Are You Considering Getting an MFA?

old man searching in the night

If you’re seriously thinking about getting an MFA, then there is no doubt you’ll get something from it. What you must realistically consider before you enroll, however, is your return on investment (ROI).

Will an MFA degree earn you back the money you spend on tuition? There are many things you’ll do in an MFA program to improve your art skills that you can do on your own, as artists have done for centuries.

You can learn and hone your craft without paying. You can network with other creatives without paying for it. You can show your work without having to pay. You can get critical feedback about your work without having to pay. You can find advisors, mentors, and collaborators without ever spending a dime. You can also pay for those things at a fraction of the cost of expensive college tuition.

The one thing you can’t do outside of graduate school is earn an accredited and professionally recognized, terminal graduate degree.

Before you borrow and spend the money, ask yourself what it is you want to do with your degree, then determine if you really need the degree to do it. If you think you might want to teach, but aren’t sure or haven’t ever taught before, try teaching community art classes (or private lessons) to see if you really like teaching.

If you’re destined for an MFA program, ask your prospective college(s) what rights and privileges they’re granting you for your time and money. See how they react. Do they have an answer?

If an MFA is what you want, nobody can stop you. Go for it! Be sure to ask good pre-purchase questions, so you get more than just a degree.

Next: Get an MFA or Not?