From the monthly archives: December 2007

Every night, I pass this house in Somerville. Part of me thinks, “Hey, what about reducing carbon emissions!?” But the other part thinks, “WOW!” A lot of human energy and care goes into creating a work of art like this one. Both Somerville and Medford have many well-decorated houses. (The Tufts campus straddles the Somerville-Medford town line.) Somerville offers a tour of the best of these creations each holiday season.

Fletcher students have finished their classes and are now completing exams and papers. There’s a kind of exam-stress-induced electricity in the Hall of Flags each day, but I also see emails going back and forth about snowball fights. Somehow the students manage to have a good time despite the exam pressure.

I’ve worked for a university for a long time now, and I organize my life around the academic calendar. Passing houses with bright holiday decorations each day reminds me that not all my neighbors run their lives that way.

Those of you who are coming down to the application deadline will want to know the office’s holiday schedule. The University will be closed on: Monday, December 24; Tuesday, December 25; Wednesday, December 26; Monday, December 31; and Tuesday, January 1. You can always email your questions to us, or call on the days the office is open. We’ll be back with a relatively full staff on Wednesday, January 2.

Happy holidays, and I wish everyone a great start to 2008!


This entry has more detail than our previous tips, but here Kristen provides her thoughts on what to include in (or exclude from) the résumé that you attach to your application. If you want us to understand your background in detail, a good résumé is key!

The Fletcher application asks you to include a résumé, and much like any company hiring for a job, we refer to it in order to understand your background. These résumés usually include education, professional experience, and travel/international experience, but many applicants also include hobbies, publications, and volunteer activities.

Some tips to help give your résumé maximum impact in the Fletcher application process:

  • Please be sure to include months and years for each job. For example, we would like to know that your job lasted from January 2006 until January 2007, not just 2006-2007.
  • Though there is no page limit, most polished résumés are just a page or two long. Unless you are submitting an academic CV for the PhD program, most applicants should be able to adequately represent their experiences in less than three pages.
  • Generally speaking, you should not include high school activities, or events that required very little participation such as attending a lecture. We are most interested in more recent activities and sustained commitments.
  • Spell out acronyms! DOS and OAS, for example, represent different organizations depending upon your professional context.
  • We ask you to list information on your résumé that is also located in other parts of the application, such as job titles and duration, international experiences, and degree. Please include this information in both places even though it may seem redundant.
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I want to put in a quick plug for getting work done ahead of a deadline. On January 15, Roxana will turn on the computer and dump hundreds of applications into the printer queue. Hours (or even days) later, with the help of many admissions elves, we will have complete files for those applicants whose test scores and transcripts have already arrived.

But when we write that the deadline for applications to enroll at Fletcher in September 2008 is January 15, we don’t mean that you need to wait until that day to send the application. In fact, you can send it today! Or tomorrow. Or whenever it’s ready before January 15.

You may ask, “If the deadline isn’t until January 15, why would I send my application early?” That’s a valid question. And the answer is that submitting your part of the application enables you to identify problems, should there be any. Once you submit the application, you can track your on-line recommendations through Embark. Once all the on-line recommendations are in place, we’ll upload and print your application, and compile the file, along with test scores and paper recommendations. Then you’ll be able to follow the progress through a Tufts account. (Keep track of all your passwords.)

Should there be a problem, you’ll be able to solve it before the actual deadline. Won’t that peace of mind make it worth a little extra pressure to complete the application a few weeks early?

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When I returned home Sunday at about noon, I quickly pulled on some warm clothing and went back out to finish off raking the leaves. We’re blessed and cursed by huge Norway maples, which provide wonderful shade in the summer, and crazy piles of leaves in the fall. A few bags filled, and fingers frozen, I headed back inside.

After lunch, I settled down to read Fletcher applications. Every few files, I heard a shout that my 17-year-old needed me. More accurately, he needed my credit card so that he could submit his college applications. We sent out three, and I felt equally anxious on his behalf each time we hit the submit button. I’m prone to post-decision remorse, which is hard to suppress even when it’s someone else’s business.

The contrast between college essays and grad school essays is particularly interesting. I see a major difference in the thinking that goes into each. The 17-year-olds are trying to make sense of their own lives – who am I, and who do I want to be? Applicants to Fletcher have already accomplished a great deal, and are considering their future. They have done much more that reflects their own choices and effort. I know that writing the personal statement for Fletcher or similar schools can be very difficult; the best essays reflect considerable thought and crisp prose. But I’d still guess that the college applicants are going through a far more angst-ridden soul-searching process. After all, if a grad school applicant needs to soul search to that degree, it’s probably not the right time for grad school.

Having raked the leaves, paid the application fees, and read a bunch of Fletcher applications, I went on with my evening. Not long after dark, the snow began to fall. It may not be unique to New England, but it seems to me characteristic of the region, that we can have two seasons in a single day. The newly-raked autumn leaves, in their piles and bags, covered with the first snow of the winter.


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