At this time of year, I assume that most people looking at our web site or reading the blog are applicants, but there are certainly a lot of others who are in the early stages of their search for grad schools. I’d like to use the blog to help explain some Fletcher admission policies, or even the preferences at work in the process. Many can seem (or even are) very bureaucratic, but a detailed explanation may shed a little light on the thinking behind the bureaucracy.

My first of these entries is to explain why we won’t offer a prediction of a potential applicant’s admissibility based on a super-detailed email or a résumé.

As an example, I’ll describe a prospective student whose application I read this week. This applicant had undergraduate grades well below our preferred range. Test scores weren’t perfect either. But I still believe we should admit him, on the strength of an unusual depth of professional experience.

If that applicant had sent me a description of his background by email, what could I have said? Obviously, without reading the application, my first thought would have been that he was inadmissible. I needed to see the entire application – essays, recommendations, résumé, grades and scores – all together, and in the context of our entire application pool, before I could recommend a decision.

This year, the admissions office has received many emails from prospective applicants who want us to pre-evaluate their prospects. These emails usually contain a great deal of information about the applicant’s past, but there can still never be enough for us to say if someone will be admitted or not, and so we won’t. It would be a disservice to the very person doing the asking.

Naturally, there are many fundamental questions about the readiness of an applicant to apply that we will answer. For example, if your undergraduate degree required only three years of study, you may wonder if you may apply. (Yes.) Or you may ask if an applicant must have an international relations degree to be competitive. (No.) But we can’t offer subjective evaluation. Not even questions such as, “I had a B average — will this hurt my chances of getting admitted?” Of course it will hurt your chances, compared with the same person and an A average! But that still doesn’t mean that admission is impossible.

So…please understand why we can’t, or won’t, answer these requests. So long as you have an undergraduate degree, the only way to know if Fletcher will admit you, is to apply.


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