxiety. Thats the real downfall of the blog-- it can be a anxiety cesspool. But it's also very nice to have people to commiserate with, especially since no one else totally gets the craziness of this process.
@ The Pensive MonkeyCongrats! Your first? An exciting year for you.
@ABCNope, not my first. Fourth! But I did my entire undergrad as a mom and kinda rocked it, if I do say so myself. My husband is awesomely supportive and I steal away frequently to read and write.
Quick question:I'm a little clueless about this postmark business. Do couriers carry postmarks? My UVa writing sample wasn't delivered because their office was closed, but that was quite a few days ago. If the materials are delivered late, will they accept it?
I know the numbers for things like this are hard to find, but I hope that in the future there is more data about acceptance rates and the breakdown of poetry v. fiction applicants. I know almost all schools get more fiction applications every year than poetry applications, which makes sense. But I wonder how big of a difference it is. Is it a 5:7 ratio or a 1:3 ratio?
@BlobOn some previous mailbag back in the somewhat distant past (last year, the year before?) someone (I believe it was Seth) wrote that the ratio usually falls to 6:3:2 (fiction:poetry:creative non-fiction). I would imagine that might vary slightly depending on the school (see his comments on Irvine not getting a lot of poetry apps).
@thereandbackThank you. That's good to know. I don't know if that makes me feel better (higher odds of getting in) or worse (getting rejected seems like more a failure). But it's good to know.
@ Blob I know what you mean. At this point, I'm just hoping for the end of April and time to get some actual non-adrenaline based rest. I've been so amped up since August, I could probably light my small town. :/
@thereandbackApril? Jesus, I'm just hoping to make it to February without falling apart. Once other people start getting in, even if I don't, I'll at least feel like the waiting is over.
Has anyone read Light Boxes by Shane Jones? That pretty much sums up my feelings about February, as a month and notification whirlpool.
totally off topic, but do people have strong thoughts/opinions of the new Huck Finn that's going to come out without the n-word? I have to say, I agree with this article, which says censoring the book is cowardly because regardless the book deals with racism and removing the big bad word doesn't change that: http://www.salon.com/life/this_week_in_blackness/2011/01/04/huck_finn_n_wordI also think removing the word, might make it harder for students to talk about the race issues in the book. Having said that, the Dr. Dolittle books were censored to be more racially sensitive years ago. Hugh Lofting's son has a preface in some editions explaining why this change was made and in that case his explanation makes sense also. So I guess it goes both ways.
Blob,Seth usually does post information on acceptance percentages / numbers on his blog, but I believe he has to hold off on that for a bit more due to contractual obligations with Poets & Writers.
@ BlobRemoving the N word seems like one step downhill on a slippery slope. I just wonder what else will be removed from the literature? Some real horrors of the 20th century each made a footprint in American literature, not to mention post-colonial lit, and there will always be language and imagery we now find hard to read. But we cannot forget, and it cannot be ignored. I know I'm speaking very generally, but it's hard not to extrapolate from this one example (i.e., censorship of Twain's novel).
P.S. I realize H.F. is late 19th C...
General question: I'm curious what percentage of accepted applicants (to fiction programs) state in their SOP that they are working on or have completed a novel-length manuscript. Does anyone have a guess? I don't even know where I would find that kind of statistic. Just wondering (and clearly self-conscious, as I have yet to brave an piece of that length). I have a feeling it will remain one of the world's many mysteries.
@BlobCensoring the word is completely cowardly and in my opinion, an attempt to erase the past despite the fact that we still feel its effects today. I'm disappointed with that.
Just wondering if anyone wants to swap writing samples--I'd love to get a chance to read all your wonderful works. My email is email@example.com
Censoring Huck Finn is not cool, not cool at all. It's like sticking your fingers in your ears and saying "Lalalalalala" so you don't hear what you don't want to hear, in spite of what actually occurs.
@BlobI completely agree. I heard this debated last night on the news. Parents are saying they don't want their children reading that kind of language. In my opinion, children hear worse at school, at movies, with friends, etc. Censoring Huck Finn is just one step into censoring other literature and/or the arts people don't find appropriate. I think censoring the N word erases history and the pain caused by the word. It's acting as if that time in history never existed.
re: huck finnwhile i'm sure no one had this specifically in mind [or, rather, i hope they didn't] i'm really sick of white people trying to rewrite history. if they took out the n-word, with its hateful past, children will read it and not realize how inherently racist it was. yes, it sucks that america has this terrible past, but slowly getting rid of any mention of it is shameful. it should be taken as it was written, context, hateful words, and all.
@GeezLouiseI'd be happy to swap samples. I'm not near my computer now, but I'll email you later. That goes for anyone else as well. I've swapped samples several times and always really enjoyed it. My email is Jonathan.V.Dunn@gmail.com.
