From the monthly archives: August 2011

Here’s some news we’re really excited about:  A new Admissions opportunity called the Map Your Future Program.  Students currently in their final year of undergraduate studies can apply to Fletcher for the class entering two years after their admission.  In other words, those about to begin (or currently in) their final year in September 2011 would apply during the 2011-12 admissions cycle, and if they’re admitted, they’d start at Fletcher in September 2014.

This is a great way for our future students to pursue professional opportunities with grad school admission already in hand.  It’s also a great way to reassure mom, dad, professor, adviser, etc., etc., that YES you’re going to grad school…but not right now.

I’ve mentioned Map Your Future at only one Information Session so far, but I’ve already received questions in response from attendees.  We’re thinking there are a lot of you out there who will be equally excited about this opportunity.

Reviewing the MYF applications will be new and should be fun for us!  There’s something really special about reading applications to discern potential, rather than accomplishments.  (Although we’re assuming that our MYF students will be accomplished 22-year-olds, they won’t have the professional experience of our typical 27-year-old admitted student.)  I’ll post more as we get closer to the first deadline, but let us  know if you have questions that aren’t answered on the FAQ page.

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For most of our students, their time at Fletcher is a break from professional life, and though they are a studious bunch, they do appear to relish a year or two away from the work world.  Our last advice blog includes tips for how to enjoy yourself while a Fletcher student.

Veronica encourages you to look beyond Fletcher’s walls for university campus activities:  Try to attend as many Tufts events as you can.  There is a wonderful variety of them, and it is a fantastic way to meet other Tufts students.

Amy says that she wishes she had had a bicycle while at Fletcher, but notes you can now borrow one from Tisch Library.  If you do so, you can follow her advice to:   Go and eat a meal in the South End.  I highly recommend Taco Tuesday at Tremont 647.

Vanessa also wants you to head downtown:  Explore Boston — Davis Square isn’t enough!  And while you’re in Boston, go to the Museum of Fine Arts.  Check out the free admission for Tufts students!

Back on the topic of food, Erin says:  Not exactly school-related, but I would strongly suggest signing up for a Boston Organics CSA box.  My fave has been the small, mostly veggies box.

(I’m with Erin on that one — though my own winter CSA share comes from Enterprise Farm.)

On a related note, for these and other ideas, Colin suggests all students sign on to the Social List (student email list):  For all the silliness that goes on, it’s a pretty darn good marketplace.

Finally, Elise (who was a very busy MALD student) thought back on her two years here, and encourages incoming students to relax:  I wish I’d spent more time just hanging out at school.  I don’t regret anything I’ve taken on at Fletcher and have truly enjoyed the hectic pace, but I do wish I’d have stopped to smell the flowers a bit more along the way.  Those random conversations in the Hall of Flags or Mugar Cafe are what makes Fletcher so special. But honestly, aside from that, I wouldn’t change a thing.  I think everyone finds their own unique path here, and combines their various interests in such different ways, that sometimes it’s hard to believe we’re all getting the same degree!  That intellectual and social diversity makes Fletcher tick and I miss it already.


Once you’ve followed yesterday’s advice on picking your Fletcher classes, you’ll want to think about how to fill your out-of-class time.  Our student advisers have some ideas to get you going.

Vanessa starts with general advice:  Get involved in school activities and foster relationships with faculty.

Margot encourages you to set aside time for special learning opportunities:  If you find yourself skipping an interesting speaker or event because you have too much work, think hard about that decision.  The work will get done, and it won’t feel that much more overwhelming if you take an hour or two to learn something or talk to people you wouldn’t have otherwise.

Veronica agrees:  Something I wish I had done differently at Fletcher is attend more events/talks on topics that I knew nothing about.  I will definitely do that during my second year.

And Rachel also encourages you to look at many different activities:  At Fletcher, I’d say the biggest thing to strive for is balance between clubs, personal care (eating healthy, working out), and academics.

Finally, Veronica made a suggestion that’s close to our heart:  Something I did right at Fletcher was being a volunteer with the Admissions Committee.  It was a fantastic and humbling experience!

I hope you’ll follow these suggestions and be involved in the community generally, and the Admissions Office in particular!


To help incoming students prepare for Fletcher life, last spring the blog shared current students’ advice for how their new classmates should spend the summer.  Today, with a fresh crop of MIB students due to arrive next Monday for their pre-session, I’m turning to suggestions of how to make the most of your two years here.  I’ll start with tips on creating your own curriculum.

Former Admissions intern, JR, says:  The best advice I can offer is to have a serious look at the requirements for each Field of Study before Shopping Day (Tuesday, September 6, this year).  Two years is a very short period of time, and many of the required courses are offered during the fall semester, so incoming students need to have a clear sense of what they want to study before arriving.  I waited to take care of core courses until my second year, which meant I had limited time for electives.

