Applying for a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing can be a daunting task. There are a lot of schools, but not all of them are created equal. Some schools are much more selective than others and will likely have higher standards. You have to make sure that you are applying to a reputable institution and that you are using the right keywords in your application so that they can find you.
There is a wide variety of MFA programs and it’s important to do some research before applying to one. Because there are so many schools that offer MFA programs, this article is going to focus mainly on the differences between the various programs and how to choose the right one for you.
Many MFA programs will require a master’s thesis as part of the application. But what is a master’s thesis and how is it different from an MFA application without a thesis?
A Master’s thesis is typically a lengthy document (typically between 15–20 pages) that you are required to write as part of your application. Some schools may also require research to be conducted for the thesis. So, while it can be a fun challenge to come up with creative writing ideas for your thesis, it can also be a lot of work!
An MFA application without a thesis is a little different and is a lot simpler. To be admitted into an MFA program without a thesis, you will need to submit an application and a short story (typically between 500 and 1,500 words) or novel (typically between 15,000 and 30,000 words) to be considered for admissions. You do not have to indicate in your application that you are doing so. However, if you do not have a thesis or no longer want to do one, you can indicate that on the application and the school will not require you to do so.
Keywords And SEO
When you are applying for an MFA, you need to make sure that your resume, application, and short story are keyword rich. That means that you should be using key words in your content, but not so much that it is over-written or overly-cluttered. Finding the right balance is critical – too many keywords and your content may end up being over-written which will hurt your odds of being accepted into the program. Too few keywords and your content may not reach the right audience and you could lose out on the opportunity to be read by potential future employers or graduate schools.
You should include the right keywords in your content, but you should also make sure that they are appropriately used. When done right, SEO can make a massive difference in drawing in the right audience and getting your content read by those who are most interested in your work. It can even boost your search engine rankings which will translate to more traffic and leads into your business.
The Time Commitment
If you are applying for an MFA in creative writing, you need to understand what the time commitment is going to be like. It is not uncommon for applicants to spend a few hours per day – perhaps even more – on their thesis. It is important to be realistic about how much time you are going to be able to commit to the project. The more time you can afford to commit, the better. A good number of schools will require you to attend seminars, workshops, and conference presentations – all of which take time out of your day. And when you are done attending these things, you have to sit down and actually put your thesis to paper! It is not uncommon for applicants to put their thesis through several revisions before arriving at a finalized version. The more time you can afford to commit to this, the better. If you are absolutely dead-set on getting an MFA in creative writing and do not want to consider any other options, then perhaps the best thing for you is to apply to a school close to home so that you can be commuting most of the time. It is also important to remember that you are not the only one writing the thesis – it is typically a group effort. So, while you may be working hard on completing your thesis, you are not alone in this endeavor!
If you are looking for an MFA in creative writing, you need to be considering what location might be right for you. There are plenty of options and with the right keyword searching, you will have no trouble finding the right fit for you. But, in order to get the most out of your program, you might want to consider relocating to the city that the school resides in. The experience of a new place is always interesting and can help you grow as a person and as a writer. Going to a different place every few months may even be good for your health – taking you out of your comfort zone and challenging you to try new things! If you can afford it, the cost of living in a college town is not that high, but it can add up quickly if you are paying for all of your tuition and living expenses out-of-state.
Finishing A Master Of Fine Arts Degree
Once you have finished an MFA degree program, you will have a lot to show for it. Not only will you have learned a lot about writing, but you will also have gained some valuable experience (which you can put on your resume!). Many employers and graduate schools will value your experience more than your education – it is called “post-graduate education” for a reason – so make sure you highlight it! In terms of getting a job, you will have a leg up on the competition because you have a graduate degree. Additionally, you will have the chance to show off your education (and your potential for further learning) to future employers – if they are looking for someone with an MFA, they will most likely see you as a talented writer who has accomplished something significant!
Choosing the right school for you is a lot like choosing a hotel – you want to find a reputable place that has everything you are looking for. Once you have found that perfect match, the rest will be easy!