Before you begin your MFA creative writing program, it’s important to consider a few things. First, decide if you want to be part of a traditional cohort or take a more independent educational approach. Second, figure out what subjects you’ll be studying. Third, research the various funding options available to you. Fourth, familiarize yourself with scholarships and grants available to you. Finally, set your priorities and make a plan to achieve your goals.
Traditional Versus Independent
Deciding between a traditional and independent MFA is a personal choice. While the two paths are very different, you’re free to decide how much structure you want in your program. If you decide on the independent route, you won’t be required to take a specific course or follow a specific curriculum. This means you can structure your own program around your interests and needs. You may also decide to combine the two and take a more conventional course load with some private study. It’s your call.
Deciding what to study for your MFA is tricky. Not only do you need to choose a specific program, but you also need to consider what classes to take to make the most of your time in the program. If you’re in a Writing for the Genre class, you’ll be writing short stories and novellas in the mornings, and then working on a novel in the afternoons. You may need to decide whether to study literature or the history of literature to prepare for your program.
Deciding what classes to take for your MFA takes time and research. Before you begin your studies, take some time to read the descriptions of existing programs so you have an idea of what to expect. Many institutions offer fantastic course catalogs online that will give you an idea of the kinds of classes and professors you’ll encounter. Be sure to attend open lectures and get a feel for the teaching style of your prospective institutions. Once you’ve decided which city or town you’ll reside in, it’s time to start making your list of courses to take.
Once you’ve decided which city or town you’ll reside in, you can start researching the various funding options available to you. To begin with, you’ll want to look into the various student loans available to you. There are various options, including federal direct loans and private loans through a bank. You’ll also want to investigate the various fellowships and grants available to you. Many universities and colleges offer scholarships and graduate programs that offer generous support for creative writing students. It is essential to do your research on these items early on, as many schools require you to apply early in order to qualify for financial aid. You can also contact the creative writing department directly to ask about available funding options.
If you’re attending an accredited institution, you’re in luck. Most likely, there are numerous scholarships and grants available to you. If you’re attending a non-accredited institution, it’s still possible to find support through private scholarships and grants. The key is to do your research and find out who funds what.
Finally, you need to set your priorities and make a plan to achieve your goals. The short-lived fame that comes with winning a Rhodes or a Gold Star in literature is something you may not want to pursue. Many writers find themselves struggling financially after they’ve earned their degree. If you’re serious about being a writer, you should consider what job prospects you’ll have after you’ve graduated. Start thinking about what kind of writer you’ll be, whether you’ll pursue journalistic work or go for book deals. It’s important to make a choice and have a goal in mind. What do you need to do to make your dream come true? Be ready to answer that question. Make a note of it and you’ll be able to look back on it later when you’ve accomplished something.
Above all, good luck out there!