It’s been a while since I’ve updated things on the application front, so here we go. The current standing is: Grad Schools 4, Jeff 0, with three still to be determined.
I mentioned here which schools I had applied to (and the short version of how I decided on them), but to catch up anyone new, here they are again:
University of Denver (PhD)(dated 28 February) University of Edinburgh [Scotland] (PhD)(received 20 January)
- University of Glasgow [Scotland] (PhD)
Boston University (MFA)(received 3 April)
- Indiana University at Bloomington (MFA)
North Carolina State University (MFA)(received 21 March)
- Seton Hill University (Low-Res MFA)
Edinburgh was the first response, documented here, and while it was disappointing it wasn’t that much of a shock (follow the link and you’ll see why). Similarly, Denver and Boston were very similar – wonderful geographical areas that I would not at all object to living in (note: Boston’s program is only one academic year in length, so it would have only been me going up – no sense uprooting a household for just one year) – but not necessarily a “whiz-bang” factor when it comes to speculative fiction (read: I didn’t see any faculty information that indicated interests in Spec Fic). NC State, however, was more of a blow. It’s (pseudo) local, and has someone on staff that actively publishes Spec Fic. The letter was a little cryptic as well, so I’m not sure if it was the writing sample or some other documentation that didn’t sit well with the committee, or just the pool was that strong. Denver and Boston, however, were at least supportive in their rejections, as can be seen below.
If I might offer a reflection, the department usually advises our applicants to be prepared for a possible three-year effort to apply for and secure admission into the graduate program that matches best with the individual’s portfolio of accomplishments and plans for professional development. – University of Denver
Please do not be discouraged. We are not geniuses at this and have made mistakes in the past and will in the future. We encourage you to continue working on your craft and to apply again. In the past we have accepted applicants on their second, third, even fourth attempt–and they have flourished. – Boston University
So where do things stack up now? The three that are still pending are probably my top three choices anyway… well, Glasgow was probably my second – behind Edinburgh – but it’s still Scotland, there is someone on staff that does consider/direct Spec Fic thesis projects, and I’ve generally heard good things about the program. IU at Bloomington’s program focus is on the teaching of creative writing, which is the other side of where my interests are. Both Glasgow and Indiana University were submitted/forwarded for review back in January, so maybe my not having heard yet is a vote in my favor (and, for the record, MC’s vibe indicates probable admission at IU – we shall see). Seton Hill, however, just closed for applications yesterday so the wait clock officially just started.
It’s still too early to have any serious discussions about moves and travel plans, but we have done some looking. Both Indiana and Glasgow are three year programs, and would involve huge lifestyle adjustments – moves, job changes, etc. Meanwhile, Seton Hill would involve almost no changes, just me taking off for a couple of weeks a year for the “residencies” – where I go up to the campus (in Pennsylvania) for a week at a time and do “classroom sessions” and do everything else from home. Glasgow would provide a greater challenge to the planning, what with visas, exchange rates, employment restriction considerations… not to mention a newborn (and getting a passport for a newborn!). If it ultimately ends up as Glasgow, it might come down to doing what I’ve been calling a “split-year” (basically, I would go over for the first year, and assuming I pass the first-year boards next spring, MC and the baby would then come over for the remainder) – an option which would suck total ass. It would, however, give us time to get all of the appropriate documentation in line (read: the baby’s, and work clearance issues for MC), and allow me a chance to feel out the Glasgow area for real estate options (read: actual site visits).
But everything hinges on hearing from the last three. For those keeping score at home, there you go.