From the monthly archives: June 2008

Whether it’s CNN or the admissions blog, summer can be a time of limited news. Around the office, summer is when we can have conversations that aren’t all dominated by admissions talk. Unfortunately, not all our conversations are harmonious. Here, Kristen and I defend our favorite supermarkets.

Jessica: My supermarket choice is based on one firm standard: I want to be able to be back in my kitchen, with a week’s food for a family of four, an hour after I first left for the store. That pretty much limits me to two choices, both in the Star Market/Shaw’s chain. I generally choose the smaller of the two markets, a place I call “The Oasis.” I know where everything is, and the staff is so nice! There’s Marty, the manager, who seems to pop up whenever I’m looking for something. And Hout, the produce manager, who tells me about his extended Cambodian family, which is spread throughout Massachusetts and the Montreal area. And Marie, the cashier from Haiti, who’s working toward her nursing degree. I can always count on at least one friendly interaction whenever I’m at The Oasis.

But Kristen makes fun of my choice. She calls it the “Soviet Safeway,” a label that dates both her (for using it) and me (for knowing exactly what she means). So what if The Oasis doesn’t have as broad a range as other stores! That’s a price I’m willing to pay to shop in a store on a human scale. Kristen tells me I should try her supermarket of choice, Market Basket, but I would miss my friends at The Oasis too much.

Kristen: Jessica is trying to sway her fair readers with compelling tales of kind managers and boot-strapping employees. Don’t be taken in by her charade! Let’s be clear here: Jessica started this conversation with the criterion that a good grocery store trip is a short trip, and her attempt to soften this militant attitude with the friendly faces of Soviet Safeway is just a ploy.

On the other hand, I won’t manipulate you with tear-jerking stories about Market Basket.. No, Market Basket is not for the faint-hearted. Especially if you go on the weekend, Market Basket is all about the battle, but the victory is oh-so-sweet.

From the time you first pull into the parking lot, you know there’s a struggle waiting for you. Though the lot is large, crowds clog it most hours of the day. The sawdust on the floor makes for slick footing. You’re likely to become mired in a traffic jam in the narrow aisles behind a store worker restocking shelves.

And yet … there’s a camaraderie there. You might say that it’s because misery loves company, but it’s more than that. It’s the wide selection of ethnic goods (particularly Latin, Brazilian, and Haitian, echoing the nearby communities), the very fresh produce, and most of all, the fact that it’s cheap, cheap, cheap. When you walk out spending 25% less than you would in Jessica’s so-called oasis, you know that you’ve emerged the victor.

Bottom line: Jessica is a wimpy grocery shopper. See the light. Come to Market Basket.

Jessica: Wimpy, perhaps. But in trying to lure me to Market Basket, Kristen forgets criterion number one: I want to be able to complete the trip in an hour. Going to Market Basket from my house would require extra time, and the additional $4/gallon gas and carbon offsets to justify my driving would far exceed the savings. The friendly encounters, on top of the fact that The Oasis ensures accomplishment of the one-hour goal, are just icing on the cake, Kristen. Besides, I go every now and then to the Haymarket. Nothing wimpy about that!

But what about you, prospective applicant? I can hear you thinking: “Woe be to me if that crazy Market Basket shopping Kristen reads my application.” Please don’t worry. Though Kristen may like to combine blood sport and grocery shopping, she’s otherwise very nice! (Just don’t get in her way at Market Basket or its overcrowded parking lot!)

Kristen: Jessica suggests that I am a lone wolf in my Market Basket allegiance, but let me assure you that she is the true outsider. Market Basket devotees abound in our office. Justin and Roxana both became very animated in their support when the topic arose. Peter and Laurie, quite wisely, shrunk back into their offices, likely thinking “They’re ALL crazy.” They could be right.

Jessica: For the record, Peter is an Oasis shopper! But at least there’s one thing Kristen and I completely agree on: The Boston area is lucky to have great farmer’s markets! I usually go to the Davis Square Market on Wednesdays. It’s another shopping locale at which I can count on plenty of friendly encounters, along with fantastic produce. And Massachusetts has been very forward looking in making the markets an option for families receiving government support for food. It’s an all around feel-good place!

Kristen: This is true! I’m glad we can call a truce, and we didn’t even need the sharp negotiating skills of our own Professor Babbitt to make it happen.

 

As you can imagine, given my feelings on teachers (described yesterday), I am really excited to write that Justin was recently admitted to Boston Teacher Residency. BTR is a competitive program connected to Americorps, which will provide him with a graduate degree in education, and amazing teaching and observation opportunities.

For the past two years, Justin has been the first person our visitors meet, and is often the first staffer our callers speak to. He will soon complete the last two weeks of his Fletcher “career” before he prepares to start on his new path. Everyone in the Admissions Office wishes Justin well! If you’ve had contact with him during the past two years, I hope you’ll join us in congratulating him!

