Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I haven’t been in school for 25 years, and so getting conventional letters of recommendation is impossible. What should I do?
A: Good question. Any letter from a professional associate that can attest to your ability and desire to pursue this degree would be appropriate.
Q. I’m not sure my portfolio meets your standards. Would you mind reviewing it and giving me constructive criticism before I submit my work?
A: We cannot comment on the work of non-enrolled students.
Q: What are you looking for in the portfolio?
A: We agree with Mi Fei, speaking in he 11th century about classic Chinese landscape painter. He praised creative works that are animated by “the skill of the heart, which is superior in the things that it can grasp.” That’s a complex statement that surely involves writing with an element of the inevitable, of a sympathetic nature, of an engagement with other lives, of skill or craft, which are evidence of an awareness of literary precursors. So what are we looking for is all of that, plus a thoughtful reflection on how the rigors of pursuing the MFA will be possible for you in the next two years.
Q: I’ve heard that the Grande Ronde Valley has extreme weather in January. What might I expect?
A: January weather is variable. Global climate change, though, seems to have caused changes in weather patterns here as elsewhere. Winters in the past decade have been milder and wetter. At the moment (late November 2012) it is weirdly warm and the snow is at the highest elevations only (above 5,000 feet).
In general though you can expect winter weather here in winter: cold, clear days, or snow, or wind, or drear. The best information is at the noaa.gov website, where you will find a wealth of local meteorological and climate information. There is a new website, too, where you can check on local conditions: lgdws.com.
Also, the Oregon Department of Transportation maintains a very good website tripcheck.com, where you may click on the region of northeast Oregon and check live webcams and read road updates. Because of our location, students should never wait to the last minute to make winter travel plans. Plan ahead and getting here will be a beautiful adventure. And besides, late spring and early summers here are beautiful, unless of course it snows.
Q: Will there be any effort made to help us arrange possible carpooling?
A: Yes. Enrolled students can make these arrangements via the program listserv.
Q: I can’t attend the winter residency. May I sign up for the offsite workshops in February and March-May?
A: No. The EOU low residency program is designed to foster a strong sense of community, collaboration and core civic values that originate in each residency. A student may, under extraordinary circumstance, step away from the program in a formal leave of absence for up to 6 months, after which the student may return to the program during the next residency. If a student must request a year-long leave of absence, we cannot guarantee the student’s continued enrollment in the program.
Q: Are there any Teaching Assistantships available?
A: In the second year, 2014-15, we will begin offering limited Teaching Assistantships.