The opportunities are wide open, but one needs to be proactive about curating an MFA experience that will lead to opportunities to satisfy her or his own interests (as well as earning a living to support one’s writing).
Even if your plans are not firm, throwing out some ideas will help us develop a sense of how we can guide you and allow us to begin considering you for certain opportunities. Avoid telling us about how you’ve wanted to be a novelist since you were three years old (which many applicants actually do).
Don’t worry if you have not read “the classics.” We aren’t interested in assembling a group of budding writers who have all read the same canon.
We want to know what sincerely inspires and challenges you as a unique voice.
A promising creative manuscript is the key to a successful MFA program application.
But, as the admissions committee reads applications, they know they are selecting more than good writers: they are also selecting members of the program community. Dargan is the director of the MFA program in creative writing at AU, and he has read stacks of personal statements over the years.If you’ve chosen a variety of subjects, just write about common themes, like problem solving or creativity.Here are some ideas to help you get started: Your personal statement should be unique, so there’s no definite format for you to follow here – just take your time.Tip #2: Articulate what it is that you want to do with the MFA degree.An MFA is not a plug-and-play degree with a select set of professional outcomes.Your personal statement plays a critical role in showing the admissions committee who you are and how you’d fit into that community. Below, he offers his top four tips for crafting a personal statement that stands out. Dargan: Tip #1: Tell us what or who you are currently reading or have read in the past.How has your reading influenced what you are attempting to, or what you want to, write? One comes to an MFA program seeking a literary community, and one of the clearest ways of assessing what kind of literary community member an applicant will be is to get a sense of how and why she or he reads.Now it comes to writing the dreaded Personal Statement. Sophie: When writing your personal statement, always be honest.Don’t make up things that you think will sound good. Every applicant will be using this word constantly, and it is the biggest cliché to steer clear of.If you get an interview, they will more than likely ask you questions about things in your personal statement. To be different, try using words such as eager, keen, excited or enthusiastic.If you’d made something up it will be glaringly obvious to the interviewer. You may think what you’ve done in your life/school is boring. Sophie: Always keep your personal statement simple.