So, you got accepted into Columbia’s Creative Writing – Fiction MFA program. What do you do now?
First, congratulations! It’s a huge accomplishment. You can relax, breathe easy, and not worry too much until school starts. I have some advice for you, of course. I’ll break it down for you.
1) If you were accepted to multiple schools, try to talk with a student from each program. Try to sit in on a class. Different schools use various methods, and not all programs are alike. Some of you will love Columbia’s method, the Story Workshop approach, and some of you might not. I suggest you try to come to the Admitted Student Day, on Thursday, March 21st for Fiction. You should have received information about that from the Graduate Admissions & Services Office. Here, you’ll take a sample Story Workshop class, meet with students, and participate in our amazing Story Week event. Weigh the options you have and really look at what you want from a program and what will make YOU the best writer YOU can be. I think many of you will find it will be Columbia!
2) Set up a time to make a mock schedule. There are some classes that look like fun, that you’ll want to take immediately, but then you’ll find out you can only take them after you’ve completed certain courses. You might find that you can only take a few of these courses before you graduate and not all that you’d want to. Make sure to look into this so that you can maximize your schedule and get the courses you want!
3) Reach out to current students in the program. Then, when you are making your first schedule, you may ask for advice! “Should I take x class with y professor?” We’ve had many of these classes and many of the professors. We can tell you what our experiences were, how the class(es) we took with (y) professor ran, and that can help! For example, I would try to take a Short Story CRW or Novelist CRW first before taking the more specialized CRW classes, like Censorship or First Novels.
Good luck! Remember, even though you’ve been accepted, it’s still a decision—a huge time commitment, a commitment to your work, and a financial commitment. What word did I just repeat thrice? That’s right: IT IS A COMMITMENT. So, don’t take that lightly. Really consider it, and I hope that you decide to join our CCC Fiction family. Hopefully, I’ll see you March 21!