From the monthly archives: August 2012

Yesterday, I offered up some Admissions news.  Today, I’ll let the students provide a final word on their summer activities.  Back in July, I introduced several blogs that students were keeping, but I missed a few.  Here they are:

Lily:  I started the blog to share my experience in Kenya with friends and family. It’s a reflection on different experiences in Nairobi and Kenya. The title “Majira ya Joto” is Swahili for “hot summer,” which in retrospect is not the best title, given that it’s winter here.

Jocelyn:  I’m blogging at (Sub)Alternate Reality.  I’m chronicling my experiences here in Northern Uganda, sharing impressions, asking questions, thinking out loud — not very academic stuff, but I’m happy to share it.

And Juliana told me:  I am not writing a blog on my internship but I did write a blog entry for the website of the organization I’m interning for.


Covering a few topics in one post, I want to catch up on some late-summer news items.

First, and most important to prospective applicants, is that our application for January or September 2013 admission is ready!  Set up your account, and any information you enter on the application will be saved until you’re ready to submit it.

Second, and related to the first point, is that I want to highlight our new application deadline.  If you have been thinking about Fletcher for a while, you’ll notice that we’ve moved our regular application deadline forward a few days to January 10.  We didn’t want to ruin your New Year’s holiday, but we needed a little extra time to compile applications.  Plus Mother Nature always seemed to find joy in complicating our work.

Next, we will now officially accept either official or unofficial transcripts for your application.  Here are the new instructions for the uploading of transcripts, snipped straight out of the application instructions for each of the degree programs, which you’ll find to the right on just about all of the pages under Apply to Fletcher.

We think this change is going to make life easier for all of us, however it’s very important that you know that all enrolling students must have official transcripts in their file.  The change in our policy relieves some time pressure, but you still need to ensure we receive an official transcript.

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The contrast between pre-Orientation Fletcher and Orientation Fletcher is always amazing.  We go from the quietest of quiet weeks of summer to super busy, with all 250-ish new students in the Hall of Flags at once.  Starting today, with a full day’s Fletcher experience behind them, the new students will be coming and going through the building, creating a sense of a normal rhythm.  Of course, it won’t really be normal until the continuing students return next week.  That’s when the buzz temporarily turns to a roar.

And the Admissions Office is fully staffed now, for the first time since April.  Katherine, Liz, and Christine are adapting to Fletcher at a rapid survival pace, just ahead of the students who arrived yesterday when they did.  (Formal intros to follow.)

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The construction team is racing to complete the project at President Monaco’s house, but most of Fletcher and the rest of the campus look ready for Orientation next week.  Fletcher students start up on Monday, undergrads arrive in force on Wednesday.  Reminding us what Orientation activities look like, yesterday Boston campus (medical/dental) students took advantage of Medford/Somerville green space for an activity that involved teams and someone yelling instructions through a megaphone.  It was a beautiful day, and the students seemed to be having a great time.

Here in Admissions, we’re getting ready, too.  The first of our new team members, Katherine, started last week, and we have two newer newbies starting on Monday.  I’ll introduce everyone soon, so that you’ll know who’s on the other end of your email or phone call.

Though not as messy as the campus construction, I’m racing to complete a few projects of my own, so this will be yet another brief post.  But I thought I’d point you toward some other reading material.  First, for end of summer activities, you can do worse than a trip up to the North Shore for some seafood.  Check out this introduction before you go.

On a different note, I was struck by this story about an undergraduate project.  There are many interesting synergies between Fletcher and other units of Tufts University, and I think a project to help reduce waste during travel captures several of these common interests.


I’ve fallen behind on my favorite topic — reporting on my weekend activities.  There were two weekends spent with the students we hosted (quite a bit of shopping, a trip to the beach, a boat trip to George’s Island), and more beach on a beautiful morning this past Sunday, but recently the weekends haven’t seemed blog-worthy.

This coming weekend, though — definitely worth a mention.  For the second year, Boston will host a visit by world class cliff divers.  Yes, Boston — a city that barely rises above sea level at its highest point — is the host of the world series of cliff diving.  How? you wonder.  The divers leap off a platform on the cantilever roof of the Institute of Contemporary Art.

I would really like to go — partly because I like to watch diving, but mostly because cliff diving in Boston is a crazy idea.  Alas, I won’t be able to be there, so I need a blog reader to go and tell me about it.  Or don’t tell me about it, but go anyway, because it’s got to be something special.  That’s why I’m writing about it on Tuesday — to give you the best chance to organize your weekend around the diving Saturday afternoon.  (Send pix, please!)

