If you’re thinking about applying to an MFA program, there’s some good advice here on MFA Weblog. The summary might be, Don’t Stress Yourself Out. An excerpt:
“I spent most of last summer stressing about the GRE and my application essays, in addition to the constant questioning of my poetry portfolio. I know now that was wasted time. Despite three months of vocab cards and math worksheets, I scored poorly on the GRE, as I do on every standardized test. The essays I drafted months in advance ended up changing five times over because I either didn’t like my tone or found mid-way through an application that my 3-page personal statement perfect for X school wouldn’t fit into Y school’s 200 word limit.
“For all my preparations, I found that some things, like the essays, work out better under pressure. Then others, like your portfolio, need to be massaged over time and cannot be rushed. And had I the confidence to move forward diligently, I could have pushed out a few more finished poems before the deadline instead of worrying myself into writer’s block.”