Monday, January 17, 2011

Mailbag (1.17.11)

Welcome, all! Post your questions, comments, and concerns here!

364 comments:

  1. Cool new website! It's like you granted I wish I wasn't even aware of!

    I am definitely applying this year, but I am not sure of a few things: 1) how many is a good number to apply to, and 2) how important the GRE lit test is in terms of admission. (I think I am applying to the Wisc. Institute and Stegner as well.) Can anyone help?

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  2. Also considering applying this year, likely to 3-5 programs (2-3 crw and 2-3 traditional, and then Wisconsin). CRW: Missouri, Cincinnati, and Texas Tech. Traditional Lit.: UVA, University of Washington, UNC-Chapel Hill. And then, Wisconsin-Madison. Thoughts on folks applying to both types of program, Seth? Anyone else considering doing the same?

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  3. Hi Tory,

    For CW Ph.D. apps my understanding is that the GRE Lit test is of what we might call "moderate" but not "heavy" or "light" significance. In other words, apps might be read by English profs in addition to CW profs, but I do think some allowances are made for GRE scores slightly lower than would be expected for a traditional English dissertator. So I would say, yes, study for it and with serious intent, do the best you can, and then don't worry much about it after that.

    As to how many is a good number to apply to, well, the applicant pool is much lower but it's also way more qualified; there are fewer programs (32, and most apps go to the Top 15) and fewer are taken than is common with MFA programs. For instance, Kansas and UNLV often take one person a year; a few programs have even, on occasion, selected no one. So my feeling is that twelve is a good number -- for those reasons and also because funding can be dodgy (e.g., I got into Nebraska without funding, and if you don't go to an MFA without funding, it's doubly true for a 5-6 year Ph.D. program where full funding really is an expectation of every admittee).

    Cheers,
    S.

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  4. Luke,

    I'll tell you, if folks knew how awesome it is to be a poet here, to do an internal Creative Writing minor (the equivalent of 2+ years taking classes at a Top 5 MFA) and then get a degree at a Top 10 (according to the 2010 NRC rankings) English Literature program... not to mention living in a place like Madison, which is the best place I've ever lived in my life... well, I can tell you that UW-Madison would rank as high in the CW Ph.D. rankings as USC, Houston, FSU, et. al. So yes, applying is a good idea!

    Best wishes,
    Seth

    P.S. As to apply to both types of programs, just realize that Contemporary Poetry Studies is an area many programs don't specialize in and don't want applicants in... same with Contemporary Fiction Studies. So you'd do well to apply as a medievalist, Victorianist, et. al., except at a place like UW-Madison where Contemporary Poetry Studies is big (other similar places: JHU, UC-Santa Cruz, SUNY-Buffalo, UC-Berkeley). Realize that creative writers face an incredible uphill struggle to get into a traditional Ph.D. program unless their proposed area of specialization is very well defined and their prior research and writing on the topic is very polished. Personally I applied to 8 traditional programs and 3 CW programs; if I did it again I'd apply to 10 traditional programs and 5 or 6 CW programs (because I was more interested in a Lit Ph.D., so I wouldn't take my own advice about applying to 12 CW programs... but you can see I applied to far more traditional ones than CW because I knew the acceptance rates for a creative writer would be/are bad at non-CW Ph.D. programs).

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  5. P.S. Did I mention UW-Madison is the only traditional Ph.D. program in the U.S. that will also accept (in addition to a critical submission) a creative portfolio?

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  6. Hi Seth,
    Thanks so much for creating this blog. I’m a current applicant, and I was wondering if you might have answers to some of my burning questions. I’m kind of over-excited about this, so sorry if I go overboard.

    1.Do you know how important the critical writing sample is, and/ or how much input the traditional English lit faculty have into the application process? Who tends to review the critical samples?

    2.How much are an applicant's publications considered?

    3.I’m aware of the usual fiction/ poetry percentages for MFA applicants. Do you know if Ph.D applications follow a similar trend?

    Thanks so much for your help!

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  8. Scary,

    My thoughts...

    1. Do you know how important the critical writing sample is, and/ or how much input the traditional English lit faculty have into the application process? Who tends to review the critical samples?

    I would say it has moderate-to-slightly-less-than-that importance. As to the input of Lit faculty, it depends on the program.

    2.How much are an applicant's publications considered?

    More than with MFA apps, but they're still not dispositive of anything.

    3.I’m aware of the usual fiction/ poetry percentages for MFA applicants. Do you know if Ph.D applications follow a similar trend?

    I'm afraid I don't, but if I had to guess I'd say that poetry is slightly more represented in Ph.D. apps than MFA apps. That's been my anecdotal experience and evidence.

    Cheers,
    S.

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  9. Hi Adam,

    I'm not really in charge of that anymore, so I can't say. If it doesn't happen of its own accord I might try to step in, though. We'll see.

    Best of luck,
    S.

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  10. Thanks for your share! I think this information is helpful for everyone. I'm doing practice GRE in masteryourgre.com . I hope it's useful for GRE test takers.

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  11. HOORAY! I have been waiting for this blog. Thank you, Seth Abramson.

    To supplement the helpful poll at right, I'm interested to see where everyone is applying & in what genre (if you feel like sharing). Not to get all MFA Blog up in here, but yes, let's.

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  12. Hey Seth,

    I was wondering if you knew of other PhD programs that allow some sort of internal creative writing minor or cognate with a traditional dissertation. I know that you've talked about UW-Madison, and I've also found that Ball State offers a similar program. Just wondering if you knew of any others.

    Thanks,
    eal371

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  13. Hi Seth,

    There are at least 30 CW PhDs available in the UK. Is it worth collecting info on these, or at least listing them, on this site?

    Thanks.

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  14. Spypop,

    They're all listed in the right-hand sidebar already. See the link for the listing of CW Ph.D. programs.

    S.

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  15. Hi Emily,
    I applied to USC and Utah in fiction. How about you? Good luck!

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  16. Hi Eal371,

    Unfortunately, I don't! Let me know if you come across any others.

    Cheers,
    S.

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  17. P.S. As far as I can tell, Ball State only allows a Creative Writing minor for undergrads; there is no specialization in Creative Writing listed for the doctoral program. One may be able to take a course or two in Creative Writing for credit while pursuing a Ph.D. at Ball State -- not that I see that offered, either -- but there's no indication of a Minor. I'm fairly certain that UW-Madison is the only doctoral program in the country with a formal Internal Minor in Creative Writing, which Minor permits a student to take close to 25% of one's course credits in Creative Writing workshops and submit a Creative Portfolio as part of one's overall doctoral application. --S.

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  18. @Seth

    You write that, "UW-Madison is the only traditional Ph.D. program in the U.S. that will also accept (in addition to a critical submission) a creative portfolio."

    If you're talking about applications, I believe SUNY-Buffalo does the same.

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  19. @Seth

    Not to be contentious, but it can be difficult to find on the website. It is called a creative writing cognate for the PhD in English. It doesn't exactly appear to be an internal minor, but it seems to be more intensive than just being able to take a course or two.

    This is directly from the website: "Our 15-hour creative writing cognate (also known as a “secondary field” or “secondary emphasis”) gives those seeking a PhD within the Department of English the opportunity to collaborate with faculty to devise a program of study to suit specific interests."

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  20. Hi Scaryrobot,

    I applied to Denver, Houston, Illinois at Chicago, Ohio U., & SUNY at Albany for Poetry. I was interested in programs with at least 4-5 required workshops or seminars in craft, and with a strong history of funding. Also, I won't lie-- I made arbitrary decisions based on the size of the bugs I was likely to encounter living in each place. Houston barely slipped into the running.

    Good luck to you (& everyone)!

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  21. About UWM. With Seth's frequent advocating for UW Madison I contacted creative writing faculty members this fall to find out more about the connection between the creative writing faculty and the rest of English dept faculty. I won't reference this person specifically here but this is the reply from a faculty member: "First a word about the PhD in English with a minor in Creative Writing. As to the application process, you would simply apply to the PhD program--one can only be considered for the minor after one is on campus and has taken at least one course in creative writing; in other words, no creative work is submitted for admission into the PhD program (we in Creative Writing have nothing to do with the lit admissions process)...As far as theses are concerned, the faculty in creative writing works primarily with our MFA students while PhD candidates tend to look to the literary faculty for directors of their dissertations. Finally I do believe you are aware that at Wisconsin all PhD theses are scholarly--no creative work is accepted for the dissertation--your project sounds a bit like it blurs this distinction, but I just wanted to make you were fully aware of what our program does and doesn't offer."

    I wonder about this discussion of "no creative work" for the application and that creative writing faculty are not serving on dissertation committees. It was enough to deter me from applying to the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

    Responses to this, Seth?

