ART HISTORY MINOR: How to pick a grad school for your MFA
|Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Woodward Photography|
Me: What's up?!
Rachel: im trying to make a decision about grad school.. want to give your scholarly opinion?
Me: Sure, what do you want to do?
Rachel: Great question. Ha ha. I've been offered a full ride plus $9,600 stipend plus health insurance from (COLLEGE #1). They don't have great ventilation and I wasn't that impressed. But I have to choose by Monday. And I would be saving almost $60,000
Me: Ooohhh... but is it the program you want? Where else are you looking? And what's their offer?
Rachel: (COLLEGE #1) makes (ALMA MATER) seem like a castle, but I think I will do fine any where. I have been accepted to 7 schools, but this is the only free one.
Me: Well my Grandpa always said, "Anything free is worth saving up for." Is this an MFA?
Rachel: Yeah, it's the same degree, an MFA. (COLLEGE #2) offered me money, but still way too expensive. (COLLEGE #3) after living expenses will be about $50-60,000 for 3 years and (COLLEGE #4) is 3 years, same price as (COLLEGE #3) but I am next on the waiting list for 1/2 tuition making it after living expenses about $40,000
I already have $100,000 in undergrad (ALMA MATER). so... even though I haven't been considering the school very much, now that I only have a few days left to choose...I can't stop considering it
Me: So what is it you REALLY want from life? What is your BIG goal? It's not just the MFA, that's your means. What's the end?
Rachel: To make art, to be fiscally responsible and debt free, to travel, to teach, to grow, to eat local, be sustainable and.. stay soft and joyful? I don't know I just made that up.
Me: Sounded true though.
Rachel: I'd like to work in a community, a university setting, and teach art or travel conducting collaborations. Wish I was at (COLLEGE #2) today.
Me: Well an MFA is required to teach at most colleges/universities, so that would be a good start. But it takes more than MFA to get a job. You need experiences and recommendations too.
I would say that you have great personal skills and life experience in your favor, which makes you a great candidate for a job. You would have the credential of MFA, which lends confidence that you know what you're talking about. All you'd need then is a good recommendation and a lead on an appropriate job.
Rachel: I should go for the free ride right? Even if they aren't very happy and the ventilation isn't good? It's almost stupid not to take it?
Me: Do you want the short answer or the long answer?
Rachel: Short is fine
Me: Short answer: Yes.
Rachel: Thanks Lucas.
Me: And the long answer: According to what you want (when I asked), fiscal responsibility is important to you, that's why I recommend going for the free ride. My only concern (not knowing (COLLEGE #1)) is that they give you a good connection/recommendation/lead for possible jobs when you get out.
Rachel: Yeah, I would teach 2 classes a semester there my 2nd year, so I'm sure someone would give me a good recommendation, but that's a good thing to consider.
Me: That's great - that's what you need.
Rachel: Ok Lucas, well... Thanks for the consult. Much appreciated.
POSTSCRIPT: Do not blame me if you do what I said and end up not liking it. I AM NOT A DOCTOR.