Late last October, I attended Hunter College’s MFA Open House.
The room was buzzing with anticipation, excitement, and frenetic energy. Potential MFA applicants filled the Danny Kaye playhouse as they looked on at the matriculated and alumni students of the MFA program sitting on the stage.
Gabriel Packard, the Associate Director of the program, managed to hush the crowd with his calming and friendly demeanor. He spoke briefly and allowed the potential students settle down. Once he captured everyone’s attention, the room was silent with contemplation and excitement to attend the program.
After Gabriel said a few words, he introduced one of the fiction instructors, Nathan Englander, who was so down to earth, I wanted badly to take a class with him already.
Peter Carey was forthcoming and friendly as well with the group; he appeared to be the most established in the bunch and someone who would provide extremely useful feedback in the classroom.
Not being a poetry major, I overlooked the poetry instructors completely but they were just as friendly, down to earth, and open to speaking with you.
After the ones in charge had a chance to speak, some of the alumni spoke about the supportive environment while some of the matriculated students discussed their writing evolution.
The remaining hour or so of the open house was for the interested prospective students to ask any questions to anyone they wanted to.
I spoke to a female alumni who was one of the few who managed to work during her coursework in the MFA program. She said it was difficult but she made it happen. I took her email address down and said I would contact her if I had any questions.
Overall, the open house was a complete success for me. I was sold on the program because it’s so damn affordable! And accessible, friendly environment (the support came across as genuine), and lots of other great things I’d love in an MFA program.
For MFA choices, Hunter College is a fantastic option for attendance.