I chose to continue my education and get my Masters in Fine Arts 1) so I could advance myself in my career 2) to show agents that I’m serious about this writing thing.
If it hadn’t been for reason 1, I wouldn’t have gotten the expensive MFA. Writers shouldn’t have to spend 50,000 dollars to appear “professional,” and to be honest, I haven’t learned anything new about writing. I learned more in the six months between undergrad and grad reading every book about writing I could find. And practicing.
A writer is a writer when they write. It doesn’t have to make them money or be with a publishing house. I went ahead to grad school because I also wanted a better job. I thought I might teach, which is still in the future-view, or advance in the administration side. I had more than just “I want to be taken seriously.” If that is all you want, then don’t bother with the MFA. Learn on your own. Prove yourself through your writing, through your advice to other writers. It’s an expensive bit of information to put on your query letter.
I don’t want to discourage anyone from going to grad school. If you want to go, go. Don’t let me stop you. If anyone wants to further their education, they should have the chance. I enjoy school, some don’t. Don’t feel like you have to have an MFA to be a writer. You don’t. All you need is a keyboard and a blank word document, or a typewriter, or a pen and piece of paper.