Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mailbag, Thursday, March 25, 2010 - plus, gosh-darn-it, some actual content!

Hi Everyone,

The new content posting has been pretty quiet around here as I seem to be one of the only people updating the blog these days, what with Tom and Seth busy writing and all, and I have been distracted myself -- with writing, teaching, editing, etc. Never fear. I'll continue to throw up new mailbags, and though the blog tends to quiet down over the summer, there will be semi-regular new posts with relevant MFA related content, so be sure to check back, no matter your status heading into the fall.

For now I have a grab-bag of links for you, and some questions I want to throw out there, and a few thoughts.

The eminently sane Vince Gotera (whose personal statement advice has already proved helpful to many an MFA applicant) has advice about how to handle acceptances, rejections, and (maybe most importantly) waitlists. Sure, this is from 2006, but I think it still stands.

Gotera suggests that if you end up with rejections, you should try and figure out why. The new incarnation of ALC, known as Driftless House (and which seems to be ALC minus Seth) is offering a service to help you do just that. You give them ten pages of fiction, or five of poetry, plus your list of schools, plus $90, and in return you'll get "in-line notes and an evaluation letter." That's nine or eighteen bucks a page! Just sayin'. (I work for less than that, if you are interested...)

This brings me to some questions: If you didn't get accepted, will you be reapplying next year? And what, if anything, do you think you gained from going through the process this time around?

For what it's worth, I always tell my MFA application students and clients that they should think of an MFA as a five or six year process: one or two years to apply, two or three years in the program, and a year to adjust afterward. And that's a minimum, in my opinion.

Also for what it's worth: last year I worked with someone going through her fourth year of applications. She'd been waitlisted before, but never had any full offers. After polishing up her stories and statements she went at it again and was accepted, in fiction, at multiple top schools, including Hollins, Brooklyn, and UNCW [Updated - it was actually UNCG, my mistake.] I can't take much credit on that one -- she did so well because she didn't give up, and used the time in between applications to workshop, hone her craft, and improve her stories. By the time I met her she was already in good shape and just needed guidance on statements and some final developmental feedback. But it goes to show that tenacity pays, both for MFA applications and in your future writing lives. Sometimes the ones who make it are the ones who don't give up.

***end pep talk***

More links: many MFA programs have really terrible websites -- any applicant knows this. But how many have blogs? NMSU does, but I'm not sure of any others. Can we crowdsource this one? Post your links to official (or, I guess, unofficial) MFA blogs in the comments.

Current NMSU student Carrie Murphy also emailed me to let me know about her blog, Master of Fine Eats. "Thought this might be of interest to the MFA blog readers," she wrote, "many of whom are already (if not about to be) poor graduate students."

Last thought: one commentator was lamenting over what to tell your recommenders if you don't have the outcome you were looking for. I say (as a fairly prolific recommendation writer myself) just tell them straight. They won't hold it against you one little bit, and most will be happy to get an update, no matter the results. I sometimes don't hear anything from the people I write recs for -- and I always wish I did.

For all this post's focus on possible less-than-desirable results, the acceptance season is not yet over, and there are still more happy "yay, I've been accepted" comments to come. So don't give up the good fight yet, people!

2,284 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 400 of 2284   Newer›   Newest»
Andrea said...

Congrats to today's acceptances! Las Vegas awaits.

And to those praying to get off waitlists, I feel your pain. I didn't anticipate it being this frustrating. To make it through, I'm just reminding myself of this Fight Club line: "It could be worse. A woman could chop off your penis and throw it out the window of a moving vehicle."

I mean, I don't have a penis, but I've gotta think that would be pretty bad. Possibly worse than waitlist purgatory.

John Douglas said...

@Woon- I was pretty confident in my writing, but it was more about only applying to places I was willing to move.

I'm a bit older than the average MFA applicant (not much, I'm 29) and I could live with the idea of not getting into one of those schools. So I only applied to the schools in towns where my wife and I would live, and where she would be able to find work as a high school teacher.

But when I hadn't heard anything from any schools around the beginning of March, I did start to freak out and wished I applied to more schools. I feel OK about it now though!

Woon said...

@John Douglas - 29 is nothing. You're just a baby! I've lived through eight centuries, man!

Woon said...

Oops...decades, I mean. Not "centuries." Centuries would make me a vampire.

peripateticmc said...

Thank you, Perpetua and Hilary!
Perpetua, I heard from New Orleans via e-mail on Tuesday. I applied for a grad assistantship too, but was told that decision will be coming in a few weeks (Rebeca, the one who sent the e-mail, said she didn't know exactly when.) The e-mail said you have to apply soon (I think by the end of the month) for separate scholarships. Congratulations on your acceptance there!
And congratulations to you, John Douglas! Together, we might just be a third of the incoming fiction writers at UNLV. :)

peripateticmc said...

PS to Perpetua - did you hear the same about funding, or are they doing it differently for different people?

Coughka said...

I asked these questions applying to programs (I'm 98):

1. Are classes ever held during dinner time? (5:00 p.m.)
2. Is the school in a quiet area with many park benches?
3. Does each classroom keep spare quilts (for lap warming)?
4. Will I have fax machine access to contact my grandson when I want to "upload" onto the World Wide Web?
5. Will teachers look down on the crinkly noises I make opening Werther's Original toffees during workshop?

Zoulou said...

@Spencer - congratulations on UNCG! Yeah!

And @k, congrats on Montana! :)

Ooooh, and @peripateticmc - yeah, UNLV!! You must be so psyched - congratulations! Hope you all are doing something great to celebrate this weekend.

@Xavier, congratulations on Mills! Oh my goodness, they just keep coming... way to go guys! :)

And @John Douglas too!

Woon said...

M. Swann - ROFL! Nice touch with the Werther's Original toffee, but the others are stereotypes. Quilts for lap warming? LOL!

Zoulou said...

@Perpetua - shoot, I'm sorry; I missed saying a big congrats for New Orleans! Wow, New Orleans - now I'm jealous; I want to move to that city :)

Sonja Christa Crafts said...

Hi everyone. So people who aren't interested can gloss over this long, boring comment, I will warn you--it's going to be about Temple.

This is my first time posting to this blog, and I have to admit, I feel a little late to the party. I applied for fiction. In hindsight, I wish I would have not taken all the commentary in TK's book ("all prospective students should apply here...") so literally, because I pretty much only applied to programs that everyone else who also took the same advice applies to, dwarfing any chances of acceptance. I remember when I started my applications, I was thinking "5% acceptance, hah, I won't get in here. But just in case...". Anyhow, I am in no way knocking the book, it is a truly valuable resource and am very grateful for the information it imparted.

So anyhow, so far I have had four rejections:

Vanderbilt (email yesterday)
Johns Hopkins
Maryland
Michigan

One acceptance:
Temple

One waitlist that I am aware of:
UNCW (Seriously, how many people are on this thing?)

And six programs I have yet to hear from, but I'm not holding my breath:
Penn State
Hollins
UNCG
Virginia
Florida
Florida State

Temple is my top choice for a number of reasons, and though I acknowledge that it's not currently a top program, and their MFA will be brand-spanking-new, I feel like they are an up-and-coming program that will give the established ones a run for their money in future years.

Anyhow, for personal reasons: I really wanted to live in an East Coast city, but can't afford New York or DC and don't really want to go further north (brrr). I currently live an hour outside of Philadelphia. My boyfriend is an artist and will be applying to programs next fall, and Philadelphia has half a dozen MFAs for that, so it seems like the perfect choice for me/us. I also like that the head of the department is Samuel R. Delany. This makes me feel like it is more open-minded about the value of other forms of fiction, even though I personally just write the regular litmag stuff. Anyhow, I was overjoyed this fall when I saw on the now-defunct ALC site that they were going to offer an MFA, and quickly added them to my list.

So I was pretty stoked to get an acceptance. I have one issue, though:
I received an acceptance letter from the graduate school of Temple several weeks ago, saying more information from the English Department was to follow. I have yet to receive more information. I was never phoned or emailed by the English department, or contacted in any way, actually. Although I am a PA resident and would get instate tuition, I could really, really (REALLY) use a TAship or some kind of funding. When I called to inquire, the department secretary told me to email the head of the program, as mentioned above, for more information on funding. That was a week ago--no word back. I don't want to pester the program, or the head of the department(!), but the somewhat lackadaisical response (not the right word) so far has kind of made me feel apprehensive/unwelcome, and I really want to go there and for them to want to persuade me to come and then when I enthusiastically accept, make all of my writing dreams come true.

