Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Great Grad School Debate

This fall I'm applying to four Children's Lit master's programs. I've never applied for grad school before, and I didn't think I'd be doing it for another six years. But recent events in my life have made me realize this is something I want for myself now. I want to be a better writer. I want to be surrounded by people who share my passion. I want to carve out a future for myself in the literary world.

I feel like a high school senior all over again.

The New School--Realistically, The New School MFA program is a pie-in-the-sky dream for me. To be able to move to NYC and study with amazing contemporary YA writers like David Levithan would be a dream come true. But then there's this little set-back about quitting my job and moving to NYC. What a terrifying thought!

The other three programs I'm looking into are low-residency, which means I'd be able to work full time, take correspondence classes and only take about a month off for summer workshops.

Hollins University--The MA program (all of the others are MFAs) at Hollins has the benefit of being both close to home and combining creative writing with literary studies. I'd also have the opportunity to spend a summer in the United Kingdom to do the research on Peter Pan I've been wanting to do for years (not that I'm obsessed with the topics in Peter Pan or anything).

Vermont College--There's a comfort in knowing a lot of my friends have graduated from Vermont College's MFA program. A lot of big names have gone through this program, which, at the risk of sounding like a total fan-girl, is totally exciting. It's a strong program with a proven record, and even the reading lists they have posted on there website get me excited to attend. But it's the school that's furthest away from home, which of course complicates things.

Spalding University--I've read about Spalding, heard graduates speak on panels and read all there prospective student materials, and it sounds like a great school. But unlike all of the other programs, I don't personally know anyone who has ever attended. So if you're reading this post and you're a Spalding fan, what makes you love this school? Because I want to be in love with it, too.


  1. Hi Kathryn,

    I'm the director of the graduate program in Children's Lit at Hollins, and so glad you are thinking of us. Fine schools all, I know you'll be happy wherever you land. We do offer a summer MFA in writing for children and adolescents as well as the summer MA, if the MFA is really where your heart is. Same chance to go to the UK in that program. Do email me if you have specific Hollins questions:
    Amanda Cockrell

  2. Thanks, Amanda! I know about the MFA, but I'm interested in the MA program because its format makes Hollins unique.