The Final Six

University Hall at Brown

University Hall at Brown (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Four months ago I compiled a short list of potential MFA programs in creative writing. I wrote a post about it here. I hadn’t done much research since then. For a couple of reasons. One is because procrastinating is part of what I do.  It is my resistance. I’ve wanted to go to grad school ever since I realized I could get into an undergraduate program. I grew up in an environment that didn’t foster education, mainly because my parents didn’t really know how to foster it. No one went to college and I’m not even sure my parents knew there was such a thing as Graduate school until I started talking about it. My largest obstacle has always been myself. I’ll never have enough money, and I’m not intelligent enough, I don’t have much to show… the usual.

For the last six years I’ve seesaw-ed on the idea. I’d say, “this is the year,” and then do nothing. Not even look at schools, except for two, Brown and Iowa. Mainly I would just think about how I’d like to go to those schools but there was no way I could afford them or get accepted… the usual. The first time I started to take myself a little more seriously was after I received my  certificate in the Mastery of Writing from the Attic Institute. Although, I still don’t work nearly hard enough. I don’t sit down at the desk and write enough. I work in spurts, but that is not anyway to get any job or project done. I have faith though. I think it gets down to a do or die place in your heart, and I feel like I’ve gotten close to that level of urgency.

I spent the last 24 hours scouring over the eleven programs that I wrote on the list I posted four months ago. In the past four months I have seriously thought about what it is I want to attain in both the short and the long run. What I want to accomplish and who I want to learn from and build as my writing and possible theatre community. After serious contemplation and reviewing of the schools, I’ve narrowed my selection down to six schools. The five schools I decided not to apply to would all be excellent programs, but not the best for me, as I am looking for specific things. All the schools are competitive, prestigious, they rank high on the “best MFA” programs, but none of those are reason enough to choose a school. There has to be something that drives a person to want to go to a school. It is a massive investment of time, and money, and no promises of success in a competitive country that has little interest in supporting the arts. I chose programs where I felt I could fit, where I felt I could get something tangible, and where I could work on a specific project, and gain the skills and education that would lead me further on my path.

The cost of applying to my selected is $400.00. I’ll apply for fee wavers where ever I can, but I’m expecting to have to fork over the $400.00 even though I could receive six “no thank yous.” I try not to think about the money as a whole. I think it best to break up the schools and do one at a time over the four-month period I have to get my applications in. Below is my list broken down by the month the application deadlines are due.

December deadline

UC San Diego- 1st, Brown & UC Irvine– 15th

Total: $ 225

January Deadline

Syracuse University- 1st, Hollins University- 6th, Boise State– 15th

Total: $130 

Unknown as of yet Dec or Jan

Hollins University– $40.00

1st step is requesting my letters of application, then the letters of intent. I’ll take it one step at a time since I tend to scare easily when I look at all I have to do.


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