Sorry for the life story. I just have a lot of unanswered questions and I am hoping other people have more information about Temple. Has anyone else been accepted to Temple and received word on funding? Anyone also get the vague acceptance from the graduate school but no further followup? Anyone else experience anything different? Anyone who has nothing to do with Temple have some insights on my situation?

Any advice or info would be wonderful!

Thanks guys! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Eleanor said...

@ poets on waitlists at Alabama, LSU, and Arizona:

I just contacted U. Alabama, LSU, and U. Arizona to let them know I'm not able to accept their offers of admission.

Good luck to everyone!

Alum said...

@bbartok: Thanks for the info about Purdue. That's interesting to hear. I emailed them today to check in but haven't heard anything back yet.

Rose said...

Hey all, I just wanted to let you guys know that I signed my contract with UMinnesota today. They took four fiction, four poets, and three CNF's. Here was my final rundown:

Accepted:
Minnesota
Montana
Colorado State
Idaho
Eastern Washington
Alaska-Fairbanks

Waitlisted:
Wyoming

Rejected:
Iowa
Wisconsin
Texas
Vanderbilt
Cornell
UNCW
Alabama (I called yesterday - the director was shockingly unfriendly. Official letters go out next week.)

Crickets singing in the silence:
Florida
Virginia

If anyone has questions about Idaho or EWU, shoot me an e-mail. I visited them before checking out Minnesota.
hansenma at onid dot orst dot edu

Best of luck everyone!

Hilary Dobel said...

Congratulations, John Douglas!

Rosie said...

Received PSU rejection in the mail today. The letter is kind of an odd lump of sugar: "the committee determined that the program would not meet your needs at this present time."

Anyway, this one stings a bit because PSU was my "safety school." LOL!!! I was only going to go if they were the only school that accepted me. But two schools have accepted me, so what am I whining about? I don't know. I have a chocolate bunny to eat, so I think I'll do that today.

Woon said...

It's so sad that bunnies occupy some of the lowest rungs on the food chain. So cute and yet, so delicious.

John Douglas said...

@peripateticmc- Yeah- not many spots at UNLV for fiction. We may constitute a quorum!

I'm very excited about the program, I love the international focus they have. I'm already thinking about where I'd like to travel...

Email me if you want to chat more about the program. I'd be interested to hear about your writing and style. I'm at Douglasjohnp [at] Gmail [dot] com. By the way- Peripatetic is one of my favorite words. Along with perambulate and peregrination, its my favorite entry under P.

@woon- Wow, I think I remember you mentioning your octogenarian status somewhere earlier in the month. What was Benny Goodman like? Archduke Ferdinand?

Unknown said...

I know someone on here said that hearing nothing right now is a good thing, but I think hearing nothing is driving me a little crazy. I think even rejections would be welcome at this point.

Anyway, just me venting. A chocolate bunny sounds like a good idea - followed by a round of Cadbury eggs - and then some peeps

Rosie said...

Chocolate bunnies are my favorite bunnies to eat! I've got some cadbury eggs and peeps, too. Easter is the most wonderful time of the year...

Boise,Idaho said...

@Everyone waiting for SDSU

Ok, I posted this before, but I don't know where it went...

Anyway, I contacted SDSU for a status check because I was curious (I'm committing to another program), and they said they'll be getting their letters of acceptance/denial out on approximately April 16...

About said...

Congrats Spencer! Way-to-go with the UNCG. Looks like an awesome program.

And yes, last stop Zippy's. Cheehee! 808 in da heazy!

Rosie said...

@Boise,Idaho

WHAT!!!! I thought that schools were required to notify by the 15th? I can't make a decision until I hear from SDSU.

Well, thanks for the info! 0_0

About said...

Have any fellow New Schoolers made their decision yet? I got an extension until April 12, but I'm still undecided right now.

ceruleanblue said...

@ John Douglas

I am waitlisted at Iowa (fiction), and I contacted them to try to get some info. Basically they said that some funding would be available for those coming in off the waitlist, but dodged questions about how many people are on it, and when we might expect to hear something.

Zoulou said...

@Rose - congratulations on your decision! And you're one of four - ay chi mama, that's some serious kudos there. I hope you get to kick back and relax a little, now that you're done deciding :) Good luck to you!

Henry, wag said...

Hey all,

I declined an offer in poetry today from Vermont College so hopefully someone on the wait list from here will get that slot.

Looking more and more like Sarah Lawrence!

My tally:

Accepted

VCFA
Sarah Lawrence
Pine Manor

Rejected

Brooklyn
Hunter
Warren Wilson

Still waiting

Bennington
New School
Stonecoast

This has been quite an interesting ride.

Jason R Jimenez said...

Email rejection from SFSU. Makes that financial aid award offer seem extremely shady and uncalled for.

Looks like it's gonna be CCA for me... (unless USF throws me a hail mary)

Kendra said...

Congrats klairkwilty and Abbie for picking their (respective) teams! Isn't Virginia going to feel silly when their top draft picks have already signed up with other schools.

Like Trilbe (who I have now met, and who is lovely), I'm in Michigan, almost ready to sign on the dotted line...exciting times, indeed.

laura said...

@Sonja

I was admitted to Temple, and they seem to have very limited funding. I was instructed to email Rachel DuPlessis because I am poetry. She responded the same day! I also got an email from her yesterday.

Her email is linked on her faculty page.

I'd also like to add that I had a lot of trouble contacting them, too, because their secretary doesn't seem to respond to phone calls. Eeh.

Good luck!

Sonja Christa Crafts said...

@Laura

Thanks Laura, that is very helpful. Limited funding, ugh. Fortunately it's instate for me, tuition-wise, and I have an americorps stipend that will cover the first year, but I really wish the funding situation was better. That's probably why no one responded to my email. Haha.

SurvivinginLA said...

Hey, many thanks to whomever posted the Irish "MFA Consolation" soda bread recipe... (burp).

I'm not applying until next year, but I've read enough of this blog, I figured I deserved to try it, too!

Laura said...

@ Sonja Christa Crafts,

I just got a surprise last-minute email acceptance from Temple yesterday (poetry). They said that they are not able to offer me any financial aid, because financial aid is "very limited" this year. Apparently you can apply for a part-time teaching position though by contacting Stephen Newman or Rachel Groner (steven.newman@temple.edu and rgroner@temple.edu) but I don't know how you would really go about applying.

Temple does seem like a great up-and-coming program. I can't go without any aid, especially since I have other offers with at least some aid. But if you are in-state and it's somewhat affordable, it seems like a great program!

Sonja Christa Crafts said...

@Laura T

That information is extremely helpful. I will definitely be contacting them, thanks so much!

I just feel odd that no one from the actual English department has contacted me about any of this. The letter said information would be coming, but it's been 3 weeks, and it's sort of getting down to the wire. I keep rereading the letter to make sure I'm not crazy, but it definitely says words like "admit", "acceptance", and a handwritten "congratulations!" from the Interim Dean (why him? who knows).

I feel like I could live with about 10K of debt, which is about what I'd end up with if I don't get any assistance. If it wasn't for my Americorps stipend, I wouldn't even consider it, though.

I'm glad to hear you have other options! Thanks for the advice!

Nora Bee said...

Finally got my rejection from SFSU -- going to Davis for their poetry MA and I'm having some mixed feelings about not getting into State and worrying about funding, but ultimately really excited and would love to chat with some other folks going and maybe meet up during the recruitment day next month. Granted, I'm mostly a lurker so you may be thinking "umm, no" but if you aren't! Noramaebee @ gmail dot com

Laura said...

@ Sonja,

It does seem weird that no one has contacted you when they said that someone would. I would try to email them if I were you and mention that your letter said that you would be contacted, but that you haven't heard anything and you need to make a decision!

10k of debt doesn't seem bad at all. Of course no debt is ideal but sometimes it's just unavoidable! But such a small loan doesn't seem like it would be very difficult to pay back. It's great that you have the stipend from Americorps to help!

Sonja Christa Crafts said...

@Laura T

I will definitely be calling/emailing/paging/singing telegramming the department first thing on Monday to see what's up.

Good luck next year and thanks for your help!

Emily Walker said...

Hey everyone,

Posted this on Driftless House earlier tonight. Got into University of San Francisco fiction. Got the phone call tonight.

I'm also going to a midnight showing of The Room tonight and with all those sweeping San Fran shots, I think I might enjoy it even more tonight.

Kevin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason R Jimenez said...

