Besides being a big-name school, Brown seems to make TAships quite available to the MFA students.
Boston, as a friend pointed out, is cute. Also, the school really prides itself on its Creative Writing MFA program.
Florida State University
This place seems to be considered both competitive and a party school. However, it offers great teaching experience, including a program allowing TAs to teach and study in London.
This program seems friendly, and it definitely supports students in writing YA. In fact, Hollins has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young People; I would have considered that program, but it is low-residency and thus has no teaching experience. Still, it means Hollins faculty are prepared to work with YA fiction. Also, financial aid is good here.
North Carolina State University
This school makes the list mostly because of the enthusiasm of its response e-mail. This e-mail came from the chair of the Creative Writing department . . . who writes fantasy.
University of Florida (hasn’t answered)
Funds all students and gives TAships or fellowships to all. Also seems to have big bucks in prizes and fellowships every year.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
This program funds all students, has some good teaching opportunities, and boasts the third-largest university library in the country.
University of Massachusetts (Amherst)
Amherst, it seems, is the ultimate college town. It contains five good schools, and students at any one can attend events at, use the libraries of, and even take classes with any other of the five. Also, great public transportation.
University of Virginia
The MFA program here is pretty well-known, and the school itself has a good name. Besides, it would be in-state tuition.
University of Michigan
Everyone in the MFA program here can get a TAship, it seems. Not only that, but TAs teach both basic composition and actual creative writing!
University of Pittsburgh
This school has faculty who work in children's literature - like Hollins, it has another program with that focus.
I got to do a tiny bit of editing of Rabbit and Cougar, during which I made an important discovery: Cougar's chapters need to be more grounded in his character. The story alternates POV - his and Rabbit's - and while Rabbit is chock full of character, Cougar comes across as, well, closed. It's as if he will not share his thoughts on and personal experience of events with the reader. I think that, when I wrote it, I assumed that most of Cougar's views would be assumed by the reader because his outlook is so much less exotic than Rabbit's. I realize now that that is silly, and this is the reason I didn't find Cougar all that interesting. While reading over Cougar's very first chapter, I found myself thinking "Wait, but Cougar has things to say!" It's really kind of fun bringing his character out of the black box.
Regardless of the interest I felt in this new breakthrough, I spent most of my week studying for the GRE. One thing I can say for this, writing-wise, is that I am definitely learning new vocabulary. (Risky though it seems to study vocab, my guidebook has a "words commonly found on the GRE" section.) Many of these words I already knew; plenty of those I didn't are ones I doubt I will ever use. Still, I definitely appreciate "inveigle," "chicanery," "chary," "ossify," and "cavil."