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With the academic year behind us and the September 2017 admissions cycle more or less wrapped up, it’s time for the Admissions staff to look ahead and turn our attention to summer projects and routine work.  Some of the items on our to-do lists are: Boston Summerfest at Fletcher; Coffee Hours around the world; a new publication to use in the fall; travel planning; continuing student scholarship renewal; application upgrades; and mundane tasks such as booking rooms we’ll need in the next academic year.  (Just writing that reminded me it’s not too early to book rooms for Admissions Committee meetings.)

Essentially, we won’t be doing much that interests Admissions Blog readers, except possibly if we decide on additional application tweaks.

Fortunately for all of us, that doesn’t mean that the blog will be daily drudgery.  One benefit of my having been overwhelmed with good content in the spring is that I still have lots to share in the coming weeks: Class of 2011 and 2016 updates, general news from the school, tips from students and faculty.  All those are coming up soon, though I’m sure I won’t be posting quite as frequently as I did through the spring.  And gradually I’ll shift focus from sharing information with the incoming class toward helping prepare future applicants as we look ahead to a new application cycle.

As ever, I’d love to cover topics of interest to readers.  To suggest a topic or ask a question, please contact us!

 

About a week ago, we all took out our calendars to find a day when we could have an off-site retreat.  Turns out that, after this week, there were precisely zero days when we would all be here.  (Admissions folks tend not to take vacation time during the admissions cycle, meaning we take it all during the summer.  Plus, there’s a little recruitment travel on the calendar.)  In a last attempt to identify at least a few hours, we realized that yesterday was the day.  We had some sandwiches delivered and started talking.

When we were talking wistfully about the beautiful weather outside, Laurie suggested taking a walk.  (We’re all involved in a University “steps challenge,” so there was an added incentive to get out there.)  We meandered over to the roof of the main library.  Here’s a view of the “green roof” portion:

And here’s the view of the city from the roof:

But you might be more interested in the outcome of the discussions than about our mini-field trip.  We talked about deferral and reapplication procedures.  (Some minor changes will be implemented).  We discussed the application reading process and the application itself.  (We agreed that we wouldn’t change the application essay prompts.)  Most of the rest of the discussion was essentially administrative.  (Who will do what, and when.)  Overall, a productive four hours, even if we couldn’t quite pull off a full-day retreat.

 

7:35 this morning found me elbow-to-elbow with my Admissions pal Kristen, registering visiting prospective students who are at Fletcher for the Admitted Student Open House.  We sent them off to the coat racks and to breakfast, and then we heard from Dean Sheehan about his own path to Fletcher.  (Dean Sheehan is the dean for all sorts of things that aren’t academic.)

The next set of comments came from two current students — who both shared tales of internships/jobs already arranged with the support of Fletcher alumni — and then the crowd was divided by degree program for program-specific introductions.  The remainder of the day is a constant challenge in decision making: attend a class; attend a student panel; visit an office; participate in a roundtable.  At 5:00, we hope they’ll remember to swing back to Admissions and grab their bags.

Good idea, pink bag student!  You won’t have trouble recognizing your suitcase.

Even after our formal activities have wrapped up, there’s an open event at 5:30, Fletcher Reads the Newspaper, which gathers a group of interdisciplinary Fletcher experts to discuss a current news topic.  The Fletcher Reads the Newspaper series is, according to the announcement, “a platform for integrating the skills and contextual knowledge that are central to a Fletcher education, where panelists and audience members participate in examining the problem – and the solutions – through multiple disciplinary lenses.”  The subject for this evening’s session is:

Resolved: “The US and international system of checks and balances will contain the extremes of the Trump Administration”

Visitors in the audience will be more than welcome to participate, alongside current students.

I admit, the Admissions staff will not be joining the discussion.  We’ll be on our way home, where I think it’s fair to say, we all look forward to swapping shoes for slippers.  We’ve been on our feet and enjoying meeting people whose applications we remember since 3:30 yesterday.  The Open House is a really fun event, but just crazy enough that we’re also happy to wrap it up at the end of the day.

It’s noon now and I’m going to grab my box lunch before heading off to a few lunchtime discussion sessions, to check in with the faculty leaders.  Then back to Admissions to answer questions, a student panel at 3:20, more questions at 4:30, and farewells at 5:00.  A long but happy day!

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It’s a beautiful day, but the Tufts campus is notably depopulated, thanks to Spring Break.  As I tromped up from my bus this morning, I passed only two students, and it was quiet enough that I could hear a woodpecker on a distant tree.  There were precisely zero people in the Hall of Flags when I walked through.