Man, what a night. The sting of being rejected by SFSU was soothed by getting a phone call from my very best friend who had just received an email acceptance from SFSU (for the MA CW). So everything's good because my best friend and I will once again be in the same city doing our thang.

YES!

Mickey Kenny said...

Accepted to Western Washington MA (creative writing) with a TA package!!!

Notified by email
Poetry

Andrea said...

Congrats mickey! I live in Bellingham- it's a great place. If you decide to go to Western feel free to email if you want, though I'm sure you'll be in contact with current students. Cheers!

Longfellow Winters said...

Well I've been waitlisted at Univ. ILL @ Urbana and just got an acceptance to SFSU. However, I had applied to the MFA but just noticed I got into the MA CW which I had opted to not apply for. Anyone know much about SFSU and the program? I applied because it seemed interesting and San Fran is a place I wouldn't mind living.

While the MFA is what I wanted I could just do the MA for the year and apply for the MFA the next year. Either way I get time for writing, but the MFA is what I want and need for teaching.

I'm still waiting to hear from NYU, SDSU, and Columbia Chicago.

If anyone else has gotten in or knows of anyone and wants to chat my email is ddivince@gmail.com

This is all for poetry.

peripateticmc said...

@Zoulou - Thanks! I'm super-psyched. :)

Michael said...

@Rosie-

Saw your PSU as "safe school" comment. Isn't it a bizzare field of graduate study we're in? I have acceptances, some with funding, at Montana, Ohio State, Idaho, etc, yet was rejected by Oregon State and others I thought were "safe." Sometimes it feels like getting accepted at Harvard and turned down by your local community college. Go figure. It's just such a subjective skill. I explain my situation to poeple outside of the world of writers and they don't quite get it.

"Wait, you got in there but not there?"

Yes.

"Didn't they look at your GRE scores?"

Maybe.

"What about your grades in undergrad? Your hours of commnunity service?"

Well...

"When I applied to grad school for engineering..."

Oh well - I sort of like that about the MFA. Rolling the dice gets my adrenalin pumping.

Cograts on the acceptances.

-Michael

Michael said...

And sometimes they say, "Wait, you got into a master's writing program without being able to spell 'people' or 'congrats'?"

Well...

-Michael

Perpetua said...

peripateticmc - New Orleans told me the same thing and they have been very evasive regarding by when I can get back to them either accepting or turning down their offer. Did they give you a specific deadline?

Zoulou - thanks. I only applied to New Orleans cause I know Richard Ford often drops by and is involved in some of their seminars and summer workshops. Of course one can never discount a city like New Orleans... but right now I have no idea where I'm going. I'm still waiting to hear back from some schools and the wait is stifling!

Meg said...

This blog is wonderful. So nice to have some camaraderie in the (often painful, it would seem) MFA app process...

My list:

Rejected from -
Iowa (Fiction & Poetry)
Vanderbilt (Fiction)
UNCW (Fiction)
Brown (Fiction & Poetry)
UC Irvine (Fiction)

Waiting on -
UT Michener (Fiction)
UF (Fiction)
UVA (Fiction & Poetry)

Not looking like this is going to be my year, but on the up side I really do feel like I've learned a lot from the process, and that my writing has gotten much better in the months since I stopped obsessing over my samples. So I'll be in a better position to reapply next year, or later on. Good luck to everyone still waiting on decisions. :)

Meg said...

Oh one other thing - people who have heard from Texas, was it via email or snailmail? Thx!!

Unknown said...

@Megan-- My Austin fiction rejection came snailmail, but I saw it first on the online status check.

Kitty in a Cathouse said...

Hey everyone. It's been such a joy reading every one of you the last 3-4 months. Thanks for all of the advice and help. My final tally, in poetry:

Accepted:
Georgia College and State U (Accepted offer)
Texas State (I love this school, I hate having to turn it down, I hope someone on here gets to go now that I can't)
Old Dominion

Waitlist:
SIU-C
McNeese

No-Go:
WUSTL

If anyone is going, or thinking of going, to GCSU let me know.

Violet_Mai said...

Just wanted to let people know that I just declined offers from Hollins and Sarah Lawrence in nonfiction. Hope that means others on here will receive good news.

John Douglas said...

@Emma- I broke down and called Iowa too, since I got accepted w/ funding to UNLV (basically my #2 choice, and rapidly becoming my #1 choice)

They told me basically the same thing; very very few on the waiting list; funding will be in place even for accepted waitlisters. The woman I talked to stopped short of giving me specifics as well. She did say wait and we'd hear. Frustrating!

Sarah said...

Still waiting on Emerson merit aid news, but check out the Gradmission blog post about their new aid policies: http://admissionblog.emerson.edu/graduate/index.php/2010/03/17/new-merit-aid-offerings/

Key points:
"* Awards range from $5,000 per semester to full tuition.
* The top 20-25% of each program’s incoming class will receive some type of Merit Aid.
* We have moved to strictly fellowships. No working for the money! It’s yours, granted you maintain full-time status and a 3.2 GPA each semester."

Aaron Michael Peters said...

I just turned down a spot and GA position in UNLV's fiction program. This should open a spot on the waitlist--when it comes out--sooner than later.

Chrissy Widmayer said...

@Sarah--I read that a while ago. I really am curious what the top 20-25% means when it comes to an MFA program. Is it based on grades or writing sample? Or whaaaaat?

And if you didn't know, the merit aid letters were put in the mail on Thursday, I think. Maybe Friday (I can't remember which). Justina from Admissions posted on the Facebook group discussion we were having about it.

Can't wait to get mine!

Chelsea said...

Woo..weekend!!

Just got pulled off the waitlist @ Rugters-Camden. In for poetry! Still no word from LSU (reject me already, people! yeesh).

Waiting on LSU & UNCG.

Hope some people get some rockin' acceptances this weekend. GL all!

Otkuda said...

@Henry,wag --when did you hear from Brooklyn? A few of us here are still going kooky, waiting for that rejection.

Sarah said...

@Chrissy

I heard about the letters going out too. I'm hoping against hope mine will show up in my PO Box today, or Monday at the latest but the post office here is ridiculously bad at getting things to us, ugh. My roommate is waiting on design programs and we keep making trips to the post office together, luckily (or unluckily? We go multiple times a day...) it's only a block away.

Justina posted on the Facebook group that the top percent for the MFA and the other creative programs have more to do with creative potential, but that it's still holistic. Which has me crossing my fingers that my good grades/GRE scores will help if they don't think I'm at the top in terms of creative potential.

I guess we'll know soon! But man, I'd been resigned to needing a fair amount of loans for tuition if I go there, and now that there's a little hope that I might not...it'd be so awesome.

Laura said...

I'm still in North Carolina (leaving in a little while) but my dad called from home this morning and said I got a financial aid letter from Emerson. But it was only loans, and it was dated earlier than when the merit aid letters were supposed to be put together. I am really bummed about it but hoping that merit aid could still be coming. I really thought I would get some because I have a high GPA and have always been one of those annoying academic-achievement type people who get merit aid. :( Now I'm going to worry about it until the mail comes again on Monday.

Sud said...

@Sarah--where is that Facebook group?

Chrissy Widmayer said...

@Laura T, I just posted on the facebook group thread, but I think merit aid will come in a separate letter. Merit aid would NOT come in the form of loans. It's based on FAFSA and your financial aid form. They're separate. I'm absolutely sure.

@Sud, http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/group.php?gid=18529512121&ref=mf

Sud said...

Chrissy--thanks. I didn't realize this was an Emerson site...thought there might be a general site I was missing.

Lucas said...

Got a very nice "no thanks" email from Ole Miss today in response to my asking if decisions had been made.

Unknown said...

Wait, no thanks meaning rejection? Or no thanks meaning they haven't made decisions yet?

Unknown said...

Hi Everyone. I've been accepted to Temple (awesome funding) and UC Davis (med. funding, might get better). I've visited Temple and I go to check out Davis next month. Anyone have any experience with the programs? Any insights?

Thanks!

Sonja Christa Crafts said...

@Snuffy

Congratulations! What genre are you? I am likely going to Temple next fall for fiction.

Question: How did you hear about your Temple acceptance and funding?

Unknown said...

@Sonja Christa Crafts

Hi. I'm fiction. I got a letter from the graduate department. How did you hear?

Ashley Brooke said...

I got my rejection letter from Virginia Tech via snail mail... So I guess that at some point somebody did actually look at some part of my application even though I had those technical problems with it.

