Personally, I don’t quite feel ready to start a new admissions cycle, but my foot-dragging doesn’t mean that we’re not there already.  Members of our staff are already on the road, and I’ve answered quite a few questions from proactive 2013 applicants.  Thus reminded that other people are thinking about their futures, now seems like a good time to offer a few suggestions.  For those who are trying to gear up their own graduate school application process, what’s worth doing in the summer?

First, if now’s the best time for you to do your research, consider attending one of the fairs at which Fletcher will be represented, or join us for coffee, or come to campus for an information session and a look around.  I always want to be honest and say that Fletcher is a much more dynamic place in September than in July, but schedules are what they are, and you shouldn’t skip a visit in July if it’s your only opportunity.

Second, you can kick off your application preparation.  Don’t start the online application yet — the new app won’t be available until later this summer — but you can get ready.  If you haven’t taken your standardized tests yet, get them on the calendar, and then start to practice for them.  I generally think people don’t get smarter just because they study for the GRE, but they do become better prepared for the GRE — and that counts for a lot in a timed test.  The more practice you do, the more confident you’ll feel in the test environment.  Same for the TOEFL, IELTS, or GMAT.

And speaking of the GMAT, there have been some changes to the exam.  If you’ve taken the GMAT before, you’ll want to make sure you know how it has changed.  Fortunately for us, the changes are not as dramatic as those we endured last year with the GRE.  No chaos expected.

Next, it’s a good time to pour yourself a nice glass of iced tea, park yourself under a tree, and think about why you want to attend a graduate professional school of international affairs.  Most schools you’ll apply to will ask you about your professional and academic objectives, and you should have a nice crisp answer to the question, however it is worded.  Also think about your personal story and what makes you prepared for graduate studies.  Once you have it all thought out, you’ll be able to answer most of the essay questions you confront without much further thought.

I don’t want to overwork you in the summer (assuming it’s summer where you are), so I’ll stop here for now.  Just a little preparatory work that will help you out when it’s time to put together your applications.

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