Returning to the tips that the Admissions staff offered this summer at my request, Liz, Theresa, Laurie, Lucas, and Kristen build on Dan’s tip from last week. As a reminder, I asked my Admissions family to complete the sentence, Something I would want Fletcher applicants to know is…
Liz: Use Your Resources
As an applicant to Fletcher, you likely have a lot of resources for gathering information about the School. You may have personal connections (professors, friends, mentors) who suggest Fletcher as a good fit for your goals and interests. You may also have access to our social media channels, this blog, for example! — not to mention Facebook, Twitter and even YouTube. You also have our print publications (which you can download here) and the Fletcher website. We even have a “frequently asked questions” section, which ideally will answer many of the questions you have. Something, I’d like Fletcher applicants to know is that we hope that you’ll use these resources! Of course we welcome questions by phone or email, but with all these good sources of information, a little “research” may help you find the answer to simple questions such as “when is the deadline?” That way, when you do email us (which we hope you will) you can ask us questions that aren’t easily answered with a quick check of our website. So please, if you can’t find what you’re looking for when gathering info about Fletcher, contact us!! But don’t forget to use your resources first!
Theresa: Prepare for your Admissions interview
Once you’ve made the decision to visit the Admissions Office for an interview, there are things that should be top of mind prior to your arrival. First, remember that you are coming to the Admissions Office for an evaluative interview — which means that, through your conversation, you are being evaluated. While we are not expecting you to arrive dressed for a Hollywood red carpet event, we also think you can do better than showing up in athletic gear or sleepwear type clothing and sneakers. The sweet spot is normally categorized as business casual — a step down from business formal but not completely casual. My second suggestion, perhaps obvious, is that you should be prepared for the interview. This means being ready to discuss the finer points of your background and experience. Remember, too, that your résumé is a concise summary of your skills and experience and should not go much beyond two pages. (If it’s currently significantly longer than that, you should seriously consider a revision. Overly long résumés stand out for the wrong reasons.) Last, try to relax. There is no trickery involved in the interview. We are genuinely interested in hearing about what makes you a good match for Fletcher! And all of these tips apply to interviews via Skype, too!
Laurie: The spring is a window of opportunity
There is no question that the admissions process is time consuming and at times a bit overwhelming for both applicants and the Admissions Committee. We know (and very much appreciate!) that applicants spend an enormous amount of time writing personal statements, chasing recommenders, taking standardized tests, collecting transcripts, and filling out forms. As a result, there is a natural tendency to breathe a sigh of relief and take a break after submitting applications. But don’t relax for too long. What some candidates underestimate is the amount of time it may take to make a final enrollment decision. The time in between submitting your applications and waiting to hear from schools is a tremendous window of opportunity to research and plan. Admissions decisions are typically released in mid-to-late March and candidates have roughly a month to select the graduate program at which they’ll enroll. That month often involves campus visits, many conversations and emails, tons of research, and ironing out financial aid details. While this should be a time of happiness and celebration, I have often witnessed stressed-out admitted students who find themselves scrambling during this period. Therefore, my advice to all candidates is to really take advantage of the down-time between submitting your applications in January and receiving your admissions decision in March, to continue your research, plan your finances, and be prepared to make an important decision.
Lucas: Call on the experts to find the right fit
Something I would want Fletcher applicants to know is… one of the best ways to determine if our program is a good fit for your personal and professional goals is to hear from a variety of people with differing perspectives on Fletcher. Current students, alumni, faculty, and staff members will all have unique insight into the Fletcher experience. Just as our team evaluates each applicant to Fletcher, you should also use these and other resources to assess how Fletcher aligns with your personal goals, curricular interests, and professional aspirations. Take advantage of a campus visit to grab coffee with a student and sit in on a class, or seek out alumni to shed light on their experience here!
Kristen: There’s no such thing as a perfect applicant!
I’ve been working here at Fletcher for over a decade now (yikes!), and through the process of reading lots of people’s stories, I can tell you that there’s no such thing as a perfect applicant. Because of that, we don’t judge people against a single yardstick of perfection, but rather try to understand what makes YOU tick, and what qualities YOU bring to the table. What this means is that while very, very good applicants may still have weaknesses, they don’t try to hide them or make excuses, but rather thoroughly and efficiently give us a straightforward explanation. In many cases, the best applications aren’t fancy, aren’t overly sales-y, and don’t strive to make the applicants look perfect. Rather, they answer the questions, provide the information, and show a thoughtfulness in explaining the many sides — professional, academic, and personal — of the applicant. What am I trying to say here? Don’t try to trick us or become someone you are not! Be you. That’s what we’re looking for in the application.