Henry, wag said...

@Otkuda

I think I heard no from Brooklyn 10-14 days ago. For awhile, there was nothing on my computer link and then there was a rejection.

Good luck!

Unknown said...

@Sonja Christa Crafts

Sorry I just read some of your previous posts. I got that same letter too. I get the feeling you have to be pretty pro-active with them. If you want to email me, please do snuffysmith5 at gmail dot com.

WordShift said...

@John Douglas

Dare I say the average age of an MFA applicant IS 29 or so. I've already seen my 40th birthday and I suspect I'm not the only one.

Kate said...

@Longfellow I will trade you my NYU waitlist position for your UIUC waitlist posish! I will also throw in a Columbia acceptance, even though they won't offer you funding :( I am still praying that I will get off of the waitlist at UIUC because they offered my gf a sweet PhD funding package. Good luck, though, regardless of where you end up!

Henry, wag said...

@WordShift

I've seen my 45th birthday. I applied to both low and full res schools, and it looks like I will be attending a full res. So it will be interesting attending workshop and classes

Henry, wag said...

. . . with people 20 years younger. I don't think it will be a problem, though.

Seth Abramson said...

@all

I just wanted to make one final push for anyone who hasn't ever posted their application list to post it now -- I thank you profusely on behalf of all future applicants!

Congratulations to all those who've heard good news so far, and fingers crossed for everyone still waiting!

-- Seth

Summer said...

My list in poetry:

Accepted:
Maryland (poor funding)

Waitlisted:
Michigan

Rejected:
JHU
Iowa

No word:
BU
Virginia
Irvine

Unknown said...

@Seth Abramson

Hey Seth. Thanks for all your help with the process. As I said above I've been accepted to UC-Davis (some funding) and Temple (full, awesome funding). I know CA has lots of issues with these days with cutbacks. I've had a hard time finding any finding any feedback about the programs themselves, particularly Temple. I'm visiting both and doing lots research. Any thoughts or experience? Thanks in advance.

Les is More said...

Hi Seth. I'm a student with significant ties to one geographic area (St. Louis) so here's my list:

Wash U - not accepted
UMSL - wishin' and hopin'!

To be fair, my ties locally are a rock-star family, my own wedding next winter, and my internal biological clock sounding the alarm that it's time to buy a house and fill it up with kids already. So not complaining. ;)

Best to all!
-Les

kbtoys said...

Fiction:

Rejected:
Hunter

Waitlisted:
The New School
Sarah Lawrence

Waiting on:
Brooklyn
Columbia

Julia said...

My list (in fiction)

UNC Greensboro (Accepted)
NC State (Accepted w/TAship)
U New Hampshire (Waitlisted)
Vanderbilt (Rejected)
Virginia (No word)
Arkansas (No word)

Unless UNCG comes back with some funding or a miracle happens with UVA/Arkansas, it's looking like NC State!

Les is More said...

Lamesauce! I forgot to say I'm in fiction.

-Les the forgetful

Woon said...

I wonder what the Virginia peeps are doing? Making final decisions or shopping at the local farmer's market? (Do they even have farmer's market in Charlottesville?)

Ashley Brooke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Woon said...

Virginia is so cavalier about the whole MFA application process, waiting two weeks before the national CGS reply date of April 15. Folks should protest in front of the English building. Or maybe just the French building, just because they're French.

Ashley Brooke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Woon said...

@Ashley Brooke - your link doesn't work.

Ashley Brooke said...

This week I had the chance to see a film premiere at the Cleveland International Film Festival called Louder than a Bomb about a high school poetry slam competition in Chicago. It was pretty fantastic (some of the students are quite good) and if anybody gets the chance to see it down the road you should really do so.

There's a 10 minute promo on that link which is worth watching too.

Ashley Brooke said...

@Woon -
Link fixed! It is one of those days for me.

Unknown said...

@Julia

I also got in at UNCG. You mentioned something about the lack of funding. What have you found out? Are things looking that bad over there? I always assumed they were pretty good with the funds. Any info would be great. Thanks.

Unknown said...

So, just saw that SDSU is notifying on April 16???? Is it just me or is that waaaay late?

Well, at least I don't have to sit and watch the mailbox every day. Who knows, maybe they'll be in a good mood after eating all their Easter candy and they'll send out the decisions at the beginning of April.

G said...

@seth My app list for fiction:

U of Oregon
UC Irvine
U of Illinois-Urbana
U of Wisconsin-Madison
U Of Arizona
U of Minnesota
U of Iowa
UT Austin
Indiana U

Julia said...

@Spencer

First of all, congratulations!

Last I heard about the funding for UNCG, they didn't have anything. However, it did sound like they were doing their best and I don't think Jim Clark's given up yet or there would have been some word.

Apparently they were in a similar situation last year and it worked out, so I'd say there's reason to be optimistic, but it's far from a sure thing at the moment.

Unknown said...

@Seth (or others): This may be a stupid question, but what's the value of me posting my list? I'm a private person, but might post it if I knew more about why people wanted to see it. (I haven't really been interested in seeing others' lists, so perhaps I'm missing something.)

golgonooza said...

@ Seth

My list for fiction:

UMass-Amherst
Brooklyn College
Hollins
Boise State
U Michigan
Brown
U Wisconsin
Hunter College
Sarah Lawrence
U Oregon
U Arizona

Unknown said...

@Seth

My genre is fiction

Accepted:
UC Davis
Temple

Waiting:
Penn State
U of Houston

Not accepted:
Washington U/St. Louis
UC Irvine
Ohio State
UC Irvine
Michener
Johns Hopkins
Iowa Writers

Thanks!

Unknown said...

@Julia

Thanks. I'm pretty excited about it. Wow, didn't realize things were so dire there. I emailed Jim Clark about it so I expect him to repeat what you've just told me. But if mentions something a bit more positive I'll let you know what I hear.

Seth Abramson said...

@EE26

Good question! -- the answer is that the current national ranking system for MFA programs is designed to privilege applicant views (and, importantly, values) rather than those of MFA faculties and administrators. Your list functions as a vote for which programs you determined best suited your needs -- and provided you best with what you feel an MFA experience would/does require. The results of these votes are published annually in Poets & Writers as the rankings-of-record in the field (along with a bevy of hard-data, non-subjective rankings in areas like funding, selectivity, and placement, and a chart of unranked program data chock full of time-consuming-to-find info on program size, cost of living, teaching load, &c). Future applicants benefit from your research by getting a general-sense impression of which programs their predecessors were most impressed by. Every day I get e-mails and comments from folks who thank me for compiling all this information -- but really it is you all they have to thank, for it's you guys who are sharing with those who come after you what you've discovered about the process generally and about individual programs specifically.

I hope this answers your question!

Be well,
Seth

Anonymous said...

Rejection letter from Miami! I'm surprised as the only other program I've been outright rejected to so far has been Iowa. I really thought I had a good shot of getting in or at least being waitlisted. Miami must have gotten a lot of applications this year, or must have had a vastly different take on my writing than higher-ranked top 50 programs (yes, I’m bitter). I’d have to hypothesize the latter though, because how many applicants could they have gotten compared to some of these other schools? Damn it!

It’s quite frustrating as I literally cannot imagine putting together a better application for myself: graduating from a top liberal arts college with a good GPA, having three strong letters of recommendation (two of which are from renowned writers—people who dwarf the Miami faculty in terms of publishing records and fame, and one of whom is in the same level of prestige with the DeLillo & Murakami surnames), and a writing sample that at heart is a propulsive, plot-driven narrative, but one which is infused with unique elements and sensibilities (especially in comparison with the family melodrama writing that seems to dominate so many literally journals today—Glimmer Train, ect.).

I can’t believe the writing sample (a complete story, at that) was not worthy of at least a waitlist status. The story was extensively workshopped, revised, discussed with faculty, friends and fellow writers (all of whom really liked it, which is not say that they didn’t offer suggestions for revision), but was still completely my own work. In other words, the story never became something I didn’t want it to become and does not suffer from any “identity crisis” where various voices are tugging different ways at the narrative. And reading the story now, it still interests, moves and pleases me to no ends as a reader. Plus, not be a jerk, but this story is close to publication by a journal you’d find in Barnes & Noble or Borders!!

I can understand top programs like Iowa (and a plethora of other places) rejecting me outright because there are so many good writers out there, but they get a much, much larger pool of applicants than Miami!

