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No matter how much time the Admissions staff spends on the road, there are always a zillion locations that we don’t reach each year.  To plug some of those gaps, our best ambassadors — our students — have volunteered to meet you over coffee.  You can find the list of sites on our website.  (Sites and details still being added.)  Sign up, and take advantage of the chance to chat with a student in a casual setting over your preferred hot beverage.

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With our general deadline coming up on January 10, the staff finds itself fielding more questions by the day.  So that you’ll know which days will and which days won’t be good for getting answers to your questions, allow me to lay out the holiday schedule.

Today, Monday, December 22 — We’re Open!

Tuesday, December 23 — Open

Wednesday, December 24 — Closed

Thursday, December 25 — Closed

Friday, December 26 — Closed

Monday, December 29 — Open

Tuesday, December 30 — Open

Wednesday, December 31 — Open

Thursday, January 1 — Closed

Friday, January 2 — Closed

Monday, January 5 — Normal schedule resumes

Whenever the office is open, staff members will be answering phones and responding to messages in the admissions email inbox.  If you write to one of us directly and we’re out of the office, we’ll respond to you after January 5.

 

All Early Notification applicants should know by now that decisions were released earlier this week.  To those who were admitted, congratulations!  I hope you’ll enjoy the extra time to plan for your graduate studies.  You will be hearing from members of the Admissions staff to whom you can send your questions.  We’re really happy to start growing the September 2015 entering class!  All that said, this post is not so much for you.

Next, let me say that I’m sorry to bid farewell to a group of applicants who were denied admission.  We always regret making these difficult decisions, but we hope it will help the applicants make their choices on where else they should apply.

This post is really for those applicants whose applications were deferred for review in the spring, a good news/bad news situation.  The bad news is the lack of happy admissions news, but the good news is that you still have the opportunity to try to bring about happy news in March.  Our Admissions Committee will gladly review an update to your application!  But what makes a useful addition?  Here’s a list of updates that we particularly value:

  • An updated transcript that reflects grades received since you submitted your application;
  • New standardized exam (GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, IELTS) score reports;
  • A revised résumé that includes information on a new job position;
  • An additional recommendation that sheds light on an aspect of your background you weren’t able to illuminate in other parts of the application.

Before I go on, I’ll emphasize that no one is required to submit an update.  Not at all!  But you are invited to submit one, and why would you turn down this opportunity?

What type of optional update is best for you?  Well, the first thing to do is consider whether you have your own suspicions regarding weaker aspects of your application.  Are those aspects something you can improve on?  For example, did you decide it would be better not to mention the causes of your weak undergraduate semester?  I’d encourage you to explain it, particularly if it pulls down your overall GPA.  Did you indicate that your language skills are not strong enough to pass our proficiency exam?  Send us information on your plan for achieving proficiency before the end of the summer.  Did you mistype your years of employment at a certain job, making it look like you were there for two months, rather than four years and two months?  You can make that correction now.  And, if your GRE/GMAT scores were significantly lower than you expected, you may want to take the test again.

Another suggestion:  If, upon reflection, your essay didn’t state your goals as clearly as you would have liked, send us a clarifying email!  We won’t substitute it for your personal statement, but it will certainly be reviewed.  This could be particularly helpful if you’ve taken steps to learn more about your ultimate career goal.

Possible additions to your application need not be limited to what I’ve listed above.  The key question to ask yourself is:  Does this actually add anything?  If the information is already included in your application, then there’s there’s not much value in sending it again.  That is, an additional academic recommendation will add little to an application that already includes three.  On the other hand, a professional recommendation will add a lot to an application that only includes academic recommendations.  Think it through before you flood us with info, but don’t hesitate to send us something that will give your application a happy bump.

Whether you were offered admission this week, or you were told we’ll reconsider your application in the spring, we look forward to hearing from you and to working with you during the coming months.  Please be sure to be in touch if you have questions.