Fletcher students approach Spring Break in a number of ways.  Some folks stay in town, work on internship/job searches, write their capstones, or otherwise use the time to lift some pressure from the end of the semester.  Others will visit friends or family, or travel for a few days with fellow students.  But more and more students are pursuing structured travel options, such as the Israel/Palestine Trek, which promises meetings “with prominent Israelis and Palestinians in the political, business, and security sectors,” or the Colombia Trek, where participants “will engage with government, NGO, rebel, and U.S. actors to better understand how Colombia can navigate the road to reunification,” following the signing of the country’s peace agreement.  Past participants in Fletcher treks have reported an exciting, if exhausting, week of travel and learning with friends and peers.

As for those of us left behind in Admissions, we’ll continue the upstream swim to stay ahead of our inboxes, but there will be less traffic in and out of the office from current students and faculty.  For one week, the building is owned by the staff.  The perfect working conditions as we start our second week following releasing decisions.  And with that, I’m going to turn to email.  But before I do, a quick reminder that I still want to know what you want to read!  If you haven’t already completed the blog suggestions survey, please do!

 

 

Not only because my well of ideas occasionally runs dry, but more importantly because I aim to provide useful information, I would like to invite readers to answer my three-question survey.  It’s easy-peasy and gives you the opportunity to suggest the topics that student bloggers and I will cover throughout the spring.  I won’t go on, because I’d prefer you apply your time to the survey.  Thanks, in advance, for sharing your ideas!

 

Not every country changes the clocks to take advantage of summer sunshine, and the ones that do roll forward or back on different dates.  For those outside the U.S., please note that we are currently in Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT), which is UTC-4.  We moved the clocks ahead on Sunday morning, and we know from past experience that this will catch some folks by surprise when they learn they have missed a scheduled phone call with us.  Please take note!  If you are outside the U.S., do the calculation so that you call at the correct time.

To emphasize the importance of this information, I have called in Dan’s pal, Murray.

As we can see, Murray is eagerly looking forward to your 10:00 phone call.  He’s a busy dog, though, and you don’t want to keep him waiting.


While his scheduled 10:00 caller mistakenly assumes it’s still only 9:10, he will give up waiting and settle in for his nap.


Naturally, Admissions staffers don’t nap every time someone is late for an appointment, but you still don’t want us to move on to the next activity.  Please be sure you’ve made note of the time difference between Fletcher and wherever you’re calling from.

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Here we are again.  Me, my computer, and my cup of tea, working in my kitchen.  But this time it isn’t because I’m reading applications at home.  Instead, Mother Nature has decided that a March snowstorm is what the East Coast was missing, and the University is closed today.

Does that mean you won’t receive a timely answer to your admission or waitlist questions?  No, the snowstorm will not affect our handling of the email inbox — we’re all working at home.

Alas, I still can’t guarantee a quick response to your questions.  Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day, but we were already falling behind.  Each of us tap-tap-tapped away at our emails, but whenever we crossed paths, we agreed that we had already lost the inbox battle.

Don’t take that to mean that you shouldn’t send your questions.  Please do!  But also be patient with me and my Admissions pals as we work our way through the requests for information.

We’ll be back in the office tomorrow (Wednesday) to take your calls and continue our inbox attack.

 

It’s the Monday after!  We’re pleased that decisions went out without a major hitch, with Friday finding us in the strange decision-day position of working in a quiet office, as if nothing special were going on.  Only the email inbox gave hints that it wasn’t a typical quiet afternoon.  Even while the decisions were rolling out, we were receiving notes of thanks and waitlist reply forms.  I tried, semi-successfully, to keep myself focused on the work I had set out to do.

Decision day is also when the blog is at its most popular.  I’m glad that we can help illuminate the process, which was our goal when we started it, way back in September 2006. (And hello to my reader(s) in Trinidad & Tobago!  It was surprising, and fun, to see T&T among the countries with active blog readers last week.)

Today I want to offer my congratulations to everyone who was admitted on Friday!  We’re excited to start the next phase of our work — meeting you (in person or virtually), taking your questions, and watching the September 2017 class form.  In a sense, though, our job is easy compared to yours.  In a relatively short time, you need to gather the information that will lead to an informed decision about your next steps.  We know that research goes into the selection of schools to apply to, but we always find that the more complex questions are raised only after admission decisions go out.  To that end, contact us, review the Fletcher website, and be sure to look at the student profiles, which will connect you with our community.  We’ll also be sharing tons of information with you during the next few weeks, aiming to surround you with Fletcher love.  Naturally, we hope you’ll decide to enroll here.

