Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sometimes - Maybe - Not Knowing Is Better

This time of transition is still mysterious. It feels right and it feels good - and unknown. Which is not to say that being in a period of transition to change is unfamiliar; no, I've been through changes and their transition period before.

The unknown is what is waiting on the other side.

This is not a leap into complete nothingness while chanting about building my wings on the way down. There were decisions made (what a passive beginning to this sentence - yes, I noticed) and some things are continuing forward (okay, so the whole sentence came out as passive).

There are opportunities in the time ahead.

And I'm exploring.

Among my explorations of what I want are completion of my Masters degree. I ask myself what type of degree I want and I think I know - but I'm exploring. There are questions of responsibility and time; which partially equate to money. Time and money - not unfamiliar territory to consider as I make a move forward.

So I've found something I'd like to do - I think. And am looking around at the options. With the considerations
- time
- money
- and location.
It is not realistic for me to move somewhere for a couple of years to complete a degree. And that's okay - I'm not grieving that, because I know, if it was really what I wanted and I had to go somewhere, I would make it happen. But, no, I don't need to go somewhere for what I want. I just need to find the thing that I want and put the pieces into place (oh, if it were just that easy - but I'm not wandering down that path of grief and longing - no).

I have found a couple of options close to home. There are certainly distance degree options - but those generally don't fit with the money considerations. I really don't want to get, along with my degree, $35,000 of debt. See, the distance programs I'm looking into don't generally offer much in the way of tuition reduction opportunities - generally they come with loans. But I'm wandering again - I want a degree program close to home in the subject I want and which offers some graduate tuition assistance programs.

I found one which seems to meet what I want in terms of curriculum and approach. And it's a reasonable and workable distance from home. And it does have tuition assistance options. It looks - through their written material - like a pretty good fit. I'd want to follow up and meet with them, talk about the curriculum more. I found the resources to do that.

And I found more information. Which makes my heart sink a little. What seemed like the near perfect program now seems - well - daunting in terms of application. No, it seems daunting in terms of acceptance rate.

Here is where I pause and wonder if moving forward is a good idea:

How many students are admitted each year?
The MFA Program received over 370 applications this year (2012) for our six seats in Fiction, three-to-four seats in Creative Nonfiction and three-to-four seats in Poetry.

What is your acceptance rate?
Our acceptance rate is under 4%.

And here is where I'm excited:

What is the teacher/student ratio?
The teacher student ratio is approximately 1:3. Professors are devoted to students’ work and accessible for out of class attention and guidance.

... a student takes a 4-credit workshop in their genre (poetry or prose), a 4-credit literature or craft course, and 4 credit hours of thesis advising and/or teaching-practicum credits...

I was excited to find this option and will continue to explore.

And I wonder, can I be one of the 4%? Someone has to be, right? And I have nearly 11 months to prepare my application, since next fall's applications were due January 6th.

I'm still exploring and this looks like a good option on all levels. And, while I wondered what the acceptance rate was - I now kind of wish I didn't know. It feels like swimming against the current. Even if I decide to not go with this option or drop the idea entirely and decide to use my time in another way, at least I know it is possible. If I could be one of the 4%.