Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Mailbag (Nov. 3)

Not a new mailbag, but an up-dating (literally) of the old one.


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ChrisLes said...

@ Hips

Yep, unfortunately single-spacing is no way to make anyone la la love you. Double-space or they'll have something against you.

Driftless House

FZA said...

I'm hoping and thinking that double spacing doesn't apply for poetry samples, right?

Staci R. Schoenfeld said...

@ Blob,

I've never heard of poetry having to be double spaced. Just format as you normally would.

Open Spaces said...

Does anyone know of a free (or really cheap) online resource that will edit your 500 word statement of purpose? I'm not looking for anyone to edit content, I just want to make sure I don't have any stupid grammar errors.

Hips Like Cinderella said...


Yes indeed. Black Francis forever!

@Everyone else

Thanks for the help.

anotherjenny said...

Just for a change of pace:

Instead of working on my final (and arguabley most important) SOP tonight, I stayed out drinking with co-workers and had an amazing time. One of them confessed he was in love with me. Another is working through an existential crisis. A third just bought us all sake.

I'll never forget Robbie holding my head in his hands, telling me, "You are a beautiful woman. Don't ever change."

MFA or no MFA, these nights are the things stories are made of. I hope all of you can take a night off or two and go have an adventure.

darlene said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the Pensive Monkey said...

Application question for you all...I won first place in a regional young authors contest as a senior in high school 10 years ago. Worth including on the CV/list of awards, etc? Or is high school too far in the past, even though the award is seemingly relevant?


Unknown said...

I would definitely put it on there!!!

Anonymous said...

@the Pensive Monkey

IDK, I don't think you should include anything older than undergraduate work. I can't imagine a master's degree program cares much about what you did in HS. But I could be totally wrong, who knows!

Karissa said...

@the Pensive Monkey

I won a similar award in high school, but I am not putting it on my CV because (as awesome as it was), I've always been told not to put anything before undergrad. :)

Andrew P said...

@ Blob and anyone else applying to Oregon.

I sent an e-mail to the department and there is no TA application. When you submit your application there are two different places to check your status--one is in the same place you applied, and one you get to by following an e-mail from the grad school--and in one in one of these places it will say you haven't turned in your TA application. The department told me there was no TA application anymore, so don't worry about it.

Good luck, all.

I've got pretty much everything done. Just need another paycheck to submit another round of applications, and waiting for a recommender packet to come in the mail. It already got lost once, and now it's been a week again. KY and MD are not that far apart!

the Pensive Monkey said...

Okay, thanks for the advice. I hadn't really thought about that award for awhile but it just crossed my mind. I didn't figure it would make much difference either way, if they don't like my sample.

On another note, does anyone else feel exceedingly discouraged when they allow themselves to get carried away reading this blog? I have made the mistake a few times now of reading the acceptance comments...I just keep trying to prepare myself for major rejection come spring.

FZA said...

@Andrew P, thank you for letting us know! That saves me extra work and worry!

DougO said...

So a general question: any one over 40 and married with kids applying this year to any full-time programs?

Staci R. Schoenfeld said...

@ DougO

I can only claim one of the three. (Over 40 - just. Turned 40 a little over a month ago.) Are you looking at full residencies? How old is/are your child/ren?

the Pensive Monkey said...

Under 40 here, but I have 3 kids and one due in January, and I'm applying for full time. Eek!

Jessica said...


I'm kids (congrats on yours) no partner but I will be leaving my career behind to go back to school. It's easy to feel behind the curve on getting to this point (MFA) out of my 20's but time is no predictor of talent, on the page or in the classroom. Besides, I'll just work that much harder :)

Good luck to you!

Jeff said...

I'm also 38. Not married, no children. But I have LOTS to write about.

I'll be applying to 12 full-time programs.

Concerning my age, I'm pleased to see that I'm not alone in this endeavor.

Best of luck to all of you!

Bendorf said...

Hi everyone,

I'm hoping someone could help me make sense of Minnesota's instructions for the writing sample. Their website reads:

"For the MFA, the sample should be a substantial example of your creative work (25 pages maximum); include a description of your writing background, and the genre in which you are applying."

The "description of your writing background" is throwing me for a loop, especially since it seems like a separate and distinct requirement from the personal statement. Where, on the writing sample, should I put this, and what exactly is it asking for? A cover page? Or just, in the header, a list of the classes/workshops I've taken?

Could really use some interpretation help here :)

Thanks, everyone. Hope your applications are going well.

Renee said...

@ I, why don't you email them and find out? I just wrote a sentence, but now I'm wondering if that was the right thing to do.

Everyone else- I emailed UMass Amherst, Cornell, Wyoming, and Minnesota, and all four were fine with me having sent my GRE scores to the creative writing department (code 2503) instead of wherever else. Hope this helps.

Whew, getting closer!

FZA said...

@Andrew P or anyone else

Going back to the TA app for oregon. Does that mean they don't have TA positions available for first year mfa students anymore?

Katie Oh said...

hey everyone! i was absent from the blog for a few days as things are getting a little rough and tumble at my place [wait, i have to turn in how many pages of my thesis on tuesday?] but i'm back, hooray.

@ renee -
you actually caused me to cross off something on my to-do list today, as i was going to call cornell and umass and see if i'd made a mistake in sending my scores to the CW department. thank you!

how's everyone doing? i'm prepping my first app to be sent out this weekend... i'm feeling surprisingly clear-headed about it, even though my SOP's still a flaming trainwreck.

Loren said...

Anyone else go from delusionally optimistic to having crippling self doubts 8-12 times a day? Just me?

Staci R. Schoenfeld said...

@ Loren

Yes. Every few minutes.

FZA said...


You're definitely not alone. But I think I'm too bogged down with the work I still have to do with my application to be too preoccupied with my chances at this point. But I'm sure once my applications go out I'll go back to being crazy about it.

Right now the thing I really go back and forth on is how far prepared I am to complete all 14 applications. Just this morning I was feeling pretty good 'all I have to do is write some essays, print out some stuff, compile stuff into envelopes and mail.' And only a few hours later I was back into a panic 'I have to write essays for 13 school, 2 of which want 2, which makes 15 essays. I have to pick my writing sample from a pile of poems. I have to send gre scores. Send transcripts. Print print print print. Fill out forms, go to the post office. Complete TA applications. Make sure my recommendations get in AAAAHHH!!!'

serenity now.

Bendorf said...

Hey guys, I know some of you were struggling with the schools (like Minnesota, Brown, Virginia) that ask for or require you to upload scanned copies of transcript. I just figured out a few hacks to comply with requirements, and figured I'd share.

To get the front and back of your transcript into one PDF: Use - you upload both files, click a button, and viola - you can download the new single file.

To shrink the PDF: If you're on a Mac, download - then open up your PDF in Preview, go File --> Print, then from the PDF button in the bottom left corner of the window, select "Compress PDF." It'll shrink it by quite a bit. Just make sure it's still legible at that point.

Good luck, everyone!

FZA said...

FYI: There's a new mailbag up!

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