Julie (not Julia) - it's funny that you mentioned that, because I was thinking about this exact topic a few days ago. I mentioned having a few ideas for a novel that I would eventually like to pursue in a few of my personal statements, mostly those I sent in later. I have about 25 pages of a novel and I didn't want to give anyone the impression that it's already done or that I would for sure have it completed before graduating, but I did want to explain that it was definitely a goal of mine. It's weird, though, since I didn't mention it in my earlier statements. I think I didn't want to commit to anything. I wonder if they want to hear that from an applicant or if it really matters. Hopefulscriber's email from Cornell almost gives me the impression they prefer applicants working on novels. Interesting...
hehe, I meant to say hopefulscribbler, not scriber. I guess it's sort of the same thing :)
Speaking of hopefulscribbler.... Hopefulscribbler, I would love to read your sample (I'm totally curious). If you feel comfortable with it, send me an email. I understand not being comfortable with it, though, so no pressure. I won't be offended :) I'm just a very nosy/curious person. I think it's why I'm a writer :D
And Gena! I want to read yours, honey! Give it to me :P Man, I really need to consolidate my posts, haha
I can sort of see both sides to the novel/short story question in a writing sample and SOP. On the one hand, having begun a novel shows a certain amount of vision and drive. Plus, I imagine programs prefer their graduates publish novels, since they have a far larger readership than short story collections. But on the other hand, the workshop is more or less built around the short story. And some programs clearly prefer them in writing samples (UT Austin is one example of a program that, I believe, explicitly discourages novel excerpts). Ultimately, as we've all heard before, your best writing is your best writing, regardless of the form. But regarding the SOP, I can certainly see how it would be a positive to mention a potential novel, as long as it doesn't make you sound conceited or un-teachable. And I say this as someone you doesn't have a novel or novel idea (though I wish I did). How many other people out there have begun novels?
Hey all,Don't really know if anyone will still read this post a few days after the fact, but would love it if someone had an answer for me. Got laid off from a marketing copywriting job I had held for about a year about 2 months ago. During my time there, I had long considered going to school for advertising copywriting as it seemed like a really cool job and, in all honesty, I kinda wanted to be Don Draper. Consulted tons of people in the industry, did months of research. In the end, there were too many road blocks, many of them financial, and not enough jobs. Besides, ultimately I didn't find the work as fulfilling as just the concept of having a job, and it felt kind of...unscrupulous...or at the very least ineffectual as far as the job's capacity to allow me to live a life of consequence to others, as I'd like to do. I decided I didn't want to pursue the advertising thing after all. Anyway, a few months later I lost the job and took stock of my life after that and realized what I really loved was writing and teaching, more than anything, and after weeks of research, picked 9 MFA fiction programs that offered me what I was looking for and applied to them all. Eagerly awaiting hearing back but the inner capitalist that speaks in my mother's voice and lives in some dark corner of my brain continually beats me up for not following the advertising thing further as it's really more practical. In the mean time, every damn thing I seem to read on the subject talks about what a complete waste of time and scam MFA programs are, and coupled with my own doubts, I'm really starting to get disillusioned before I even begin.SO...I guess what I'm wondering is, can ANYONE offer me some MFA success stories? I don't care if it's about publishing, about getting a job teaching, about getting a job in a completely unrelated field, or about moving on easily into another degree, but I would just LOVE to read just ONE positive thing about an MFA not fed to me by an old professor or an MFA program's website. Please, please, please. It would mean a lot. Thank you.
I think the "inner capitalist" is in a lot of people here; it is with me at least. Look, even if there are some success stories (I mean, many very successful writers have MFA degrees... Jumpha Lahiri, that woman who wrote that one novel about Dracula, etc), I would not advise you looking at the degree for its job prospects. Since I'm in education already, it's going to help me a little bit (in fact, the extra Master's level pay might cover for any loan money I accrue), but if you don't plan on going back to copy-writing and don't think you could teach high school or adjunct, you should probably do something else. I look at this as a two-year diversion in my life to hone a skill, make contacts, get extra teaching experience, and really focus on my passion. I full expect to go back to what I'm doing now when I finished. I hope I'm not sounding pessimistic, but since we're talking practicality, the MFA degree is anything but. I'm sorry :( PS - my colleague has an MFA and hates her job right now as a high school teacher. She is decently published, has teaching experience at the college level, and edited with Ploughshares while at Emerson. She can't find work other than teaching and she had tried and tried and tried some more. Her undergraduate writing program is looking for a teacher and they asked her to apply, so there's promise there, but she's certainly not expecting anything. I really wish she could find something, but it's very tough :(
I'm sorry extra medium. I know you wanted success stories, but I thought I should share my feelings about that.
