From the monthly archives: September 2007

I should remember this from year-to-year: September is super busy. I’m busy at work and busy at home. Much of my time at Fletcher is taken up by training the year’s volunteers to conduct admissions interviews. We have about thirty volunteers each year, and I like to think it’s a great arrangement for applicants and current students alike. Nonetheless, getting the schedule up and running has kept me from writing for the admissions blog.

An enjoyable characteristic of September: The weather is often really great. Today is fabulous. End of summer temperatures, but cooling off in the evening. A great combination, and worth remembering on the coldest New England winter days.

Fletcher is back in full swing. New and returning students are already indistinguishable. Plenty of lectures and activities to keep everyone busy. Students already saying that they’re behind in their course work.

And the Admissions Office staff is scrambling to keep up with the pace of the fall. At least one of us seems to be traveling each day, and we’re already putting together the applications that will be reviewed for January admission.

Speaking of applications, here’s this week’s Admissions Tip (#3):
If you move, please inform us of your new mailing address. Lots of information goes out by mail. Help us make sure you receive it. It’s always amazing to us when our admissions letters come back to us, because the admitted student hasn’t tipped us off to his or her new address.

 

As much as we try (really we do!) to simplify and clarify our application and general admissions process, we continue to be frustrated and vexed by mistakes and choices made by our applicants. With this blog entry, we’re going to offer some tips that will help you to ensure your application file is compiled and reviewed in a timely way. If you follow the instructions, you’ll experience benefits not only on your Fletcher application, but also on applications to other schools.

Tip #1 is: Follow the Directions!

I know – you’re wondering why I would waste space with a “tip” as obvious as this. I agree, and I look forward to an application year when every application is completed correctly.

Even if you can’t see any special reason why we do what we do, and ask what we ask, please follow the directions. Confronting a word limit for an essay? Keep to the limit. We won’t count the words, but we know when you go over by 25 percent. Do we ask for the same info in two formats? Supply it both times. Please don’t tell us to refer to your résumé. We know that these forms are frustrating when you’re applying to six different grad schools. But we’re reading nearly 2000 different applications, and it is in your interest to ensure that we can easily find information relevant to our review of your background!

Tip #2 is: Make sure to let us know if your name has changed!

If your name has changed — for example, you’ve gotten married or had it legally changed — please make sure to mention this on your application or let us know via email. This is especially important if any of your documents are in your old name and you are applying using your new name. A member of our student staff just encountered two pieces of supporting information for an application that appear to be for the same applicant, but have different names. Save us from this confusion, please!

I plan to post new tips every week. Most will be supplied by the Admissions Staff members who work most closely with the application files. I hope you’ll find them helpful.

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Welcome to Fletcher’s Office of Admissions Blog, 2007-08 edition! For the past year, we have been using this portion of the web site to share information about the admissions process, and about our admissions office. We’re not as informal as some of the blogs out there, but also not as formal as most Admissions Office written materials. I’m usually the writer, but everyone in the office will contribute something during the year.

Last year, applicants occasionally told us that they had checked the blog, and we could also tell from the flow of phone calls and emails if something we posted was drawing a response. Aside from that, though, we don’t have much information on who reads these entries. We assume that our readers are at some point in the admissions process, but while some are conducting early research, others are planning their enrollment. For those of you at the earlier stages, I encourage you to learn as much as you can about The Fletcher School, and the web site is a great place to start.

This isn’t the only blog on the Fletcher site. Quite a few faculty members write them, and there are students who write specifically for the student blog site. Since both students and professors may be busy this week, I’ll mention that Fletcher’s fall semester began today. We start off with a “Shopping Day” during which students can sample classes before they need to make final decisions. Tomorrow will be the real first day of classes. Our incoming students arrived in time for last week’s orientation, but their more experienced classmates (second-year) have been straggling in over the last few days. There’s always a buzz around here on the first days of classes, and it’s a nice change for those of us who need to work during the summer, when the campus is very, very quiet.

Throughout the fall, I’ll be including reminders of upcoming deadlines or admissions events. For now, I want to encourage all our readers to plan a visit, or to attend one of the information sessions we’ll be offering in cities around the U.S. and several other countries.

I’d love to hear from more readers this year. Post a comment, or send an email to let me know if we’re providing useful information!

Dates to note:

October 15: Deadline for applications for January 2008 enrollment
November 15: Deadline for Early Notification applications for September 2008 enrollment
Ongoing: Plan a visit to the campus, arrange for standardized tests, request recommendations from professors and workplace supervisors.

 

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