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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The End is Nie-ish

Let’s let the application counter roll over to five.  Six more apps to go.  As per usual, I’m behind my targeted pace, but I run on the ‘Speed Limit Theory”.  If I set my goal as submitting six applications in a week, I’m not going to reach six, but I’ll hit four or five where I probably would have only hit one or two if I had set my goal as four.  The results speak for themselves.  By the by I have to attend driving school this weekend because of a speeding ticket I received so perhaps the Speed Limit Theory only works well in the theoretical, and not so much in the practical. 

You'll go 35, but not 45.
Now that I’ve developed templates for most of my application items—statements or purpose, curriculum vitae, writing samples—the remaining applications should go relatively smoothly.  I just submitted my app to the one MA program I applied to, which required altered variations of everything that is designed for MFA applications, and I’m about done crafting those items for the Creative Writing and Environment MFA I’m applying to (the big difference there is that I insert the words “conservation” and “wild fire” in regard to my AmeriCorps experience about a dozen more times each).  So now, relatively smooth sailing as long as I stick relatively close to that Speed Limit.

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ll mention it again now that I’m seeing this ploy come to fruition.  In each application that you mail in, include a post card, thank you note, some small, free-standing, pre-stamped, self-addressed piece of mail that thanks the program and then asks them to mail it back to you to confirm that they’ve received everything for your application.  It provides you with some peace of mind when you get it back in the mail and keeps you from clogging the program’s in-box with paranoid e-mails about the status of your application.  It’s also a nice gesture that shows the program that you care and sets your app apart form others—maybe the biggest obstacle to achieve with any application. 

I also paper clipped a few photos that I took while in Joplin, MO to my article about the tornado that struck the city last spring.  A little showy and glammy?  You bet, but it's an attention-grabber.  No matter how good your stuff is, if the reviewer is indifferent or comatose when reading your app, your stuff is going to be perceived as mediocre, or maybe not even looked at.  It sucks and is unfair, but that's life and thems the breaks. 

I still have six more apps to submit and miles to go before I sleep.  Robert Frost must have been applying to grad school to when he wrote that little poem.  

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