MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults


Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree. In rare and special cases, the Program admits writers who have not earned an undergraduate degree. Such candidates must show evidence to the Admissions Committee of exceptional academic, literary and/or publishing background. Please contact the Admissions office for more information.  

Application Forms

Applicants may apply to the program using VCFA’s Online Application form or by downloading the application and mailing it in.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults program is based primarily on the quality of original work submitted.

In order to be considered for admission to the WCYA program, all applicants must submit the following: 

  1. A completed and signed application form.
  2. A $75 non-refundable application fee (made payable to Vermont College of Fine Arts).
  3. Two letters of recommendation and official transcripts from all previous undergraduate and graduate coursework sent directly to: MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults, Office of Admissions, Vermont College of Fine Arts, 36 College Street, Montpelier, VT 05602
  4. 20–25 pages of middle grade prose, 20–25 pages of young adult prose, or 2–3 picture book stories (applicants may apply in one or more genres). Each manuscript should be typewritten, single-sided, double-spaced, numbered in the lower right-hand corner, and in Times Roman 12-point font.
  5. An essay (2-3 typed, double-spaced pages) in which the applicant addresses the following:
    • How long the applicant has been writing seriously
    • Previous study in writing and children’s literature
    • Additional experiences relevant to the application
    • Whether the applicant is prepared to use direct criticism of his/her work
    • The strengths and weaknesses of the applicant’s writing
    • Any challenges that may prevent the applicant from devoting 25 hours per week to study or corresponding regularly with the faculty advisor

    More than transcripts or letters of recommendation, the essay gives the Admissions Committee some understanding of the applicant’s experience with writing and criticism, his or her goals for work in the program, readiness to work in the low-residency format, and the appropriateness of admission into the program.

  6. A critical essay (3-4 pages, double-spaced) that demonstrates the applicant’s abilities as a reader and critical thinker. The Committee strongly encourages applicants to submit a piece on children’s literature. The essay should in some way engage questions dealing with the writer’s craft, central ideas, and/or the relation of the writer’s work to the applicant’s. Please reference the Critical Essay Resource page before submitting an essay.

Apply Download application


Ann Cardinal

Director of Student & Alumni Recruitment
866-934-8232, ext. 8589

Admissions Deadlines

  • January 2016 Semester Start: September 30, 2015
  • July 2016 Semester Start: March 15, 2016

To receive financial aid, it is recommended that applicants meet the Priority Deadline.

The Admissions Committee reviews applications as they are received; applicants, therefore, may submit applications at any time before the deadline. It may take four to six weeks to review an application. Applications received after the deadline may be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Residency Dates

  • Winter 2016:  January 10-21, 2016
  • Summer 2016: July 8-19, 2016

 Writing the Critical Essay