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Our friend and Admissions Canine Representative, Murray, is all dressed up and looking forward to reading applications for September 2018 enrollment, some of which have already arrived or will arrive today before our Early Notification deadline.  (As usual, Murray reminds you that the ultimate last minute for submitting the application is 11:59 PM EST (UTC-4) today, November 15.)

We have our Admissions Committee — including ten new student members (two for MIB, eight for MALD/MA) — ready to start their reading, and we’ll be meeting early in December.  The turnaround is pretty quick on Early Notification applications.  Everyone with a complete application will hear from us before the end of December.

That speedy process means that, if you’re one of the EN applicants, you should make sure all needed materials reach us very soon.  All the basics (form, essays, transcripts) should be submitted by tonight’s deadline, and you’ll want any lagging items (test scores or recommendations, for example) to reach us within the next week.  Incomplete applications will simply be rolled into the regular application group, which means you’ll have until January 10 to gather those last materials.  (No penalty, and not a big deal, but you also won’t get an early response from us.)

I don’t have a gingham tie of my own but, like Murray, I’m looking forward to reading some applications!

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I was at my favorite Davis Square Farmers Market yesterday (convenient to Tufts, open every Wednesday until the day before Thanksgiving) and the weather was the subject of most of my conversations.  We’ve been gliding along on a stream of endless summery days, but on Tuesday, the winds started to blow and suddenly the weather is what we expect for November in the Boston area.  And once the temperatures dropped, November seemed very real.  I’ve barely been thinking about the big events of the month — Thanksgiving at home, and Early Notification at work — but now that November feels like November, the month is impossible to ignore.

You don’t need to worry about my Thanksgiving planning (still in only the formative stages, but there will be pies), but you might be thinking about applying by our November 15 Early Notification deadline.  If you’re looking for application tips, you could start with the week of Application Boot Camp posts we wrote a few years ago.  (Note two changes since then: First, only two recommendations are required, not three; and second, here are this year’s application instructions.)  Advice on the essays and résumé would still apply.

At the risk of repeating things I’ve written already, I’ll remind you that applying early is great for everyone — we take care of some of our applications in the fall instead of in January, and an early offer of admission means our admitted students have more time to plan.  But that’s only true if you’re really ready to submit your application.  If you are going to rush it through or send it along with pieces missing, that’s not going to serve you well.  Apply early if you’re ready to apply early, and otherwise wait until January.  There’s no admissions advantage for Early Notification applications, and we’ll look forward to reading your story on some snowy day.

That’s about all I have to say about Early Notification until after we’ve released decisions, but I hope you’ll contact us if you have any questions.

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DYK #1:  Did you know that you can have the Admissions Blog delivered to your inbox whenever there’s a new post?  Yes, indeed.  Save yourself precious seconds each day.  All you need to do is look over to the left-side panel on this page.  See where it says “Subscribe to Admissions News & Updates via RSS“?  After you click subscribe, you’ll be delivered to a page where you can decide how to subscribe, and you’re not limited to an RSS feed.  Email is another option.  Go for it!  No more checking the blog site each day to see if we’ve answered your question on what to include in your application essays.

DYK #2:  Did you know that, if you would like to participate in an evaluative interview for September 2018 enrollment, you should arrange your appointment now?  That’s the way we do it here — interviews before you submit your application, and the interview program runs only until December 8.  Don’t wait until the last minute to schedule your interview!

DYK #3:  I’ve been asked a few times lately if Fletcher’s Early Decision applications are binding, as they are for many undergraduate programs.  The answer is no.  You can apply by our November 15 ED deadline without worry that you are surrendering all other options.  (Oops.  Forgot to use the “did you know” format for this one.)

DYK #4:  Did you know that there are still plenty of opportunities to connect with us coming up on our Calendar of Events?  Though Admissions travel is gradually winding down, there’s still an APSIA tour through Asia, information sessions both virtual and on campus, interviews on and off campus, coffee hours on campus, and more!  Come see us or connect with us soon!

 

And now a quick word for our prospective 2018 Januarians.  The applications submitted by folks hoping to enroll in January are now working their way through the process.  Many have already been reviewed.  Dan spent yesterday reading and Liz is following up today.  (Thank goodness for my Admissions pals, since I haven’t had a chance to read a single file yet.)  We even pulled a student into the process.  One of the returning members of the Admissions Committee was able to jump in to read a few applications and help push the process along.  Though we’ve had plenty to read, there’s about an equal number of applications still waiting for materials (recommendations or test scores, generally).  If that’s your story, make sure everything is going to come together very soon.

We’re often asked how long the process will take.  International students, especially, are concerned that they won’t have time to secure their visas.  Even U.S.-based students want to know that they’ll have time to arrange a move.  You can be sure that this very short turn-around period is at the front of our minds.  Decisions will be released in time for everyone to make plans — all the more reason to speedily submit those lagging elements of the application.

