With more Americans pursuing a career in writing, prospective students are demanding flexibility when it comes to graduate school. While some prefer traditional full-time institutions boasting famous alumni, others are choosing distance learning in low residency MFA programs. For the rest, Half Mast College introduces a one-of-a-kind program: the low-competency MFA. If you’re not looking to hone your craft, push your artistic boundaries, or ignite your creativity, Half Mast offers an individualized, focused exercise in futility.


While other MFA programs offer you mastery in areas such as fiction, poetry, memoir, and playwriting, at Half Mast you’ll focus on letters to creditors, emails to parents for additional financial support, monologues to friends rebuking their concerns that you are hopelessly pursuing a path that will lead in heartbreak, and of course, screenwriting.


Every low-competency MFA advisor has spent a disappointing career stumbling through a not-so Great American Novel, an uninspired work of metafiction that evokes some barely read obscure novel, or an absurdist play that even absurdists abandoned at the first of six intermissions. You’ll engage with your advisor in a free-form dialogue about essential skills such as plotting your next career, pacing your financial ruin, structuring TV binge-watching during optimal writing hours, and characterizing all of this as “learning how to fail.”


Every month you’ll submit a packet of work to your hand-selected advisor: a half-completed chapter, blank pages of poetry topped only with senseless titles, rows of hand-scrawled expletives, or scenes from a play you hired a foreign student to write. Basically, anything that shows you are in fact tilting at windmills and have maxed out what little talent you deluded yourself into thinking you had.

Upon receipt of these packets, your faculty advisor will drop it in the trash and pretend he or she never received it.


Students can attend lectures and workshops at these locations:

  • Our main New Hampshire campus nestled in idyllic Upper Valley. The slow-pace of life will allow you to focus on the stunning fall foliage and simple, yet complex lives of townsfolk. You in turn will ineptly try to capture this setting before giving up and trying your hand at a Walking Dead spec script. Failing that, credits towards graduation will be given for hitting the slopes at one of our many area ski resorts!
  • Our brand new West Coast center is a short drive from picturesque Big Sur, where Beat writers you no doubt tried to emulate planted this ridiculous notion in your head that anyone could write as long as they could drive long distances.
  • The Taco Bell/Pizza Hut at 2575 Wacker Place in Chicago, where you may also conveniently find more realistic employment prospects.


If you laughed at this like we did, ever consider improv classes instead?


On the infinitesimal chance you are published in a recognized outlet, you will be disqualified from teaching sections or aiding advisors. Half Mast believes success creates an atmosphere of unwanted positivity for those dedicating their lives to hopelessly pursuing their nebulous notion of being a writer.


Low-competency MFA students should come from backgrounds where money has never been an issue. This ensures that no student feels cheated by their experience, while ensuring our accreditation with the Association of Antiguan Colleges and Resorts remains unchallenged.


We encourage over-privileged minorities to apply. These include but are not limited to: Gulf-state royals, fair-haired blue-eyed Brazilians, children of African dictators with accessible eight-figure bank accounts, anyone who’s ever changed their ethnic name to their favorite Brady Bunch character, and people who are Ted Cruz.


Show up, don’t show up, regardless, you will leave this program with a Master of Fine Arts diploma without having suffered a nervous breakdown or prolonged some ridiculous idea that being a Lyft driver is worth it if you’re pursuing your “calling.”


They are due whenever you can manage to string words together into a coherent sentence. Frankly, the coherence of the sentence is less important than the deposit check attached. Give it a whirl! Nobody is saying you’re a writer, certainly not us. We will also accept applications by SMS. Just send a text that says something like “im comin LOL,” or an emoji string with a pen, some mode of transportation, an expressionless face, and a pile of poop. The last emoji is to communicate to us that your portfolio meets Half Mast’s low-competency requirements, saving us from having to plod through it.

Don’t let mediocrity hold you back. Your attainable future begins today with a low-competency MFA. Who knows? Some day, you too might end up writing press releases!