Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sleuthing for Current MFA Students.

I like the improvising here. What do our readers think? -- Tom

The literary journals of many schools show staff lists, many of whom, if
not all, are current students in the MFA program. Would you advise
contacting them before decisions to get a feel for the program?
Additionally, if you're able to establish a rapport with MFA students,
would you advise mentioning it in the respective Statement of Purpose?

Reading in Riverside


Christopher Arnold said...

Dear Reading in Riverside,

Nice detective work. Many programs will also list their current students' contact information somewhere on the program website. If not, reach out to the program director. Any program worth its salt should be willing, and even eager, to put you in touch directly with some of their students.

I would definitely recommend speaking with students about the program. As for mentioning anything about that in your cover letter--I would advise against it. The decision about whether or not to admit you will be based on your writing sample. Whether you've been in touch with present students probably won't be enough to sway the decision.

Mike Valente said...

I received a couple of emails last year from prospective applicants -- I think that if you're going to spend $50 on the application, then it might be worth a polite "Do you like it there?". After getting in, definitely reach out to current students, or at least the director.

Lincoln Michel said...

I would absolutely get in touch with current students. That is probably the best way to get a feel for what a program is like and probably the best way to find out the current information, as things like professors, funding, class size and so on can change from year to year.

On the other hand, I don't see what mentioning a friendship with current students would do for your application. If you just want to show that you have taken the effort to research the program and you really love it, that might be worth a mention. But beyond that...

best of luck

Unknown said...

Good idea. In my opinion, since current students get contacted less than faculty they're probably more likely to reply to you -- if you're super nice that is.

Julianna Baggott said...

At FSU we're happy to get you in touch with current grad students. If you specifically want to talk to someone at our review, we'd hook you up.

Julianna Baggott

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