All posts tagged: applying

5 Frequently Asked Application Questions Answered By Current MFA Candidates

Photo Credit: Alfred Stieglitz, “The Steerage”  It’s mid-December, which means it’s high tide in application season. A year ago, we were exactly where you are now. We spent our free time navigating unintuitively designed web portals for universities, editing our statements of purpose to be personal for each program, and tallying all the money we spent on application fees. We all shouldered the nauseating uncertainty of it all, wondering if we were acting in vain. Somehow, we all managed to be admitted. So maybe we knew a little bit more about applications than we thought. This month, myself and 3 other first year MFA candidates decided to get together to reflect on how we got here. So, we decided to answer some of the most frequently asked application questions. Though we don’t always agree, we hope that our insight will provide some perspective to this year’s MFA contenders. These questions were answered by Stephanie Lane Sutton (Poetry, University of Miami), Carlos Alonso Chism (Fiction, University of Maryland), Craig Knox (Poetry, Rutgers-Camden), and Shakarean Hutchinson (Fiction, Cornell).  How …

Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/ccamfacomics/

Eric Wong Introduction (California College of the Arts ’18)

Image: CCA MFA Comics What exactly is an MFA in comics? It’s the opportunity to be on the cutting edge by learning and refining one’s storytelling capabilities in a medium that’s only just starting to be explored. It also means a lot of sleepless nights cranking out comics as you spend July doing a semester’s worth of work in the span of four weeks, for four courses. Then after the summer classes are done, you spend the month of August on the summer assignment which is to create a twelve page diary comic, fully drawn and inked, due literally a day before the beginning of the fall term in the first week of September. If being an MFA student is like being thrown into the deep end of the pool to see if you sink or swim, then an MFA student in comics is like being thrown into the English Channel. In winter. For someone whose undergraduate background is in creative writing and comics theory and has took only one art class since middle school, …

MFA Mailbox

Image: Wayne Stadler Today contributors Ignacio Peña, Lauren Sharkey and Cady Vishniac are answering two questions from a potential MFA applicant. If you have questions about the application process or the MFA/MA in general, send them to themfayears@gmail.com. We’d love to answer them! Let us know if you’d like your question(s) published on the blog. First, thanks so much for putting this site together! I love the different perspectives each blogger has on their MFA program and their writing life. I’m considering applying for an MFA in a year or two, and this blog has been so informative. I have a couple question for the bloggers: Many MFA applicants cite “time to write” as one of the main reasons they want to get an MFA. I can definitely relate to that; it’s HARD to be creative while working 60 hrs a week! But after reading the posts here about teaching and working on literary magazines, I’m thinking, “Where’s the writing time?” How much time do MFA students actually get to write? I would love to see a …

Literal Accessibility

Image: haru__q There are six steps in front of my apartment building. They are made of marble and get slick when it rains or snows. I never forget that they are there. Before my car accident—before I became disabled—I didn’t pay too much attention to such things. Now I am always keenly aware of what lies ahead of me. For someone whose thoughts should revolve around words, I am constantly thinking of numbers; I calculate the distance from A to Z, whether one flight of stairs will be less painful than a thousand steps to the elevator, whether I can afford a cab to go the five blocks because I’m especially achey that day. And, ever since I decided to apply to MFA programs, I’ve thought about learning my way a whole new campus. Iowa’s program is located at Dey House, a two-story former residence converted for use by the Writers’ Workshop. On the Iowa website, it states that disabled students would only have access to the main floor. Columbia’s MFA program is held in …

What Should I Look for in an MFA?

  I’ve spent two months posting about literary magazine submissions here and here, and now it’s time to get back to the mission of this website. Now it’s time to discuss the MFA. Some of you will be figuring out which offers to take in the next month or so, and some of you are just beginning to research the whole process for applications this fall. (And if you’re researching right now, I’d suggest hitting up MFA Draft for some answers.) Money First off, you probably want money. Fortunately, this website has a list of fully funded MFAs and lists the stipends available at each. Check the list out, then check out the school website or email an administrator to make sure the numbers are still accurate, then ask yourself how much money you want. “Fully funded” at some programs has in the past meant that MFAs get a zero dollar stipend but have their tuitions waved. Ask yourself if such an arrangement is really useful to you. Many people look at this question and …

So You’re Waiting to Hear Back from MFA Programs: Post Application Advice With Cady Vishniac

Image credit: Photosteve101 For the next two months we’ll be asking some of our first year contributors to talk about the post application period and how they dealt with it last year. What did you do to get through the post application period? I got through the post-application season by having a child, multiple jobs, a credit overload, and two honors theses. Between teaching my kid to pee in the potty, tutoring first-year comp for my undergrad, copyediting a newspaper, two graduate courses, four undergraduate courses, a twenty-five-page chapbook of flash creative nonfiction, and a hundred-page exploration of how copyeditors at the Associated Press chose between the phrases “Native American” and “American Indian,” my hands were full. So this is the best advice I have to give. Just throw yourself into real life as hard as you can, until there are zero hours in a day you can devote to panicking. What’s the best piece of advice you received about applying? The best piece of advice I received about applying was that the process isn’t random. Some people …