Grad School Ho!: Interlude for Baking

Over the weekend, I have managed to narrow down my list of grad programs to apply to from Infinite to 34 and now to 6 definite and 10 maybe. The final list will hold 10 schools. Yep, that’s a lot, but I’ve been advised — in person and in print — that because MFA Writing Programs generally accept very few people, and since criteria for selection are so varied and subjective, it is best to apply to as many programs as financially possible. I have been fighting with the feeling all day today that I could save myself some time and heartache and achieve the same results by stacking $600 on my table and setting in on fire, but… I have pared the list down, and I have both no-way-in-hell schools (Iowa, I’m looking at you) and I-can-probably-make-that-cut schools on the list.

The remaining 16, in not much order: U of Iowa, Syracuse, Michener Center at U. Texas @ Austin, Indiana U. – Bloomington, University of Arkansas, University of Alabama, Cornell, University of Washington, U. Wisconsin – Madison, NYU, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Oregon, University of Maryland – College Park, University of Minnesota, Washington U. in St. Louis, and the University of North Carolina – Wilmington.

I’ve done research, in reference books at the KU library (Peterson’s and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs book of writing programs, which was very helpful) and then at each individual school’s Web site. I’ve made note cards for each candidate school with relevant information — program length and focus (number of hours in workshops, for instance), financial aid, acceptance rates, faculty of note, notes on visitors and events, required thesis projects, deadlines, contact info, etc. By tomorrow, I WILL have this narrowed down to ten, because on Tuesday morning, my three recommending instructors are getting their packets of Forms to Fill Out. They have been forewarned about the number of schools I’m looking at (actually, two of the three were the first people who recommended applying for “at least six, if not ten”).

Also this weekend, I saw Jarhead with and her husband. Mmm, Jarhead. I owe a big movie post, because that was movie number 58, and the last one I noted was #53.

I’m baking a pumpkin pie right now. It was $2.50 at Target, and Cool Whip was $.89. I love the entire world, except the pie has to cool for TWO WHOLE HOURS after removal from the oven, during which time it makes the whole house smell in a way that’s making me kind of want to lick the walls. This waiting seems particularly cruel.

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7 Responses to Grad School Ho!: Interlude for Baking

  1. therealjae says:

    Okay, I’m extremely curious about why every single one of the universities you’re looking at is in the U.S. In some fields I’d understand that — political science or journalism or law — but creative writing?


  2. kepkanation says:

    There’s no good academic reason, probably, not to look for a program outside the U.S., but for me, there are a couple of personal reasons. In no order:

    I want to stay in the States because I want to be able to drive home, at any time or moment. And yeah, Minnesota and Syracuse would be loooong drives back to Kansas, but they’d be possible.

    Next: I’m not sure that I could/would do well living outside of the U.S. for two years or so, particularly during an election cycle (2006-2008! Gah!). The summer in Italy taught me that I think I could enjoy living abroad in short spurts, and with more money than I’d have during this program, but that there’s going to be an inevitable sense of distance and isolation from the goings-on in America. Maybe I’ll be better equipped to handle that when I’m older and a little further from my political science studies, but right now, I want to be here. I felt out of the loop in 2004 just by living in Kansas. (I know there are counterarguments to this that make lots of sense, that computer access and the Internet make a huge difference because everyone can read the same news and polls and watch the same speeches at the same time, but there are other things I miss — seeing yard signs and listening to people talk about the election in the grocery store, etc.).

    Also, in the U.S., and in the programs I’m applying for, the money is good. I didn’t investigate many international options because I don’t want to add (much) debt for these studies, because, as they say in the books, I’m very unlikely to earn back anything I spend in a timely manner.

  3. therealjae says:

    Okay. I could argue with all of those points, but I suspect you’d rather I didn’t, so … *vague handwaving*


  4. kepkanation says:

    Heh, feel free to argue. But I’m not claiming to have a deeply logical basis for these decisions. Mostly, I want to be close to the familiar.

  5. starstraf says:

    I agree with 10 schools — the first time pooch applied for PhD work he only applied for 3 and got into none — I made him apply to 12 this time, he got accepted into I think 8 of them. And glad you put a no way in hell school on the list — I think that is important! FYI I know folks at Iowa, austin, bloomington, madison, CU, minnesota, and st louis

  6. kepkanation says:

    Heh heh, you know people EVERYWHERE!

    One of my instructors told me that his partner applied to multiple schools for three years in a row before she got in anywhere. So I thought ten was a nice number to start with. And the no-way-in-hell school… I’ve just gotta do that. Otherwise, I’ll always wonder.

  7. starstraf says:

    My no-way-in-hell school was MIT, it was the only one I didn’t get into, and made me know that I was at the top level I could be with Northwestern.

    yeap I know folks everywhere.

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