Whew, haven't been here for a while! Now my anxiety is rising and rising-- especially since I just discovered that one of my letters never got to Iowa (the NWP application was due Dec. 17th). Luckily the woman was very nice and it will be fine that it's late, but now I'm stressing that that recommender's other physical letters never made it, either...Luckily, I'm taking two creative writing classes (one fiction, one poetry) so that will keep me busy and writing during this tumultuous month...
and, one of the most epic mfa success stories: michael chabon, who sold his thesis (the mysteries of pittsburgh) while he was still at uc irvine. his prof sent it off to an agent without telling him and he got a $155k advance, apparently.it's a pipe dream, but success does occasionally come directly from an mfa. i guess the odds of winning the lottery, haha. or maybe less.
I will read whatever you want to send me. And then I will tell you you are firstname.lastname@example.org
Why would schools send out emails stating things like "Your writing sample is being well-received" (as mentioned earlier)? I'm not questioning the fact that they do it, I'm just wondering why. It seems almost cruel. I mean, what happens if you get one of those letters and then you end up not getting accepted? I can't take that sort of emotional roller coaster.
Open Spaces - I think it's sort of like an informal interview. They want to gauge personality and eagerness about the program. Those that notify in March might also want to know if you've accepted an offer at another place or even if you've been offered acceptance somewhere else without accepting. They also might want to just introduce themselves and make you feel special, too :D I don't think they know/expect for this information to be disseminated on the blogs, hehe, although it obviously does. I don't know why they would send a GNE/GNP and not accept, though. That's just cruel. Maybe they change their minds, but still.
@ abc, I just got the same email. It was kind of pointless. I mean. I HOPE they've begun to read applications...I have a question for everyone regarding Southern Illinois- Carbondale's application. On their checklist, they basically say to submit everything to the department, not the grad school. Should I attach my writing sample and SOP to the online grad school application in the spaces provided? Or should I just mail them to the grad school or do both? This is so unclear.
Unrelated, but I need help!I'm starting a creative writing club in my afterschool tomorrow-- it's going to be a small thing, 2 to 5 kids. Tomorrow it's the second graders, and I'm stuck on an introductory exercise/project! Any ideas?PS-- Kaybay, hellz yeah. Expect an email when I turn not-crazed by club stuff. AKA, tomorrow. WanderingTree, I think I'll send mine over to you as well, for some indiscriminate praise. :).
In my mad internet-browsing, I skipped across this flash acrostic form. Gotta try it out, right?http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/acrostic/I already made a horribly confusing one about termites. Good thing I'm not a poet.
http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/acrostic/Don't know why that cut off...
x: Sounds like a good call!...How is Justin Bieber like a Gucci Handbag?... On second thought...
@ExtraMediumRe: AdvertisingI have a few friends in this industry, and I worked in PR for a couple of years myself. You'll actually find that advertising and pr are the sorts of fields that tend to attract people from all kinds of educational backgrounds. And I think one can make an argument that majoring in a field like political science, sociology, anthropology, or economics would be more useful to a person wanting to go into advertising vs. a marketing degree because of the broader skills set you would receive from a more interdisciplinary/ liberal arts education. It's sort of like getting a degree in computer science or journalism considering many, many people are able to land jobs in those fields without any kind of formal background so long as they have the know how/ can demonstrate some level of competency. In any case, the MFA will look nice on your resume for copy writing or technical writing jobs if you choose to return to that. Re: MFA success stories/ the utility of the MFAThis may not be the answer you are looking for but ANY degree is what you make of it. And as with any field (esp. artistic fields), some will make it (and what this means is diff. for everyone) but many will not. Should that harsh fact stop you? Certainly not esp. if you truly care about your writing at the end of the day. Most professors these days are products of MFA programs themselves and most have several books under their belts along with prestigious awards and fellowships, so I guess you can just look to faculty for MFA success stories if you gauge success in those terms. A select few have movie deals and produce work that is commercially successful while others publish with small presses and are lauded, for the most part, within the confines of the writing/publishing world.
@ReneeI'm getting my MFA at SIUC. From what I remember, I ended up doing both just to cover my bases. And yes, I sent everything to the English Department. One of the things I remember about applying last year is that the English dept. staff was really gracious whenever I had a question. I wouldn't hesitate to ask if you find yourself lost. Also, for any others applying to Southern Illinois, feel free to email me with any questions you might have about the program itself. I can be reached at: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Note to all Wisconsin applicants:I just got off the phone with them someone in the department regarding the FAFSA and financial aid info that came via email yesterday and she said that we do NOT have to fill out that profile or complete the FAFSA.
@ BlobI didn't receive an email from Wisconsin yesterday. Yet another reason for freaking out...
@ABCDon't freak out. It wasn't from the department or even graduate admissions. It was from the financial aid department. And it kindly said at the very top "THIS EMAIL HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ADMISSIONS" ha. I think it might be because I clicked that I needed financial aid in my application. But either way, basically for us the email is irrelevant. Have you checked your 'status' on Wisconsin's website? They're really good about updating that. And when I had a piece missing they emailed me.