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  22. Hi TS,

    First, a clarification -- UWM is University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, University of Wisconsin-Madison uses the acronym UW. UWM has a Ph.D. in English with Creative Dissertation, UW has a Ph.D. in Literary Studies with an Internal Minor in Creative Writing.

    That said: Yes, you submit a creative portfolio to UW if you're interested in the Minor. I did it myself and a copy of the document that permits this literally hangs on the door of the current (albeit unofficial) UW MFA program coordinator. I don't believe, and have never believed, that that portfolio is read by the CW faculty as part of the admissions process. Instead, the Literary Studies faculty takes into account that portfolio, any prior MFA degree, prior publications, etcetera, in taking into account whether a Literary Studies candidate would also be a good candidate for the Internal Minor. But it is not a major admissions-process consideration. That said, I believe that the department's strength in Contemporary Poetry Studies is such that a candidate who appears to be an accomplished poet also, and who is interested in Contemporary Poetry Studies from a scholarly standpoint, has a special "leg up" in the admissions process. I don't know that fiction-writers would have this same advantage.

    One cannot be accepted into the Minor until one has been admitted -- but it is absolutely unheard of (I cannot stress this enough) for anyone with an MFA to be turned away from the Minor. Let me repeat: It will not happen. And once you are in the minor, you'll be taking at a minimum the same number of workshops in your genre that you would in a two-year MFA (four) and possibly more (it looks like, in three years, I will end up taking five poetry workshops and one fiction workshop, or the equivalent of a three-year MFA, workshop-wise).

    As to UW having a critical dissertation, I think I've always made that very, very clear. The reasons for UW's inclusion in the category of creative writing doctoral programs are:

    1. The ability to submit a creative portfolio and have this, one's publications, and one's prior MFA taken into account in the admissions decision.

    2. The ability to take between two and three years' worth of MFA workshops for credit toward your traditional English doctorate, with those workshops being taken at the highest ranked MFA program (by far) with a significant workshop component to its Ph.D. curriculum.

    3. The strength of the UW English Department in Contemporary Studies of one of the two major genres (poetry), a specialization few English departments have.

    4. The presence of an amazing writing community in Madison, both in the English Department (a top-ranked MFA, a top-ranked Fellowship program, a top undergraduate creative writing track) and in the community at large.

    [cont.]

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  23. 5. The possibly of securing, for one's MA employment, an assistantship with the MFA program (as only two to four folks with a prior MFA matriculate every year, and as the MFA assistantship often seems to go to eligible candidates with a prior MFA, an MFA graduate applying to UW might be able to spend his/her non-teaching [MA] year working closely with the MFA program).

    There are other benefits -- for instance, a Contemporary Poetry Reading Group run by the Ph.D. program, which both Ph.D. and MFA students have joined -- but the main thing is that there simply is no other traditional, critical-dissertation English doctorate which lets you work and socialize so closely with an English department's creative writers, to the point where you're taking CW courses for credit and feel immersed in the CW community in a way not possible anywhere else. The exception, of course, is a CW Ph.D. with creative dissertation -- the point, though, is that if you want to do a critical dissertation UW is your only option to approximate the CW Ph.D. experience (and FWIW, the writing community in Madison is superior to that of the locales of at least 25 of the 31 CW Ph.D. programs now out there).

    All that's to say, the first three years of your UW doctorate feel no different (and have no different requirements) from the first three years of a CW Ph.D. -- the only difference is in the final three years, where you're either writing a critical dissertation (UW) or a creative one (elsewhere), yet even then another similarity is that at UW you've a shot of teaching creative writing (which I probably should have mentioned above), whereas elsewhere you've no shot at all.

    Cheers,
    S.

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  24. Great site! Is there any data yet about 2011 CW PhD acceptances?

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  25. I saw on Seth's other blog that Tennessee & Kansas have notified, but otherwise, I think it's been pretty quiet on the Ph.D. circuit. This is disappointing for those of us with boring office jobs. I'm waiting to hear from Illinois at Chicago-- they haven't started calling anybody yet. But it's 40 degrees in Chicago right now, with everything all melty & shining, so I'm calming myself by imagining the admissions committee in the thick of spring fever, taking long, invigorating walks, listening to Belle & Sebastian, & planting daffodils.

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  26. It looks like, based on TSE blog, that Texas Tech notified yesterday and today.

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  27. I think UIC (Illinois at Chicago) might release information soon, because they just added a "Decision" field on their status site. Or maybe this means nothing. Anyway, I will post this to TSE, too, for anyone who needs news (even non-news) to cope with the anxiety of waiting.

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  28. Hey Ph.D kids. Don't you wish they notified everyone at the same time? I can't help imagining all these neo-luddites sitting at home happily writing in their notebooks with their acceptance letters tucked inside drawers while the rest of us lurk around here waiting for news... any news. In case you can't tell, I'm going a little crazy. I'm a fiction applicant, by the way, and I applied to USC and Utah. Good luck, guys! I hope someone hears some good news soon.

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  29. It would be great to get some sort of notification, but I just kind of assume if I didn't get notified of an acceptance I'm not in. I guess that doesn't make much sense because of wait listing, but it helps me cope. I can move on. That's what I tell myself anyway.

    I'm a poetry and nonfic applicant. I applied to Denver, Houston, Ohio, Texas Tech, Tennessee, Utah, Western Michigan, and Missouri in poetry and Utah, Houston, and Georgia in nonfic.

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  30. That's the logic I'm taking. I applied (fiction) to FSU, Denver, Cincy, Western Mich, Ohio U., and SUNY Binghamton. I know OU and Binghamton notify in mid-March. As for the others, I'm starting to sweat right about now.

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  31. Denver will likely notify later, too, given their deadline was Feb. 1st. I'm just beginning to get anxious about USC, Utah, WMU. . . here's to hoping schools start sending out info soon? I hope?

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  32. Has anybody heard anything on Georgia, FSU, or Texas Tech? I haven't seen anything definitive, aside from a couple of FSU acceptances, on Grad School Cafe, and I'm starting to get nervous. Last year, people were reporting acceptances by this point.

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  33. I received a rejection from Georgia on the 14th, so hopefully that's positive for you!

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  34. Georgie applicant (poetry) here who hasn't heard anything. Suze, what genre?

    @Kyle. I've seen grad cafe news for Texas Tech and FSU.

    Also, MFA mailbag posted an OU nonfiction acceptance.

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  35. @phdhelper:

    Poetry, as well. Fingers crossed for you! I haven't heard anything about acceptances, so it seems reasonable to think they haven't notified yet . .

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  36. For those of you who applied to Denver, did you get that fake-out email a few weeks ago? It said something like, "We are happy to inform you... that your application is complete!" Oh. Oh, I mean, okay, thanks. Cheers, Denver.

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  37. I didn't apply to Denver, but that would have given me a heart attack and induced an episode of solitary drinking.

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  38. I just found out I'm waitlisted at USC, via email late yesterday. More waiting. This is killing me.

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  39. Suze, that's so exciting! Just think W.W.M.P.D. (What would Marjorie Perloff do?)

    Fingers crossed for you!

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  40. Suze, can I ask how late that email came PST?

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  41. Way way exciting Suze! Congratulations!! If you are waitlisted there I'm betting more good things are to come for you.

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  42. Thanks team! I'm crossing all appendages. . .

    The e-mail came at 8:28 PM Eastern, so 5:28 PST. I want to throw myself at Marjorie. :-)

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  43. Whoa, Suze. Congratulations! That is huge. You're almost there. Crossing my fingers for you!

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  44. Someone just posted an acceptance from Georgia on grad school cafe... I hope there are more coming from UGA!

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  45. Suze, do you know if your status has changed on USC's website? Thanks for any info you've got, and congratulations again.

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  46. I'm applying for Ph.D CW in the UK. I've had some interest but it's not gettong on that't the problem- it's getting the funding. Fees paid and a 13,000 pounds a year stipend. I really feel my project is strong- wish me luck!

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  47. Hi Seth,

    I'm sorry if this is fairly off topic, but since you've been so insightful into the UW Phd program, I was wondering if you also knew much about Poetics Phd programs. I've only been able to find ones at the University of Chicago and SUNY Buffalo. Do you know of others, or other PhD programs that also approach contemporary poetry as en emphasis? Thank you!

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  49. Hi Suze, I was also waitlisted at USC (poetry). Good luck to you. Feel free to friend me on Facebook (Sara Eliza Johnson), so we can be be anxious together! (I had originally posted my email here for you, but I forgot that it might not be wise to post my entire email in a forum; I don't want to end up with spam/junk mail).

