It took a little while, but I decided to apply to MFA programs. I had originally planned to go for my PhD, but as it stands, I’m unable to pay for the GRE tests I need to take to do so. Once I find a full-time job, I’ll look into taking them. For now, though, I’m going to MFA route.
I decided to apply to three specific programs. I have my reasons for applying to them. All three are on the list of the Top 15 MFA Programs.
- UMass-Amherst: I chose this school because of my love for Boston. The program is intense, but also offers numerous courses in creative writing and theory. There are also teaching assistantships available. If I get accepted, I’d start in the Fall of 2012.
- Pacific Lutheran University: This school is number five on the list of the top low-residency programs in the country. I love Washington and PLU is located in Tacoma, close to Seattle (hooray!). The program is a rigorous one, but they offer everything I want in a program, plus the location is wonderful. If I get accepted, I’d start in the Summer of 2012.
- Lesley University: This school is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. One of my favorite YA authors, Chris Lynch, teaches here. The program offers a concentration in Writing for Young People and if I get in, I’m hoping to study with Mr. Lynch and the rest of the great faculty. This program is also low-residency. If I get accepted, I’d start in the Summer of 2012.
Why I Chose Low-Residency
PLU and Lesley are both low-residency programs, which means I don’t have to move if I don’t want to or can’t afford it. I’ll only need to be on campus for ten days, twice a year, and the rest of the work is done from home. UMass is a traditional program and if I get accepted and choose to attend, I’ll need to move to Boston.
I chose low-residency programs mostly because I’m not sure I can afford to move. If I happen to find a good full-time position here in Milwaukee, I can stay and work, but still pursue an MFA. I could still move to Tacoma or Cambridge and go to school if I so choose, but with the way things are, the odds of that happening are slim. I like low-residency because these programs allow me to focus on family an work, but still earn a degree. Plus, I don’t have to uproot myself if I don’t want to. Lesley offers teaching assistantships, so if I get accepted and decide to go there, I may consider moving.
The application process is done for all three schools. Now, I make sure my recommendation letters are sent and I wait. it’s going to be a long couple of months. Until then, I’ll keep writing.