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PhD applicants:  You’re part of a small subset of our total group of applicants, but you certainly have the most complex application!  Last week, our student interns were taking questions daily about the finer point of the process, but many questions revolved around the dissertation proposal requirement.  Yes, we know that a formal dissertation proposal is often a post-coursework requirement in other PhD programs.  In fact, that’s the case here, too.  So what are we looking for in the proposal that should accompany your application?  Well, let’s start with the instructions.

PhD Proposal (1,500 words maximum, single-spaced, Arial 12 point font)
Your PhD Proposal should include:

  • A title
  • A researchable topic: what question do you propose to study and what evidence are you bringing to bear?
  • A brief overview of the literature of the field
  • A short description of the proposed methodology for research: how does your research question fit into the existing body of scholarship?  How do you propose to answer your research question? What methodologies do you propose to use?

The purpose of this preliminary proposal is to ensure there is a good match between the applicant’s interests and the expertise among the faculty at Fletcher.  It’s expected that your interests will be refined as you complete classes for the program, but it’s also expected that the subject of your research focus will remain essentially the same.

The other most-often-asked question regards the master’s thesis.  Again, let’s turn to the instructions:

MA Thesis or a writing sample of approximately 40 pages (in English)
Please upload a copy of your thesis to the online application.  If your master’s program did not require the writing of a thesis, you can provide a substantial writing sample as a substitute, so long as you are the sole author.

There are two reasons behind this requirement.  First, all Fletcher PhD students must complete a master’s thesis.  If they haven’t done so in their master’s degree program, they need to write one while at Fletcher.  Second, and more important for admissions purposes, the faculty on the PhD Admissions Committee want to see that you can make an argument and follow it through — the kind of research and writing work that you will need to do as a student here.  As the instructions note, you can submit another research paper, but you’ll want to be sure that it’s a good representative sample of your best work.  Often we’re asked whether a shorter paper will do the trick.  Well, um, I guess…but do you want to be judged on the basis of a ten-page paper when everyone else is presenting 50 pages?  Give it some thought and then try to find the best possible example of your writing.

Our online application system tells me that dozens of PhD applicants are in the process of completing their applications.  With five days leading to the December 20 deadline, I hope these notes will be helpful for those who are wrapping up their materials.

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The first Friday in December is a big day around the Admissions Office.  It’s when we kick off the year’s discussion of applications with our first Admissions Committee meeting.  And that’s where I’ll be going in just a few minutes.

Early Notification applicants may want to know what’s happening around here.  You just learned that we’ll be discussing some of your applications today.  In addition, I’ll add that nearly every complete application has already been read by two Committee members.  We’ll be finishing those last applications in the next few days.  Then we begin the extended period of making final decisions and notifying applicants.  For the EN round, students may be admitted, or we may defer consideration of an application to the spring.  In a few cases, we’ll notify applicants that they have not been admitted to Fletcher; we hope that learning this in December helps them make decisions on which other graduate schools to apply to in January.

And so, coffee mug in hand, I’m off to the first meeting of the year!

 

Because so many Americans head out on the highway to visit family and friends for Thanksgiving, I thought Admissions road trips might make good Thanksgiving reading.  From Liz’s most recent trip, back to our old friend Peter’s trip to California during a period of wildfires, I’m lucky that someone is always willing to write about fall travels.

And because the time is right for many people who will apply in January to be working through their personal statements, I’ve gathered posts on essays for you.  If you go back far enough, we were working with slightly different prompts (topics), but the essence of our guidance is still the same.

 

As I note every year, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I’ll be joined by a bunch of family members for the traditional chaotic family meal.

But maybe Thanksgiving is not your holiday, and you’d like the blog to keep delivering content.  Or perhaps it is your holiday, and you finally have some time to catch up on past posts.  Fear not, blog readers.  The blog will keep working through the holiday to bring you up-to-date on topics that may interest you.

And this always seems like a good moment to thank you for reading the blog.  There are many ways to gather information about Fletcher, from our Facebook page, to our website, to our Twitter feed (not to mention the Admissions Facebook page, website, and Twitter feed), so I appreciate that you include the blog among your information gathering venues.

Now I’m off to prep for the holiday.  Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, wherever you are!

