All posts tagged: funding

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 …

Carlos Alonso Chism Introduction (University of Maryland ’18)

Image: N’charallah Jasper During my college application process at the end of high school I felt starved of choice. While my friends were figuring out what they were looking for in a school and visiting several universities, I knew I would wind up at the local Penn State campus. My mother taught there, allowing me to attend with a 75% tuition discount. It would have been financially foolish to go anywhere else. It seemed as if everyone else were at a buffet, tasting different foods and figuring out what they liked and didn’t like. This was probably the reason I spent a large amount of time researching creative writing MFA programs. I read articles in major magazines, looked at several programs’ web pages, and scoured obscure forum threads. All of this fueled my romantic notions of a writerly life—making a living by writing books, and occasionally teaching. I wanted get my MFA directly after college, and savored the idea parsing out the differences between programs as much as the idea of attending a program. I …

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 …

So What Should I Do Over Summer?

With notes about final projects, workshop deadlines, and annotated bibliographies scattered across the month of April on my Google Calendar, the end of the first year of my MFA program at Alabama is well within sight. Many of you reading this may also be consumed with making a decision on an MFA program by the April 15 deadline or the prospect of applying for MFA programs against next year.   The vast majority of MFA programs are at least 2 to 3 years long, however, and with summer breaks often lasting for several months, the decision of what to do with that time can be almost as significant and rewarding as the MFA itself (both financially and creatively).   One of the first big questions to ask yourself when thinking about summer plans is about location. Where do you want to be over summer? Do you plan to stick around wherever your MFA program is located or to go elsewhere? What financial opportunities are available if you plan to stick around? What creative opportunities are …

So You’re Waiting to Hear Back from MFA Programs: Post Application Advice With David O’Connor

Image credit: Giovani Racca 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? Ah waiting, waiting, waiting–is a choice. I applied to 10 programs from Rio de Janeiro. I was single, teaching ESL and managing an Irish Pub. The World Cup had just finished and I had enough savings to walk away and write. I found a position through Workaway that would cover my room and board for four hours of daily labor. I picked the remotest, most beautiful place that would have me and went there to write a novel. I ended up writing poems and reading too much Bolano. I could not put down 2666, which says much about my mindset. I applied for fiction but now I only wanted to write poems. I was anxious and angry. I wrote some good stuff. The rejections started to roll in and I almost bought a fisherman’s …