@ BlobI no longer recall my netID or password and have tried so many times that I've been locked out. I guess I should call to get it reset but that seems so labor intensive ;-)
@ABCI would say it isn't worth it. But, they're one of the few where the online status check is actually totally comprehensive (recs, writing sample, etc) and up to date. So if you're like me and want to be able to 'check things off' it's very satisfying.
Re: SIUC application...I thought I had it all finished with the exception of uploading my sample and SOP. Went to get it finished so I could submit and noticed the bio statement and research experience...do we have to do those? And do we HAVE to mail the samples, or can we upload them, since there is a place for that?
@ pensive monkey - i asked one of your questions and got this in response:"The bio statement and research statement are helpful to the admissions committee but not necessary." So I did the research statement, but not the bio since most of what I'd put in a bio was in my SoP. Not sure about the writing sample. I did both (uploaded and mailed a hard copy).Also! Seth just reposted the data and rankings! Scroll down the side of the blog to see. :)
so I just managed to spill a whole bowl of soup directly on top of my phone. Getting a new phone is definitely not an expense I need right now. But I have to admit that for the first time I was relieved that it's not notifying season just quite yet. Otherwise, I'd be CONVINCED that ALL my schools were calling as I sit phone-less.
@ pensive monkey, I emailed and the woman who responded basically said I could submit however I wanted- online or through the mail. (She also said I could just email things to her, which I'm not going to do.)
@Staci and Renee Thanks so much for the info! Now I can be lazy and not contact the school itself. Ha.@BlobI so dropped my phone IN a bowl of chicken soup one time, and it survived!! Took it awhile to dry out, but it came through! Good luck!
Sure hopeful! It's kbritten(at)yahoo(dot)comHope it works :)
hopeful scribbler, i'd love to read your sample if i could! andsuddenly at gmail.com :)
@Seth - totally just out of curiosity, but do you know when the 2011 selectivity data will come out? I'd love to know if everyone's receiving even more applications than last or if the numbers have (hopefully) gone done. Do you know any preliminary numbers for this season?
Regarding talking about novels in your SOP, I did it. I was nervous to mention it, and kind of wavered back and forth. On the one hand, I worried that if the application reader didn't like my novel idea, it would be another reason to reject me, but then I figured that it showed I had focus and was working toward a goal. I'm 150 pages in, so I thought it was worth mentioning. Plus, it's something I'd really like to work on at school.And @HopefulScribbler, I would also love to read your sample, or swap samples if you feel like it. My email is email@example.com.
I think it's pretty cool that Iowa has a 2.93% selectivity rating. I don't know why. I guess it's because so many elite programs seem so inaccessible to me. I know it's not their fault (it's tough to fund 20, 50 students), but it's still cool nonetheless. Gives me something to irrationally hope for ;)
my very LEAST selective school has an acceptance rate of 5%, which leaves me little to feel good about. But I also know these ratings are deceptive because it's so hard to tell how many applicants are actually possible contenders. For example probably 80% of people applying to Harvard Med School have some shot of getting in based on test scores, grades, etc. There's something measurable that makes them 'qualified.' However, with MFA programs there really isn't. How does one judge the worth of their own writing? I think it's really hard to tell how many MFA applicants would be accepted if there were unlimited spots. So I don't know. I've been lead to believe I'm not someone who has no business applying. But presumably even those that have no shot in hell have someone who has told them that they do. So my chance of getting in could be closer to 0% or closer to 50%, depending on what side of the line I fall on. Grumble, grumble, I think I'll go buy some more lottery tickets.
I got a couple over 10%, but yeah, I know what you're saying. Last year I was rejected at UCF, which presumably has an acceptance rate close to 20% (I think they only get about 50 applications) and wait listed at a school receiving close to 400. Don't ask me :) I know that my sample just didn't resonate with UCF and that they wanted to work with other writers. Not that my sample didn't need work, but I think "fit" played a greater role. I've heard of people getting accepted into several top programs only to be rejected by less selective ones, or rejected outright by every program applied to except Iowa, who then gives them a hefty fellowship. In the end, selectivity isn't everything. But you gotta admit, it's a lot easier to make it into a program accepting 10-20% of its applicants than one accepting 1%. Just saying. You gotta be pretty damn polished to make it into one of those top programs (plus strike a cord with the faculty). I'm certainly not saying that those accepted only to a less selective program are poorer writers who have no chance of success, but I think it's safe to say that admission into a top program is quite the challenge. To illustrate: I read a sample from an applicant last year who got into Michigan with a bloody good sample and both had been accepted by pretty amazing journals. I know that not everyone there has published yet, but it does go to show that the competition is fierce and that a selective program like Michigan does have the proverbial pick of the litter.