Yes, I’m aware that I sound like an ass at this point, but I don’t care. I guess my point (aside from bashing this specific decision) is to point out how subjective a process this really is (duh) and how difficult it is to accept decisions that one sees as capricious. And I’ll never know exactly why Miami chose to reject me, or the details behind their admissions process, or how many applicants they had this year….damn!

Of course, anyone who is a writer, as you all are, knows that you get the cold shoulder more than the loving embrace.

OK, sorry for this convoluted diatribe.

P.S. I do genuinely congratulate those who were accepted into the program.

John said...

Poetry.

Accepted:

GMU
CSU
Columbia

Waitlisted:

Houston
Notre Dame

Rejected:

Illinois
V-Tech
Iowa
Michener
UMass
Wyoming
Arizona

Waiting on:

ASU
SDSU

Seth Abramson said...

@le tigre

I hear you -- but (and I'm sure you knew this was coming!) just remember how subjective the process is. On the night of my first MFA workshop my first book was signed for publication (all poems written pre-MFA and included in my application portfolio). Still got outright rejections at the time I applied -- not wait-listings -- from Cornell, Johns Hopkins, Virginia, and Brown. And this was three application cycles ago, so application numbers weren't anything like they were this year. A friend of mine applying at the same time got into Cornell and (as I recall) received outright rejections from Michigan, Massachusetts, Iowa, Virginia, Brown, and Johns Hopkins. I realize Miami feels like a much lower-ranked program, but that's only true in an in-the-moment sense -- right now Miami is #59 and climbing (after being ranked last nationally in 1996) so I imagine by the time you graduate from your MFA program Miami might well be listed in the print edition of Poets & Writers as a top 50 MFA. Because Miami is one of the few well-regarded programs for which selectivity data is unavailable, for all we know the school is already getting top-50-level attention from applicants (i.e. has top-50 selectivity). But the more important point: being a poet or a writer means an entire lifetime of accepting what will seem to you to be, at the time, absolutely inexplicable defeats/failures. This is just the beginning. The key is to focus on your successes; the other stuff just kind of fades away. It has to.

Be well,
Seth

Seth Abramson said...

P.S. I know you said the "subjective" thing yourself -- I meant "process" in a much bigger way (that might not have been clear). That is, you can't "objectively" judge your own work, of course, nor can any of us -- nor can your teachers, friends, editors, &c. There is no "consensus" that can ever be reached -- beyond a certain level of competence, which I'm sure you're well beyond, every reader will make their own determination. On the same day I had multiple poems taken by Poetry I received a letter from an undergraduate first-reader at The South Carolina Review instructing me on how to become a better writer -- she assured me I could get there in time. Was I angry? No! I laughed -- because it just shows how crazy it is being a writer. I had no hard feelings whatsoever. It was an important lesson I'm still learning from. --S.

Brittany said...

My list in fiction:

accepted:
Montana

waitlisted:
Arizona

rejects club:
Wisconsin
Texas at Austin
Colorado State
Iowa
Michigan

no word yet:
Virginia (ha!)
Florida State (still holding out some hope!)
Indiana (no hope)
Florida (no hope)
Cal-Irvine (no hope)
Houston (no hope)
UNC-W (no hope)

Brittany said...

Oh, and no word (and probably no hope) for Alabama.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

@Seth

Thanks for your response!

You're right, of course. I just had to rant, because I obviously was interested in the program for a variety of reasons and naturally I'm disappointed that I don't have the opportunity to be part of it.

The letter did say that the competition was particularly "keen" for this year. Still, I'm surprised.

Don't get me wrong, I'd be interested in attending the program for a variety of reasons, but the funding situation there seems quite good, which is probably a reason for the increased interest in the program.

Hey, speaking of which, do you think that eventually most MFA programs will become fully funded or, at the least, offer very good funding for their students? I hope so...

Elissa Cahn said...

Seth,
Here's my application list for fiction:

Columbia College Chicago (accepted)
Vermont College (accepted)

Western Michigan (wait-listed)

Rejected from:

Illinois
Indiana
Purdue
Ohio State
Bowling Green
Wisconsin
Iowa
Colorado State
Michigan
Minnesota

And...no word from Notre Dame.

Seth Abramson said...

@le tigre

I'm doin' my damnedest. ;-) My hope is that with the activism now at work we can get all programs fully-funded within the next generation or so (25 years). I do think that within the next ten years no program will be ranked in print (i.e. in the top 50) that is not fully-funded.

Be well,
S.

Julia said...

@Brittany

Why so little hope? Sounds like the possibilities are still pretty good!

Julia said...

@Spencer

Sounds good! I'll definitely do the same if I hear anything new.

And don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled about UNCG. I'm just also worried.

Unknown said...

@Seth -- Thanks so much for your reply; I didn't realize you collected your data from this blog.

Here's my list, all fiction:

Michigan
Penn State
Wyoming
Purdue
Brown
Vanderbilt
Pitt
Wisconsin
South Carolina
UNC-Greensboro

Jasmine Sawers said...

@Seth

I posted my list for fiction many moons ago, but after posting, I applied to Indiana and never updated. So, that's one you're missing from my particular list. Sorry, and thanks.

Seth Abramson said...

@Jasmine

Here's the scary thing -- I'd already added it. ;-) I keep on top of this stuff pretty closely.

@EE26

Thanks to both of you!

S.

Jasmine Sawers said...

@Seth

You are a machine.

And thanks again.

Lucas said...

@Fausto

No thanks meaning rejection. They said I was "high on the list, but they couldn't offer me a TAship." Very friendly. Nicest rejection I've received.

Ashley Brooke said...

You know, in reading that DH only offers feedback on 10 pages (at least for the flat rate price advertised) I immediately thought "No way, my first 10 pages are the worst part of my writing sample." I realized I would not pay for that because I don't feel like it would offer a fair picture of me as a writer. Than I realized - uh oh, maybe that's my problem. I even think that if I read my first story as anyone but myself (which is 17 pages) that I might not stick with it through the end. That's another problem.
If I don't get a funded offer this year and decide to turn down an unfunded offer (I'm 50/50 on this at the moment), I would consider using DH this year... but I would send what I'd be using as my new sample, not what I used this year. I don't know why it didn't occur to me to start with my second piece (which I feel opens with better writing but isn't as complete-feeling) or to edit my first piece further. I think that the story was just too new. If I reapply, I'd like to have my sample ready in the next few months.

Good luck to everybody as the last few schools make decisions! I'm still holding out for FAU and have a flicker of hope for UNLV.

Woon said...

@Ashley Brooke - I would think that the MFA app process favors those with a gripping first few pages (e.g., first 10 pages). If you can't hold the MFA readers' attention/interest within the first few pages, they'll probably throw your app in the rejection pile. They simply have too many apps to wade through.

But I'm only guessing.

In my first 2 pages, I'm already in the middle of the action. The long-winded faux-insight monologue by my protagonist occurs on page 14, but then I cut him off. You know, more edgy that way.

Woon said...

(cont.)

In fact, I think paying for a review of the first few pages may be a better bargain/deal than paying hundreds for the whole story. The first few pages is so crucial that once you square that away, the rest fixes itself.

When I sent out my apps, I did not send my "best" work because my best work was nuanced and subtle. I felt it was too subtle for readers who had very little time (and patience). So, I sent a slightly less deep story that was more visceral and urgent.

My result? I'm no superstar like Arna or Nadiya, but of the 8 apps I sent out, I was accepted by 1, waitlisted at 4, rejected at 2, and still waiting on 1. As far as I'm concerned, it's not a bad tally.

Lauren said...

@Woon,

OMG, how is it I've never thought to ask you for a sample trade?

Can I read your stories? I'll send you mine, even. aurorapixie at gmail dot com.

On a related note: I guess I have to say, I never really thought about "grabbing" the reaader's attention in the first page or two. I just told the story.

Hm. Must think more about this.

Woon said...

@Lauren - I thought you said you didn't have access to the Internet at home? Where are you? The public library?

phillywriter said...

I always try to grab people in the opening line. I think that's the only way I've made it from the slush pile at lit mags.

But even with an attention-grabbing opening, my writing sample has thus far yielded me only 2 waitlists and 0 acceptances.

Woon said...

(cont.)

Having said what I said, in a parallel universe, I sent out my deeper nuanced and subtle story and I've been accepted by Iowa, Cornell, and Texas, but rejected by Miami.

Lauren said...

@Woon,

Yes, it is a new day here in the great state of Ohio. And I am once again at the public library (a different library from yesterday, though). I can also be found at coffee shops and bookstores. Sucking up the free internets.