(Note that the Admissions Office, and the rest of Tufts University, will be closed both tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday.)

 

Adapting to a new application system meant we weren’t sure how many student staff members we would need this year.  It turned out we need one more than we first introduced in October.  Today, meet David, our newest student intern hire.

Davd THi everyone!  I am a first-year MALD, focusing on democratization and human security.  I am particularly interested in transitional governments, former communist countries and Latin America.  I am a first-generation American, born and raised in Wheaton, IL.  I attended DePauw University for my undergraduate studies and majored in political science and Spanish.  Prior to Fletcher, I lived in the Czech Republic teaching high school English on a Fulbright grant.  I have also completed internships with The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the U.S. State Department.

While this is my first semester at Fletcher, I have found it tremendously easy to get involved and have really enjoyed becoming part of the Fletcher community.  I am currently a researcher on a joint Fletcher-ICRC study on conflict migration in the Sahel, co-president of the European Club, and a member of the Tufts Refugee Assistance Program.  Outside the classroom, I love hanging out with other Fletcher students, exploring Boston, and venturing out to find new restaurants and breweries in the area.  I look forward to hearing from you soon!

 

I’ve already described my exciting road trips to Boston’s western suburbs and the great state of Maine (which — fun fact! — used to be part of Massachusetts), but I thought you’d want to hear from one of the staffers who traveled a greater distance for Fletcher.  Here’s Liz’s report!

Hello Blog readers!  I recently got back from a great recruiting trip to Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, and Beijing and wanted to share some pictures from my trip!

I arrived in Tokyo first, and had a few hours before I my work obligations.  I really like to see the sights when I visit cities, especially if it means I get a great view.  As such, before I went to work, I decided to try and visit some of Tokyo’s highest structures.  I had already visited the Tokyo Tower, so I wanted to see the new Tokyo Sky Tree!  The Sky Tree boasts heights of 350 and 450 meters, and so it was on my to-do list!  I took the elevator up to the first landing and was greeted with amazing views of all of Tokyo and could even see all the way to Mt. Fuji!  I was thrilled the weather cooperated and gave me a great clear day.

Here you can see me (actually my feet!) standing on the glass floor 350 meters up!

TOkyoAfter the Sky Tree, it was time to get to work!  I headed to our admissions event where I caught up with some of our fantastic Japanese alums.

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After my visit to Japan, it was time to head to Seoul, South Korea where I got to meet some great prospective students and see another terrific Fletcher alum, who helped me represent Fletcher at the admissions fair!

Liz and Han

My time in Seoul was brief, but I did have the opportunity to go out for some delicious Korean BBQ – one of my favorite foods:

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From Seoul I headed to China for visits to Shanghai and Beijing.  I was particularly excited to visit one of our partner schools, China Europe International Business School (CEIBS).  I had a great time touring the CEIBS campus and meeting my counterparts there.CEIBSIn Shanghai I also had the opportunity to have dinner with some colleagues at one of my favorite restaurants — Din Tai Fung.  Though they are a chain and have restaurants all around the world, I still love to go whenever I can!  If you ever have the chance, get the soup dumplings – you won’t regret it!
ShanghaiFrom Shanghai I headed to Beijing to finish up my trip — where we participated in another admissions fair and I also did some interviews.  The highlight however was a group dinner where we had Peking Duck. There were about 30 school representatives from all over the world, so it was really fun to make some new friends and enjoy a Chinese specialty!

picstitchAll in all it was a wonderful trip!  I had a chance to meet really interesting prospective Fletcher students and catch up with some enthusiastic Fletcher alums, and even had time for a little sight-seeing!  If you missed us in Asia this time around, not to worry, we will be back in Seoul and Tokyo in early December.  To see where else we’ll be, feel free to check out our travel calendar.