On the flip side of what I said above, selectivity doesn't always correspond with placement. Look at Bowling Green. It's 16th! Higher than a couple of tough-ass admits like Syracuse. So, even though it's hard to make with the big boys it has little bearing on future success. I'd be happy to be accepted to BGSU. I find it hard to believe that such an old, decently-funded program with a good placement record doesn't receive that many apps. Location maybe? I don't know. Maybe I'm missing something.
@ kaybay -as someone who's lived nearby, bowling green is not great. the closest big city is toledo, which is maybe one of the worst cities i've ever been to. cleveland's not too far, i guess, but the area directly surrounding bg is meh. it's got a huge acceptance rate for undergrads, so it's not the cream of the crop people-wise either.this makes me sound like an asshole, haha. i mean, it can't be the worst location in the world, but it's pretty dismal. then again, other people may love it!
Man, it can't be *that* bad :D It actually reminds me of the town I live in Florida. Cute downtown with some shops and restaurants, chain stores for clothing and food. Some cultural events because of the college. Some noise issues, but if you live in the right area it can be avoided. I should probably visit the area if I get accepted there, though, hehe
Does anyone know of programs that allow you to recycle application materials from the previous year? Obviously, I would want to send a different sample, but I'm thinking about things like rec letters, GRE scores, etc.I kind of doubt very many programs do it, but I have a vague recollection of it being discussed last application season.
Mentioned this on the facebook group, but putting it here, too...I don't even see South Carolina on the rankings for selectivity (unless I'm blind)...should one suppose that they do not receive all that many applications? I know I've seen several others here who applied there...
South Carolina is under the RSN Selectivity: #11 University of South Carolina (23.68%) [9/38]But I really, really think they double the # of apps this year since everyone seemed to recognize their awesomeness. By the way, is there a lot of conversation over there on facebook? I'm wondering if I should just create an account and not build the page. I'd violate my code of honor, though ;)
come to the ~dark side, kaybay! we are very lively.
@kaybayThanks...how the heck did I miss it? Too many "University ofs" for my eyes, I guess. Yes, plenty of chatter on the facebook group...everyone who's anyone is there. ;)
Dur, I missed it because I didn't look at RSN. And kaybay, I think you're probably totally right about the number of applications this year being quite a bit higher. Hohum.
Okay, I created one for Kay Bay, lol. No profile, no friends, no status update, no eye twitching. I will probably spend 99% of my time here, but I'm curious :DWhat's the link again?
Man, facebook is confusing! How do I comment?
Grumble, grumble, I'm going to sleep. Todd and Alana, I saw your email addresses for swapping samples so I'm sending mine your way :)
@kaybay I got your sample! Glad you found my email.
I come bearing good tidings.Yesterday, an American magazine (that prints their issues) emailed me saying they'd like to accept a story I submitted for publishing. This is my first-ever submission and acceptance, ever (100% strike rate. woohoo!).What makes me hopeful re: MFA applications, is that this story formed part of my writing sample to 7 schools.
now i'm attempted to create a facebook page.sigh.must. resist.
I just woke up from a dream that I'd been accepted to the Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Yay, Salukis!Then I found I'd I'd been rejected from like 6th other schools, none of which I'd actually applied to, which was very confusing in the dream. The mailman kept bringing me these big envelopes.When I woke up, I thought, "Oh well, at least I have SIUC. D'OH!!!!"And on only January 7th? This does not bode well for the future.
I'm not even done with my applications and already I'm panicky!I'm trying really hard to restrain myself from applying to more back up programs; it seems like it would be cruel to the people writing my letters of recommendation. Is anyone applying to non-MFA programs as a backup?
so, folks, I know there's a lot of sample swapping going on, but I thought I'd ask and see if people want to talk about/describe their writing samples? It's not particularly easy to do with poetry, but i'd love to hear what people's stories were about.@alisonI wanted to apply for masters in education programs as a back up option. But the thought of navigating two different types of applications and asking my recommenders for a different type of letter just seemed like more than I wanted to take on. If I don't get in anywhere I'll hope to plan ahead for next year and either apply again to MFA programs and M.eds or just m.eds.
@anotherjennyI had a dream last night wherein I realized suddenly that I haven't done anything other than organize my writing sample -- that I still had SOPs to write and the actual applications to fill out.
@WillwoodI was waitlisted at UNCG last year and when I didn't get in in the end, they asked if I just wanted to defer my application to this year. I was asked to submit a new writing sample, but I didn't have to resubmit anything else, including the fee. (They even let me keep my GRE scores, which officially expired just after last year's admission period.)I don't know if the same was true for all applicants or just those waitlisted but it definitely made re-applying this year an easy decision.
Hello all. New here and an international applicant. I just received an e-mail from UCSD informing me that I had an electronic notice from UCSD Graduate Admissionss, but when i went to my account and checked the message page that said e-mail directed me to, there was nothing there. Has anyone else gotten an e-mail like this? Is this something that i need to ask the school about?
