“I am a Better Person”: Alumni Survey Results

Recently Seattle Pacific University administered an online survey to all alumni from its graduate programs, including the MFA in Creative Writing Program.

This survey had many purposes: to reconnect with graduates, to gauge their overall experience at SPU, and to discover whether their SPU degree prepared them for professional work in their respective fields.

While an MFA degree is one in which students hone a craft, and not necessarily one that prepares students for a particular job, we were pleased to learn that 50% of students who have graduated from our program have jobs related to Creative Writing.

And that’s not all. Read on to learn more about our alumni and their lives post-MFA:

1. Are you currently employed in a position that utilizes writing skills (or in which you teach skills) obtained in the MFA in Creative Writing program?

50% Yes, I am in a job related to creative writing
10% No, I am in a different field, by my choice
40% No, I am a writer who works freelance, or outside the time allotted to my primary job

2. For those of you who are employed, how many months of active searching did it take for you to secure a position related to Creative Writing?

25% 0-3 months
25% Do not plan to seek an MFA position
25% Obtained position prior to graduation
5% Over one year
10% Still seeking first MFA position

3. Did the MFA in Creative Writing program allow you to become more connected with published authors professional writers and writer teachers, editors, or publishers?

95% Yes
5% No

4. Do you feel the MFA in Creative Writing program allowed you to build technique and discipline that has enhanced and will continue to enhance your writing career?

100% Yes
0% No

5. How would you rate your overall experience with the MFA in Creative Writing program?

80% Excellent
20% Good
0% Fair
0% Poor

6. Did the MFA in Creative Writing program meet or exceed your personal expectations?

80% Yes, the program exceeded my expectations
20% Yes, the program met my expectations
0% No, the program did not meet my expectations

Finally, the survey offered a chance for alumni to leave comments about their experience in the program. Here are a few excerpted statements:

I chose to pursue an MFA in order to teach. I wanted to broaden my writing skills but I thought there were many ways to do that. I HAD NO IDEA how the MFA program would change me, by helping me learn my craft and my profession. I had no idea how I would be pushed, chased, forged, and how far I would push myself. I’m quite thrilled with my experience.

An outstanding program with high-level faculty and students. For me, it’s resulted in life-long friendships and an ongoing professional support system. The program is exceptional in its format, goals, and mentoring process.

The MFA program, without a doubt, enabled me to be a professional writer and teacher in a way I could have gotten from no other program. Through the rigor of the program, I learned better craft for myself and clearer ways to explain that craft to others through my teaching and editing work; through the program’s connections, particularly with the Image staff and its supporters, I have found a web of writers and readers whose public aims are to restore and create culture, with a true vision of the Kingdom of God (and who are nationally and internationally recognized for their work’s excellence).

The work was rigorous, the standards were high, the community generated around this program was, and is, exceptional. And I am a better person for having done this.