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  50. Hi Sara! Fingers crossed for us both! I am ripping my hair out. I haven't heard any news from other places except that I was rejected from Georgia. Will look you up on fb !

    @Papernaut: congrats on your acceptance to UGA!!
    @scaryrobot: no status change on the USC site. hope that helps!

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  51. Congrats @papernaut! NO more news here, but I did see (somewhere) last night that a person got into Utah's fiction phd program.

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  52. After spending all of February wondering! Rejected from UIC via their website. So disappointed-- my first choice.

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  53. Rejected by UIC as well, Emily. And by North Texas, today. Still holding out hope for Georgia, FSU or Cincinnati! Does anyone know anything about the admittance status of those schools?

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  54. @kyle Check the grad cafe http://thegradcafe.com/ and search "creative writing" to find news. UC is a pretty late notifier. I've seen FSU and UGA have notified acceptances but I haven't seen a waitlist notification from either of those schools. Someone said on the grad cafe that they "Spoke with administrative staff. She told me that decisions have been made and are in the mail. I'm considering this a rejection, as I think others have been accepted via email/phone. Sad sad." But I am hoping that wailists have not been notified. Anyone have differing information?

    Wishing you all good luck!

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  55. Thanks, phdhelper! My status is still pending on FSU, Georgia and Texas Tech's sites, so I hope that is, at the very least, not a bad sign.

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  56. Rejected from UIC, via application status on the website. UGH.

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  57. @Suze @phdhelper Thank you! I heard from UGA soon after looking up my status on the UIC website and discovering I had been rejected. So I was really lucky in that my disappointment lasted only a few hours. I can definitely get excited about working with Zawacki and Rasula. Of course, I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for Denver, but I know my chances there are VERY low.

    @Suze Good luck with USC!

    @Kyle I haven't heard from Texas Tech, but I've been assuming a rejection because several people reported acceptances over a week ago. I hope there's good news waiting for you.

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  58. papernaut - congrats on Georgia! is that your top choice so far?

    I have one offer I'm very excited about but, deep down, I'm really hoping for a Georgia miracle. has anyone's online status been updated on UGA's site yet? mine still says, "decision pending"

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  59. elizabeth, my status at UGA is still the same as well.

    Congrats on the offer -- where from?

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  60. @elizabeth Thanks!

    Yes, Georgia is looking good right now. Kansas and Tennessee are my other options, but I think Georgia would probably be better for me. If I get into Houston w/ good funding, I might consider it. If I get into Denver, I'll probably go there, even though they only fund for three years. But for now, having Georgia as an option is a huge relief. (I was really worried I wouldn't get in anywhere, so I applied to 16 schools!)

    I'll keep my fingers crossed for you for Georgia. (My online status is still "decision pending." The "Comments From The Grad School" box says, "Recommended for admission, must submit visa documents." That box is probably empty for people who don't need to submit additional paperwork.)

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  61. In at UGA, too! Just got an email from the grad school. papernaut, we might be colleagues...

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  62. @phdhelper Congrats! Are you poetry or fiction? (I'm poetry.) Think you'll accept, or is there somewhere else you'd rather be?

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  63. what genre do all of you Georgia folk specialize in?

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  64. I'm poetry. I'm still waiting on a few places: Houston, Denver, and Utah. But I'm not sure that I'll know "where I am leaning" until I visit, get a feel for the faculty and students and campus. Oh right, and UGA is my first acceptance so yeah, I'll need to actually be accepted somewhere else to really have any leanings.

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  65. @phdhelper I'm waiting on Houston and Denver, too. I had planned to apply to Utah, but I didn't get my act together in time, and now I'm really regretting that I didn't apply there. It seems like everybody and their uncles applied to Houston and Denver, so I'm trying to prepare myself for disappointment.

    Good luck to you! (But don't take one of my spots! :) )

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  66. I just saw a Creative Writing PhD Houston acceptance on gradcafe. I wish I could contact this person for details.

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  67. gah! I want details. Still waiting on Houston, Denver, Utah, Ohio, and Western Michigan . .

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  68. Suze - I know! Me too. I thought Houston typically notified in mid-March, so I feel like I haven't had time to properly set myself up for disappointment yet.

    For Ohio, an administrative assistant assured me that decisions would be made during the "first part of March," which is reassuring but vague. I think I would feel better if they had an online system like everybody else. I wonder if there is a casual way we can politely invite Ohio to the 21st century.

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  69. @ emily:

    right?! Come ON, Ohio. It's not that hard. I just am beginning to freak out b/c I've had two rejections and one waitlist. . .and I feel like the remaining programs I'm waiting to hear from aren't going to be any different. I mean, I guess I'm just going into grief management mode. But really, I just want this to be over so I can get on with my life. Le sigh.

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  70. Suze, I hear you. Are you on the MFA Draft '11 facebook group? It's a collection of 450 people just like us who are going mad from waiting. It really helps me to know that there are so many others in the same position. Join us! I'm the one posting pictures of my dog & making stupid Hamlet jokes.

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  71. Umm I'm so on that right now. I will post pictures of my dog, just for you. Good lord. This is becoming a full time activity . . .at my full time job. Whoops!

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  73. Congrats, MC! That is fabulous, inspiring news. Enjoy Stanford!

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  74. congratulations, MC! That is wonderful. And I know folks who have gone on to get PhD's after the Stanford--two years of writing time--yippee! Did you apply anywhere else or are you all done for the season?

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  76. Hello, everyone! Has anyone gotten any word from Cincinnati? Also, what do you all know about the Missouri PhD Creative Writing program? It looks like Seth's poll has it ranked high, but I haven't found much else to read about the program.

    Thanks so much!

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  77. For everyone waiting to hear about Ohio University: a current PhD student there left a comment on TSE (that has since been deleted) saying that the calls for MA & PhD have been made already. No further details or news to report, aside from my creepy amateur sleuth skills. Et tu, Ohio?

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  78. I'm not holding my breath for Ohio University, but I know some of you are. So I called the English Department and was told that decisions have not been made yet. In fact, according to the woman to whom I spoke, they will not be made until the third week of March at the earliest. Doesn't sound like something she'd say just to avoid disappointing me. So either she doesn't know what's what, or the person who posted about OU made a mistake?

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  79. Papernaut, you are my new favorite person. Thank you so much for calling! I'm so happy there's still a chance!

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  80. AUGH I just noticed a terrible misuse of a word in one of the poems in my sample. I don't remember what word I meant to use, but it wasn't that one. It was also the wrong draft of the poem in the first place. How did I not catch that. OMG, mortified.

    *dies*

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  81. It's okay! USC, who rejected like almost all of us (well, me), realized it was only one mistake/poem over your larger, beautiful sample, right?

    I did that horrible thing of looking back at my sample and discovered typos in the critical sample, anomalies with capitalizing the first word of each line (damn MS Word!), and using "a" instead of "an" on my cover letter. Ugh.

    This process can kill if one reflects too much; hang in there!

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  82. Yup, I discovered those inevitable typos, too. How does that happen after you've read the damn things over a hundred times? I'm convinced the typo gremlins sneak 'em in just before you send off your application. But if I'm rejected because of a typo or some other small error, then clearly the readers were just looking for an excuse to weed me out, i.e. I doubt there's much I could have done to win them over.
    But I totally understand the horror of making such discoveries. While I wait to hear from my top choice, I've been reading my creative sample over and over again and coming up with a long list of "mistakes" that will cause adcoms to recoil and then dump my sample in the trash.

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  83. hi, hello! i've been lurking here for awhile (& on the facebook page via my partner july) & have grown fond of reading all of your posts. just wanted to make it official, after giving up all hope:

    in at Utah - PhD, poetry, via a very thin letter hidden inside the Costco circular (3/4)

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  85. Seriously, I read my sample a hundred times and did not catch a mistake that, right now, seems so glaring. Only now, in March, do I notice that the draft is 1) old and 2) has an unfortunate mistake...that had been edited out of the new draft. Bloody hell. I suppose all the craziness of the application process dulled my senses (that GRE Lit test on Nov 15th destroyed a few brain cells, I think).

    Also, congrats Meg (and everyone else with acceptances).

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  86. @Kyle:

    I actually expected Missouri to be ranked higher than it is here. Maybe it's because I'm from the Midwest, but like 5 of my professors from a private college in Minnesota and a big state school in Kansas went to Missouri for some English/CW degree or another. They all say it's a great school, great town.

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  87. @Daj--You might not be speaking directly to this but it is important to restate, I think...These "rankings" are two types: one voted on by those who visit this site and one on selectivity. Two issues are involved with this: 1) plenty of people apply and go to these programs and graduate and get jobs without visiting these sites and voting and 2)the selectivity rankings are available sporadically--some have only fiction, some schools have none. This is all to say that Seth is doing awesome work gathering this stuff--it is stunning that no one has done it before and it is a huge undertaking. So of course, it is a work in progress and will become more statistically significant (one hopes) over time. But you really have to take these rankings with a stroll on the salt flats to feel a sense of accuracy.