@ c.k.cGot the same email just now :o)When I logged in I did have a message, though, sent at 11:59 with the subject "Check admissions status", in the left-side column. Nothing to get excited about though. Here's the message:11:59 AM - Tania Mayer: Dear Courtney, Thank your for applying to the MFA Program in Writing at UC San Diego. We have finished scanning and uploading supplemental documents received by mail or email. Please log in to your account at GradApply.ucsd.edu today and check that your application packet is complete. Disregard messages about missing GRE scores; we do not require the GRE. If your application is missing a document that has been sent to us, email firstname.lastname@example.org (so we can double-check) before you request a replacement copy. Note that you can make the following changes to your GradApply account at this stage: - Update your personal information. - Upload transcripts. - Add recommenders and email reminders to recommenders. The review process has begun and will conclude in mid-March. All applicants will be notified by email. Please contact me at (858) 534-8849 or email@example.com if you have questions. Regards, Tania Mayer Program Coordinator (Staff) MFA Program in Writing
I go into an annual depression after the nfl season ends. It just occurred to me that if the season ends before I've heard, which of course is where things are pointing (super bowl is Feb. 6th), I really won't know what to do with myself. eep!
Hey C.K.C., I'm also an international applicant, where are you applying from? I'm applying from Brazil. And I believe that waiting is better than panicking, so come February, I'll just erase this whole MFA thing from my mind and not worry and just check my email account 100 times an hour. Can't hardily hold my breath, it will be so exciting!
Hey Pedro, I'm from Brazil too! Where are you applying?
My husband's Brazilian! I lived in Recife for a year. Woohoo! My latest story took place there.
@ Courtney, thanks for the info. I'll go back into my UCSD account and recheck to see if anything i've already sent is missing.@Pedro, I'm from The Bahamas. I'm really excited about the whole process. I hope i get in somewhere, filling out applications has been a b@#$h
Pensive monkey, that's so neat!! How did u like it down there?
@G, It was definitely an experience. A lot of good memories, rich culture, etc. I'm missing the beach right about now! Began to feel unsafe just walking around, though...my brother-in-law was kidnapped by carjackers (!), my uncle-in-law was shot TWICE, on two different occasions, while being robbed on his motorcycle, my husband was mugged a few times and then the school where he worked was robbed by four armed men...we have kids, so I'm too nervous to try to raise them there. I'm eager to check out the south, though, like Santa Catarina...seems more my speed.
Blob, that's me with college football! I literally go through withdrawls on Saturdays when there isn't a game on. During the first week of bowls I watched Appalachian State and like, God I don't know, Arkansas Christian Tech A&M or something. That was my rock bottom. I knew I needed help. Oh and Monday, baby! Auburn vs. Oregon! Woo hoo!I'm done now. Whew.
@kaybayI've never been much of a college football person only because I've never had a team to root for really and neither has my dad and it's hard to find teams you like based on players (since they turnover so frequently). but I just got off the phone with my dad and he was like "I'm rooting for Oregon, because you might end up there!" sigh, if ONLY.
@Pensive Monkey,Wow, I'm sorry, it sounds very frightening. But I totally hear in regards to the violence. I've been leaving in LA for the past 8 years, and now with a toddler have been dying to go back (all our family is there - Porto Alegre, very close to Santa Catarina, which you should definitely go if you have the opportunity). But security has been what's holding us from going back.Glad nothing happened to you or your kids though.Anyhow, nice to talk about something non-mfa for a change! :)
Umm, no, you're not allowed to root for Oregon. If you need a team, adopt Auburn. The most passionate, loyal fans I have seen are Auburn fans and Ohio State fans. Everyone else is just posing :PIncluding Georgia fans. Oh, snap! I went there Todd! :DSports are a fantastic diversion, by the way. I just went to a basketball game between the school I teach at and our rivals and it was so much fun. Totally wasn't thinking about MFA apps. I love how it gets religious, since we're a Catholic school and they're this strict Evangelical school that doesn't have dances because the kids will "touch" and touching's bad. Sign of the cross, in your face sucka!
I somehow always assume that other "nerds" like me (yes, I'm generalizing and pretending that all writers are nerds -- obviously not a fact) will care as little about sports as I do, and I'm always disappointed to learn that I really am the only one who just doesn't care. I watch football every four years during the World Cup. ;)
It is really funny that a sport is called "football" when you only use your foot to give the ball back to the other team or to score three points when you couldn't score seven. Don't make no sense.
Good luck to everyone on here. I hope you all get in! I'm wondering, though, are there any other Ph.D applicants on here? I feel like I'm lost on the first day of school, and I don't know where all the other kids went.@ExtraMedium, there are lots of MFA success stories, but there are also tons of non-MFA success stories. Going to a program that's a good fit for you can really give you the tools to become a better writer, but some people don't need school for that. I did, and I am a much better writer because of what I learned in my program. I think you have to really want it, though, or it's probably not a great use of your time.
