Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Benefits of Low-Residency MFA Programs

I've been meaning to write up my thoughts about what I’ve learned from teaching at a low-residency MFA program and how that model can be exactly right for the right writer, but this piece by David Jauss pretty much says what I was going to say:

“One all-important advantage of the low-residency model is that it allows for much more individualized attention.  Whereas a teacher in a traditional program typically has 30-45 students per semester, a teacher in a low-residency program usually has only five, and he or she works one-on-one with those five students, critiquing five monthly packets of work by each during the course of a semester.  Because the teachers work with so few students, they’re able to critique considerably more work by each one, and to provide considerably more extensive and intensive critiques as well.”  (Read the rest.)

While Jauss is writing about the Vermont College of Fine Arts low-res MFA, the points are valid for any low-res MFA program.  I mention this because the deadline to apply for the Converse College Low-Res MFA, which is where I teach, is coming up: October 1 (February 1 if you’re not quite ready just now). 

We’re a small, personal, tightly-knit program, where writers thrive (in my humble opinion).  Just to show you how intensely personal we are, I hereby promise that if you end up at Converse, I will personally make sure you get a trip to the famous Beacon Drive In for a Chili Cheese A’Plenty, which is a cheeseburger topped with chili topped with a giant handful of fries topped with a giant handful of onion rings.  If you’re a vegetarian don’t worry—you get a Fried Pimento Cheese A’Plenty.

Oh, yeah—and you’ll be part of a fabulous community of writers devoted to helping you improve your work.

More info on Converse here.


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.