Posts by: Jessica Daniels
Just the quickest of updates today. The Admissions Office now holds a healthy (but tidy) collection of applications printed and ready for processing. We’ll have a crack team working on updating files throughout the week. Please remember to give us a little time before you check your GAMS record, but I feel confident that we’ll have everything well under control by the end of the week.
With the deadline coming on a Friday this year, I thought it would be helpful to tell you what to expect after you submit an application, even if you haven’t yet submitted yours. As I wrote earlier this week, we’ve been keeping up with the applications that were submitted ahead of the deadline, and the printer is churning out the ones that arrived overnight. We’ll keep going until 5:00 p.m., but any further compiling of applications will wait until Monday.
In other words, we won’t be updating applications over the weekend. But even when we’re back in the office on Monday, we need to ask you to remain patient for a few days while we compile and process your application.
By “patient,” I mean: Please don’t contact us on Monday to ask about an application that was submitted today! Everything will come together very soon, so hold tight, and when you start to worry anew about whether you’ve done everything you need to, reread this blog post. Meanwhile, here’s the rundown of what happens when an application is submitted, whether you followed my advice and applied early or will wait until 11:59 EST tonight.
1. Once you hit the online “submit” button, your application is “stamped” with the date and time. The electronic application then waits within the Embark system for your registered online recommenders to do their work. If all your recommenders have already submitted their letters, or if you haven’t registered any online recommenders, the application will be ready for us immediately, and we’ll upload it into our internal program. (If your recommenders haven’t done their part, it’s your responsibility to remind them that the deadline has passed.)
2. When your application (with online recommendations) is uploaded, you’ll receive an automatically generated email stating that we have received your application, and that you should wait ten business days before contacting the Admissions Office about any missing materials. The email also provides you with a username and password to access the Tufts Graduate Application Management System (GAMS). GAMS will be the best way to track your application. We’ll also be posting decision letters to your GAMS account, so hang on to your username and password! Remember that we don’t receive your application (and you don’t receive the email) if the application is stuck in Embark, waiting for recommendations. And contacting a member of the Admissions staff will generally give you only the information you can access yourself through GAMS. (After a few weeks, there’s more that we can do to help track materials down.)
3. Uploaded applications are printed in batches. Once we have the paper copy, we create a file folder for you, giving you a tangible presence in the Admissions Office.
4. Meanwhile, Admissions Office staffers will open the daily piles of envelopes holding test scores, transcripts, letters of recommendation from recommenders who weren’t registered online, etc. We sort and file the mail. If the application hasn’t yet been uploaded, the paper materials will “wait” for it to emerge from the system.
5. Once we have your application in a file folder, we dig out the mail that has already been received for you and include it. Then we manually update your record in the admissions system to show what materials have come in by mail. You should track your application through GAMS, but we’ll also email you if there’s a document missing. This is the ten-day process I referred to in point 2 above. If you’re not patient, GAMS will alarm you by indicating we haven’t received anything at all. Until we manually process your application materials, the information in GAMS is not complete. Keep on top of things, but remember that the registering of your materials won’t happen immediately.
6. Your completed application is then given to Committee members to review, and you’ll receive your admission decision in late March.
The bottom line: Make sure you monitor your application, but give us a little time to pull everything together. In only about two weeks, everyone who has submitted all the materials needed for an application should find accurate and reassuring information on GAMS. So long as you submitted the application by the deadline, you can relax for a few days while we do our work.
With the general application deadline tomorrow and students returning on Monday, this is the final day of winter break quiet. Not that we have nothing to do, mind you. And we actually have some students in the building — our 2014 “Januarians” started their Orientation yesterday, and the Admissions office isn’t the only one that has students working during the break — but there aren’t enough students to lively up the atmosphere.
The Admissions Staff will be in a planning meeting this afternoon, getting ready for the long stretch that starts tomorrow and runs at least through April. I’ll enjoy the quiet today, but I’ll be happy for the students’ return on Monday, too. A little noise helps us keep up our energy.
The pace at which applications and supporting materials are flowing into the office is picking up. A nice bunch of applications is already complete and we’re keeping up as new materials arrive, knowing that the real flood will hit us on Friday (before midnight, if a reminder is needed).
Here’s the scene today. Daniel, Ayako, and Rebekah have dedicated part of their winter break to bringing order to the applications, mail, and folders. Christine is providing direction.
You may recognize Daniel and Ayako if you have recorded an online interview. We’re super lucky to have so many student interns in the office this week! Lucky, too, that three student members of the Admissions Committee are already reading the complete applications!
