What Is an MFA and Why I Applied

Over the last few months, a few creative friends asked me about my plans for after graduation. I told them I was applying to get a Creative Writing MFA, and a handful of them asked, “What’s that?” These are people who have awed me with their work in class. This post is for them and any other creatives unaware of an opportunity to practice their craft (and get paid.)

Creative Writing MFAs usually last two or three years and can be pursued in fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction. You participate in writing workshops, learning from fellow graduate students and your writing professors. Most programs require teaching one or two English courses a semester, which can add to your work experience. Look for fully-funded programs. These programs waive tuition for every student they admit and pay them a stipend which can range from $15,000 to $30,000 a year, depending on the school. An MFA won’t make you rich, but it’ll give you time and financial support to develop your craft.  The faculty is hugely important, too. Go on Goodreads and see if the professors write stuff you’re into.

If accepted, I’ll be going this fall after graduation. But you can enroll anytime. For those of you that can’t move, there are low-residency programs that let you do most of the work online. Do some research to see if an MFA program is a good fit for you. Regardless of whether you apply or not, keep working on your creative passions. Keep doing what makes you happy. Feel free to ask any questions you have in the comments or by contacting me personally. More posts to come on specific aspects of the MFA application.

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