Jeff agrees:  Build from your intended focus areas and sketch out some courses. Granted, this plan will change, but putting thought into what you want to take before school begins will lift the burden to decide quickly once at Fletcher.

Helping you avoid the wrinkles that can occur with cross-registration, Megan also suggests advance planning:  Before the semester begins, students should check out classes they might want to take at other institutions because their shopping days and start dates are earlier than Fletcher’s.

To narrow your class options, Margot says: When choosing classes, who the professor is, and how much you like his or her teaching style, is almost as important as the course content.

Rachel points you toward support as you craft your curriculum:  Early on, you should meet with your professors, or with other professors whose research you are interested in.  They can be an invaluable resource for you!


This year, the Fletcher admissions process will include a revised testing policy for MALD and MA applicants.  While the new policy is sure to make a few people unhappy (and we have held off on making the change for just that reason), it actually affects a fairly small subset of our applicant pool.  So here it is.

Starting with the October 15 deadline for applications for January admission, all applicants to the MALD and MA programs, whether they’re from the U.S. or another country, will need to submit results of the GRE or GMAT exam.  Non-native English speakers, unless their university education was in English, will also need to submit results of an English language assessment exam (TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE).  This has been the policy of the PhD and MIB programs for many years, so we’re bringing the MALD and MA expectations in line with these other programs.

You may be wondering why we have decided on this change.  Often, the Admissions Committee finds itself in a complete muddle over an applicant who submits a transcript with minimal grades, or with strangely cryptic course names, or with an overall grade of 46 that recommenders tell us is a good result.  We don’t expect the GRE or GMAT results to clarify everything for us, but we think they’ll help in a good number of cases.  Finally, professors on the Admissions Committee have asked us to change the policy for several years.

The irony is that we require test scores from applicants who have graduated from the universities we know the best.  If we ask for scores from a student with a 4.0 average in international relations at Tufts, why wouldn’t we also want that piece of information from someone who studied at a university we don’t know well in another country?  As it happens, many of the applicants in the affected group tend to submit scores anyway, and even when they don’t send test results to Fletcher, they’re sending scores to our peers that require them.  That is, they’ve taken the test and simply need to direct the score reports to Fletcher.  So the policy change is significant, but the ultimate impact will be less so.

Here’s why we didn’t make the change earlier:  We know that GREs and GMATs are expensive.  But the cost is minimal compared with the expense of studying in the U.S. for two years.  We know that, in some countries, the exams are not offered as often as they are in the U.S.  Well…this will be a challenge, but we expect our applicants to plan carefully.

So, in the end, we decided that the values of fairness and clarity win out over the inconvenience that we know a small group will experience.  Fortunately, I expect that the new policy will be a subject of conversation for only one year.  After this, anyone doing careful homework on the admissions process will have at least twelve months’ notice and can plan accordingly.

I’ll close with the answer to one question that will surely come up.  Yes — we will adjust our expectations, particularly on the verbal and analytical sections, for the non-native speakers.  We’re already accustomed to making that mental adjustment, and now we’ll simply be doing it more frequently.  If you have other questions about the change, please feel free to ask them as a comment to the blog, or email the office.

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Every so often, I remind myself that many blog readers are shivering in the southern hemisphere.  But I’m mid-summer (along with the majority of our applicants), so I’ll just apologize now for neglecting those of you south of the equator, while I struggle to keep the season from slipping away as fast as it might.

This isn’t a vacation-filled summer for my family, but Paul (my husband) and I put together a local mini-vacation this weekend.  With occasional chores and errands mixed in, we started on Friday with lunch at a dim sum place we like in Chinatown.  Then off to the Fuller Craft Museum, which we’ve never been to, and were rewarded with some fun exhibitions.  Once in that corner of the Greater Boston area, it was only a short hop to Ikea, which we escaped with only modest damage to our wallets.  Back home for a farmers’ market dinner — a nice salad and some grilled bluefish, all from the Davis Square market.

An early start on Saturday, and we jumped on the 9:00 fast ferry to Provincetown, where we had a nice lunch, a lovely dinner, and lots of walking around in between.  We also parked ourselves in the shade of the garden at the Provincetown Art Museum for a while.  Very vacation-y!

Sunday started slow — alternating work in the garden with a little relaxation — and then off to a late afternoon visit to Revere Beach with my son, Josh, and his girlfriend.  We fortified ourselves with pastries from Lupita Bakery (where Lupita always gives me a look of approval when I say I take my coffee with milk but no sugar).  After a few hours of reading, people watching (many soccer games in play), and walking on the beach, we had dinner (including a durian shake) at a Cambodian restaurant that is another of our favorite Revere spots.

Back to work today — but still enjoying the mini-vacation by writing about it.  The blog will return to admissions-related topics later this week.

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