Monday, May 25, 2009

VC Journey: Application, Acceptance, Absorption

I promised I'd chat a bit about my experiences thus far with the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Since my studies don't officially begin until the July residency, I thought I'd give an idea of the things that happen before that time--the "pre-residency" phase of enrollment. By the way, if you're not familiar with the Vermont College MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults Program, click HERE to read a very nice overview of it, by former graduate Erik Talkin.

I applied in the fall of '08 (the deadline for fall 2009 wasn't until March 2009, but I'm the kind of person who likes to get things turned in early, if at all possible). The application packet consisted of an application, two letters of recommendation, college transcripts, writing samples and two essays--one personal essay that addresses questions posed by the college, the other being a critical essay on some aspect of writing for children.

I found out in mid-February that I had been accepted. Yea! Snoopy dance time! (quickly followed by a big, "Oh my gosh--what have I gotten myself into? Can I really do this?" moment. ;-)

The folks at VCFA have been incredibly friendly, generous with answering my endless questions/concerns, and helping me in many ways. And when I say, "folks”, I mean the administrators and students (current and past). Everyone immediately suggested I join the student forum (online) where I could ask questions and introduce myself. There is also an extensive FAQ page, packed with tons of info about everything from academics to housing. The students I've cyber-met on the forum have been so nice, and very helpful! I can't wait to meet them this summer; my fellow travelers on the VC MFA journey.

I have to say though, that I've relied on three of my regional SCBWI buddies, and former VC students, (Sherry Shahan, Dianne White and Mary Ann Dames) to chat with about the program, answer questions and give me a very real sense of what the experience will be like (thanks, ladies--you all rock!). I must admit though, this feels eerily similar to my pregnancy experience, where everyone smiled, told me it would be life-changing, generously offered words of wisdom—but none of it *really* prepared me for it until I was right there in the trenches actually living through it. And both experiences seem to involve extremely hard work, lack of sleep, exhaustion at times and hopefully not too much crying!

Next, I'll talk a bit more about the next decision I had to make--what to do about the fall semester...


4 comments:

Dianne said...

Terry, I know it seems like there are surely some hidden surprises that you wish you'd been prepared for, but - believe me - you're well prepared and you will LOVE Vermont College! You can count on a terrific group of classmates with whom you'll grow very close. You'll support one other throughout the VC journey and make a whole new group of writing friends. Have a great 1st residency! (I'll be there for the alum residency, so we'll probably run into each other.)

Terry P. said...

Thanks, Dianne! I appreciate that :-). And I'll look forward to seeing you in VT!

S A Putnam said...

Dianne is right! VC is an experience unlike any other. Student and faculty become a close knit'family.' And it's one that will remain with you years after you leave the campus.

Have a ball!!

Terry P. said...

Thanks, SA. Everyone tells me this. I can't wait to get started!