As much envelope opening, date stamping, and file assembling as we need to do, the process is hugely simpler than it was just a few years ago. Although recommenders have been invited to submit their letters online for many years, it took some time before there was widespread acceptance of the technology. Last year was the first year that we accepted scanned copies of official transcripts, further reducing our annual mountain of mail. This is good news for applicants, as we’re able to compile materials quickly so that you can learn if your application is complete. Of course, when I say “quickly,” I’m afraid that I don’t mean “instantly.” There will inevitably be a delay between when you click submit and when you can confirm (via the GAMS system) that your materials have all arrived, but that delay is way shorter than it used to be.
Speaking of delays, I hate to miss an opportunity to add yet another plug to avoid waiting until the last minute to submit your application. If you take the plunge and hit “submit” between today and Thursday, you’ll have an update on your application much more quickly than if you wait until the crowd jumps into the pool on Friday.
So often we’re asked a question that can take two forms, depending on who’s asking:
1. What type of work should I do after completing my undergraduate degree to prepare me for Fletcher?
2. Does my professional experience make me a good candidate for admission to Fletcher?
As I’ve written before, there’s (alas) no correct answer to these questions. The professional experience that will be valuable for one post-Fletcher career may not help to advance another. Nonetheless, though there’s never going to be a tidy answer to pass along, that doesn’t mean I can’t guide you toward a better understanding of why such brief questions elicit such unwieldy responses. To do so, I thought I’d connect readers to sources on the blog and elsewhere through which you can see for yourself the diversity of our students’ pre-Fletcher experience.
I’ll start off my experience round-up by pointing you toward several blog features. First, there are the Five-Year Updates. In these posts, alumni describe their paths to and through Fletcher, and you can see how they have brought together their pre-Fletcher work and Fletcher studies to launch new careers. There’s also the growing feature on First-Year Alumni. Naturally, these graduates don’t yet have the perspective of their fellow alums who graduated earlier, but you might like to see how everything (Fletcher and pre-Fletcher experience) comes together directly after leaving Fletcher. I’ll be adding more posts from our 2013 graduates throughout the coming months. Finally, there are the posts in the Student Stories feature. Although the writers this year and last cover an assortment of topics, each of them provides an introductory post.
Beyond the blog, there are many student profiles on the Fletcher website. You can find a selection of students who entered in 2011, 2012, and 2013, as well as recent alumni. If you prefer, you can also access profiles by degree program on the MALD, MIB, MA, LLM, and PhD pages.
With the application deadline coming up on Friday, maybe this is an odd time to be providing information like this. On the other hand, I know that applicants’ questions on their credentials don’t actually stop when they submit the application. Maybe this isn’t such an odd time after all.
While we wait for a snowstorm to move up from New York and into the Boston area, I thought I’d provide a quick recap of some December Fletcher news.
First, we’ll be joined this month by the Honorable Mikheil Saakashvili, former president of the Republic of Georgia and founder of Georgia’s United National Movement Party, who will be a Senior Statesman in residence, delivering lectures on European governance and other contemporary international and regional issues.
And Fletcher is also the home to a new journal on security issues. The Fletcher Security Review was started by a group of students, and is a natural addition to the already wide range of activities connected to the study of international security here.
And now, breaking news that (while I was writing the three brief paragraphs above) we learned that Tufts University (and Fletcher along with it) will close at 2:00 p.m. today, and will remain closed all day tomorrow because of the snowstorm. On Monday, the Admissions Office will be attending a full-day off-site meeting. We’ll all be back in the office on Tuesday for those last minute application questions.
Tagged with: Publications
I’m sorry that this will be a slow blog week, but I did want to take a minute to wish blog readers a very happy start to 2014! Let’s hope that it’s a year of peace for all of us.
More and more Class of 2013 alumni are feeling settled in their new lives, opening (I hope) the door for me to feature more of their stories. For now, I’m happy to introduce Margot Shorey. Margot, a two-year veteran of the Admissions Committee, visited the office a month ago, and I asked if I could persuade her to write for the blog. Happily, I could. So here’s her story.
Before Fletcher, I was living and working in Washington, DC — a city I have always been drawn to — with some medium-term stints in Africa. While at Fletcher, I struggled to figure out if I wanted to take a position in the field, finding a way to implement projects related to my interest in African security, or to return to DC to focus on U.S. policy in Africa. This decision was not easy for me, as some of the best experiences in my short pre-Fletcher career occurred while working with project teams in Chad and Senegal. On the other hand, I was sometimes very lonely abroad, missing my friends and community back in DC. I had learned a lot about the challenges of implementing USAID projects, but wanted a broader perspective to ask why the U.S. was even running such programs in Africa. Particularly with everything I learned at Fletcher, I sought an active role in shaping U.S. policy in such a critical region. I really wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to go in.