To those who were offered a place on the waitlist, please stay tuned to the blog.  If you are offered admission down the road, you’ll have a very narrow window for making your decision.  Please be sure you’re ready, should the opportunity arise.

And, finally, if you were not offered admission, remember that you can request feedback after May 1.  We will offer you information that will help you understand the Admissions Committee’s decision.  Following the guidance we provide is often the pathway to a successful future application.

Now I’m going to attack my inbox, which is curiously busy for a Monday morning.

 

Check check checkity check check.  We have gone through the master to-do list and arrived at the day when we will release decisions.  Here are the details.

First, all decisions will be released today by 3:00 p.m. EST (UTC-5) for all complete applications except for the MATA program.  (MATA decisions will go out soon, but not this week.)

When your decision is ready, you’ll receive an email to check your Application Status Page.  (Reminder for those who haven’t bookmarked the page:  To access your Application Status Page you can either click the “Start an Application” link on the Admissions website or the application link.  You’ll log in with the email and password you used when you created your application.)

There will be no releasing of decisions by telephone or email, so please be patient.

I already described the different decision options on Tuesday and Wednesday.  In addition to learning their admission decision, when admitted applicants log in, they will be able to find their scholarship award.

Beyond all that, let me just say that it is truly a pleasure to work with our applicants.  On the road, here at Fletcher, and through correspondence, Admissions staff members connect with hundreds of people who submit applications each year.  Our connection with some applicants goes back many years.  At the same time as the Admissions Committee’s mandate is to put together a class that will succeed at, contribute to, and benefit from Fletcher, there are many people who may not be admitted at this time but who we know will ultimately be great students.  We hope to see you again.  Meanwhile, I want to thank all of you for your interest in Fletcher and for reading the Admissions Blog throughout the year.

 

Barring some crazy unforeseeable weather event, we’ll be releasing decisions tomorrow.  In my final post to prepare readers for their admission decisions, I want to cover a few points.

Scholarship awards

Fletcher has a source of scholarship funds for new and continuing students.  All of the funds allocated for incoming students (including those who applied by the Early Notification deadline and were admitted in December) will be offered as scholarships this month.  The award information is included in admission letters.

Here’s what you need to know about the scholarship business.  If we have $100 in our special pot of scholarship cash, we don’t simply distribute $100.  Instead, we reckon that half of the award recipients will decide to continue working, attend another program, or, for whatever reason, decline our offer of admission.  This is predictably the case and, with enrollment history in mind, we actually distribute $200 in scholarships.  It’s a gamble, but if we’ve done our math right, it’s a safe gamble.

Why do you need to learn about this back-office aspect of awarding scholarships?  Let’s imagine that Jim and Bill are friends who have applied to Fletcher.  Both are admitted and receive $100 scholarships.  Bill decides to enroll at Fletcher, but Jim decides to postpone graduate school for a year.  Bill knows that Jim has received a $100 scholarship, and Bill would like to claim it for himself.  Alas, Jim’s award doesn’t represent actual cash that goes back in the pot, and Bill cannot have it after Jim moves on.

At the end of the enrollment process, we’ll calculate how much genuine money has been added back to the scholarship account.  One thing you can be sure of is that we will distribute all of the available funds.

Note that, if you’re in a two-year program, you’ll learn your two-year award so that you can plan ahead.  We make scholarship decisions based on a combination of merit and need: for any level of merit — as determined through the application review process — the larger awards go to those with greater need.  We hope that all applicants will be happy with their awards, though we know that only Admissions Committee members have the full picture of the breadth of need (and merit, for that matter) among the admitted applicants.  Fletcher’s applicant pool is diverse in every possible way.

Waitlist ranking

As I mentioned yesterday, we don’t rank the waitlist.  And while you can and should update us with information that brightens up your application, you can’t wrangle your way to the top of the list.  In fact, there isn’t a top of the list.  Each time we make an offer of admission from the waitlist, we’ll be doing so with the nature of the enrolling class in mind.  For example, if more men than women have decided to enroll, we might even out that situation via the waitlist.  In other words, the “list” is really a fluid thing.  And remember Jim and Bill from the scholarship example? When Jim makes his decision not to enroll, it doesn’t mean we’ll be going right to the waitlist.  We need to wait until after April 20 before we’ll know how close we have come to our planned enrollment.

Reversing decisions

This one is easy.  We don’t reverse decisions.  I’m sorry.

I think that should do it.  Readers now know everything they need to know about decisions.  Looking forward to admitting some folks tomorrow!

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