Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Grad School Search: Sarah Lawrence vs. NYU

New York City! Home to some of the most artsy atmospheres! Studying writing could be so much fun there, but are either of these schools the one for me?

Sarah Lawrence College
Bronxville, NY
Why I want to go: It's one of the oldest and most respected writing programs in the country. There is lots of personal attention between students and professors, including conferences every two weeks or so, which is super important to me. Plus, New York's artsy side is something I've been dying to experience. Not just writing, but art, photography, music...I think living in the city could stimulate my creativity and do wonders for me. I also have a friend who is starting grad school in the nonfiction track there, so I'll have an inside source!
Downsides: Funding is the major issue here. It's a super expensive school (I'd be spending almost $50,000 for two years there), and funding is next to impossible to get. You have to apply for financial aid, which is on a need basis, and my family has had next to zero luck with that during my undergrad. So I think it might be too expensive for me to entertain as a real possibility. I want a great education, but I don't want to be paying for it the rest of my life.
New York University
New York, NY
Why I want to go: Like Sarah Lawrence, NYU is surrounded by such an artsy environment that I know would be great for my creativity. The program is housed in Greenwich Village, which is crawling in good writer vibes. New York is a city I've always considered living in at some point during my 20s-30s, and college would be the perfect time. All MFA students receive full or partial funding, and they teach an intro creative writing course during their second year (and are paid for it), so that's a lot better than Sarah Lawrence's financial aid plan.
Downsides: Housing is expensive (and on-campus housing is limited for grad students). Between 400-500 students apply to the fiction program every year, and only 20-30 are accepted, so competition is tough. Plus I'm pretty sure my mom would worry about me living in the city (and I might, too, a little).

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