@ the pensive monkey:Word. Except, I can't even get into the World Cup.I just don't get it. I do enjoy playing sports, though. And I enjoy watching the last 5 minutes of a Colts game when Peyton Manning somehow brings the team back from a, like, 20 point deficit...Well, that was just the one game.Sports movies are good. Yay Bad News Bears.
@GenaAre you still teaching creative writing to second graders?I wrote an incredibly long and detailed comment in response to your question, but somehow there was an error when I tried to post.Point is, I've taught several creative writing courses and electives to middle-school-age kids and I have a ton of curriculum ideas for you. Feel free to reach out to me through e-mail -- thetancole @ gmail.
I have a couple of questions, for international students, and anyone else who might know. Actually, the second one is an I'm having some troubles with my application to Mills College, who oddly want the 'certification of finances' document signed before offers are made (or not, as the case might be) and also a credential evaluation for my undergraduate transcript (which is to say, they want my to apply for an evaluation with the World Education Services or something along those lines, so that my marks and grades are translated to what they may have been in a US university). Now, I can manage the 'certification of finances' document, because I worked those out mostly. But the credential evaluation, from the World Education Services and such, seems to cost an additional $190, which is a pretty huge sum for me, considering what it becomes in Indian Rupees. So the questions are: 1) Will all universities want the credential evaluation eventually? I've not heard of this before - or at least no website mentions it. The Mills College website MIGHT have, but I'm entirely unsure about it. Have I just missed it entirely? And, 2) Is it worth it? My motivation for applying to Mills was the liberal rep and the fact that a friend of mine goes that. AND it's near San Francisco, which is a good thing (in my book anyway). But it's beginning to seem too expensive (they don't really guarantee aid to begin with) and a little ... alarmingly highbrow. >_< It would, at this point, be less expensive (by about half) to pick another college and apply to them. I'd pick Hunter College or something along those lines -- even though getting extra transcripts out will be an excessive pain, since I don't live in the same city as my old unis. And I also want to apply to at least 8 -- without Mills, it becomes 7. Or is applying to 7 colleges okay too? Freaking out a little now,A
Right, that might not be Hunter, considering their application fee. But.. yes, even so.
@A,I don't really have answers for the financial questions, but I can tell you that I'm only applying to 7, and am even considering dropping the last one, which would obviously bring me down to -gulp- 6.@Courtney,I don't care much about the World Cup either. I just watch in the hopes that the US will finally step up and become something in the world of soccer. It's the only sport I halfway like. And the players are often pretty attractive. Ha.
@scaryrobotgoodluck to you! I hope, when and if I get into an MFA program and finish that degree, to continue on to a phd. Are you applying only for CW programs or are you applying to lit/english programs as well? Lastly, where are you applying? Here's to hoping you find out soon!
Thanks, Blob! I applied to USC in CW for fiction. Their deadline was December 1st, and I got everything in early, so I'm already starting to go a little crazy. Good luck with the waiting period, and I hope you hear good news soon!
@Akatsuki,So here's my experience with all this. I'm not an F-1 student so I can't speak for the financial aspect. But I when I was applying for undergrad as a junior I had to use WES, mainly because I wanted the new school to accept as many classes towards my BA. Not all schools required, but it's one's best shot if hoping to transfer credits. In the end it helped me get in the school I wanted. I don't really see why they are requiring it for you though. And if Mills is not your top choice I'd say forget it. If you're willing to do more research this late in the game I think there still are programs which you can apply, and some might even require the official transcripts upon acceptance. The other thing is, they're process for international students is not necessarily an exact science, and sometimes it's worth it to contact the school, and try and find someone willing to make an exception for you.Hope this helps!Good luck!
I have nothing productive to say. Just that the thought of February makes me want to puke.
Hey all! I went through the process last year and understand how overwhelming it can be, so best of luck to all of you!If you'd like a way to fund all those application fees, our (NYU) journal, Washington Square is having a writing contest!$500 Poetry and Fiction prizes$200 Flash Fiction PrizeFor all the info:http://washingtonsquarereview.com/awards/
Hey guys, quick panic moment-- which schools do you know update their status checks regularly? Like put in transcripts? I decided not to freak myself out and check after everything this year, but after I accidentally noticed UMaryland didn't have my transcripts I checked UTexas and WUSTL-- also listed as no transcripts! My school definitely charged me for them, so if they screwed up and didn't send them, I'll be pissed.@Almond Punch-- In brighter news, yes, I'm still teaching the CW afterschool program... Did some acrostics with the 2nd graders, they seemed to love it, but now am nervous about the 6th graders on Tuesday. I'm emailing you now, thanks for the offer!
