I completed a cluster of applications over the Christmas/New Year's holiday season. The candidates are:
Another Big 10 school not quite in the top tier, but very close. In terms of program quality and funds, Indiana would be tough to turn down. Not that I would turn them down . . . it would just be tough.
UNC-Greensboro is a good solid program. The funding is good, though not every student gets a stipend as I understand it, and I have heard very good things about the atmosphere cultivated there. It's also much closer to the beach than we have ever lived, so Mary Ann would be pleased with that.
The University of Michigan
Michigan ranks up there with the best of the best in the MFA world. Another tough admit for me, but it doesn't hurt to apply, right?
Washington University in St. Louis
'Wash U,' as it's known, is one of the best academic schools in the country. The MFA does not rank in the top tier, but is still highly regarded. They get fewer applicants, so that's good for me, and they're more known for poetry than fiction. That also works in my favor. It would also mean a mere cross-town move, so that would be less expensive.
University of Iowa
The granddaddy of them all. The first Creative Writing MFA. Flannery O'Connor's MFA. The MFA that has the spectacular Marilynne Robinson on staff. I don't reckon I'd shred that acceptance letter if I got it.
Nearly there. Just a few applications left to go. Then it's that horrible waiting game.