It’s a drag, I know — you’ve been waiting to hear from admissions offices for three months or more, and now Fletcher tells you to wait another few months. But it’s also an opportunity, and I want to encourage you to make the most of it. Each year, for the past few years, we have gone to the Wait List. In some years, we have been looking for only a few people, but in other years, we have drawn as many as 20 new students.
Here’s how the Wait List works at Fletcher. (Note that other schools may use their wait lists completely differently.) We make a good number of offers of spots on the Wait Lists for the MALD, MA, LLM, and MIB programs. Then we turn our attention elsewhere while responses trickle in. Many (perhaps half) of the wait listed will turn down the offer. There’s another school that looks good to them, so why wait? By May 1, we have all the responses, and we put the files together for future review. We don’t “rank” the wait-listed applications. When it’s time to make some new offers of admission, we go back to the Committee notes and find the best candidates. We also review any new materials that have come in since the application was first submitted. That’s where the Wait List becomes an “opportunity” for you.
We invite you to update your application. But what sort of carefully selected materials should you send? Here are some potential categories:
1. Any update to basic application materials: Grades for newly completed classes, new test scores, an additional recommendation from your university or workplace, written by someone who knows you well and who can add a new perspective on your background. (Please read that last sentence carefully. You won’t get much from a recommendation (however positive it might be) that just covers the same ground as your previous three recommendations.) You can also update your résumé, or send a copy of a newly published article.
2. The answer that completes the sentence, “When I wrote my essay, I wish I had said….” Do you have a better sense of your academic and career goals than you did in January? If so, fill us in! Some of you might wonder how goals could change in such a short time, but I can assure you that Fletcher applicants are a mobile bunch, and three months might just coincide with a life-defining experience. Really — it happens more than you might think.
3. A “conversation.” We don’t offer formal interviews during the spring, but we’ll certainly meet with you, if you happen to be able to visit. The best time for a visit is probably early in May. We’ll try to accommodate you whenever you are here, but we’d appreciate it if you could hold off until after April 15.
4. Anything else that you would have put in your application if the instructions had been written differently. While I don’t encourage you to send us a research paper or thesis (and I say this because I know that many applicants would like to send us additional reading materials…), there may be something that you wished you could have included. If you had written the application questions, what would you have asked? Well, go ahead and ask it, and then provide the answer.
I hope this gives you an idea of the types of materials you can send to us. You can send a short update by email, but please use “snail mail” for anything more substantive.
And when can you expect to hear from us? Hard to say. As soon as we know that our initial offers of admission will leave open seats in the class, we’ll start making new offers. Sometimes that happens on May 1. Sometimes not until July 1. I can promise you that our goal is ALWAYS to wrap up the process as quickly as possible, but it often stretches on longer than we’d like.
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