It's February 14, officially St. Valentine's Day and that means one thing in my world: it's officially open season on MFA acceptance/rejection notifications.
Let the nail biting begin!
Who has time to think about valentines and roses when there's potential disaster looming on the horizon? It's all we can do to keep out of the Poets&Writer's forums whenever we log on to the computer. What is the purpose of that, you might ask? To see what schools have started issuing acceptances, of course! And then to hype ourselves up as to whether that means that we're in or not. Then some strategy type deliberations as to whether it's better to hear back quickly or to not hear for a long time if you're not the recipient of the very first acceptance. I vote for waiting, with waiting there's still a chance someone might decline their seat, and let it become yours! ... Then again there's something to be said for ripping the bandage off quickly - but damnit I want to get an MFA!
Each school has their own time frame for these things. Obviously later deadlines won't be getting back as soon as the early deadlines, however I'm willing to bet an "early" deadline doesn't necessarily make a school contact applicants any sooner. Western Michigan was the only MFA that I can recall who gave an estimate as to when applicants would hear back. Their guidelines were "late February to early March." As the midway point of February, I'm willing to consider it the "late" half of the month.
The season opens on February 14, but when it closes is much more difficult to pin point. Certainly you're not going back out to hunt again when you've gotten a response from all your schools. But word on the web is that some schools have left students hanging as late as early May before giving them a definite answer. Obviously this wait time has to do with the size of the selection committee up front, but also the size of the program. Since most programs accept between 6 and 25 students per year and get many more applicants than that, wait listing, "holding," and just plain making students wait to hear anything is necessary to get a full class. These schools don't know how many of their first choice students may be someone else's first choice as well.
Until I hear something I can only hope that for some reason only idiots applied to the same programs I did thus making me look stellar by comparison. ... Well, not too many idiots, I'd like to have at least reasonably intelligent people in my workshops for the next two years. ;)