 

My daughter, Kayla, will be celebrating her graduation from 8th grade this afternoon, and my son Josh graduated from high school nearly two weeks ago. This seems like a good time to take advantage of the blog to celebrate teachers.

As Laurie would certainly tell you, I love teachers. I always root for them in the admissions process, hoping that their goals will align with their experience and commitment to service.

Over the years, my children have been fortunate to have been taught by some amazing educators — people who transmit knowledge and love of learning seemingly effortlessly, while employing creative classroom management skills that many of us non-teachers fail to appreciate. At each of the five schools they’ve attended are teachers who have left their mark on Josh and Kayla, and I have always found their work inspiring.

Within the U.S., Teach For America deserves a lot of credit for transforming the thinking of current college students, reawakening the perception that teaching is a career that top students pursue, rather than a job that academic stars leave to others. And because Teach For America focuses on placing teachers in difficult to serve schools, there’s a sense of mission about the enterprise.

That sense of mission also motivates many of the teachers at the school from which Josh just graduated, PHA. It’s a public charter school, with many students for whom thirteen years of school, followed by a college education, is not as natural a path as it is for my children. Like all the other families of PHA students, we chose to send Josh there. It met our education goals, as well as his desire to be in a highly diverse environment. And he is starting to appreciate how lucky he was to be taught by such an amazing group of committed individuals with a mission to educate all students in their classes.

So, on the occasion of Kayla’s graduation from the 8th grade, and Josh’s recent high school graduation: Thanks to all the great teachers out there! Whether you’re a career educator, or a twenty/thirty-something with the determination that all children should receive a high quality education, your work is vital to our future and should be celebrated!

 

January or September 2009 Applicants: Are you thinking of visiting Fletcher this fall? If so, now is a great time to nail down your plans and book an appointment for an evaluative interview. The preliminary schedule is up and you can have your pick of times. Not a morning person? Grab an afternoon spot! Tend to feel sleepy at 3:00? Book an interview before lunch! Right now, the choice is yours! Wait until October, though, and other eager applicants may have made your choice for you.

We already have our weekly Monday and Friday information sessions on the calendar, and we’ll soon add a few on Thursday afternoons.  If you want an information session to be part of your visit, be sure to book on one of those days. Also note that the majority of our classes take place Monday to Thursday. Check out the class schedule as you make your plans.

And, lest I cause unintended anxiety, I should note that interviews are a recommended (and valuable) but optional part of the application process. Though we highly recommend them for anyone who can make the trip to campus, you will not be at a disadvantage if you cannot get here. If you do plan to interview, though, please do not wait until the last minute to contact us for an appointment. As we go through the fall, there will be many weeks during which we have no appointments available.

 

Throughout the past year, we have been posting tips on the admissions process and on the application itself. Since many of the posts containing tips also contain other news or information, I want to simplify things for our new applicants. Below, in one convenient location, you’ll find all the tips from 2007-2008. To read the complete posts, including the context for each tip, you can find them all by clicking the “Admissions Tips” category. New tips will be appearing soon!

2007-2008 Fletcher Admissions Tips

Tip #1: Follow the Directions!

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

Tip #3: If you move, please inform us of your new mailing address.

Tip #4: Be aware of the application deadlines!

Tip #5: Remember that all recommendations need to be in English!

Tip #6: Please do not upload writing samples of more than four pages.

Tip #7: Please do not send us your high school diploma or transcripts.

Tip #8: Make sure you know which school you are applying to. And be sure to double-check that you are uploading the correct Personal Statement and Supplemental Essay. (No references to competing grad schools in your essays for Fletcher!)

Tip #9: Always edit your essays. Read and re-read them making sure there are no grammatical errors. (See #8 for other things you should be looking for.)

Tip #10: Do not expect to have your transcripts sent back to you. Once you submit materials as part of your application, we cannot return them.

Tip #11: If your culture is one of the many that puts surname (family name) before given name, be sure you make your surname clear to us in all documents and correspondence.

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Two updates today.

First, for students enrolling in September. You should have received an email yesterday with information on how to obtain your new Tufts email address and identification number. This marks a bit of a turning point — you’re moving along from enrolling student to just-plain-old student. And that means that the best source for answers to many of your questions is now the registrar’s office. We’re still happy to hear from you! But as you get into the details of selecting your courses and planning your studies, there will be greater authorities than even the admissions office, and we’ll forward your questions as necessary.

Second, for students continuing to wait on the Wait List. By May 1, as I wrote previously, the class was looking pretty much complete, but May 1 is way too early to be sure. (Students request deferrals through May, or have sudden changes in plans well into the summer.) We have admitted a small handful of students off the Wait List, and it’s possible we’ll admit a few more (trying, as usual, to wrap up the process as soon as we can). But given how few wait listed students have been admitted so far, I wanted to pass along the word that not having heard from us yet doesn’t mean you’ve been passed by. And this, I should say, is true for both the MALD and MIB programs. I’ll continue to post news on the Wait List when we have it.

 

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