But anyway. How did you know I'm at the library? Are you stalking me?

And I'm with you on second-guessing the sample, and parallel universes where I sent out different stuff and got accepted everywhere. Yep.

Woon said...

(cont.)

I do not mean to suggest MFA app readers are shallow or too hasty or derelict in their duties. Far from it. They probably do a great job given the time they have. And I just think they simply don't have the time to let our writing samples "sink in." When they're done with one, they have to move on to the next set of writing samples. Just the nature of the beast. You've got to give them Natalie Portman instead of Janeane Garofalo (and hoping the AdCom can appreciate Garofalo). There's just no time.

Unknown said...

I try to have at least one explosion on the first page - two is better, especially if it involves a motorcycle chase.

In all seriousness, I thought the same thing as Ashley Brooke. That that might be the reason I haven't had any good news yet.

Oh well, live and learn. There's always next year.

Cratty said...

Ha! OK, Woon, that parallel-universe joke of yours made me laugh. He he he

Anyway, I started fretted a lot before schools started announcing acceptances because the opening to my sample is a full-on snoozer. I'm quite sure of it. It takes so long to get started that . . . I dunno, but I really think it's quite dull.
Maybe I got lucky and someone, being in a particularly good mood that morning (or afternoon), decided to trudge through three or so pages of torpor.

herglands said...

Accepted to Iowa (IWW) for poetry. As of today.................. !

Woon said...

However...

I don't want to give you the impression that everyone should write the same way or write in a certain way to woo the MFA app readers. As one of my recommenders advised me when I told him I was thinking of writing like Donald Barthelme, "Woon...(my real name is not Woon, btw)...you should write in your own unique way, in your own unique voice, not the way you think would please MFA app readers."

I think it's good advice. But naive. LOL!

No, seriously, y'all should do your own thing. Don't listen to a num-nut like me.

Lauren said...

@umlrenic,

Wow, holy crap, CONGRATULATIONS!

Somebody turned down Iowa. Wow. Awesome for you! Congrats!

Woon said...

@umlrenic - Congrats! Was this off the waitlist?

Seth Abramson said...

Hi Ashley,

As you may know, Chris Leslie-Hynan at DH has read hundreds of applications for the IWW, and I think I can safely say that his view is consistent with what you all are discussing -- the importance of those first ten pages of a fiction sample. And (not for nothing), I'll say that the DH track-record is pretty darn good in both genres, in terms of the samples DH has looked at getting favorable responses from adcoms...

In any case, on a separate note, I hope folks will keep those application lists coming!

S.

MFAguy said...

@Cratty,

Hey, what was your email again?

Mine's clinfort [at] nmu [.] edu

herglands said...

Yes, off the waitlist. Weird!!

Woon said...

re. Seth's services.

I would probably advocate paying ALC $90 for them to review the first 10 pages rather than $350 (whatever the fee is) to give me the whole MFA package.

Seth Abramson said...

@Woon

Ah -- there's the rub. MFA readers actually aren't looking for a cooked story or poem. And anyone tasked with aiding a young writer or poet... well, the last thing they're going to do is try to tear the life out of a portfolio. Getting portfolio advice (from DH or from, say, a college professor) isn't about trying to game a system -- it's about getting mentored by someone who can see what makes your work special (if something, one hopes, does) and making sure that's showing through in the sample. Too often the spark is buried.

S.

Seth Abramson said...

Sorry, we cross-posted. --S.

Coughka said...

What is this business about jolting a reader's attention? (I write about storms, so I've got that electric jolt no problem, haha)

I've read stories that begin with explosions and rapes and infanticides--sounds and furies without an apparent artistic voice guiding them. We are talking about an unmeasurable it factor. The unmeasurable it that gave me goose pimples when I first read Borges. Not every writer triggers the same reaction in every reader (duh). I've loaned Borges to friends who've given him back without a critical word, positive or negative.

The first time I read The Library of Babel, I was in a bookstore. I finished and turned to the person next to me, tapped my book's cover and said, "This is the best thing I've ever read." A complete stranger! I wanted to share the experience with as many people as I could because it was so powerful. But some people don't like Borges, full stop.

I guess my point is that grabbing people in the first ten pages seems like a mysterious, unteachable trick to me? But I am still interested in paying DH the $90 fee to look at my first ten pages?

Woon said...

@Seth - no need for an apology. Yeah, I was not saying y'all should write a certain way. But come on, an "experimental" short story written with all punctuation marks and only vowels will not win any fans, even at Brown.

herglands said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Woon said...

Well, it's 1:51 PM. Time for a hamburger, fries, and diet coke. I'm thinking something visceral like In-n-Out, not gourmet. Bye.

Unknown said...

I've been exploiting this blog for a long time so I guess it's only fair I contribute something.

My list in Fiction:
Accepted:
Notre Dame

Waitlist:
Wisconsin-Madison (Has anyone heard anything about this moving at all outside of Arna deciding on Iowa oh so many weeks ago?)

Rejected:
Iowa
Texas
Michigan
Syracuse
Johns Hopkins
Minnesota
Wyoming
Vanderbilt

Unknown but with people contacted:
Cornell (which strikes me as strange since most people it seems have received rejection letters)
Oregon
Ohio State

Unknown Unknown:
Virginia

Ali Haider said...

Pretty sure this is going to be my final tally:

Accepted:
Texas State (no word on any funding)

Rejected:
Iowa
Michigan
Houston

Assumed Rejection:
Florida
Oregon

Nothing yet:
Boston U


I'm in fiction. If I can't wrangle together any scholarships or an IAship out of TSU, I might have to turn it down. Sad.

Leslie said...

I'm considering this 90 package, but here's the thing--what if what i thought was my best 10 pages really wasn't, so that I'm going to get commentary on the wrong thing? Hmmm.

I went with my one and only published story as my opening. FWIW. I'm not sure I want to rewrite it again. Much to think about.


BTW, Seth--

I wrote once, then erased it because I thought it was bad luck plus they'd see it and think, how pathetic, we don't want her, she only applied to one place--but, what the hay, things don't look good now anyway, so,...

applied Rutgers-Newark. Assumed rejection, but who knows?

K said...

Hey everyone!

Just got a call, in at U San Fran for fiction!

That makes:

Accepted:
USF
SFSU

Waitlisted:
NYU
Brooklyn College

Crickets:
Oregon
Miami
San Diego State
Columbia

Good luck everyone!

-One of the Ks

GlobalGothicGirl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura said...

Might as well post my final list now that I've been notified by all my programs:

ACCEPTED:
Emerson
Sarah Lawrence
Rutgers-Newark
Pittsburgh
Stony Brook Southampton
Temple

WAITLISTED:
UMass Boston

REJECTED:
Cornell
Syracuse
UMass Amherst
Brooklyn
Hunter


No funding except a small merit scholarship from Sarah Lawrence, and I'm hoping and wishing for merit aid from Emerson.

Laura said...

@ Chrissy,

I also replied to you on MFA Limbo but I'm really hoping that you are right and Emerson merit aid is still to come...

skiptomylou said...

@ Seth- my list (in fiction):

LSU (accepted)

Alabama (rejected)
Texas State (rejected)

UW Seattle (no word)
Florida (no word)
ASU (no word)

inkli__11 said...

Where I applied:

POETRY:

Montana
Columbia College-Chicago
UT-Austin
UMass-Amherst
UColorado-Boulder
Iowa
Brown
UWashington-Seattle
Boston University
Columbia (NYC)


FICTION:

Montana
Indiana
NYU
Wisconsin
UMass-Amherst
Minnesota
UColorado-Boulder
Michigan
Iowa
Brooklyn College
UWashington-Seattle

Brittany said...

@Julia, you're right, my post did seem a little hopeless! Don't worry, I'm not down--I'm ecstatic about Montana and the prospects of Arizona. Thank you for reminding me to stay positive!

Woon said...

re. Montana

I really enjoyed this short promotional film on the University of Montana:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9ovv8a-Qws

Hullabaloo said...

I have to laugh if SDSU is really waiting til the 16th to give acceptances. They are going to get every other school's sloppy seconds.

Incidentally, being a sloppy seconds acceptance is exactly where my hopes are at this stage.

Coughka said...

Speaking of sloppy seconds:

If I get into Syracuse off the unofficial wait-list, I guess that would make me dirty thirds?

j said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
WreckingLight said...

