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Time to take a minute to focus on those folks who will apply by October 15 for January 2018 enrollment.  I fear that this group ends up receiving a little less care from us than they deserve, as October 15 is squooshed in between the rush of the semester’s start and the busy build-up to the following September’s enrollment process.

So, my prospective Januarian friends. What does it mean to start your Fletcher degree in January, rather than September?  First, let’s note that only the MALD, MA, and MIB programs allow January enrollment.  And then I’ll say that there’s effectively no curricular difference whether you start in January or September.  Sure, the MIB pre-session would end up being “pre” your second semester, rather than your first, and there are a few other sequencing differences.  But on the whole, the programs play out the same way whether you start in the spring semester or the fall.  Plus, by joining an already-in-progress student community, you’ll soon be swept in with the crowd and you’ll look like a pro.

One significant difference between January and September enrollment is that Januarians have two summers to work with.  Some students will pursue internships in both summers, while others might use one for research or language study.  For career changers, this can be very useful indeed.

As for the application itself, what should you be thinking about now?  With a little less than a month to go before the deadline, ideally you already have a master plan — testing is done (or at least scheduled), recommendations have been requested, and essays have been outlined.  If you’re not quite at that point, then get going on the test dates and recommendations.  You can always push yourself, but you can’t hurry former supervisors or professors.  And you certainly can’t make a test date appear where none exists.

If you’re planning to participate in an evaluative interview, remember that you should schedule your appointment for before the application deadline.  Check the schedule and find a time that works for you.  The interview program kicks off next Monday (September 25) and next week is nearly booked up already.  There are still plenty of appointments available in the following week, but don’t dawdle — grab your preferred time!

There.  That should get our prospective Januarians going.  But for anyone on the fence about when to apply, I’ll mention that while the spring semester starts with a little less hoopla than the fall, there’s something special about jumping into Fletcher alongside a smaller group of fellow students.  Most Januarian classes stay close throughout their Fletcher experience, even as they melt into the student community.

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Tucked in the corner of a grand room at the Council on Foreign Relations, I enjoyed the APSIA graduate school fair on Tuesday.  With the curtains behind us, we looked pretty fancy.  Most of the evening is a non-stop talk-fest, but there were a few moments when I could chat a little longer with visitors.  I had two alumni with me, Justin, who worked in the Admissions Office for two years, and Atanas, who was a two-year student member of the Admissions Committee and who has sent me occasional updates since he graduated.  They’re both well settled in their post-Fletcher careers and lives, which is great to see.

Before the fair, I had a spare hour and I also met up with my friend and Fletcher alum, Charlie Scott, F94.  We caught up on general life stuff, but I also got the details on his upcoming crazy shenanigans.  (One of his past trips described here.)  He and his “Team See Possibilities” pals will be participating in a run/kayak (or was it run/bike/kayak) endurance challenge at and near the Great Wall in China.  I’ll share details in November when I have them.

I hear that the Washington, DC APSIA fair was also super busy for Liz.  Besides the opportunity to meet folks, the fairs give us a sense of what prospective students know about Fletcher at this point in their application year.  That’s useful for me as blogger — I’ll try to cover some key topics as September and October roll on.

My next fair will be Boston Idealist.  That’s a big one, and I won’t have as grand a setting for the Fletcher table, but I’ll look forward to meeting prospective students from the local area.

 

We’re kicking off our fall travel schedule this week!  By the end of the weekend, Liz, Dan, Kristen, and I will all have gone somewhere, whether for a day or for a more extended trip.  For an overview, check out our travel calendar.

As I write, I’m about to grab my bag and head for the T (subway) to South Station, where I’ll start my trip to the New York APSIA Graduate School Fair.  If you’ll be there, please be sure to say hi.  I have two alumni booked in to help and I’m looking forward to catching up with them as well as meeting future students.

 

As a service to our applicants, as well as to my Admissions pals, I want to encourage you to select an email address that you will use in corresponding with us, and then stick with that address.  Our application management system files all materials on the basis of your address; if you use multiple addresses, messages and materials that you send to us can be lost.

