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: 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: Are there any Teaching Assistantships available?
A: In the second year, 2015-16, we hope to begin offering limited Teaching Assistantships.
Q: Is there an advantage to beginning with the June rather than the October residency?
A: Yes, we think so. The program was originally conceived of as a summer to summer program, building strong student cohort identities with the program. We recognize though that not everyone will be able to plan precisely according to our preference. We will work with students on an individual basis to assure timely progress through the program.