I e-mailed Virginia tonight to let them know that I'll respond to any acceptance or rejection by April 15th 2057 by cyberdog vapour mail - I also included a suggestion for a new university motto:

"Our Future is Somewhere in the Future"

Now back to "Broken Embraces" and my Penélope Cruz obsession.

Anonymous said...

@ j

I'm sorry if my post offended you. Writers are human, which is to say that they can be temperamental. Don’t worry, I strive to be polite, pleasant and encouraging to fellow writers. I wouldn’t let a moment of weariness on an online blog worry you too much.

That being said, there are always people in workshops who don’t take constructive criticism well, are overly combative or critical, or generally unpleasant to work with, so I'm sure you'll encounter a few.

But no one I know has ever grouped me with the former (at least not to my face). No, really, girls sometimes tell me that I'm "too nice." Ha! No hard feelings. I was just disappointed.

Congratulations to all acceptances!

Julia said...

@WreckingLight

You are my new favorite person.

M.B. Wells said...

I've probably posted this a while back, but here is my (extremely short) list for fiction:

Columbia College Chicago (accepted)
SAIC (rejected)


I'm leaving for Chicago tomorrow, and I'm very excited and a little bit anxious.

MFQ said...

Seth--here's my list in fiction. I would have been completely lost in this whole process without your advice and amazing data wrangling. Thank you!

IN
Miami

WAITLIST
Johns Hopkins

TBD
Virginia

REJECTED
Louisiana State
Virginia Tech
Stanford (Stegner Fellowship)
California @ Irvine
Michigan
Cornell
Washington University
Iowa (Iowa Writers' Workshop)
Texas @ Austin (Michener M.F.A.)
Brown

Anonymous said...

Hey,

Sorry if anyone was offended my small rant. I wish all you guys well during the remainder of this applicant season!

Woon said...

@Le Tigre - I wasn't offended until others pointed out I should be offended. Now I'm offended.

But it'll pass.

MommyJ said...

@Woon, Lunch in Saratoga Springs? I used to live there, and am not too far away.

@Leslie, Don't give up yet. Not until you get the rejection. People still are receiving acceptances.

@Seth, in poetry, my very short list:

UMass Amherst--rejected

SUNY Albany PhD--still waiting

if I am not accepted there for the fall, I will apply to both again next year.

Emily said...

Seth,

My list for fiction:

Brown
Brooklyn
Florida
Iowa
Louisiana State
Maryland
Minnesota
NYU
Vanderbilt
Virginia
Wisconsin

I tried to apply to Indiana, too, but there was an error in processing my app. (They never gave me a shot, yet kept the $. Unimpressive!)

Thanks for all your work,

Em

Summer said...

@Le Tigre - I am on the waitlist at Michigan but likely rejected at Irvine (poetry). Another person on this blog has been accepted at Irvine but rejected at Michigan. This all depends on what the readers prefer.

Laura said...

Emerson financial aid mystery solved! Chrissy was right. Merit aid letters will be sent separately from financial aid (federal aid) letters. Because federal aid is offered through Student Financial Services and merit aid is offered through Graduate Admisssions, so the awards come separately. So there is still a chance to get merit aid!!! I found out through the Emerson facebook group.

Laura said...

Oh and I'm back in RI :)

Elissa Cahn said...

M.B. Wells,

I'm visiting Columbia College on Monday, too! Maybe we'll cross paths?

Kendra said...

@ Ulremic, congrats on Iowa! The waitlists are starting to move (dun-dun-dun <--scary music). Once Virginia announces I can't wait to see the swapping and back-door dealings sure to ensure.

Woody Skinner said...

For Seth's data--I applied to the following programs, all in fiction:

Arkansas
Ole Miss
Iowa
SIUC
Kansas
Memphis
Wichita State
GCSU
West Virginia
Minnesota
Washington U
Florida

Unknown said...

Here is my list for poetry

Accepted:
Mills
SF State
Columbia College Chicago

Rejected:
Hunter

Still waiting on funding info from Mills, but funding from SFSU and CCC were pretty dismal (federal loans, with some work study from SFSU)

Mills is my top choice, if anyone is thinking about going there, we should talk! cheena.marie.lo[at]gmail.com

Leslie said...

Thanks, MommyJ. I'm trying to not give up. I did email them a couple weeks ago, but total silence in response. So, not looking positive, but you're right, it's not over yet.

I"m going to look into NYC programs and low res for next year. See what I can swing. Fingers crossed on your PhD. I feel an affinity for you as one of the other older/family/kids/complicated applicants here.

Best wishes to you!!!!

Anonymous said...

For statistical purposes:
Minnesota State University, Mankato (accepted)
Iowa State University (rumored to be waitlisted)
University of Arkansas (assumed rejection)

All for fiction.

Anonymous said...

@Summer: Absolutely. Like I said, it was a rant (no harm meant to any blogger)! Good luck!

Daryl said...

Hey guys,

Are there any MFA programs with late admissions deadlines?? Like, still coming up?

koru said...
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Unknown said...

@ Daryl - Northwestern University admits quarterly. The application deadline for fall is sometime in July, I think. It is a part time program, though.

AbqPoet said...

I know there's another Adam on here... but anyway, I usually post under Boise,Idaho. I switched to gmail.

Is anyone headed to the University of New Mexico and wants to get in touch? I'm really excited about it!

Just let me know if you want to chat!

M.B. Wells said...

@ Elissa

Maybe so! I'm scheduled to see Alexis Pride and the FW Department on Tuesday, I'm pretty sure (that's what I'm assuming - the dates didn't match the days we agreed on and CCC's been on spring break this past week), but I'll probably be snooping around the school in general on Monday.

Ruin Christmas said...

@Seth

Posted my list at Driftless House already. If you compile from there, I didn't want you to double count.

fiction
UNH - Accepted
UNCW - Waitlisted
UNCG - HHS (Haven't Heard)

Chrissy Widmayer said...

@Laura T -- I've never been happier to be right! I started wavering after other people started asking the same question! Made me all nervous.

That's good to know, though! I cannot wait to get my merit aid letter from Emerson. I'm seriously dying.

Daryl said...

Thanks, Emilie.

Does anyone know about schools that admit for the spring semester??

skiptomylou said...

@ Daryl-

I think Texas State- San Marcos admits for spring?

Brad Smith said...

@ Leslie

You raise an interesting question regarding how you can know whether or not your 10 "best" poems are in fact your best.. I know from personal experience that I don't always know what is best and worst about my own work.

Here's an anecdote about my personal experience with DH (ALC at the time..) :

I wasn't entirely sure, when I send my manuscript in for review last July, which of my poems were the strongest. So I did my best and sent them in.

When I got the review back, I was surprised (at first) to see that some of the poems I thought were strongest were, well, not so strong. And then some of the poems that I was a bit unsure about were really appreciated.

Now, of course, it's all subjective. BUT, I think the most valuable aspect of a service like this is the perspective that you gain on your work that you are not able to see for yourself. It wasn't so much the rankings of the poems themselves that really helped me; it was the in-line critiques that really helped me to understand what my work was and was not accomplishing.

Through the process, I really came to understand my relative strengths and weaknesses as a writer, at least more so than I ever had before. From this, I was then able to gain a new perspective on that manuscript, a large portion of which I completely scrapped before sending out to MFAs. And, in the months between getting my manuscript back from ALC and sending out applications in December, I was able to write some new stuff that really built upon what I had learned in the consultation.

In the end, of the 12 poems that I used for the standard-sized manuscript, only 8 of them had been included in the original manuscript that I sent to ALC. I was able to use 4 new poems that I thought were much stronger. All of which were written after learning a helluva lot from my consultation.

So my point is this: whether or not you send in your 10 "best" pieces is not so important. What is important is that you pay attention to the critiques that you get in return. They will be able to tell you what your relative strengths and weaknesses are, and how your work reads to an unbiased reviewer. With this information, you'll be able to improve (yes) those poems, but also (more importantly) the work to come.


Plus, I think DH is asking for the first 10 pages of the ACTUAL manuscript that you sent in, along with the list of schools you applied to, so that they can tell you what those schools probably thought about your work when they read it. I think (and I may be mistaken with all of this) the purpose is to give frustrated applicants a better understanding of what they can build upon as writers and why they didn't get in this time around.

I've said this before, but I absolutely endorse DH, as I have no doubts whatsoever that I would not have had as much success on my own. It was, ABSOLUTELY, the best 200-whatever dollars I've spent in my life.

And if you're frustrated with your results this season, you should seriously consider not just the $90 service they're offering now, but the full-on review before you go it again next fall.

herglands said...
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herglands said...