Whew! These were hard questions that stressed me out even more than a three-hour, all-you-can-write, grade-determining Role of Force exam. (In December 2011 I didn’t think anything could stress me out more than that.) Luckily, all my classmates and friends were struggling with the same decisions and were there to talk them out with me. From conversations in the Hall of Flags, to advice from our senior military fellows, to Togo-New York-Cambodia gchats during summer internships, I aired my anxieties and listened to how my friends were thinking about their post-Fletcher lives.
For now, I’ve decided to return to DC, where I’m working for the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS), one of five regional centers of the Department of Defense. I support academic outreach programs with members of the African security sector on civil-military relations, respect of democratic values, and other U.S. security priorities on the continent. Recently, for example, we held a three-week program in DC for 60 rising African security sector leaders. I conducted research and prepared background materials for the participants on ethical leadership, served as the point of contact for over 30 guest speakers, and got to interact with some amazing participants. Recently, while discussing guest speakers with colleagues for an upcoming program, I kept saying, “Oh, I know her, she went to Fletcher and is awesome,” or “She went to Fletcher. I don’t know her personally, but I’ve heard Professor Shultz rave endlessly about her, so she must be great.” After hearing quite a bit of this, my coworker turned to me and asked if we could populate the guest speaker list exclusively with the Fletcher network. Yep — I’m pretty sure we could.
Through my job, I’ve been able to gain a deeper understanding of the security challenges in Africa, as well as the U.S. policy structure, and I’ve started to build a network within the Africa security community here in DC. But I’ve also learned a lot about what it means to work for the U.S. government, which has been at times a bit frustrating. Although I certainly enjoyed my time with Netflix during my brief paid vacation in early October, the government shutdown presented a serious planning challenge and threatened to cancel our program altogether.
Living in DC is not all about work, of course. Fortunately, many of my friends from before Fletcher are still here, but there is also a large Fletcher crowd from my class, who I see often. The best part is that everyone is always up for a new adventure, even if it doesn’t involve leaving DC. We’ve splurged on an après-ski event at a fancy hotel bar, just because it seemed fun, tried some of the hundreds of new restaurants in the city, hosted birthday/holiday/just-because parties, and will be delivering holiday meals to seniors together. I run into Fletcher people on the Metro, at work programs, at networking events, and at social gatherings where I didn’t know anyone from Fletcher would be. It’s true — Fletcher is everywhere in DC.
So, I know I made the right post-Fletcher decision for me. But do I get a tinge of envy when I hear about my friends who are currently traveling the world? Of course I do — I wouldn’t be a Fletcher grad if I didn’t.
Tagged with: First-year alumni
Do I need to say anything that the title of this post doesn’t already say? A little context, maybe?
Every year, the majority of our applicants wait until the last (or nearly last) minute to submit their applications. Meanwhile, as the clock ticks down, they anguish, stress, and contact the office to ask for a clearer definition of “January 10 deadline.”
Seriously. I’m asking.
Why would you risk the anxiety and hassle (and potential missed deadline) involved in waiting until the very last minute? And why take the time to ask whether a January 10 deadline means by close of business or before midnight?
Today is December 23. Eighteen days remain before January 10. Use 17 of them industriously, and you will not need to contact us for clarification of the deadline.
So, yes, dear blog readers, I am imploring you to do something good for yourself. Please submit your application before the deadline. Not so early that it’s incomplete, mind you, but early enough that you can relax while imagining other people’s frenzy on January 10.
And for the record: applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EST (GMT-5) on January 10.
Tagged with: deadlines
With applications due in January, questions don’t stop for the holidays. Christine gives you the scoop on the Admissions schedule.
Classes are over, finals are winding down, and students are heading off for their winter break adventures. But do not fear! The Admissions Office will be here during this busy time! Our schedule will be as follows:
Monday, December 23 — Open
Tuesday, December 24 — Closed
Wednesday, December 25 — Closed
Thursday, December 26 — Open
Friday, December 27 — Open
Monday, December 30 — Open
Tuesday, December 31 — Closed
Wednesday, January 1 — Closed
Thursday, January 2 — Normal schedule resumes
We will be reachable by phone (+1.617.627.3040) or email. No question is too big or too small!
And from all of us in the Admissions Office, happy holidays!
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