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  88. Kyle/Daj/PhdHelper,

    You all are correct -- a national assessment project for CW Ph.D. programs is still on its first legs. CW Ph.D. programs hide their data even better than CW MFA programs do, so we're still working to uncover selectivity and funding data for even the most well-known programs. That said, there's definitely a consensus building among applicants regarding program quality, and that does count for something -- particularly as it tracks somewhat with what we do know regarding selectivity, historical reputation, and funding. FWIW, work is now being done on a more formal ranking of CW Ph.D. programs, and you'll see the great similarity between the polling done up through last application cycle and the polling done (now) up to this point. For instance, with 250% more votes now than previously, the same schools that made up the Top 11 (i.e., roughly the top third of CW Ph.D. programs) in the past still make up the Top 11, and indeed there's actually been minimal movement even within that Top 11: i.e., FSU, Ohio, and Denver are toward the front; Cincy, Missouri, and Texas Tech are towards the back (of that Top 11); and the other programs are jockeying aggressively for the middle positions in that particular short-list. Meanwhile, these positionings roughly correlate to what we know about funding and selectivity -- with a few exceptions, i.e. some programs (e.g., Kansas and UNLV) are probably ranked lower than they should be, i.e. they should be challenging for the Top 15 if not the Top 10, but I think that will come in time, as programs that don't fund anyone (e.g., Nebraska, or UW-Milwaukee, which is short on funds) drop behind them in the Top 15/20.

    Hope this helps,
    Seth

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  89. @Seth,

    Great points. Sad that schools are not more transparent.

    Also when looking at these numbers one must consider the incoming class sizes--a larger class size means there are more students available to vote on their school than a smaller program where students might be equally as happy. UNLV might be one example of this.

    And in viewing the "who submitted where" new info, one has to take into consideration what schools advertise having more than two genres--OU have three and it currently the most applied to school by folks who participated in this poll. But in reality their individual applicant numbers per genre might be lower than several other schools--though we wouldn't know for sure unless OU made the applicant numbers available.

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  90. PHDHelper,

    I hear you, but I'll say that there's been no evidence since 2006 that applications are affected by cohort size more than to a statistically insignificant degree -- indeed the current #3 and #5 MFAs are two of the ten smallest in the world, and there are countless additional examples of tiny programs in the Top 50. As to the multiple-genre issue, I agree with you -- and while we can take it into account with MFAs, we can't yet with Ph.D. programs because so little data is available (i.e., we can't "remove" nonfiction applicants from the polling at this point). That said, it's always been the case that the availability of a third genre -- and the possibility of cross-genre work -- is a feature for any program, so some of (say) Ohio's advantage would necessarily be considered an "earned" advantage in any case. Also, as nonfiction applicants make up less than 15% of voters, according to polling, they really don't have much of an opportunity to significantly affect the rankings. So if we consider that less than one out of every six voters is a nonfiction-writer, and that not all of those voted for Ohio, and that even those that did may have done so in part because OU does have a one-up on other programs that is "earned" by offering a third genre, we have to think the polling is "wrongly" affected, at most, by 5% to 10% because of this anomaly. Which at present would not change OU's national ranking at all -- i.e., in the 2009-2011 polling we could remove well over 10% of OU's votes and the program would still be #3 overall.

    Hope this makes sense! Best,

    Seth

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  91. P.S. I suppose I should have added that, in my thinking, OU's high placement is most significantly affected by the fact that it ranks #2 in funding nationally among CW Ph.D. programs and is located in a town that is often spoken well of. Also, it was #7 in reputation among CW Ph.D. programs when data was collected 15 years ago, so it always was looking at a Top 10 ranking in the late aughts, I think (as the number of programs hasn't actually increased by much since 1996). --S.

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  92. @everyone with typos:

    ME TOO. Me, freaking, too. AWFUL. The worst: the mistyping of the word modernism as MORDdernism. I'm mortified.

    Also, on some of the online applications, my italics didn't upload correctly. One of my poems looks/reads terrible as a result. I wanted to cry when I discovered that. Let's not even get into basic typos. It. Was. A. Mess.

    If we made stupid mistakes, everyone likely did. Right? Right???

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  93. *terrible/terribly. You know what I mean.

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  94. Hi Seth- It seems like, above, you were saying that Nebraska "doesn't fund anyone." Are you talking about the MA or the PhD? Because the departmental website certainly seems to indicate that funding exists. If it doesn't, I sure wish I wish I would've known before I applied to their doctoral program...

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  95. Sorry STL, I wasn't being literal -- I should have said, "almost no one." The year I applied they funded 2-3 out of 16-20 total admits, which is effectively no one (in grad CW program terms). And yes, they hide it extremely well on their website, that's why they keep getting apps...

    S.

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  96. Thanks for the info, Seth... What is your opinion about attending a PhD program without funding, even if it's your only option? I did my MFA with no funding besides tuition remission, but that situation lasted only two years. And I think it is fair to say that MFA coursework is decidedly less demanding than doctoral study. I can't see myself successfully completing PhD requirements while working two jobs, like I did during the MFA.

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  97. StL,

    Don't know how to say this more strongly -- do not attend a Ph.D. program unfunded. At the very, very worst, some people accept that they won't be funded their first year (i.e., their M.A. year) but that's it. Otherwise, it's considered an insult for a Ph.D. program to make an applicant an unfunded offer. In the U.S. Ph.D. candidates have a right to expect full funding; otherwise, the programs can shove off.

    S.

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  99. Hi all,

    Been lurking here for a little while and loving it. Thanks so much, Seth and everyone who's been commenting.

    I'm planning to apply next season and have a question regarding the general GRE that, as far as I can tell, hasn't been addressed. I'd like to know how much it seems the general scores matter, specifically how much the analytic writing score matters, because I didn't do so hot. Okay, I did plain poor: 4.

    Now, when I got into an MFA program, my then 4.5 AW score (yes, after grad school and teaching writing and all that my AW score dropped---and I, ironically, thought I was going to ace the thing) didn't seem to matter too much, and I've heard and read in many places that the AW score counts least to adcoms, and that the GRE is mostly for weeding out. But I don't know how true that is for CW PhDs.

    So, the question: with a 4 AW, should I strongly consider retaking the test? I'd rather not for numerous reasons: (1) I hate it and (2) my verbal and quantitative scores (not that CW PhDs care so much about math skills) are reasonably solid.

    As for the typo concerns, after I submitted and defended my MA thesis, I found a glaring typo that obviously slipped by both me and my committee. Typos happen to everyone, it seems (yes, you don't make typo errors, it's almost as if they happen to you, I think).

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  101. I have heard your GRE score might matter for university-wide funding (like, say, a particular fellowship might require a 700 on both sections), but not really for admission (though it's possible a very low verbal score could cause some problems, or a total score below 1000?). Like you, I have also heard the AW score is the least important portion of the GRE; I don't even know if they consider the AW score for fellowships. Maybe Seth knows more about this, but I for one would definitely not retake it.

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  102. Sara, thanks so much for your response. To give the bigger picture, my verbal was 690 and quantitative 720. Glad to hear you've heard similar things about the AW score, and also glad to hear you wouldn't retake it. Thanks again!

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  103. @teddyp When I first took the GRE six years ago, I got a 6 on the AW portion. When I took it again last year, my earlier scores having expired, I got a 4.5. I'm a much better writer now than I was six years ago, so I was really annoyed by the drop in the score. I freaked out for a little while, emailed profs at some of the schools I was applying to, and asked if I should re-take the GRE. I was told not to bother. They know that the ETS graders are looking for formulaic essays and that anyone who doesn't write the typical five-paragraph essay gets screwed. The people who read your writing samples and SoP won't care about the AW score.
    Like Sara, I don't know if the AW score is considered when university-wide fellowships are given out. My guess is that when the English/CW program nominates you, then the fellowship committee has to assume that you're a pretty good writer and the AW score isn't indicative of anything other than ETS's incompetence.
    I've been nominated for university-wide fellowships by two of the programs that have admitted me. Since they don't seem to be worried about my AW score, I'd say it's probably not much of a factor. Just make sure your writing samples and SoP are really strong.

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  104. What about the Subject test? I got a 640 (82 percentile), though only 3 out of the 9 schools to which I applied required it.

    So far, I have not been accepted anywhere, though 2 of the schools that required the Subject test have yet to notify. Still, I am not holding my breath, and am trying to accept the fact that I'm likely looking at re-application next year.

