From the monthly archives: January 2011

Here’s a word from Peter, our chat organizer and expert:

If you are currently in the process of completing your application to Fletcher for September 2011, you’re probably busy putting the finishing touches on your essays, preparing to upload various documents, or finding a polite way to remind your recommenders to submit their letters on your behalf.  As our application deadlines approach, admissions staff will be available for two online chats to help answer any last minute questions about the Fletcher application process.  You are invited to log in and ask any remaining questions you may have.  The chats will be held at the following dates and times:

Tuesday, January 11th
12:30 – 1:30 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time)

Thursday, January 13th
12:30 – 1:30 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time)

In addition, we will be holding “Virtual Office Hours” on Friday, January 14th from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time).  During this time period, an admissions officer will be online and available to answer any questions you may have related to your application to Fletcher.

To log in to the Chats or the Virtual Office Hours, please visit this site at the dates/times indicated above.  Please note that all times are Eastern Standard Time (GMT-5).  If you are unable to participate in the online forums or would prefer to ask your questions individually, please feel free to contact our office directly by email or phone (+1.617.627.3040).

We look forward to receiving and reviewing your applications in the coming weeks and months!

Please note that we’d like to keep this week’s chats focused and efficient for the applicants who join us.  If you aren’t planning to apply to Fletcher this year, or are just interested in learning more about the School and the degree programs we offer, we look forward to sharing information with you in more broadly-focused chats at a future date.

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A good proportion of the callers and emailers we’ll hear from this week will be asking some variation of the question, “What will happen if my recommendation/test score/transcript arrives after January 15?”  Ideally, all the bits and pieces of your application, including those that someone else needs to send on your behalf, will be here before January 15.  But life is often less than ideal, and we’re used to that.

If you haven’t already submitted your application (note that there’s still time to adopt the Personal Deadline approach), just be sure that you submit all the components of the online application by January 15.  (That is:  the form, the essays, the scholarship application, and anything you need to upload, such as your résumé.)  For the other materials, while we prefer that they also arrive by January 15, you can take advantage of a grace period until February 1.

I want to be sure that, in the process of answering one question, I don’t create ten others.  What I’m saying is that if (for example) you took the GREs on January 10, and scores won’t arrive for another two weeks, you don’t need to worry — we’ll still consider your application to have arrived by the January 15 deadline, so long as you have submitted your part on time.  Please don’t assume that I’m saying that everyone is free to submit all materials by February 1 just because it’s more relaxing.

The obvious reality is that we can’t process, let alone review, 1800 applications on the day they arrive.  Pulling everything together takes time.  So we’ll review applications in order, as they become complete, with the expectation that all materials will arrive by February 1.

And here’s one more answer to a question we’ll be hearing:  January 15 means that the online application should be time-stamped January 15 by 11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern Standard Time.  But do yourself a favor, don’t wait until that almost-midnight hour.

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Eight days until the application deadline.  Each day’s mail mountain is taller than the prior day’s peak.  We’re building up to the zaniest weeks of the year, so there’s no better time to take a day to think about the application review process and all that follows until office life settles down again in May.

A crack team of student interns is staffing the office today.  If you have a question, they should be able to help you.  Otherwise, a member of the staff will respond tomorrow.

 

The start of a new year and the perfect time for Admissions staff members to reflect, ponder, and resolve.  There’s always something we can improve, so here are the office-related New Year’s resolutions (some more serious than others) of my Admissions pals.  With this blog entry, you’ll know what we’re working on this year.

Laurie:
My New Year’s resolution is to read through every question of a GRE practice test.  It has been a long time since I’ve gone over an entire GRE exam.  (Perhaps the last time was when I took the GRE myself, about 20 years ago!)  My resolution is timely since a new computer-based GRE will be offered starting August 1, 2011.  I want to make sure that I am very familiar with this new exam that most of our applicants will be taking.

