Newbie in New York writes…
I'm looking to apply to fiction programs this
fall/winter (and next year if nothing works out) and
need recs. I'm confused as to whether or not I should
take some classes at a university or at places like
the Gotham Writers Workshop. You've written already
that it doesn't matter, just immerse yourself in a
writing environment. But for me, though money is sort
of an issue, I'm most concerned with preparing a grad
school application that is as good as I can make it. I
don't have good transcripts from undergrad, which was
about four years ago, so I'm a bit worried about this
---Would instructors at Gotham, for example, be used
to writing recs for students? Though it's obvious to
me it would look better to have a rec from a faculty
member at Columbia rather than an instructor at
Gotham, is it maybe not such a difference at this
point that I should pay three times as much in an
attempt to get one? I also wonder if these classes at
Gotham would be as challenging as a course at Columbia
Newbie, I’ve heard very good things from students about the Gotham Workshops. Good teachers, good feedback, very motivating.
As far as your letters of recommendation: I’ve written about this a hundred times, so I’ll just get right to the point. It’s your writing sample that counts in your application. 90% of your application is the writing sample. Certainly, you can’t apply without letters of recommendation, but if you can get three letters from people who know you well and who will highly recommend you, then that’s enough.
I personally would not pay a large amount of money with my eye on letters of recommendation.
That said, I think only former students can talk about the merits of the adult education classes at Gotham, Columbia, and NYU. If there are any on this blog, both Newbie and I would greatly appreciate your thoughts in the comment section.