All posts tagged: portfolio

Let’s Find You Some Help

You should show your actual writing to as many people as possible, getting all the advice you can wrangle out of them, before you spend hundreds of dollars applying for grad school. In this article I list specific venues for you to get critiques from other people. 

Is This Thing On?: Navigating the MFA Application Poetry Sample

Image: Chris Campbell I’ve talked briefly before about my application sample woes. A good portion of what ended up in my sample came from my junior year capstone project. I spent a year writing and revising poetry for it, and ended up with a nice looking chapbook, and some good to decent to bad poems. Everyone has a different strategy. Some applicants will submit things they’ve been working on for a while, others will submit newer stuff, and some will fall in the middle. The most important thing to remember about what you put in your sample is this: make sure it’s your best writing. The sample is the most important aspect of your application. Do not forget this. Do not focus less on your sample because you’re worried about your CV or recommendation letters or the GRE. Focus on your sample even more and on everything else too. Hey, no one ever said applying to creative writing programs was easy and not completely time-consuming. It’s also important to note that all of the advice I’m …

Researching the MFA

Image: astronomy_blog When you’re applying to MFA programs, research is your best friend. Taking the time to figure out what you want out of a program will help you narrow down your list, find places you love, and maybe even keep your application costs down (it can get expensive, believe me). There are a myriad of things to consider when you’re compiling a list: What’s your desired program length? Do you want to teach? How much do you want to teach? Do you want to be able to take classes outside of the creative writing department? Does location matter? Do you want to do cross-genre work? Are you interested in a specific cohort size (large, small)? And on and on and on… that’s why it’s helpful to ask yourself these questions early on. While I was finalizing my program list I created an Excel document that contained all of the application information for each program. I was better able to keep track of deadline dates, sample lengths, which schools had received my recommendation letters, and everything else. I’d recommend …