06 April 2007

So, the crisis that I had after my rejection from SUNY and subsequently resolved, at least mostly, has resurfaced. I dropped off forms for recommendations with a professor yesterday after class and he has forced me to rethink SUNY and also the more general question of MFA v. PhD. I thought I knew, but now I don't.

Help! I do want to teach and I will have better chances with a PhD than with an MFA. If I go for the MFA programs, when I know that what I really want is the PhD, am I settling? The answer seems obvious, I know, but I don't know. Also he started going on about programs he thought I would "do very well in" like Yale and Vassar, schools that hadn't occurred to me at all. But what do I know about the PhD programs at any of these schools?

One reason I haven't considered a lot of schools is that the idea of relocating my family seems unrealistic. But of course he had a response for that too: "some PhD programs are worth relocating for." He was speaking of Yale, which, no matter how good my grades are, feels like a long shot to me, but I did go and look at their website and they've got a killer financial aid package for doctoral candidates.

So you can see that my head is spinning now, I have no idea what to do. Should I take the year off from school, work on my writing, make some money and seriously research and apply to high profile graduate programs? Or should I keep the academic momentum that I have right now and try to push through an MFA? (Which I still have to apply to and be accepted by.)

Oh, and he also offered to call the chair of admissions at SUNY and push them to reconsider. Ahh!


Annika said...

This isn't the sort of thing one could give advice on (even if you'd asked) but I really think that relocating sounds like it might be your best option. I don't know what Steve does, so maybe I am wrong, but it sounds like it would be great for YOU. Relocating would widen the school choices so much and of course the more schools you apply to the better your chance of getting into a program you like. I don't entirely understand the differences, but if teaching is your goal it sounds like a PhD is what you need. Of course, you can always do a PhD after an MFA, but that only works if you want to be in school for the next ten years. (OK, five or six? I also have no idea how long these degrees take.)

On the other hand, if he can help you get into SUNY, maybe that's something to consider.

I'm going to stop before I write a dissertation in your comments.

Uccellina said...

I realize this is an old post, but I'm a Vassar grad, and I feel you should know we don't have any graduate programs. Except for a 5-year BA/MA in Biochemistry, but I don't think that's what you're looking for.

nell h mccabe said...

Thanks Ucellina!

I'm still in the early stages of research since I have a little time to plan. Vassar was suggested by a faculty member at my college, who, aparently, didn't know what he was talking about!