ADVERTISING

Lucas said...
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Lucas said...
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Lucas said...

As far as subjectivity goes and Le Tigre's rant (wasn't offended), I have some thoughts. I applied to nine places with no real luck but got in to one school with funding. Now, the school I got in, so far as I can tell, had less applicants than the other schools...but I don't think this answers all relevant questions. I think that school liked my work and the others didn't (enough, at least... two schools at least gave me nice feedback). I'm no great judge of my own work (no one is), but I know it doesn't suck, and I would go as far as saying I think it is pretty good. I also think that the onslaught of applications this year have made applying a precarious situation and, really, save for a few folks who are further along than the rest and kick a lot of ass, luck is a big factor.

Also, my SOPs sucked. I mean SUUUCKED (read this in a high-pitched, funny voice). I still don't know what a good one looks like, but I know they don't look like mine.

Which brings me to another (possibly more interesting rant): SOPs...what a waste of time. I hated writing them. I didn't want to, and I explicitly reflected this in my SOPs. I wasn't comfortable seld-advertising. I didn't want to blab about how great the programs I applied to are because they should know and what the hell does that have to do with me? I didn't want to tell my life story to strangers. I didn't want to get in because I wrote a better SOP than the next guy (who cares?). I think it is possible that my SOPs hindered me at times, but I don't care, cause I'm totally psyched about where I got in. So, yeah...when I was waiting and irritable, I would see posts about SOPs and get kind of mad. I was like, "Why are people talking about those? Who gives a rat's ass? This is about creative writing...why should anything else matter." I still feel that way (though I'm no longer angry as I'm no longer nervous). But, yeah, I'm a little, I dunno, annoyed by the idea that a stunningly poignant SOP could get someone in a school. I didn't apply for an MFA in writing "please please please take me" letters. LORs should establish that you are a cool person, hard worker, and non-psychopath. So what good is a SOP? And (I hope this doesn't offend anyone) I think name dropping faculty in an SOP is sycophantic. I don't like the idea that an SOP should address why I really really really want to go to a school...I mean, I paid the fee and sent you the application...obviously, I want to go to your school. So, if I could have done so without undermining my application, I would have gladly sent an SOP that said, "Yeah...I'm not doing this. See my writing sample and LORs. Good day."

Zoulou said...

@Brad Smith, what you said reminded me - when I was putting together my final manuscript over Christmas break, one of the guys from my household told me the best writing advice he'd ever received was "KILL YOUR PUPPIES." He heard this while studying for his MBA, btw, and now he's a Wall Street guy who spends all his time thinking about oil... so maybe that tells you something. But anyway, apparently "killing your puppies" means that you have to cut all the things that YOU think are awesome (or cute or precious or whatever) - even though it hurts - because this stuff is probably holding you down. Like, you're attached to it, so you're determined to hold on to it even though that one part of you just knows, this "puppy" isn't doing you any favors. Now personally I don't get the metaphor, because when in real life would a cute little puppy ever need killing to get you ahead??? Haha, yikes. Better ask the folks at the UW business school.

Hope everybody's having a good weekend! :) Best to you all.

Lucas said...

@Brad Smith

I believe the actual quote is "kill your darlings" and this was said by Hemingway. And I know this because Stephen King talks about it in his book On Writing. And, it should be noted, I didn't read that book. I listened to it on audio tape. I also peed my pants fairly often while in kindergarten. Now, I really am going to bed.

Michael said...

@DigAPony-

Seen your comments on here before but just put together all kinds of similarities - you're living in BHam, right? And accepted at Idaho? I'm not in Bellingham now but graduated from there and was living there until recently. Are you fiction? And if so do you know Carol Guess, Brenda Miller, Nicole Brown, etc. etc? Also, do you think you're going to Idaho? Nice to see another Viking on here. Sometimes I feel we're grossly under-represented...

-Michael

Michael said...

Also, I'd like to take this opportunity to extend a big middle finger to all the programs that make you wait until the last possible second until giving you their decision. Of course I have to speak from my own experience, which has included only these programs - Penn State, Bowling Green, and Oregon. Now as I have an offer I'd accept over either anything I might get from Penn State or Bowling Green, it's really just Oregon that catches the brunt of my anger. But really, Oregon? Really? You're so hot s*** that you can't answer my phone calls? You can't respond to my emails? I pretty much know, from this blog, that you've made your decisions. But you can't spring for the half dollar to send me a letter and let me know that I'm out? You can't tell me within two weeks of the big decision that I've been rejected?

This program, (and others, of course) really piss me off. I hate this attitude. I would love to be treated like a peer awaiting admittance instead of a criminal awaiting parole. And that makes me feel even better about excepting the offer I have from the small program of which I will soon be a part, which has treated me with dignity from the start.

Oregon - get off your high horse. We all know you think you're very, very awesome. But how about treating your applicants like human beings?

-Michael

CC: All the other programs out there that engage in this sort of behavior.

Michael said...
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Not said...

Re Killing Puppies / Darlings:

Here's the line, from Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch's On the Art of Writing (1914):

"Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it—whole-heartedly—and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings." (Emphasis in original)

Not said...

If I can make a brief, likely unpopular defense of the statement of purpose:

First, everything I've seen about it (and everybody I've talked to) indicates that the acceptance decision is almost entirely about the writing. The personal statement only helps arbitrate among top candidates who might otherwise be more difficult to decide on.

So maybe it's not worth getting too hung up about it to begin with. I know someone who got full funding a few years ago at a pair of highly selective programs with a one-sentence SoP (and it wasn't a great sentence at that). If you're sample is great, your SoP matters not at all (it seems).

With that in mind, perhaps I felt less pressure than some around the SoP. As such, I was really happy to have the chance to give my writing some context. I'm glad that the people reviewing my applications could understand (if they liked my writing enough to check out my statement) what I'm like as a person, what I think about why my writing looks the way it does, and where I see my writing going in the next two or three years. Those are things I want programs to understand about me, so that they can make a decision about whether I'm a good fit or not.

I do think the open-endedness of the SoPs can be challenging (and may lead to useless statements that nobody wants to write or read). For that reason, I love how Purdue does it:

"Please include a brief response to these questions: Whose work do you admire? What collections of poetry and/or works of fiction read in the last year have been important to you and why?"

It's specific, and tells the admissions committee exactly what they need to know to make their decision. (To be clear, another program might do better ask for different information; I'm just pointing out the simplicity and directness of the questions.)

Jasmine Sawers said...

Not:

I believe Purdue had at least two statements, and the one you're citing was the reading statement. They had another statement, seemingly the more weighted one, that was more "traditional." It asked for elaboration on your interest in Purdue, which faculty excited you, what your literary interests were as far as subject, and teaching experience. I found it difficult to address all those points well in the 500 word limit given.

I don't object to the SoP. I guess I accepted without question that they were a necessary part of the application process. I ended up writing about 20 over the course of applying to 14 schools, since some of them required multiple statements. The sheer volume of statement writing I had to do was what I found objectionable, not the statements themselves, though, obviously, I grew extremely weary of writing them. It was the most labor-intensive portion of my application process. I do agree that writing a killer one - well-written, addresses points, doesn't make you sound like a DB - is very challenging, but, since this can sometimes be the difference between acceptance and rejection, we should be up for the task.

Laura said...

@ Chrissy,

Me too! I need that letter, I'm going crazy!

Not said...

@Jasmine—You're quite right about Purdue's having two statements, of course; I'd conveniently forgotten the second one. I do believe the "extra" statement is required by the English Department, not the writing program, for what that's worth. I'm also pleased to be reminded that the questions asked of you in writing the second statement—which faculty you want to work with, your literary interests, etc.—are much more specific than at most schools.

At any rate, to your broader point, the amount of labor it takes to write as many statements as most of us have to (without blowing them off, at least) is daunting. I appreciated your attitude towards the task, though, when you wrote that "since this can sometimes be the difference between acceptance and rejection, we should be up for the task."

I totally agree, and again, for the programs I was most interested in, I was glad to have the opportunity to speak to the admissions committee directly. I guess I was responding largely to Lucas's diatribe against the very idea of the SoP, since I felt like it was a useful opportunity for me.

Jasmine Sawers said...

Not:

I agree with you. The SoP is an opportunity. A burdensome one, perhaps, especially when you're writing so many, but an opportunity nonetheless.

Otkuda said...

@Michael's loud F U to those other schools - Hear! Hear!

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