Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The New School

Hi everyone!

First, apologies: I've been AWOL since break. The good news is that I've spent that time writing, reading, and revising. (Also playing with my son). Read Push, Wide Sargasso Sea, and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao all recently. Amazing books in my opinion, though I find it hard to "recommend" Push just because of how painful the imagery can be.

I got a comment on my blog today from Winston, asking about The New School. That reminded me of two things:
1) It's March and people are getting accepted to MFA programs (yeah!) and
2) Seth Abramson's blog is no more.

For anyone thinking about The New School, I want to say this:

I love it. This is the perfect program for me, and that's really the most important factor. Full disclosure here: I didn't apply anywhere else because The New School's schedule was exactly what I needed and the only way I could do something full-time, full-residency.

That said, if my experience here ended up sucking I would tell you. But it's been fantastic. I'm quite sure it all depends on classes and teachers, and I've had great ones in this first year. Even more important than that is probably peers, and again, even though that all depends, I've found great, great, great ones. Great peers is one thing, but I'm also making great friends. I love the atmosphere, the program, the overall philosophy and the people I'm working with. Do I hear people with complaints about this class or this workload or what have you? Of course. Have I ever regretted choosing The New School? No.

Something else to really think about: The way we're structured is that we have 3 semesters (Fall, Spring, Fall) of courses, one workshop and one lit seminar per semester. The fourth and final semester is your thesis semester where, if I understand it correctly (and I'm pretty sure I do), we focus on on creative and critical theses and meet with a peer group and our adviser. (We don't have classes).

I forgot to mention readings: each semester you're required to go to eight readings, and I've been to some really, really good ones.

As you know, your choice depends on a lot of things. What can you afford to do? What can you not afford not to do? You will read and write (and, unless you get a full ride, work another job) a lot, but that's the same anywhere. The New School only meets at night (from 8-10:30, with readings often at 6:30) so it makes a day job doable.

My gut says to go with the school that you think fits you best. Ask LOTS of questions. Ask students, ask professors in the department. Read the work of people on the respective faculties of the places you're looking. All of that. I know you know all of this by intuition, but I think it's good to say.

hit my blog if you want to connect about The New School in more specific depth. Reply to this post with your email and specific questions and I will do my best, amidst writing and fathering and paying bills, to be thorough and prompt. I'll also try to remember to check back here as often as I can for comments.

Thanks, Winston, for asking for my thoughts! Thanks, as always, to Jonterri for this venue.


  1. btw: I'm kind of wrong about Seth? He has some more recent posts under the MFA 2010 Applicant Resources section of the sidebar at

  2. i think going with your intuition holds a lot of truth when applying for any program. I also only applied to one. If I had not gotten in I would have waited and re-evaluated but I'm glad I got in because it really was the best fit for me ;)


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