    So, I'm wondering if I should re-take the dang subject GRE. What do folks think?

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  105. @StL, In my experience the subject score you got is actually pretty high for us creative writing folks. I scored around the 50th and have friends at very "high ranked" schools that scored in the 40-65th percentiles.

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  106. @StL I got the exact same score on the subject test. If I had been applying to traditional English PhD programs, I might have re-taken the test because:

    1. I spent only a week preparing for it (expert procrastinator here)
    2. The test center was very noisy
    3. I don't have a strong English Lit background

    So I had reason to believe I could do better, and a higher score might have made me seem more qualified/knowledgeable (even though we all know that the only thing the test tests is your ability to take the test).

    If you're considering applying to non-CW programs that require the test, and if you think you could significantly improve your score, and if you don't have a strong background in the subject (and if you can afford to spend the time and money), then I'd say it's worth taking again. Otherwise, I agree with phdhelper.

    Anyway, you may not have to worry about any of this. You haven't heard from all the schools yet!
    I'll keep my fingers crossed for you...

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  107. StL, I would definitely not retake the Subject Test, especially because it's so unpredictable--the material is random and you could actually do much worse on the retake! That is a pretty high score not just for creative writing people, but for trad. lit people as well. Keep in mind that the pool is small and concentrated; you scored higher than 82% of fellow test takers only applying to English doctorates, which is really great (whereas your verbal GRE percentage is out of everyone applying to graduate school, including, say, international applicants applying to engineering programs; an 82% isn't as impressive in that case). It's also true that the Subject Test is not required at all by a fair amount of top programs, such as Columbia, Chicago, UPenn, Duke, and Brown; I don't think it's held in high regard by most, and is probably the least important part of the app, esp. for creative writing programs, which probably base, like, 90%+ of their decision on their intuitive response to your creative sample. But to make you feel even better, on another board, someone recently got into both the Yale and Cornell Ph.D programs with a score lower than yours--a 630.

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  109. Hi, everyone! Sorry for a generic question, but is it bad to e-mail a school, kindly asking for your application status? I still haven't heard from Georgia, and both rejections and acceptances have been reported for the last couple of weeks. I'm assuming rejection, but my online application still says "decision pending".

    I don't want to keep my one offer waiting too long!

    Also, has anyone received an FSU rejection or heard from Cincinnati? Thanks so much for your help!

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  110. @Kyle I think it would be fine to call Georgia and ask whether they've made all their admission decisions. If yes, have they already informed admitted and wait-listed applicants? (I recommend calling rather than emailing because I think it's usually faster and easier for everyone. If you do email, Amanda Cross is the one to contact.)

    I haven't heard anything from Cincinnati, but I haven't seen any acceptances or rejections posted on the boards. I didn't apply to FSU, but several acceptances have been posted (and maybe some wait-lists too).

    As for keeping your one offer waiting: you have until April 15 to make a decision, and they should not be pressuring you to respond sooner.

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  111. I just got a letter from Tennessee; I've been waitlisted (poetry). A nice surprise since I thought they were done notifying. Don't give up! Sometimes no news isn't a bad thing.

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  112. I posted this at the other place too: contacted cincy. They have sent out acceptances. They expect to send out a second round this next week. After that, the admin person said they would let everyone know where they stand.

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  113. Thanks, Toolio!

    Did they, by chance, say if the acceptance were sent via e-mail or postal mail?

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  114. nyet. but based on pw posts from previous years, email seems like the preferred form for them. based on her wording, it sounds like the first round was a couple weeks ago.

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  115. so, I figure I should just start looking at next year. since my Other will be done at law school, I can apply anywhere, but we miss California. So, I'm looking there for anything I can make feel ok. Like, for instance, UC Santa Cruz is really into the stufy of experimental writing and writing movements. And Berkeley and Stanford both have interdisciplinary program like Santa Cruz's "History of Consciousness" BUT with funding (important). UCLA and USC both seem honestly interested in poetics and narrative too.

    I also found this:
    UC Irvine PhD in Creative Non Fiction http://www.humanities.uci.edu/english/programs/grad_faq.php#SUB3

    had no idea.

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  116. @El Toolio
    Didn't you already apply to CW PhD programs? If yes, are you looking ahead because you're not optimistic about your chances this year, or perhaps you're re-thinking your goals/priorities?

    I have to say, I've learned so much during the application process, I feel like this should be the practice run and I should apply again next year "for real." But that's not an option for me since my visa expires this summer, so I'll be going somewhere for sure. I'm still waiting to hear from my top choice (Denver!), but I can't say I'm expecting good news. I think UGA is a good fit for me, though, so I think I'll be fairly happy if that's where I end up.

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  117. @papernaut, i did apply this year. only to cincy. complicated personal reason: my Other is in law school and so applying meant only applying to a school i could theoretically commute to for the first year. i'm a super commuter, but tennessee was over-ruled, as was ohio.

    i'm looking to next year because i'm not optimistic.

    on the other hand, while i will quite likely apply to a bunch of true cw phd programs next year, i want to, as much as i can, concentrate on getting us back to california. i'm feeling, right now, if i can swing the fees, i don't feel bad at all applying to a dozen cw phd's and a dozen california programs. see how my odds work out. will already have rec's and test scores. have a decent essay for the phd cw's. should work on a second essay. make one or two more sop's i can personalize per program.

    but, if i got into someplace like Denver, that would be amazing.

    if, somehow, i get into cincy, i'm a goin'. but i'm wondering now if, as my partner says, i'm a little too experimental for some places. i need someplace like santa cruz to start a cw phd.

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  118. @El Toolio My work is also "experimental," which I know means different things to different people. For me, it was difficult to figure out where I'd find the right readers and community for my work. I had to make assumptions based on the writing of the faculty members, but some writers are great at working with students who have very different aesthetics, and some writers share your aesthetics but suck as teachers.
    The only program that I felt certain would be an excellent fit was Denver. Apart from that, Kansas, UGA, SUNY Albany, UNLV and Utah all seemed promising, for poetry anyway. I didn't manage to get my shit together to apply to Utah, but I did apply to the others (and a bunch of other programs), and so far the rejections and acceptances have been in line with my assumptions about my fit with each program. So I guess it's usually true, assuming you put together a decent application, that the programs that are right for you are the ones that'll admit you! (There are always a few surprises, though.)
    I think fit is especially important if your work is experimental, so it sounds like a good idea to cast a wide net and see what you pull in, or what you get pulled in by. What genre(s) are you planning to apply in?

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  119. @papernaut, yeah. That's how I felt for MFA stuff. I was right. The two places I put the most effort into because I thought they would be the best fit (Alabama and UNLV) are the 2 I got into. And I was right. On the one hand, I felt limited, only getting to apply to cincy. On the other, in my experience, an open teacher is the best, regardless of their own writing proclivities.

    I'm technically fiction. For my app, I sent a section of the graphic novel i wrote and illustrated for my thesis (which is still pretty experimental), a section of a novel i'm working on that is actually linear and very southern, and a section of prose that is "New Narrative" and quite dialectic. Probably they would call it poetry.

    i think denver would be a dream. but i spent some of my childhood in georgia and there is much interesting to be had there.

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  120. Anyone get a waitlist from Utah? Or a rejection?

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  121. No word from Utah. I applied in both poetry and nonfiction.

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  122. papernaut, I've been meaning to say thanks so much for your detailed post regarding the general GRE. Given that what both you and Sara say (plus your recon of the CW programs themselves) echoes much of what I've heard, I definitely won't be putting myself through the hell of that test again.

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  123. I called Utah last Friday (March 4). They sent out acceptances at the beginning of last week. They were sending out waitlists and rejections that day or yesterday.

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  124. Utah fiction applicants, did you send a different writing sample to Utah than everywhere else? I ask because their fiction writing sample requirements seem different from most other places in that they ask for "approximately 10 pages," whereas more like 20-30 seems to be the norm elsewhere.

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  125. Denver acceptance posted on gradcafe. Sorry for the noise: that's my heart breaking.

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  126. Papernaut, it's still early. I'm not giving up yet. Have heart! Yours in trepidation, E.

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  127. @emily Heart malfunction. Unable to maintain hope level. Leaking red everywhere. May your systems be in better condition.

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  128. @papernaut I dunno, I'm a bit suspicious about that grad cafe posting. First, the person said "Didn't accept yet--Still waiting on other offers," and who in the hell would accept outright on the phone just then? And also, they didn't say what genre they are in. And we all know people can be contacted at different times and in different ways depending on the genre. Example? Utah's fiction people were contacted by phone and the poets were contact via snail mail. To lose hope is to lose, perhaps, a bit of reasoning ability during this maddening time? ((my tough love encouragement))

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  129. it seems like a lot of schools have been AWOL. Denver, Houston, Cincinnati, Lafayette, FSU (rejections)... why do they keep us in suspense?