 

This is Murray.  Murray’s human is my Admissions pal, Dan.  The rest of the Admissions staff has embraced Murray (more accurately, the thought of Murray, since he has seldom visited the office) as our Admissions Canine Representative.

Today, Murray is here to remind readers of the upcoming October 15 deadline for January 2018 enrollment.  (When we say the deadline is October 15, we mean that you should submit your application by 11:59 PM EDT (UTC-4) on October 15.  Delay one minute longer and it would no longer be October 15.)

While we’re on the subject of deadlines, Murray wants applicants for September 2018 enrollment to remember that they can take advantage of the November 15 Early Notification deadline.  Though I admit that we’re happy to front-load a little of our application-reading work, you shouldn’t worry that your application will be at a disadvantage if you wait until January.  Early Notification can be great for people who will need to relocate for graduate school or, really, anyone who simply wants an early answer.  If that’s you, please stay on top of the November 15 deadline.

And to everyone, the materials that are due by your selected deadline are the application, transcripts, test scores, and any other pieces that originate with you.  If your recommender is a little slow in writing, we understand.  You need to provide the recommender with timely reminders, but we won’t consider your application to be late if the recommendation is late.

Murray looks forward to seeing your application.

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While I wait to fly home from Washington, DC, I thought I’d reflect on the big Idealist fair last night.  Strangely, I’m not finding a common theme for the questions asked at this or any of the fairs I’ve done this fall.  Some years, I feel like I’ve answered the GRE question continuously for three hours.  Not so last night.  A few GRE questions, sure.  But lots of other topics.

(The answer, by the way, is that Fletcher does not use any arbitrary score cut-off.  And if you haven’t taken the exam yet, the answer is that you should score as high as you possibly can.  A target that I would give you isn’t rooted in your reality. Just prepare for the exam so that you can manage your time and nerves, and get the maximum score that you, given your knowledge, can get.)

Not surprisingly for DC, there were a number of questions about security studies.  But I also had a lot of nice conversations about the work that students in the environment field (and the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy) are doing.  Again, no common theme.

I had two 2017 graduates helping out at the table — Cristina, who was a two-year friend of Admissions, and Adnan, who you all know through his posts for the blog.  Since I first met Adnan at a grad school fair, it was fun to include him in this one.

At one point, it didn’t look like the evening would go so smoothly.  My box of materials, which was supposed to be delivered by Friday, was instead delivered on Monday.  I had a firm Plan B for if it didn’t arrive (facilitated by Liz and Lucas, who packed up a bag of materials for me on Friday when I wasn’t at Fletcher), but it involved some running back and forth between the hotel and the exhibition center.  Not ideal.  The reward for our careful planning was that the box arrived at 2:00 and didn’t mess with my time at the fair at all.

With that, I’m heading to the airport and my flight back to Boston.

 

These past few weeks, I’ve been traveling a little more than usual (as the Admissions staffer who travels the least).  I’m heading off to Washington, DC today for the Idealist graduate school fair.  After this, I’ll be glued to my desk chair, which will make blogging easier, though it’s also nice to be out and about now and then.

If you’ll be at DC Idealist tonight, be sure to say hello.  I’ll have a 2017 graduate (or two) with me, so prepare your questions about the Fletcher student experience.

And meanwhile, I should note that all my Admissions pals are in and out of the office, too.  Kristen returned from India last week, and Dan will be back in the office today, following a week trekking around New England with some of our closest APSIA friends.  Check out our travel schedule to see if we’ll soon be somewhere near you.

 

It’s just before 10:00 as I write and I can say that our evaluative interview program is now in full swing.  All that was required was four members of the Admissions team huddled around the front desk to remind ourselves of the parts of the process that are hard to recall until they’re actually needed.  But I think we’ve got it now — high fives all around.  And the day’s first interview seems to have gone swimmingly.  Interviewer and interviewee emerged smiling.

I’ve already written a few posts to encourage all you applicants out there to schedule an interview.  We’re nearly fully booked this week, but there are plenty of appointments available for the coming weeks.  Whether you prefer to visit us on campus or participate in a Skype interview, sign up now to grab a convenient day and time.  (And if you visit campus for your interview, you can build an information session, class visit, or coffee with a student into your day.)

This afternoon, I’ll be zipping over to Boston University for an Idealist Graduate School Fair.  If you’re there, be sure to say hello.

With interviews and the fair this afternoon occupying my time, I don’t have much brain power left for blog creativity.  I’ll leave it to a professor/PhD-candidate duo to share their creative ideas with you.  The screen below will take you to an online discussion of their research.

 

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.

 

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