Friday, October 10, 2008

Thin Envelopes

I got a letter from Lesley University. The envelope was incredibly thin - was there anything in there? I opened it without thinking to hesitate.

They'd recieved my application, my letters of recommendation had arrived, but I was missing a BA Waiver.

What's a BA Waiver? I didn't know. I searched among the various forms on the website and found nothing. I called the woman who signed the letter. Still nothing. I got another letter, dated differetly but otherwise exactly the same. I called the Graduate Admissions office repeatedly, and checked the website over and again - nothing. Finally, I called Stephen Cramer, the director of the Creative Writing Program.

He remembered our previous conversation, the one in which he said, hurry up. It made me feel good that he'd remembered me. I asked if he could give me feedback on the sample I'd submitted, explaining that I was waiting to hear from Graduate Admissions about a BA Waiver and, if my work didn't warrant the effort, would rather know now than after taking this additional step.

A BA Waiver?! He exclaimed. You get that from me! You don't have your BA? I didn't realize that. I assumed, as is the case at times, that you decided not to go through with the process, as I never got your application.

Of course, without getting my application, he could not discern my need for a BA Waiver, or facilitate my getting one. Unfortunately, at this point in their process, they're candidates have been selected. However, he would review my sample again after the June residency, and we could just consider me an applicant for January. This actually puts me in a very good position for the next residency, he explained. He told me to have the graduate office send him my resume and to email my writing samples. I did.


It may seem this would have been a very hard blow. It wasn't really. After I didn't get my application out to Bennington I began to establish a plan in the event that I didn't get accepted by Lesley for June. I would apply to Antioch and Bennington, maybe a few of the schools I'd crossed off my list, and research other possibilities, essentially applying to a good number of schools the second time around, more like what seems to be tradition. I began to consider the plans I'd made for after I graduate, and how they would work out if I graduated in January 2011. I determined that the timing may actually be a better were I to graduate then. So this was fine. I would probably have pursued a deferrment were I accepted for June anyway.

I agreed that now I was ahead of the game instead of backed against the wall. I could reach out to potential recommenders well in advance of the application deadlines. Nehassaiu already told me that if I needed any letters in August that she'd be able to provide them.

Stephen Cramer sent me an outline of the BA Waiver process so that I would be mentally prepared for what I'd have to do, should they consider taking that step a good idea. I should do nothing until he'd had time to read my work - after the June residency. If they wanted to accept me, then they would undergo the BA Waiver process. It is an extensive process that is required by the university in order for Lesley to allow the department to accept anyone without a degree.

So I waited, with plans to go ahead and apply to a few more places come summer. I figured I could turn Bennington's application in well in advance, since it was pretty much already done. All I needed to do was get transcripts and two other recommenders. There was, therefore, no reason I shouldn't have the application in months in advance of the deadline, right?


1 comment:

Bsquared86 said...

If I wasn't already convinced that you were perfect for non-fiction, this post would definitely have done it! I was feeling nervous at the beginning, the end left me anxiously awaiting what happens next!

I'm glad to hear that communication with Lesley was so fluid. Someone actually understood your situation and made moves to assist you! How often do you come across that in the bustling halls of academia? Oh, to be more than a student ID number!Lol.