Peter:
Better handwriting!
I admit it, I’ve always had pretty terrible handwriting.  While this is a somewhat embarrassing personal shortcoming, it isn’t something that others usually have to deal with — with the exception of my teachers and professors who accepted handwritten work.  That said, starting each October and continuing through early March, my colleagues on the Admissions Committee are forced to decipher my handwritten comments on application review sheets — nearly illegible comments that struggle to stay inside the small space allotted, but inevitably continue onto the other side of the page in a chaotic mess of poorly formed, blue or black-inked characters.  Laurie once commented that my writing is “amazing because it actually looks like chicken scratch.”  So, for 2011, I resolve to do better — to take my time, write clearer, and look into getting a better pen.  Yeah, that’s it:  maybe I just need a better pen.

Roxana:
My New Year’s office resolution is to try to prevent paper cuts.  I need such a resolution so that applications do not have blood all over them (gruesome, yes) and I won’t have to file for worker’s compensation.  Application file folders give especially deep cuts to the hands and fingers.  To prevent said cuts, especially in the winter when my skin is extra dry, I will continuously moisturize my hands with lotion.  However, I will not OVER moisturize as that will lead to fingerprints on the folders.  Such is life when processing 1800+ applications.

Liz:
This New Year, I resolve not to stress out when applications come pouring in on January 15th.  I plan to keep a Zen-like mindset as I work through sorting and processing the applications in our system.  It’s easy to become very overwhelmed by the number of applications that need to be prepared for review, but over-stressing never helped anyone work faster.  So, I’m going to try something different and attempt to remain stress-free this time around.

Jeff (who heroically sent this in, just before his deadline, on a day he was sick at home):
My New Year’s office resolution is to complete blog assignments in a more timely manner.  Occasionally Jessica asks us to contribute to the blog, and I have noticed a pattern in my responses — I wait until the blog post is due, and write it with little time to spare.  When I first started at Fletcher, I was always ahead of the game in this regard, but that isn’t the case anymore.  So, this year, I will work on writing my blog posts well in advance of the due date.  Another aspect of this resolution is that I would also like to contribute more frequently to the blog.  If Jessica doesn’t mind, I will try to contribute an extra post or two per month to give her a little break.  That shouldn’t be too hard of a resolution to keep.  (Note from Jessica:  Contributions welcome!)

Kristen:
I solemnly swear that in 2011 I will drop my “cliptomaniac” ways.  You see, our office is good with systems.  When you work with more than 1800 applications every year — not to mention visitors, inquiries and interviewees — smooth systems are required to keep you organized.  But if you happen to be the one bad office worker who goes outside the system, you risk incurring the wrath (o.k., maybe just an annoyed sigh) of your colleagues. My particular offense is being a kleptomaniac of the clipboards which are part of our interview routine.  Somehow, they accumulate in my office until Liz runs out and knows exactly where to find them.  She dubbed me the “cliptomaniac,” but my resolution is to ensure that title disappears in 2011!  Happy New Year’s, blog readers!

And me:
Admissions work is cyclical:  Every year we do many of the same things at roughly (or exactly) the same time as the year before.  We tweak and innovate as needed, but the core activities remain.  Nonetheless, I often find myself scrolling through the previous year’s calendar to figure out which week in the semester I should recruit interviewers, revise scholarship renewal materials, or do something else I’ve done for ten years.  So my resolution is to (none too soon) create a timeline that I can refer to in setting up the next year’s calendar.  In fact, I’ve had this on my to-do list since the fall.  Raising it to a “resolution” ups the ante, and will leave me more disappointed if I fail to follow through.

 

We’re well aware that no one wishes to be in that winter middle ground of having an Early Notification application deferred for review in the spring.  Nonetheless, you needn’t feel helpless.  Instead, you should take the opportunity to update us.  Since November, when you submitted your application, have you:  completed a class (or classes); retaken a standardized exam; started a new job or internship; had your writing published; received an honor of any kind; or generally experienced a change in your profile that we should know about?  Then please tell us.  Send us your official transcript or test score reports, or mail a description of your new job or any of those other changes.  We’ll add the new information to your application file, and it will be there for readers to see when your application is re-reviewed in the coming months.

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Happy New Year, everyone!  While the blog was busy providing application tips last week, I was out of the office, and today is a catch-up day for me.  Fortunately, we had a small crew here throughout the week, and there’s a small but growing collection of applications coming together.  More tomorrow, after I have a chance to go through my email.

 

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