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

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

Official transcript from degree-granting undergraduate institutions is required, but any for other undergraduate or graduate study are encouraged. Please have them sent directly from the institution to: Office of Admissions – MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults program, Vermont College of Fine Arts, 36 College Street, Montpelier, VT 05602 or via email to [email protected].

Please submit the remaining materials through our online service, Slideroom. It is important to sign up early in the process to identify and email two people to provide letters of reference.

  1. 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 area). Each manuscript should be typewritten, single-sided, double-spaced, numbered in the lower right-hand corner, and in Times Roman 12-point font.
  2. A personal 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 a minimum of 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.

  3. 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.
  4. Two recent letters of recommendation describing your qualifications for master's level study in writing and your aptitude for independent learning.
  5. A list of all workshops, writers' conferences and other non-credit courses attended (include dates, sponsor, location and faculty/workshop leader).
  6. A list of all publications prizes, honors, and grants related to the applicant's work. Publication is not required for admission, however it is helpful information for the faculty reviewers if the applicant does have a publishing history.

Apply Now


Ann Cardinal

Director of Student Recruitment
866-934-8232, ext. 8589
[email protected]

Admissions Deadlines

Summer 2019:

  • Priority Application Deadline: February 15, 2019
  • Application Deadline: March 15, 2019

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 for New Students

  • Winter 2019:  January 11-22, 2019
  • Summer 2019:  July 8-19, 2019

 Writing the Critical Essay