So a few years ago, my plan was to go to grad school right after graduating from JMU. At the beginning of my senior year at JMU, I did research and started the application process. I even did a pre-application online portfolio review. By December, however, I was feeling super doubtful of my plan. It was a mix of emotions really. I was eager for a break from school, worried about the expenses, and also doubtful of my chances of even getting into a good program. In the end, I decided to not apply that year and I was okay with my decision.
Fast forward a few months to the summer after my graduation. I was applying for teaching jobs in every school district within an hour of Roanoke and waiting for interviews that never came. I went through some personal changes that were hard for me to deal with and I looked for ways to stay busy. I signed up for a few online classes and worked on art projects. It was around this time that I started to reconsider my plan yet again.
I finally admitted to myself that I still wanted to go to grad school for art and I decided to go for it. I started the process earlier, did more research, and contacted some of my former professors. I applied to four low-residency programs (SAIC, MICA, Lesley, MassArt), none of which are in Virginia. Low-residency, by the way, means that most of the course work is done from home. Residencies take place in the summer, and this is when you stay on campus for several weeks of intense work and time with visiting artists.
MFA programs are pretty competitive, as they typically accept only small groups of students (15-30) each year. One of my priorities is to go to a school that is well-known for its art program. Of course, the higher ranked the school, the more applicants there will probably be. Two of the schools I applied to are among the top ten for fine arts grad programs in the U.S. (according to US News–although a high ranking isn’t always a guarantee that the program is great). That said, I tried to be optimistic about my chances of getting in, but I was also mentally preparing myself for rejection.
I have received one rejection letter so far, and that one was from MassArt. Normally I would’ve been super disappointed, but it just so happened that I opened another letter first, and that one was from SAIC (School of the Art Institute of Chicago). And yeah, I got in!! I was so thrilled because SAIC was my first choice and also because I really didn’t think I would get into the #2 fine arts school in the country. The low-residency program is actually being introduced to SAIC this summer, so I will be among the first 35 students to be in it.
I will definitely share more details as I get them, as well as let you know the status of my applications to the other two schools. I’m so excited for this next chapter of my life to begin and I look forward to sharing it with you all :] Thanks for reading!