If you’re thinking that it isn’t your responsibility to worry about our filing system, you’re absolutely right!  But if you don’t worry about it, then you may find us pestering you for some item that you have emailed to us.  We can search for it when it disappears into the void, but it’s easiest to keep it from going in that direction in the first place.  I should mention that this is true for many other graduate schools that are using the same application system.  Sticking to one email address will be a good policy for your correspondence with all your graduate schools.

This is one of the first Admissions Tips blog posts of the new application cycle, but there are plenty more to come.  Stay tuned!

 

Welcome back to the Admissions Blog everyone!  It’s exciting to start a new academic year, though also a bit daunting as the pace of life has picked up dramatically since the sleepy August days of last week.  Already we’re turning our attention to travel and on-campus visitor activities.  Students, new and returning, are meandering through the building, pursuing a special Shopping Day schedule, before the official start of classes tomorrow.  It’s all happening!

An important marker of the start of the new academic year is Convocation, which will take place on Friday.  Those who can’t attend can still participate virtually through the live broadcast on the Fletcher Facebook page.  Tune in Friday at 2:00 p.m. EDT (UTC -4) to hear remarks from Dean Stavridis and Reeta Roy, F89, president and CEO of the MasterCard Foundation, an organization that has partnered with Fletcher in the past.

Between now and Friday, students will nail down their course selections for the semester and enjoy a few days when they are completely caught up with assignments.  We in Admissions will continue booking flights and hotels and contacting alumni to help out during our visits.  On my own to-do list for today is to ship materials for the New York APSIA fair on Tuesday.  If you’re planning to be there, be sure to say hi!

The new year is underway and we look forward to meeting you here at Fletcher or on the road!

 

The icing on the top of this year’s admissions process cake is Orientation.  It’s our first opportunity to see all the new members of the Fletcher community at once and it’s their chance to come together as a family — ready to study together and support each other in so many other ways.

As a practical matter, it’s also the point when nearly all former-applicant/now-student concerns shift from Admissions to other Fletcher offices.  Until scholarships are renewed next spring, nearly all questions are best answered by other offices, though we’re always a resource for helping students find their answers.

Today the newbies will be attending several sessions at which general information will be shared with them.  Tomorrow we’ll help promote community building.  I’ll be among the staff members who are leading ice-breaker sessions.  (Since I’m a little shy myself, I’ll be running introvert-friendly activities that I hope will work well for all.)  The rest of the week continues with a similar mix of information sharing and community building.

And with that, another academic year begins!

 

Even I — who strongly discourages applicants from waiting until the last minute to submit an application — wouldn’t suggest you zap your app to us for 2018 enrollment now.  But I would definitely encourage you to check it out, figure out what materials you’ll need, and start thinking about your essays and recommendations.  If you’re applying for January enrollment, there’s less than two months to the October 15 deadline, and you should start moving on the process.  To that end, I’m happy to say the 2018 application is available now.

While we’re providing updates, please remember that the interview calendar, for both Skype and on-campus interviews, is waiting for you.  Sign up now, or risk missing out on your preferred date/time.  And if you’re planning a visit, you may want to see what classes are available.  Here’s a schedule.

And because it’s summer, a good time for linking to silly videos, take a ride with Jumbo (the Tufts mascot) and tour the campus.  Jumbo finally reaches Fletcher at the end of his ride, passing our summer construction on the way.  We sometimes describe Fletcher as if it were standing by itself somewhere, but in fact, we’re situated on a lovely campus, as Jumbo will show you.

 

On Saturday, all my nearest and dearest will gather together for the wedding of my son, Josh, to his long-time sweetheart, Ati.  I don’t bring my home life into the blog as much as I once did, but the year when Josh applied to college for his undergraduate studies gave me a chance to think about the admissions process from the applicant’s perspective.  I revisited the topic four years later when my daughter, Kayla, was doing her own college search.

Now they, their friends, and my age-20-something relatives are at another stage in life that has been equally illuminating.  They’ve all completed their undergraduate studies and they’re navigating those years when they need to lay the groundwork for the decades to come.  Some have already gone to graduate or professional school.  Others are trying to figure out their next steps.  All of them feel a certain pressure to work it all out soon.  Listening to them has helped me connect to the issues our applicants are thinking about, beyond the technical aspects of the application.

