Monday, May 01, 2006

American University

Wondering in Wisconsin writes...

I’ve been accepted to American University and was wondering what your thoughts are about this program. Does it have a good reputation?

Congratulations, WiW. Let's see if any current or former students write in. Thanks in advance to anyone who can.


Anonymous said...

I'm a senior getting ready to apply to grad schools and I'm strongly interested in American because I've heard wonderful things about it. I was hoping someone would know how competitive the admissions process is and what it's really like.

Anonymous said...

I was accepted at American as well; I was looking at schools in the DC/MD area, so that really limited my choices, but American has top-notch instructors, a program that can be done in 2 or 3 years, and several well-published alums. What I will say, though, is that the funding situation is not the best (especially coming off the waitlist, as I did). But I'm excited for the program and all of the faculty and staff I have talked to have been enthusiastic and kind.

Maybe I'll see you in the fall! I'm going down to see the senior readings this Sunday (May 7th), which I think will also give me a better idea of what I'm up against.

Anonymous said...

All I know is that the school as a whole is in crisis with the president getting in trouble for smuggling funds, or something.

I've heard good things about AU and GM as far as DC Area MFAs go.

Anonymous said...

I graduated from AU with my MFA in 2001 and it was one of the best experiences of my life (something I appreciate even more now that I'm in a crushing Ph.D. program). The program has changed since I graduated, with some faculty members retiring, and new people brought on, but the atmosphere of the program is probably similar.

I finished my MFA in two years, though most students take three. You can structure your studies however you like, by taking poetry, nonfiction, and fiction workshops, sometimes all in the same semester. You can also teach if you want to (after taking a course or two), and be involved with Folio, the literary journal produced by the MFA program. I was the editor of Folio and it was a rewarding, useful experience.

One of the best things about the program is the atmosphere. Because it's a relatively small department (still connected to the English department), there's an incredible sense of community among the faculty and students. I still keep in touch with some faculty members and consider them both mentors and friends.

I don't regret going to AU, even though it's not as well known as some other programs. It was a wonderful environment in which to better my writing, and I know it's the type of department I'll look for when I go on the job market in a couple of years. More and more AU grads are getting published, though significantly more prose writers than poets.

I would be more than happy to answer questions about the program, or point you to people who could.

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