Up to now, I’ve tried to keep everything upbeat by focusing on admitting students.  But blog readers aren’t so uninformed as to think we admit everyone.  While I have your attention, I want to share a little Admissions Committee perspective on why an applicant may be denied admission.

The first is the most obvious.  We have 1800-ish applications.  We couldn’t possibly fit everyone in the School.  Even if every single applicant were completely qualified, we’d need to find a way to select among them.

Given our actual applicant collection, we’re always looking to create a strong match between the School and our students.  Broadly speaking, applicants are denied admission because they don’t present clear enough evidence of:

♦academic strength or potential; or
♦the experience (professional and international) that will help them achieve their goals; or
♦clearly defined goals in line with Fletcher’s offerings.

We’ll make the decoding easier for some of our youngest applicants by telling them, in the decision letter, that everything is in place except work experience.

Every year we’ll receive a few calls or emails from applicants who challenge our decision, saying (for example) that we’re wrong, and that he (or she) really does have potential.  In fact, when the Committee makes a decision to deny admission, we’re not exactly saying that the applicant doesn’t have what it takes to succeed at Fletcher.  We’re saying that, based on the data and other information in the application, the applicant hasn’t presented a convincing enough case.  That difference leaves the door wide open for future successful applications.

The last decision category that doesn’t fit the “admit, admit” model is the waitlist.  Neither good news nor bad news.  I’ll have some specific advice later on for waitlisted applicants.  For now, I’ll only say that we understand that the offer of a place on the waitlist can seem like an extension of the admissions process — possibly unwelcome news, given the several months of waiting already behind you.  But the waitlist is an opportunity, too, and in most years a good number of waitlisted applicants will ultimately be admitted.

Between last week’s and this week’s posts, I’ve shared all the information I can think of to prepare readers to access and interpret their admission decision.  Now we just need to crank those decisions out.

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6 Responses to We love to admit, admit, admit, but, well…

  1. I’ll be honest, Stanley, we don’t like to talk about numbers. And the fact is that we could have 10 or 10,000 people on the waiting list now — that number is irrelevant. What is more relevant is the number who tell us by May 1 that they choose to wait, and I can’t predict how many that will be. We’ve already had a batch of quick responses, but other applicants will take a longer time to weigh their options, as they should. Sorry to be evasive!

  2. Stanley says:

    Hi Jessica,

    Thank you for your prompt response. Do you know how many people are currently on the wait list? If so, is that information you can share with this blog?



  3. Hi Stanley,

    I’m going to answer your question honestly, and after I do you’re not likely to feel that anything has been clarified. While I have worked in Admissions at Fletcher (the first class I worked with entered in 2000), we have admitted a range from dozens of people, to no people. The number really has varied year to year, but I suppose that in the typical year we would admit somewhere between 10 and 20. What I can say is that we need a full class in September, and we will admit students from the waitlist as needed. Also, we all want to enjoy the summer with this work behind us, so you can be sure we’ll do our best to wrap things up as early as possible. I can’t promise much more than that.

    I’m going to post some tips about the waitlist tomorrow. Stay tuned.


  4. Stanley says:

    RE: “But the waitlist is an opportunity, too, and in most years a good number of waitlisted applicants will ultimately be admitted.”

    Hi Jessica,

    Could you please elaborate on what a “good number” has historically amounted to in proportion to the total number of applicants being placed on the wait list? That is, what is the percentage of the applicants (generally) on the wait list had been admitted in the last few years?



  5. Hi Jesse,

    Decisions will be out soon — but not yet! There have been questions about this on other posts this week, and I’ll let you check those out.

    Thanks, also, for the nice comments,

  6. Jesse says:


    Thank you so much for bringing some transparency to this process. It definitely helps to ease some of the stress & anxiety!

    Sounds like decisions may be imminent…any chance some decisions might being to trickle out this week?


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