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  130. It ain't over 'til it's over, Papernaut! I believe in all sorts of unlikely things, like that scene in Amelie where she imagines Nino was taken hostage. That's what I'm doing. I refuse to get upset for a school that will eat borscht all its life in a hat like a tea cozy.

    Kyle - Someone on the facebook group got word from Houston (not sure if this is MFA-only, but it seems reasonable that it would be both) that all of their decisions will come out on March 21. Not sure about that rogue Houston PhD admission on gradcafe. From here on out, color me dubious for all one-off gradcafe postings. L'espoir vit!

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  131. Anyone apply to ULA-Lafayette PhD or UND PhD? Anyone heard back yet?

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  132. T. - Haven't heard back form Lafayette, either. It looks like last year's applicants were accepted in the 2nd half of March. Hopefully we'll hear soon!

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  133. Today, on Denver's website, my Application Type changed from "Complete - Ready for Review" to "Web - Fall Quarter Admit." The Decision field still says "Not Available." This means nothing, right? Denver is making me batty. Did this happen to everyone else, too?

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  134. Mine says that, too. Is there any hope in that?

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  135. Mine too.

    When I checked, I also realized that they have my parents' number and not mine. Suddenly I'm having visions of my mother hanging up on Bin Ramke. That would be. . . awesome

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  136. @emily I haven't been checking my status because I've been assuming the worst, in spite of your exhortations to have heart (because I'm congenitally pessimistic). So I don't know if anything has changed, but my "Application Type" is also "Web - Fall Quarter Admit." My "Application Status" is "Complete / Ready for Review," and my "Decision" is "Not Available."
    (Now let me try on this hope thing.) The only reasonable conclusion is that we've both been admitted. We haven't heard anything yet because Eleni Sikelianos is still figuring out the best way to inform us of our unparalleled awesomeness.

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  137. Editorgirl, my mother would DEFINITELY hang up on Bin Ramke! Especially if he called during dinner. A friend of mine moved to China during her wait-it-out MFA admissions period, & her mother fielded all the phone calls & said things like, "You know, I can't say I'm surprised that you're calling; Katie is really very talented. Everyone thinks so. Have you seen her poems?"

    Papernaut et al - I think you're right. Maybe Denver really loves us & just can't figure out how to say it. Eleni Sikelianos is probably wringing her hands in front of a phone tree AS I TYPE.

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  138. @T and Kyle, I heard from Lafayette last Friday that I was accepted and that my assistantship package was en route. That was for fiction, but I think poetry acceptances were announced on both Seth's blog and the P&W Speakeasy. It seemed like they were trying to get notifications out before Mardi Gras break. Of course, I can't speak for whether they've notified all acceptances, so it might be worth asking. Good luck!

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  139. & Now for some non-Denver miscellaneous wondering. I noticed a slew of rejections for SUNY Albany's English PhD on gradcafe, one of which was for CW in Fiction. (I applied in Poetry.) For anyone else who applied-- is there a special place I can visit to be rejected? When I log in, it just says "Submitted." Is it still too early?

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  140. @emily Are you my PhD applications twin? I've been wondering about SUNY Albany too. My online status is the same as yours. It seems the poetry folks everywhere are taking longer to make decisions, or at least to post them.
    Albany's program doesn't seem to get a lot of respect, but the Writing Practices concentration seems so awesome to me! I wonder why the program isn't more popular. Is it a funding issue?

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  141. @emily And now there's a poetry rejection posted for Albany. Am I looking for the decision in the wrong place, or are they spacing out the rejections to prolong our agony?

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  142. Hi pals, sorry to bring up an anxiety-ridden subject but I got word via email yesterday I'm waitlisted at DU for prose. Most on here are poets I think, but wanted to let you know my news.

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  143. @phdhelper Congratulations! Is Denver where you'd like to end up?
    Now I wish a poet would post his/her acceptance/waitlist and put the rest of us out of our misery.

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  144. PhDHelper - Congratulations! That's wonderful news!

    Papernaut - We ARE PhD twins. We should probably just start our own poetry program. Maybe all the rejections come from the same person, & that person steps away often for meditation breaks or espresso runs.

    There are now TWO Denver poetry acceptances on gradcafe. TWO! It's like these programs don't even know that there are leagues of tortured office workers neglecting work & freaking out right now.

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  145. Emily: I'm only finding one poetry acceptance on gradcafe. Not time to give up yet (chants the little man in my head).

    I'm not sure what I'm going to do at work when this is all over. I guess my job. . .

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  146. @emily I like how you think. Let's write to Buffett, Gates, etc. and ask them to fund our program...or else!

    As for DU, you can't reject me because I reject you! Hah!

    Emily, did you apply to UGA? Which other schools are you waiting to hear from?

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  147. @phdHelper:

    Congrats!!! I'm hoping for the best!

    @papernaut and emily:

    I'll be applying to your program next year. Trust me on that.

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  148. @all thank you for the congrats! I'm not holding on to those things with feathers yet cuz, you know, there are plenty of folks who prob aren't going to reject the offer. but as for me, i'm also in at uga and really i won't know for sure what is the best fit until i visit and talk to people about all the particulars. so in one way yeah, it would be cool to end up in denver but in another way, i really can't say until i have more information. but seriously, i feel fortunate to have a place or two to fantasize about. i applied to schools last year with not much luck.

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  149. I'm clinging to my waitlist at USC. I've got nothing else right now. . .am preparing for next year. Hopefully it will be better!

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  150. Suze - We will call it the Emily & Papernaut School of Disenfranchised Poetics.

    Papernaut - I applied to UIC, Denver, Houston, Ohio, & SUNY Albany. UGA was originally on my list, but I must have cut it. I fail to remember now the logic behind many of my July 2010 self's decisions. It's like I don't even know that Emily.

    I also really wanted to apply to Tennessee & Utah, but I needed the full month of December to revise a truly inane thesis about Barbara Guest & the avant-garde. Thinking about my critical sample makes me want to hide in bed or pursue a useful field, like ichthyology. The world needs fish.

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  151. @emily Funny you should mention fish. My SoP was all about fish. For real. I guess Ramke and Sikelianos don't like fish. Sucks for them 'cause fish are awesome. As you said, the world needs fish (and people who write about fish).
    You still have Houston, Ohio and Albany to hear from, so don't start exploring ichthyology programs just yet. I'm also waiting on those schools - and more - but for now it seems I'm UGA-bound.

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  152. @ Kyle and Robert
    Thanks for the posts regarding ULA-Lafayette. I emailed the graduate school and English Dept. this morning. I heard back from the graduate school, and they said to contact the department. Still waiting to hear something. Robert, how did you receive word? Email? Phone? Letter?
    I'm in poetry, so not sure what's up there. Where on the speakeasy site will I find the acceptances/rejections on Lafayette?

    Finally -- this is to all -- anyone apply to the University of North Dakota's PhD program? Am I the only one? Ha ha. I've been checking the MFA Blog as well -- can't find anything regarding other people applying to or hearing from this program.

    Again -- best to you Kyle -- here's to us! Cheers!

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  153. @Kyle and Robert
    Thanks for the posts. I submitted a post earlier today, but it isn't showing up. Anyway, Robert did you hear from Lafayette by phone, email, or mail? I'm in poetry and emailed the grad school and English Dept. today. The grad school said I need to contact the Engl. Dept. Still waiting to hear back.
    Anyway good luck to you Kyle! Cheers.

    Also, anyone apply to the University of North Dakota's PhD program? Am I the only one??? Anyone heard back from them yet?

    Happy weekend all.

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  154. Hi guys,

    I got my rejection letter from USC today. Ah well, not in the cards, I guess. I am now pinning all my hopes and dreams onto the rest of you getting into your schools. Good luck, everyone. Make mama proud! Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get obscenely drunk.

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  155. @Scaryrobot
    Sorry to hear that. :( Think you'll reapply next year?

    This process has been brutal. I expected it to be difficult, but I didn't think it would be this bad. Even though I was lucky enough to get a couple acceptances before the rejections began to pile up, my faith in myself and my work, which was never that solid anyway, has been seriously shaken. Maybe I should have just stuck to the original plan of becoming a molecular biologist? Why did I think I could do this writing thing? (And yet...)

    I'm so awed and humbled by the optimism, perseverance and good will of many of the people here. I hope that very soon you receive the recognition and support you deserve.