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I wished I had had my camera at work yesterday because, when I walked through the Hall of Flags, I found REAL LIVE students.  Yes — the pre-session for MIBers and others interested in the strategy course is ON!  It’s great to have some life in the building.  At the same time as I wish my summer work had been more productive, I feel ready to be able to see and interact with the most important product of our efforts — enrolled students!  From here, there’s another week until the full complement of incoming students arrive, and then another few days until we’re back to full student force on September 4.  I’m looking forward to it.


One of the activities that has kept me busy in each of the last three summers has been hosting students from Iraq who are in the U.S. for a program on leadership.  The Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program lasts about a month, including a week in Vermont, a week in Washington, D.C., and about two weeks in home stays in one of several American cities, accompanied by U.S. students.  My daughter, Kayla, participated three summers ago, and interned with the program this year.  The students just left Boston yesterday, following a farewell meal we were able to arrange for the 12 participants and five host families at Tufts on Sunday evening.  (The program is sponsored by the U.S. State Department and the Embassy in Baghdad.)

During their month in the U.S., each of the students is asked to consider writing a blog post, and this was the entry of one of the Boston-based students, though not the one who stayed with us.  I thought blog readers might be interested in this unique view of the area’s history.


Is it possible that I have not yet waxed rhapsodic about the farmers’ market this year?  I went, as I always do, to the Davis Square market yesterday and there was a real August-worthy bounty awaiting me.  The piles and variety of produce increase week-by-week until there is truly more variety than a shopper could need.  The market is located close to campus but, more to the point, convenient to the parts of West Somerville/North Cambridge where students tend to live.  For those in other neighborhoods, there are markets all over the area.  In fact, there are several other markets that I could (and sometimes do) shop at, but the one at Davis is my favorite.

The vegetation wasn’t the only highlight yesterday.  I also ran into two Fletcher friends — Elke, a PhD candidate, and Lauren, a recent MALD graduate.  Such a treat to catch up in my favorite Wednesday location!

Because I haven’t managed to post earlier this week, and prospects aren’t looking good for tomorrow, either, I’ll run through a quick update.

♦The Admissions Office will soon be back to full staffing.  We have spent a lot of time interviewing jobs candidates and I look forward to introducing blog readers to our newest colleagues soon!

♦The pre-session starts Monday!  Required for incoming MIB students but available to interested students in other programs, the two weeks of the pre-session are filled with serious study in a somewhat relaxed summer atmosphere.  Here’s the description of their course:

The pre-session folks tend to cross through the Hall of Flags without drawing much attention, but we know they’re there — and that the full crop of incoming students will follow only two weeks later.

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Summer time is construction time on the Tufts campus.  I stepped out of the office to capture the projects closest to Fletcher’s front door.  Happily, there’s not as much disruptive activity this year as there was in July/August 2011, but it’s still not hard to find a piece of construction machinery.  If you happen to be Tufts President Anthony Monaco, the construction is your front lawn.

Though Gifford House is only marginally accessible at the moment, the objective, once the project is complete, is to improve accessibility for all.

Walking down the brand new sidewalks for a few more yards beyond Gifford House, and we have the redesign of the intersection of Packard Avenue and Professor’s Row.  Because Tufts is not walled off from the surrounding community, anyone driving or biking in the neighborhood might travel on one of these streets.  A new raised intersection should improve safety.

These and the other projects on campus are due to be complete before Orientation, meaning more eyes that those in Fletcher Admissions are watching the calendar to be sure we’re ready for the return of students.


August starts today, and with it comes an increased sense of the nearness of Orientation, the return of students, and the start of the semester (not to mention the MIB pre-session).  Bit by bit, we’re starting to put in place everything we need to start a new admissions cycle.  Of interest to readers might be our growing travel schedule.  Many of our visits involve a small group of peer schools, or a larger collections of participants in a grad school fair.  All of those dates are pretty well nailed down, but others will be added through the coming weeks.  On a related note, a few years back we started to purchase carbon offsets for our travel.  Recently we read praise of our offset organization.

Beyond filling in our travel schedule, we’re also nearly done revising our online application.  Because we work cooperatively with Tufts University’s other graduate schools, changes to the app involve a collaborative process.  We should have everything in place before the end of the month — plenty of time, even for those intending to apply for January admission.  (Applications due October 15.)  I should note that we have not made significant changes to our essays.  There’s a bit more guidance on how to use the “Additional Information” section, but everything else remains the same.

I’ll write more about it in the future, but our interview schedule is already in place.  If you know when you’ll be in the area, you can already call to set up an appointment for an evaluative interview between September 24 and December 7.  Fridays tend to be very busy.  Book early if a Friday visit is best for you.  (Interviews are always optional.)

All in all, we still have one foot squarely in the summer, but our focus will increasingly turn toward fall.  I know that most applicants won’t rev up until September, but I’ll start providing tips and suggestions so that they’re in place when the time seems right.


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