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MFA Creative Writing question - Hamline vs Vermont program

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Hi everyone!
I am a published illustrator and making the switch to writing, my first love.  My current work in progress is a middle-grade fantasy geared for age 10+.

I have applied to  the MFA program at Hamline and Vermont College of Fine Arts and am waiting to hear back. In the event that I am fortunate enough to get into both, I would love to hear any thoughts on the two programs.

Would you say that a middle grade writer would be well suited to both programs or is one more middle grade heavy while the other YA heavy? Pros and cons to either of the programs? Honesty, they both sound wonderful to me but I would love to hear some on the ground experience reports.

Many thanks in advance!
#1 - April 24, 2017, 01:05 PM

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I went to VCFA (Vermont) and loved it. I think whichever program you choose, you can't go wrong. Good luck.
#2 - April 24, 2017, 02:35 PM
Laurie Wallmark
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Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code (Sterling 2017)
Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine
(Creston 2015)

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I'd look at the faculty at the two schools. Though all faculty can work with all categories of children's books, are there some faculty members whose middle grade books you especially like. For example, I love Kathi Appelt's books, and she's on faculty at VCFA.
#3 - April 26, 2017, 05:41 AM
Laurie Wallmark
lauriewallmark.com
Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code (Sterling 2017)
Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine
(Creston 2015)

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Hello- I'm grappling with that question myself! Did you end up going to one of the programs? Thanks!
#4 - March 16, 2018, 03:24 PM

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I went to VCFA and it was life changing for me. I can't speak of the Hamline program but I have friends on and admire the faculty there and am originally from Minnesota. I think the process of coming together with colleagues for an intense and purposeful study with masters in the field is always good. In partnership with VCFA, I now host what my own mentor, Marion Dane Bauer, refers to as a master's level experience in a retreat setting. It's a four day retreat where we give attendees a taste of what an MFA experience feels like--intimate and intense and magical. Join us! www.loonsong.org
#5 - March 22, 2018, 11:22 AM

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I also applied this time around for the VCFA program as a picture book writer. Even though it is officially low-residency, I heard about it and applied since I will be around Montpelier for a couple years.
Of the youth-focused MFA programs, the impression that I get is that two of the most widely respected programs are VCFA and Simmons College. That said, I imagine it would be hard to find a bad program out there.
I hope you hear back good news on your applications!
#6 - April 01, 2018, 11:50 AM

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Hi Kessa and Brian! I also went to VCFA and highly recommend it. Brian, VCFA offers a picture book intensive semester which you may be interested in as a PB writer. I did it and got a lot out of it. Good luck with your applications!
#7 - April 10, 2018, 02:51 PM

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Even though it is officially low-residency, I heard about it and applied since I will be around Montpelier for a couple years.

Oh, and I love Montpelier! It's such a nice little town with lots of great places to eat (Skinny Pancake!). I would love to go back sometime for a holiday as residencies are so packed - it would be nice to have a chance to just enjoy it.

#8 - April 10, 2018, 06:09 PM

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