MFA Application Process: What you Need and When you Need it.

It can be really confusing to keep track of every school and what they want. So I created a list of schools and what they want.

It can be really confusing to keep track of every school and what they want. So I created a list of schools and what they want. My suggestion would be to do the same with your specific school choices and highlight the parts that overlap. So if two schools want 10-15 pages of poetry, highlight those. Label each highlight 1, 2, 3, or 4. Then write each thing down on a piece of paper like this:

Poetry Sample 1: Adelphi, Wichita State, Iowa. Poetry Sample 2: Syracuse, University of Delaware. Statement of Purpose 1: Wichita State, University of New Mexico etc. This way, when you go back to review your list, you can easily identify what every school needs and hopefully, many of those things will overlap.Adelphi University: Garden City, New York:  ROLLING ADMISSIONS

The following information is from the Adelphi University Admissions Website.

  • Essay/Personal Statement

“Tell us something about your writing life and what you hope to accomplish during the program. Tell us what you have read, are now reading and what you intend to read. Describe your current literary interests, your current or future challenges, and your literary goals. Please limit your essay to 1,000 words.”

  • Writing  Sample

“Submit the manuscript only in the genre to which you are applying.
Choose one of the following:

  • Poetry: 10–15 pages (approximately a dozen poems)
  • Fiction: maximum of 30 pages, double-spaced, which can consist of one or more stories or part of a novel
  • Dramatic Writing: maximum of 50 pages, double-spaced, which can consist of a monologue, a one-act play, or a scene from a full-length play or screenplay or television script. If an excerpt from a longer work is submitted, please include a one-paragraph description of the work as a whole.”
  • Students must submit:
  • Completed application form
  • College transcript
  • Two letters of reference from people familiar with your writing
  • Personal statement
  • Manuscript in one genre only


Boston University: Deadline– March 1st

The following information is from the Boston University Admissions Website

  • Essay/Personal Statement:

A personal statement (2-4 pages in length)

  • Writing Sample:

 Poetry- 1o poems

Fiction- no more than 40 double-spaced pages (stories are preferred)

  • Recommendations

  3 letters of recommendation

Recommenders can upload their letters online or send hard copies of their letters.

  • Transcripts

Transcripts from any college or university that you have previously attended (even if no degree was earned.)

  • GRE scores

Examination scores from the GRE General Test

Please send anything that must be mailed, including your transcripts and GRE scores, to:

Admissions Office
Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Boston University
705 Commonwealth Avenue, Suite 112
Boston, MA 02215


City University of Hong Kong: Deadline: March 31

This information was taken from the City University of Hong Kong’s admission website.

  • Essay/Personal Statement

3-5 pages on the applicant’s desire to be a writer & include a creative philosophy.

  • Writing Sample

Poetry- 10 pages

Non-fiction or fiction: 25 pages

  • Critical Essay

A critical essay of 3-5 pages on some aspect of writing craft.

  • Recommendations

2 letters of recommendation from writing teachers, editors, established writers, former professors in any academic discipline or professional associates who can attest to the candidate’s written ability. E-mail letters directly to with the candidate’s name in the subject line.


When applying to multiple schools, I would suggest doing something like this for each one of them. Create one document with all of the information you need. Then create the list. Remember to number similar items. Once all of the items are numbered, you can start printing, sorting, and packaging.


It can be helpful to create envelopes for each school. Write the address on the front and then add a sticky note to each envelope with directions on what you need to put inside. For example, you could address the envelope to the City University of Hong Kong and then put “personal essay, critical essay, 2 letters of recommendations, and writing sample” on the sticky note. As you place each article in the envelope, cross it off the sticky note. This way, you will be able to keep track of everything.

If you have any suggestions feel free to email me at

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