What can be helpful, however, is the capacity to assess what a program offers and try to determine how it matches up not only with your own needs as a writer, but also with this new set of "Hallmarks of an Effective Low-Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing," which has been developed by the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP).
AWP does a pretty good job describing key elements of "Low-Residency Programs Based on Mentoring" and "Low-Residency Programs with Electronic Classrooms." My only real disappointment with this document is that AWP has given relatively short shrift to what it calls "Hybrid Low-Residency MFA Programs." This is the material on such programs, in its entirety:
Hybrid low-residency programs include features from both mentor-based and electronic classroom-based programs, and add variations and innovations of their own. Strong hybrid low-residency programs are rigorous and demand extensive reading assignments, practice in critical analysis, productivity in frequent writing and revision, and a residency component. Their particulars vary in ways too numerous to list here.Perhaps too numerous to list in their entirety, but wouldn't it have been helpful to provide at least a few specifics to sharpen that very general three-sentence statement?
In any case, AWP has certainly done a service for everyone with an investment in understanding, attending, administering, and/or teaching in a low-residency program, and for that, I'm grateful!
Now, have a great weekend, everyone. See you back here on Monday.