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Debatable: Do You Need an MFA?

How an MFA Can Make You a Stronger Writer

Jael McHenry

Question: Do you need an MFA?

Answer: No.

Oops. As you can guess from the title of this essay, I’m supposed to take the “pro” side of this debate. So let’s phrase the question a little differently.

Question: Could you benefit from an MFA?

Answer: Almost definitely.

Here’s a little background on me: My senior year of college, I applied to the most selective MFA programs in the country. One by one, they all politely rejected me.

The following year, I cast my net a little wider and was accepted to American University’s MFA program. Success! I spent the next two years attending writing workshops and graduate-level literature classes, devoting my days and nights ...

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