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A question that comes up regularly in our emails, conversations, meetings, and info sessions regards opportunities for students to find work as research or teaching assistants.  This fall, I snagged several emails publicizing RA/TA opportunities and I thought I’d share them here.  I’ve taken out the specifics — the point is to give you an idea of what professors might be looking for, without implying that these exact positions will be available in any given semester.  I also don’t want to lead you to think that every student has an RA or TA position.  The majority of students who work on campus are supporting office activities.  All of those qualifications aside, these notices may help you imagine what would be available whenever you enroll.

1.  TA needed for international law course
We are looking for a TA to help with organizing and teaching an undergraduate course taught by Fletcher international law faculty.  Ideally, you would have the following qualifications:  1) Background in international law; 2) You would still be at Fletcher next year.  You would be the TA for the course this spring, and next spring, you would be the coordinating instructor with another TA.

Your tasks would include the following:
- preparing discussion questions and leading weekly discussion groups;
- helping to organize a moot court exercise;
- assisting with general logistics of the course, including grading;
- holding half of the office hours.

2.  A Professor announces the availability of five research assistant positions
Positions 1-3 require assisting in a research and writing project on the fusion between religion and nationalism in Israel, India (the Hindutva Movement in particular), Palestine (Hamas in particular), Sri Lanka, and Serbia. The positions require the assistants to conduct research on manifestations of the fusion between religion and nationalism in one (or two) of the above areas and their policy implications, summarize reading materials, and draft short papers. The successful candidates should have relevant academic background and knowledge about one of the above-mentioned areas and good writing skills. Each position requires 8-10 hours per week.

Position 4 requires assisting in the following tasks: a) coordinating a seminar series for the Fletcher Seminar on International Conflict (three to four seminars per semester);  b) preparing the material for a web site page for the INCR program and the various research projects it conducts; c) coordinating the necessary technical steps to design the web site and post the material.  This position requires an average of 8 hours per week.

Position 5 requires assistance in a research and writing project on “new paradigms in conflict resolution.”  The position requires the assistant to conduct research on major issues in the conflict resolution field, summarize reading materials, and copy-edit drafted chapters. The successful candidate should have relevant academic background and should have taken or should be currently taking D223 at Fletcher or an equivalent course in another institution. This position requires an average of 8-10 hours per week.

3.   A research group seeks to hire researchers to complete case study reports as part of its “How Mass Atrocities End” research project.
Project Description:  There is no other phase of mass atrocities that is less studied yet more debated than endings. Individual case study analyses of endings are usually characterized by lament over the enormous losses incurred and a hasty summary of the final moments. Debates in policy, activism, and scholarship often take as their starting point a more ideal ending in which outside forces (usually armed) are able, theoretically, to change the ending next time. Actual endings—discussion of when and how large-scale violence against civilians declines in frequency and scale—are notably absent from the discussion.

This project aims to help fill that gap by creating a dataset that focuses exclusively on the ending of atrocities.  Researchers will be required to select a case study and complete a report.

4.  Researchers needed for Fletcher/ICRC project
This year Fletcher is working with the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) to develop a “Joint Lab” around the issue of conflict migration.  The first set of questions focuses on assessing current humanitarian challenges entailed in conflict migration in the Sahel and North Africa. This segment of the work of the Joint Lab is oriented toward building a firm foundation of knowledge on conflict migration in the region, focusing on gathering and analyzing available data related to migration flows and migrant needs, as well as assessing the current networks of local, regional and international organizations engaged in the response to the humanitarian needs of migrants in the region.  One or two Research Assistants are needed to help put together a desk review on this topic.  We expect a commitment of 6-8 hours a week.

5.  Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Tufts needs Winter Study Group Leaders
The Osher LLI at Tufts is an adult education program for retirees with one important characteristic in common:  a desire for intellectual stimulation in a convivial atmosphere.  Which is exactly what our program offers.  No tests.  No pressure.  No grades. Just learning for the sheer joy of it.  While most of our classes are led by our own members—”seniors teaching seniors”—we generally supplement our offerings with study groups led by Tufts graduate students, often from Fletcher.

We’re currently soliciting proposals for our 8-week spring 2015 program and we’d love to hear from any Fletcher grad students who might be interested in leading a 4- or 8-session study group for us.

 

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