What we in Admissions have always known is that those first jobs are hugely helpful for students who need to sift through their options.  Two of Josh’s classmates, in particular, present an interesting example of the benefits of working before graduate school.  They both had been inclined toward political science/international relations with a regional focus on the Middle East.  As a result of the work they pursued after graduating, one has maintained the regional focus but decided to pursue it through international education.  (That would be my almost-daughter-in-law.)  The other worked in Washington, DC for two years before deciding that the field wasn’t for him, and he is now in medical school.  Two students with similar interests, now following very different trajectories as a result of their first jobs.

As for Josh, he is in his second position with his second post-graduation organization, which he likes very much.  Given a choice, he will pass on the graduate school experience.  His first job was not a winner for him, and he has other friends who are similarly enjoying or muddling through their first positions, some more clearly directed than others.  This is a reality we observe all the time from our perch in the Admissions Office.  Some folks have their career path clearly defined by age 20.  Others are still testing the waters, often in many different lakes.

The U.S. economy is much stronger than it was in 2008 when Josh started college, or even in 2012 when he graduated, but I know that it can still be tricky to find the perfect first job.  So many organizations want to see experience on a résumé, even for entry-level positions.  That pushes the need for internships into the undergraduate years, so that students can graduate with a reasonable portfolio of experience in hand.  Kayla is fortunate to have had an internship that led to some contract work and then to a full-time job with another organization.  Without the internship, I’m sure her job hunt would have been more difficult.  When current undergraduates ask me about gaining work experience, I try to take the broadest possible approach — there’s a job out there, and the first will lead to the next.  The trick is to find something that provides some benefit — either in transferable skills or, at least, in the soft skills that employers always want to see.  And don’t go to graduate school until you’re certain you know what you want from your education.

I acknowledge that I often put on my “mom hat” when speaking to applicants and incoming students.  Sometimes I consider what I would want someone in my position to say to Josh and Kayla; I think it’s important to be direct with prospective students who could use a little advice.  I draw a lot personally from my observations of my (now adult) children and their friends and I think my work has benefited from my dual perspective, which helps me connect with the experience and decision-making of our applicants and students.

Now I’m looking forward to a wedding.  Josh and Ati are a two-Jumbo couple — both having graduated from Tufts.  They have their jobs, they’re getting married, and they’re on their way!

 

Sure, it’s still early, but that’s no reason not to pin down your appointment time for a Fletcher evaluative interview.  Participating in an interview is optional, but still recommended.  We offer interviews both on campus and via Skype, so there’s rarely a reason why someone can’t participate.  We’ll kick off the interviews on September 25.  Poke around the calendar and find a date that works for you.

Here’s more information, but if that’s too much to read, allow me to tell you the most important point: you should interview before you submit your application.  We’re well aware that many other programs take a different approach, but for Fletcher, you’ll want to nail down that interview before the program ends on December 8.  Some of you already took this advise, before I even had a chance to give it.  Good for you!  (Especially the November 27 interviewee who is clearly on top of her schedule!)

With a modest amount of preparation, you’ll have a successful interview.  Sign up now to ensure you’ve grabbed your spot before the schedule fills up.

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As a service to the prospective applicants to Fletcher who are already reading the blog but who don’t yet know about the Rangel Fellowship Program, let me share some information we received Thursday from the Rangel organization.

First, there will be 30 new Rangel Fellows chosen in 2018.  The fellows will receive a scholarship of up to $37,500 annually toward tuition, fees, and living expenses.

Second, the application deadline is SEPTEMBER 21.  You’ll find the application here.

For those who are truly unfamiliar with these awards, Rangel Fellows receive support for their graduate studies in exchange for several years of service in the U.S. Department of State.  Learn more about the program from the Rangel website, Twitter, and Facebook.

If that arrangement (fellowship in exchange for future work for the State Department) sounds familiar, you may already have heard about the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship.  In the past, the Pickering organization has used a January deadline.  Keep an eye on the website for more information about applying.

And, not so different, is the USAID Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship, which similarly supports a student’s expenses in exchange for several years of employment with the U.S. Agency for International Development.  The Payne Fellowship application deadline has also been in January in the past.

All of these programs are open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents only.  If your career goals would take you in a completely different direction, then they’re not for you.  But if you fall in one of their targeted groups and if you would be interested in a State Department or USAID career, it’s well worth applying.

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