To me, this is a must-read for any prospective MFA student. There are few absolutes in the application process, and Katie Cruel's essay offers very direct and wise insights into the process as she sees it.
5) I don’t know where to apply! Where should I start?!?!!
Here’s my very unorthodox method of deciding where to apply: I sat down with a list of the Poets & Writers magazine rankings, determined I wanted to apply to 25 schools (yes!) and got out a highlighter. I decided four schools from the top ten, four from the top twenty, etc, etc. As far as selecting schools, it’s really up to your preference. Schools without fully funding or >10 cohort sizes were out. Then, I picked universities that were in cities that appealed to me, and did lots of research on their websites. It was important for me to submit to all sorts of schools–ultra dream schools, quasi dream schools, oh yeah! schools, etc. (There are no such thing as safe schools.)