From the monthly archives: March 2007

By now, all those who completed applications to Fletcher for fall 2007 enrollment know the decision of the Committee on Admissions. (If you don’t yet know, please check your on-line account.) Of course, to all who have been admitted, I’d like to send my congratulations! It’s an exciting time for you, now that you have the information you need to get on with the planning of your graduate education. I look forward to hearing from you, and to meeting you in the near future.

This entry is really designed to answer some of the questions of applicants who learned they were not admitted. We never feel good when we can’t offer admission to an applicant, but making such decisions is a necessary part of the process. Most of you will have been admitted to another school, and will be able to shift your focus to plan your graduate education there. Best wishes for success in your studies!

Some of you may be considering other options. Maybe you have decided to continue on in your job. Maybe you are just graduating in May and will postpone graduate school to gain work experience. To this group, I want to say that Fletcher welcomes students to reapply and, every year, our incoming class includes second-time applicants. If you are interested in reapplying, you are invited to request feedback from us. You can make the request with an email .

Finally, there’s the group that was neither admitted nor denied admission: our wait listed candidates. We certainly understand the disappointment that comes with learning that you must continue to wait for a final decision. On the other hand, I should say that this year we received more applications, and admitted a smaller class, than we have in several years. You should feel confident that we believe you will succeed at Fletcher if admitted!

What should you do if you’re on the wait list? First, return the form to tell us you are interested in waiting. Remember that you will want to be making alternative plans at the same time. (Putting all your eggs in the Fletcher basket will be a mistake at this point.) We invite you to send us updates on your activities. A résumé reflecting a new job, new grade or test score reports, or other documents that show a change since you first applied (no term papers, please) will all be useful when we review the wait list.

As we have said before, we have truly enjoyed learning about you through your applications. We wish you all success, whether at Fletcher or elsewhere, in your studies and future career.

 

On Friday, the Office of Career Services will say farewell to one of its staff members who is about to embark on a two-year stint in Mongolia with the Peace Corps. This news started me thinking about how unusual the Fletcher staff is – a vastly disproportionate number of us (relative to the U.S. as a whole) have international experience. Of course, it’s expected that Fletcher students will have international experience, and the students would be correct to assume that their professors teach from personal experience, too. It’s more surprising how deep that global awareness extends into our administrative staff. I suppose that internationally-minded job seekers are drawn to a workplace like Fletcher. Fletcher offices, in turn, are drawn to internationally-minded applicants when filling staff positions.

My own experience was in China, where I taught English for two years. When I returned to the U.S., I worked in New York for a Hong Kong-based company, and continued to travel to China for work. More recently, I have spent a good amount of time in Europe during, or tacked onto, visits to my husband’s family in England. The first passport photos of both my children show blob-like infants being held upright for the photographer. Like many children from families with an immigrant parent, both had traveled internationally before the age of one.

That pattern doesn’t make me unique in our office. Laurie majored in Asian Studies and Japanese as a Tufts undergraduate student, and she studied in Japan. Her 16-year history of admissions work shows continuous outreach to international students. Meanwhile, Kristen’s interest in Latin America and Spain has been fostered by living in both Buenos Aires and Seville as an adult. The roots of her interest go back to her childhood when she lived in a town not too far from the Mexican border. Peter spent a year teaching English in Poland, and a few summers teaching in France and Japan, before he worked several years for the Council on International Educational Exchange. And Roxana grew up in countries around the world with a parent who was a Foreign Service Officer.

So what does that mean? In admissions, it means that we often have a first-hand understanding of the background of our applicants. For our students, it means that they can find like-minded individuals in positions throughout the School. Even without the international experience, the staff would be dedicated to their work in supporting the educational mission of Fletcher. With the experience, we can also contribute to the shape of the community.

 

Yet another new member of our staff, Roxana McClammy, is a Tufts alum who packed her bags one day in August, and moved from Washington, DC back to the Boston area. Here, she tells us how her new role at the University has helped change her perception of Fletcher students.

While I was an undergraduate International Relations major at Tufts, I had several outsider impressions of The Fletcher School from occasions when I crossed paths with Fletcherites. With the International Relations office housed at Fletcher, undergraduate IR majors ventured periodically to the 6th Floor of the Cabot Center. I had several classes in ASEAN Auditorium and took a class with Prof. Leila Fawaz. I also attended two Fares Lectures: by General Colin Powell in 2001 and Former President Bill Clinton in 2002. Experiencing the disdain of the Fletcher students at that time, I also studied in the Ginn Library. As undergraduates, most of us thought of Fletcher students as chain-smoking, black-clad Europeans who hated undergraduates. I know better now.

After obtaining my degree in IR and Comparative Religion, I spent a summer being spoiled in Bahrain. Then I decided (or should I say, my parents decided) it would be best if I got a job. Having been raised in countries throughout the world, I didn’t have a hometown in the U.S. So I moved to Washington, DC, thinking that would be the proper thing for someone with a BA in IR to do. For me, this was a big mistake. Apparently all the other 2004 graduates in the entire U.S., who didn’t move to New York, also moved to DC. After two years, I decided I needed to get out of DC and back to a city I loved…Boston.

Currently working in the Admissions Office as an Admissions Coordinator, I am a Fletcher School insider, and my previous impressions of Fletcherites have changed significantly. They are not all European! In fact, of the 40 percent international students, 75 countries are represented. The other 60 percent are worldly Americans. They do not all wear black and very few chain smoke! The courses are rigorous and demanding, requiring the students to spend countless hours in the library. (So it is also understandable that they give the evil eye to that one loud undergraduate speaking on a cell phone in Ginn Library!) They are friendly and incredibly intelligent, and they have diversely interesting personalities and lives. As I read prospective students’ applications, and meet them as they visit Fletcher, I know we will continue to have such students here in September. The Fletcher School is welcoming, small and intimate, aware of the world community and, what I like best, a new “home” for me.

 

Today’s the last day I’ll read applications at home this spring. I’ll miss these quiet days, away from the buzz of the office. Today, though, my reading was accompanied by the sad wheezing of a daughter with pneumonia. She’s only 13, but her reaction to her illness was, “I don’t have time to be sick.” Don’t we all know that feeling?! Thank goodness for antibiotics.

But back to admissions business. With all we’ve written about how much we enjoy reading applications, we’ve carefully sidestepped the topic of making decisions on them. Each time an application is read, the reader assigns a decision (ranging from deny to strong admit). At the end of the process, the strongest applicants are admitted with no further fuss, but much more time is reserved to sort through the rest of the pool. Many will be admitted, some will be offered a place on the wait list, and some will not be offered admission this year.

Making admissions decisions is not a science, particularly at Fletcher where we tend not to be driven by numbers. Though GPAs and test scores are important, there’s nothing formulaic about our approach. Still, the applicants who are admitted are ones we believe will succeed in Fletcher classes, and also contribute to the community. That’s true, too, for applicants offered a place on the wait list.

As we come down to the wire, this year’s applicants will want to know that it’s our goal to put decisions in the mail by the last week in March, so that all applicants can receive their decisions before April 1.

 

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