From the monthly archives: March 2011

As promised earlier this week, I’m going to devote a few posts to the different decision options.

For our first class on Fletcher admissions decisions, I would like to start with the bad news.  Much as we like to focus on admitting students (which is the fun part of our Committee work), we regretfully acknowledge that not everyone will be admitted (which is the sad part of our Committee work).

The reasons why applicants aren’t offered admission are the flip side of why they are.  When we review applications, we’re looking for a combination of academic potential, professional and international experience, and clear goals for study and a post-Fletcher career.  Applicants who are denied admission might be missing two or more of those elements, or they might be just a little weak in all of them, particularly compared to the overall qualifications of admitted students.  We’re sorry to say good-bye to these applicants, but that’s the unfortunate reality of the admissions business.

For applicants who have been denied admission, it may be hard to look past the bottom line.  But from our perspective, we do make one distinction among students who will not be offered admission this year.  Some applicants will receive a letter saying that, though they look great overall, we really want them to gain some professional experience, and it’s the work history that stands between them and the admission they hoped for.  We’ll only use this “work deny” decision for applicants within about a year of their university graduation (this year, that means 2010 and 2011 grads).  We encourage them to work for a couple of years, although (depending on their internship record), it could take more or less time than that for them to look competitive.

There are two final points to make on this sad topic.  The first is that Fletcher welcomes applicants to reapply.  I’m often asked if we have a bias against second-time applicants.  Quite the contrary!  Someone who applies unsuccessfully, smooths up some of the rough points in the application, and reapplies in a subsequent year, has shown determination and a strong interest in the School — two qualities we love in our applicants.

The second point is related to the first.  Fletcher will provide feedback to applicants.  If you’re planning to reapply, I encourage you to ask for feedback this spring.  (That is, don’t wait until the  month before your next application — you may want some time to make improvements.)  We’ll accept feedback requests on May 1 (more on this topic later in the spring) and you’ll hear back from us within a month or so of your request.

Our next class will consider the waitlist.

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It’s March 1, which means we’re less than a month from decision release, and the focus is turning toward clean up.  Today’s the final deadline for the MIB and LLM programs, and there’s a scramble on to read any application for any of the programs that hasn’t been reviewed yet.  The different Admissions Committees are meeting for the last time(s), and there’s a growing parade of boxes around the office, in which files are placed according to their final admit/deny/waitlist destiny.

I’d like to tell you that starting the clean-up phase means we’re close to releasing decisions but, alas, this will take us a while.  Still, until this morning, there were several mountains of applications on my desk, and now I’m down to three little rubber-banded clusters.  I see many hours of work ahead for all of us, probably including some time around the office this weekend.  But we’ve been here before and step-by-step, everything will come together.

Later this week, I’ll start describing the different decision options, so that you’ll be able to interpret your decision letter.  Meanwhile, please double-check that you can access your GAMS account.  As I described last week, it’s an important detail to check off your list.


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