From the monthly archives: January 2008

It’s January, and I’m at home today, so it must be time to write about reading application files. Last year, Kristen, Laurie, and I, offered our thoughts on the process (twice for me). What can I add this year? On the home front, I’m happy to say that we made a capital investment in a desk last summer! This has enabled me to move off the kitchen table and onto a more appropriate surface. My husband and I have been married long enough that we should have abandoned our post-grad-student plank-on-a-file-cabinet computer table long ago, but somehow we didn’t. I’m very happy with the desk, which has room for me and my application files.

On the Fletcher front, of course, both reading of applications and discussion of the applicants will have some new features this year because of the new degree programs. We’ll start off having only a few different readers reviewing MIB and LLM applications, while we get to know the two new programs’ applicants.  But one thing remains the same: Every application to Fletcher is reviewed by at least two sets of eyes.

One other thing remains the same: I truly enjoy this aspect of admissions work. Fletcher applicants do such interesting things and write about them in compelling ways. A day at home with a pile of files is a guarantee that I’ll know more at the end of the day than I did at the beginning. What could be better than that?

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I’m sorry about the week-long absence. It’s still a little unclear to me what happened, but I think there was a technical problem with the organization that hosts Fletcher’s blogs. No matter, it’s all back up now.

And here’s a little update. The final (extended) deadline for application with scholarship consideration to the MALD, MA, MIB, or PhD programs was last Tuesday, but we certainly didn’t wait until the 22nd to start reading applications. In fact, the MALD/MA Committee on Admissions has already met twice, once in each of the last two weeks, and the process is well underway. At the same time, there are still sizable stacks of mail and of credentials working their way into application files.

I’ll have more to say later in the week. Just wanted to welcome back you back, dear blog readers. Rest assured that though the blog was on a break, the Admissions Office certainly wasn’t.


Like I said on Monday, a closed university on the day before applications are due is not necessarily what we would hope for. (Though, on a personal note, I have to say that everything looked really beautiful after the snow had stopped falling, with all the trees covered in white.) We’re working as quickly as we can to process applications and to answer questions, but we have fallen behind. As a result, applicants who had been aiming for the January 15 deadline now have until January 22. The extra days will give us a chance to answer all the questions that have come in (and continue to come in) by phone and email.

And speaking of questions, here are answers that I hear the staff giving out to applicants on the phone:

As you probably know, you can check your on-line application to see if your recommenders have submitted their letters. Once they have, we will be able to “upload” your application, and you’ll be sent a confirmation email which refers you to a second tracking system. (We realize this can seem confusing, but you’ll easily figure it out.)

Once you have received the confirmation email, please give us about ten days to update your application before you expect to log on and find out whether all materials have been received. I opened dozens (hundreds?) of pieces of mail this morning, and didn’t even finish off the pile I was working on. It’s a labor intensive process and it just takes time.

If you have been checking your on-line application, and you see that recommenders haven’t submitted letters, please follow-up with them. Remember, last week I said that we know you can’t control your recommenders, but we expect you to try! If someone isn’t going to come through for you, you’ll need to delete them from the list of on-line recommenders and find a substitute.

Last, I want to say that a one-week extension won’t make a huge difference to most of you. Essays should already have been written, standardized tests should have been taken. At the same time, we want to be sure that we don’t unfairly penalize someone who made a good-faith effort to reach us on Monday, but didn’t hear from us for several days.

Note that Monday, January 21 is a public holiday (marking the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr.) and the university will be closed. If you have “last minute” questions, try to get them in today or tomorrow.

Time for me to grab my letter opener and get back to work!


The guy on the news just said that 632 public or private schools and school districts in the Boston area have closed today. Tufts is one of them. A fast moving “Nor’easter” is swooping up the coast. We may end up with less than a foot of snow, but it’s falling just as everyone would be traveling to work or school. My two teenagers are blissfully asleep. There’s nothing better than a snow day for a school kid.

For Fletcher’s Admissions Office, a snow day on January 14 is not what we’d hope for. We should be busy opening and date-stamping mail, labeling folders, and printing applications — the glamour work for admissions folk. Instead, for the moment, we’re all at home doing a little of this and a little of that to keep the process moving. We can all access our email from home, so those of you who have contacted me or another member of the staff with questions should receive answers.

If you need information from our office, the best option for today is to email. If we end up opening for phone calls later, I’ll post another message.

If you had been planning to participate in today’s on-line chat, please note that we will need to reschedule it.

If you’re in the area, enjoy the snow!


It’s January 11, and with the deadline only four days away, I’m sure that many of you are wrapping up your applications. I have had a few conversations lately that make me want to bring out a point regarding on-line recommendations. Please don’t wait for your recommenders to post their letters before you submit your application. It’s important that you get the application to us before the deadline. We know that recommenders are often (choose one) busy, out of town, procrastinators, forgetful. Once you have submitted the application, you can (and should) turn your attention to nagging them to submit the letters. We’ll consider your application to have been submitted on-time, even if a letter is late.


Though the pace of visits to Fletcher slows during the early part of the spring, we still welcome you! We’ll be offering an hourlong information session most weeks.

On these Mondays, we’ll offer a session at 12:30 p.m.

  • February 4
  • February 11
  • February 25
  • March 3
  • March 10
  • March 24
  • March 31
  • April 7

And, on these two Thursdays, we’ll offer a session (followed by a student social hour) at 4:30 p.m.

  • April 10
  • April 24

To attend, please call the office or send us an email.


Sneaking in under the one-week wire, I’d like to wish everyone a Happy New Year! I hope it is a year of peace for all of us.

I spent the holiday week in London with my husband’s family. Happily, my son submitted all but one of his college applications before we left, and he could enjoy himself. Unhappily, one university that has its own “special” protocol mailed him (old style – with a postage stamp) a link to a supplementary application. The mail awaited him when we returned home on December 31. Naturally, the supplemental application was due December 31. Ugh. Jet lag and college applications. Not a good combination.

Not to mention that he was forced to ignore the advice of his mother to submit applications early. And also the advice of his mother to write essays that are as long as the universities will allow. Why waste the opportunity to tell the admissions committee as much as they’re willing to hear? But jet lag and new essays aren’t a good combination, either. The only choice for him was to do his best, and zap it through.

Applications are being zapped into our office at a rapid pace now, and the heap of mail grows by the day. It’s a busy time, to be sure. But not too busy to answer your questions! Recently, quite a few polite applicants have apologized for taking my time when the office is busy. Of course, I appreciate the politeness. Also, of course, I appreciate when applicants look at the web site to be sure their question isn’t answered there. But answering questions is what we’re here for, so don’t hesitate to send the perplexing ones our way.

I wish you all the smooth completion of your applications!


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