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  156. @Papernaut
    Thanks for being so incredibly kind. I feel you about this process. It is insane. Congratulations on your acceptances. Wear those puppies like medals. As for me, I don't think I'm going to apply next year. I think I'm going to take it as a sign that I should quit applying to schools, and should instead get my ass back to writing. I'm pretty sure I've expended a novel's worth of energy just checking these blogs. Thanks again. I expect to see great fish-centric things from you in the future!

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  157. @Kyle
    I received a late night email from the Lafayette English Dept., and they haven't sent out all notifications yet. Also, the committee will meet this coming Wed. to make most of those decisions. Just sharing what I found out. Best of St. Paddy's luck to both of us!

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  158. @Scaryrobot: I raise my glass to you. This process has been hell for all of us--confidence-shaking, soul-breaking--but it's been wonderful to be surrounded by kind and supportive people. Thanks for being there for all of us! You will be missed. Save a seat for me at the bar.

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  159. Wait listed at Denver (PhD, poetry). Notified by email.
    On the one hand, there's still a chance! On the other hand, I can't imagine anyone ever turns down DU for poetry. Fiction maybe, but poetry? That would be crazypants! And I sure hope some of those accepted poets are out of their minds!

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  160. Congratulations, papernaut! Wait--why would someone turn DU for fiction? (wanting a little hope myself) Oh, and by the way, I do know one person that *did* turn down DU for poetry last year cuz they got a well-funded deal at UWM. So, ha! There is a sprinkle of hope for you. And I think we might be twins here--both in at UGA, both waitlisted at DU.

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  161. @phdhelper Yup, we're twins, too! (Does that mean you, Emily and I are actually triplets because I'm her twin also?)

    I remember reading on one of the boards that somebody turned down DU for UWM, but I thought that was for fiction. (Fiction or poetry, I still think it's crazy. Yes, DU only guarantees three years of funding, but there's a chance of getting funding in the fourth year, and if you don't get it, you can scrape by somehow. But money isn't a deciding factor for me because I know my family would help me out if I fell on hard times. Others may not be so lucky.)

    I think maybe a fiction writer would be more likely to turn down DU than a poet because the fiction profs at DU are not as high-profile as the fiction profs at places like USC, FSU, Houston and maybe Utah, too. So if you're swayed by a big name, and many people are, DU might not seem like the absolute best choice. But in poetry, I think (though maybe I'm wrong) that Ramke and Sikelianos are stars. I'm having a really hard time imagining someone passing up the opportunity to study with them.

    My guess is that you're also more likely to get in off the wait-list than I am because 1. fiction sometimes has one or two more total spots than poetry, and 2. the person who posted a DU acceptance on gradcafe but didn't seem all that jazzed about it must have been fiction (poets weren't informed until yesterday, I think).
    So you see, my dear Watson, it's elementary!

    Anyway, I'd like to strongly encourage anyone who has been admitted to DU and is silently lurking here to DECLINE! For the love of all that's good in this world, ignore everything else I've said and TURN DU DOWN!

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  162. Boy, oh boy, this process is kind of funny. Phd and papernaut are waiting for someone to reject Denver. My spouse is waiting for one of them to reject Georgia, so that maybe she'll have a shot there. And someone is probably waiting for her to reject missouri. Maybe all the applicants should rank their top choices, then all the schools should negotiate together who will accept who. :)

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  163. @Kyle
    I would like nothing better than to give up my spot at Georgia for your spouse. She can have my RAship, too! (No teaching the first year! Extra money!) I'm nothing if not generous. All I ask is that she convince Denver to let me in. Fair exchange, yes?
    If only we could trade our acceptances with others, as you suggest, or compile all our own and turn them in for an upgrade.

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  164. Wow, I've missed so much news! Papernaut, I am SO EXCITED that you're on the Denver waitlist! HOORAY PAPERNAUT! You're awesome. I can say this without knowing a thing about your poems (& ps, it makes me really happy that you wrote about fish in your statement of purpose. There are so many good fish words & fish concepts. The word "pelagic," for example, kept me awake for about half of September.)

    Scaryrobot - My heart & a bottle of gin to you. I think I may be in similar straits. I chose a couple of new change-my-life plans for the next year to make myself feel better, & I think it will be all right. I hope this is true for you, as well. I refuse to believe that you are not fabulous, by the way, & I don't think you should accept rejection as a sign of anything other than crap odds.

    Also, in 2012, I'm considering applying to every single creative writing PhD program in this country. If you do this with me, I'm pretty sure Seth Abramson will be legally obligated to crown us Kings of PhD. We can hold court over the MFA kids &/or re-enact the "Doctor, Doctor" scene in Muppets from Space. Everyone is invited. RSVP after April 15.

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  165. @Papernaut and phD helper: Congrats times a bajillion! That is FABULOUS. It's great to know that lovely people are getting these spots. . .so, cheers!

    @emily: I will apply with you to every phD program. . .in the WORLD. Because, what the hell, what have we got to lose? Right now, I'm looking at two rejections and a waitlist (and a partridge in a pear tree). Still waiting on 5, but at least 3 of those I can safely say are rejections, and I'm not holding much hope for the other 2.

    If it weren't for this blog/thread, I'd lose my mind.

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  166. hang in there those that are waiting! i think the season got a late start and there is still much that could change between now and april 15!

    @suze, i like your crowning idea! does that mean there would be a prom, too?

    i mentioned this before, but last year i applied to seven places with no luck. i know that doesn't help right not, except to say the only factor i can identify that one has any control over is not taking it personally and continuing to do the good work: writing.

    wishing good things for everyone this week!

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  167. ER, I think that was emily with the crowning idea, sorry emily!

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  168. @emily, @Suze
    Thank you! I can't say I'm expecting to get in off the wait list, but it's nice to know that the faculty at my dream school likes my work (sort of). Eleni SIkelianos responded to an email I sent asking about my chances. She said that if I don't make it in, I'd have a very good shot next year. (Two of the four poets admitted this year didn't get in last year. She said this sort of thing happens often.)

    I've definitely thought about re-applying next year, but since my visa status expires this summer, that would mean moving to another country for a year. And who knows what would happen the second time around? This process is such a crapshoot, I might not get in anywhere next year. I applied to 16 schools this year in order to make sure I'd get in somewhere and avoid having to leave the country. It's crazy that I'm even considering re-applying just because of DU, right?

    Now, as someone who applied to 16 programs, let me tell you: DON'T DO WHAT I DID!
    I had originally planned to apply to about 22 programs, but I just couldn't get it together for many of the earlier deadlines, so I ended up with 16. It turned out to be exhausting, nerve-wracking and incredibly expensive (screw you, ETS!). And I was actually dreading getting into programs that I didn't really want to attend. Can you imagine being disappointed to hear that you were admitted somewhere?

    I'm sure the folks on this board who don't make it in this time around will have better luck next time. It might take two or three tries, but your hard work will pay off eventually. You are crazy smart, talented and generous people. You're probably more deserving than I am. I got lucky this time around, but YOUR DAY WILL COME! The meerkats shall inherit the earth! And fish will rain from the sky! And everything will be just pelagic!

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  169. Papernaut, What sound advice! When I first applied to grad school (right out of college), I just went with the only school that accepted me, & was hugely disappointed when I realized it wasn't a good fit. I stuck it out, but I was miserable. So I completely understand wanting to hold out for your dream school. On the other hand, writing poetry in a hostile school environment did teach me that I could make anything work. So there's that! But I hope you have better choices. What country will you move to if you turn down UGA? You're welcome to move into the country of my couch, by the way, but you'll have to negotiate your citizenship with Gatsby the dog.

    PhD Helper - What would a PhD Prom look like? I'm imagining streamers made out of shredded dissertations, & instead of music, a group of us just reading to one another burningly from our comp lists. Um, yes. Clearly I'm on board with this. & Congrats on your waitlist, by the way! I may have forgotten to tell you that in my excitement for Papernaut.

    Suze - Even if we don't become formal Kings of PhD, we'll have this thread to get us through it all again next year. Plus, we will always have the sisterhood of our tiny empty mailboxes! Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose.

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  170. @emily
    I'd move to India if I left the country, but it would be a huge pain in the ass. If we can find a way to have your couch declared a sovereign state, not subject to the immigrations laws of the US, then I'm ready to pack my toothbrush and head on over! I'm sure Gatsby and I can work things out (so long as he's also willing to accommodate Django the dog). (Speaking of which, I've been thinking a lot about where Django would be happiest. Athens, GA, actually seems pretty dog-friendly.)

    Also, did you just quote "Friday Night Lights"?! I know nothing about football, but I love that show! Eric & Tami Taylor forever!

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  171. Papernaut - YES! On all counts. I have a head cold & have been camped out on said candidate for sovereignty all day, binging on instant Netflix.