@GenaI don't know about Maryland. But I asked WashU about their status update system since it shows that nothing of mine has been received, including my samples (eek). Kathy Schneider said that they were just now starting to go through the bulk of their paper work and that statuses will be updated next week. So I'd wait at least 10 days before panicking about them. As for UT, they have my transcript listed. But I had mine sent in early November. So it's possible that it was updated only because it was so early and that they might still be sorting through paperwork that came in closer to the deadline, particularly since it all fell around break. I also know that UT has not started looking through applications yet (or at least barely started), so I don't think you need to worry just yet. Besides, the transcript is probably the very last thing they look at!I need to resend mine to Michigan and my GRE to FSU neither one went through the first time. Sigh.
Sorry, that link was supposed to be: http://www.pw.org/mfa?perpage=*But the other one is neat too, with respect to prizes and whatnot.
@X - clearly... I don't know if people can see my previous looooong post, because I could see it before and now I can't. >_< Must be a bug.
What is the title of the last story or poem you wrote?
@Gena & BlobRE: transcripts/supplemental materialsEarly in November, all my transcripts had made it to schools, but UT wasn't updating my status online. I called their Graduate Admissions office and found out that whoever received my undergraduate transcript made a separate file for me using my maiden name. So just a warning to female "marrieds" who changed names, there is a chance a separate file is lurking in a school's system containing any maiden-name-pertinent documents. UT just had to "merge" my files. I feel sorry for my husband though -- when we married we took each others' names. In other words, we now both have two last names which completely effs up all his grad school paperwork too. Oh well...they say "marriage is hard."
@ master of none"Girl Tries to Reanimate Mother as a Wolf"
re: namesIs anybody's publishing name different than their given name?I mean, I'm not published nor have I ever tried, but I always think about what my publishing name will be.It's complicated...because I hate my given name (Courtney)...and I go by Thomas....And my full name is actually the exact same as a B grade star (no, not Courtney Cox)...so sigh...I've thought about the initials thing...but I just associate them with bad sci-fi/fantasy writers.Though there is J. Robert Lennon...who I like! And it makes sense that he can't very well go by John Lennon.
@master of noneThe last 'completed' poem I've written is "Waiting is Part of the Punishment." It's the newest piece in my sample also. The most recent piece that is far from finished and may never become anything worth finishing really is called "When you run away to vegas you learn." In that particular poem, the title acts as the first line. @courtneyI like my name actually. But the only hesitation I have under making a literary name for myself under my given name is that it's an absurdly common name. I might, in fact, be the least googlable person imaginable. Not just my first and last name, but my first and and middle name usually go together also. So, it might make it harder for people to 'find' me. I've always said I'll know I've made it when it's at all possible to google me.
I went online to check the status of my Michener app--make sure they got everything--and now I have a new thing to freak out about: it says, ambiguously, that I applied for "Writing: Master's". Doesn't specify Master's of WHAT. I'm worried now, because I know UT has an MA program, but I intended to apply to the MFA program. They say they received my writing sample and SOP, which I did mail to Michener, but what if they just forwarded those to the English dept?Others who applied: does your status say "Writing: Master's" or something more specific?
urbanist,mine just says "writing" and "masters" as well.
i know it's late, but i'm also interested in reading people's writing samples (poetry, fiction and CNF). i might be too shy to send my own (i.e., too ashamed of what i thought was okay 2 months ago but now seems horrible), but i really want to see what everyone's writing and i'm happy to give feedback.my email link is in my profile.thanks in advance for sharing--i'm really excited to read your work.
Master of None - the last story I wrote (in entirety) was titled "A Night Out." Not very clever, I know :). Sadly, since I can't seem to write anything right now, the last story I wrote was the last story in my sample. Hurumph.
Hey guys, thanks for all the imput. I finally looked up my status at Johns Hopkins, who had received my transcripts, so they were sent out. (Phew!) Unfortunately, it also revealed that one of my recommenders, who told me he had finished with recs in November, never sent his rec in. D'oh! Problems, problems. I'm going to set things straight with UT-Austin and then never look at another status thing again. Ever.
For those applying to Purdue:Is there a "teaching assistantship" application that is separate from the main application? The website keeps referencing the "teaching assistantship application" - but I can't seem to find it. Thanks!
@Open SpacesI had the same question to you. But don't worry -- your online grad school app IS your teaching assistantship app. From the Purdue grad school admissions FAQ page:What are my chances of getting a teaching assistantship?Your application for admission is also your application for teaching assistantship. If admitted you will automatically be considered for a teaching assisantship. Here's the full link. http://www.cla.purdue.edu/english/graduate_studies/FAQ.htmlIt's confusing. IMO, Purdue's website is one of the worst out there in the MFA world. Hope that's not a red flag ... Anyway, good luck!
@Open SpacesI meant I had the same question *as* you. Sorry about the typo. :P
I love reading your titles.My last poem—which I keep editing—is called, "Stretch Marks Rise As Though You Want Inside My Body."
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