    StL posted a note about Ohio a little while ago on the proper Seth Abramson blog. The word is Ohio has notified all accepted (& some waitlisted) applicants, & rejection letters will arrive by post in two weeks. So that's that for me. I'm waiting to hear from Houston on March 21, & I'm also waiting for my Albany status to say anything other than "Submitted." And, of course, I'm waiting to see if the Dillon Panthers win their upcoming game. It's a tense time for all of us.

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  172. @Kyle--

    Your spouse got accepted to the PhD program at Missouri?

    Do you mind if I ask how & when she was notified? And what genre she is?

    Thanks!

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  173. Daj - No problem! She was notified via e-mail 3 weeks ago and sent an official letter a week after that. Are you going to Mizzou or waiting to hear from them? good luck!

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  174. Any news on the Dillon Panthers? I've been worried.

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  175. Suze - I heard they're taking 11 kids, full funding. Spoiler alert: half of the teenagers look 25. I anticipate notifications will come forward this week, as long as my cold persists.

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  176. As long as Coach Taylor's there to hold my hand along the way, you can count me in. I should have stayed home from work today and consoled myself with his face.

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  177. @emily and all re: prom--shredded dissertations and wearable applications, crowns of origami acceptance and rejection letters!

    a new "distraction" for me: the increased background radiation we will all soon be breathing in. New announcement is 400 millisieverts an hour yesterday (at max) compared to the nuclear power workers suggested max of 10mSv's per FIVE years. And then, if you live nearby, but farther than twenty miles away you are told to stay in doors with the air conditioner off.

    makes phd applications (and me) feel very, very tiny.

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  178. On another message board, I heard Tim Riggins was rejected by FSU. That's strange, because I thought his dour, minimalist Southern vernacular would appeal to the faculty. I guess that just shows you how competitive this whole process is.

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  179. @Suze, @emily
    It's all rigged, man.
    Let me ask you, how come every kid on the team was tutored by Jorie Graham? How come they managed to get their GPAs up at the very last minute and avoided getting kicked off the team, huh?
    Also, how come the kids look too old but Jorie hasn't aged in years?
    Those kids made a deal with the devil, and the devil will make them read her poetry night and day in hell.
    I know we want to believe that it's all talent, hard work and heart, but it just ain't so.
    Also, Jorie takes over Tami's body when she and Coach Taylor get it on.
    True facts.

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  180. @Kyle
    Tim Riggins spoke truth to power.
    Jorie had him blacklisted.
    Hence the FSU rejection.
    Why else would anyone turn down his very fine and firm...talents?

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  181. @phdhelper
    Are you in Japan right now?!?!
    Holy crap!

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  182. I love this thread so much.

    Suze, Kyle, Papernaut - I maintain my view that hope is alive as long as we know Matt Saracen can get in off the waitlist.

    PhD Helper - That's sobering news. A few weeks ago, at the height of my UIC panicking, I started reading The Grapes of Wrath & have concluded that I have no problems. Please stay safe.

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  183. I knew JG was in on it-- how else did Landry get into roughly 25 (his age! gasp!) programs? All I know is I want to live in a world where the Dillon Panthers reign supreme-- with or without JG tampering with players' academic and 'personal' pursuits.

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  184. This just in:

    Denver wants to withdraw my application b/c they claim it's incomplete. I had a prof who is internet-impaired and arranged with Denver for him send in a hard copy. It appears this didn't make sense to their online system, despite the fact that I've emailed them repeatedly about this in an effort to follow up.

    I. Am. Seething.

    That said, Denver was a long shot. But if I'm going to be rejected, I want it to be on the basis of my work.

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  185. Suze, that is so frustrating. I apologize on behalf of the internet. I was really not confident that my professors would come through on the letter uploads, so I paid for peace of mind through Interfolio. If you end up doing this all over again next year (KINGS!), you should look into it. But I am so sorry that this happened to you! This entire process is ridiculous.

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  186. Oh no, Suze! That is horrible. I'm so sorry.

    Re: nuclear fallout. I'm in California, not Japan, so don't worry *too* much about me. I was speaking of the general increase of background radiation around the world due to the disaster. Back when the Marshall Islands was a nuclear test site cows as far away as Wisconsin were found with radioactive traces from the explosions in their lymph nodes. So..you know, scary stuff. Won't know how scary for awhile, but it is approaching Chernobyl, no?

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  187. I mean, it is entirely possible the letter never got there. I have NO faith in any system (online or postal) so I definitely will look into Interfolio next year, if need be!

    I would die without this thread. I also might be more productive at work, and let's be honest, nobody (boss aside) wants that.

    KINGS. Yes. Deal with that, Denver.

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  188. @Suze, @emily

    Suze, that's awful. They couldn't have told you it was incomplete before they made decisions? What's the point of telling you now? Are they at least gong to refund your application fee?

    I had several admin/logistics problems with the Denver app. Some items were logged as having been received and others weren't, even though they were all sent together. The biggest issue I had was that the English Dept. insisted that I take a $200 test to prove my proficiency in spoken English. This in spite of the fact that I'm more fluent in English than in my so-called native language (and my parents also speak English fluently), my entire education has been in English, I have two BS degrees and one MFA (all from US institutions), and I taught composition at Columbia. I have not had to prove my English proficiency to any institution or employer since I was in high school, but apparently Denver is special. (In fairness, the creative writing folks at Denver were very reasonable, but the DGS and Grad Admissions were not.)

    Schools often impose all kinds of ridiculous requirements and make stupid mistakes. Denver is no exception. I was probably more frustrated by the screw-ups at Denver because it was my top choice, but I had problems almost everywhere. It seems that something always gets lost or mis-processed. I called every single school multiple times to take care of problems and make absolutely sure they had everything. I found that calling people was usually much better than emailing them. (Though there was someone at USC I couldn't reach by email or phone. She finally responded months after my multiple emails and thanked me for my patience!)

    I also used Interfolio, and I highly recommend it. I had problems uploading letters to online apps even through Interfolio because there were often a list of questions for recommenders that Interfolio couldn't answer, but in those cases I was able to have Interfolio send the letters by email or snail mail. I didn't use any of the recommendation cover sheets that some schools provide, so my recommenders only had to do write the letter and upload it once. It made things so easy for them.

    Also, I bought a scanner and signed up for an internet fax service. This allowed me to easily upload scanned docs to Interfolio and to online apps. I was able to send my transcript requests by e-fax, and I used the fax service several times to send docs on short notice when something was missing.

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  189. @papernaut I'm impressed with your organizational skills! Book: How to Apply (And How Not to Apply) by Papernaut!

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  190. @Suze (and everyone):

    The last time I applied, I had a phone call from FSU telling me that they had misfiled part of my application. Since it was their fault, they had me re-send. And then they rejected me.

    As far as Denver goes, make them refund your application fee--it's way too late in the game for them to be notifying you now. And if you need a lawyer (it's amazing what legal letterhead can do), I know several.

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  191. @phdhelper
    Phew! I thought we were going to have to assemble a special ops team, parachute in and then pull you out by helicopter.
    I'm hoping the background radiation will mutate my DNA and bestow super powers upon me.
    What do you mean that doesn't happen in real life? It's SCIENCE!

    (On a more serious note, it's all just too awful to contemplate. The news keeps getting worse.)

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  192. @editorgirl: Thanks for the advice. I'll let you know if I need any legal help, but as for now, I'm just going to wait for the rest of my decisions to come back, deal with whatever happens, and get ready for next year if I must.

    @phdhelper: Glad you're okay! It's stunning how many natural disasters the world has sustained in the last year alone. I can't imagine it's going to get any better.

    @papernaut: What a nightmare! Thanks for the advice about Interfolio-- it definitely seems like the way to go if I do this again next year. I can only imagine the hell you went through with Denver. . .aaugh. Well, on to waiting for more news from USC if I don't get in anywhere else. (And on to making sure next year's apps are indestructible. Fire-proof, email demon proof, all of it.)

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  193. Hi everyone! I've really enjoyed reading this thread so far. Looking for a little advice: I'm still waiting to hear back from a few programs, but so far I've had 2 rejections, 1 wait-listing, and 1 acceptance. My acceptance is to Southern Mississippi. It doesn't seem like any of you here applied. Do you know anything about the program? I know it's gotten a bad rap elsewhere online, but they did offer me some nice funding...so they couldn't be all bad, right?

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  194. @phdhelper
    I have actually been thinking about putting together Papernaut's Navigational Guide to PhD Application Systems!
    I have nothing useful to say about the important stuff - what to write in your SoP, how to revise your writing samples, etc. - but I've learned quite a bit about managing the paperwork that I think others would find useful. I wish I'd known about all that crap before I began applying.

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