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In just a few minutes, I’ll be on an airplane to Washington, DC for tonight’s Idealist Grad School Fair. I’m expecting a busy evening. Fortunately, I’ve booked in two great alumni, Kiyomi and Margot, and I’m confident we can keep the information flowing without anyone needing to wait in line for too long. Plus, I get to catch up with two great Friends of Admissions from their student days.
I’ll be trying to pick out the question of the evening, as I did in Boston last week. If there’s a good theme, I’ll report back on Thursday. Until then, if you’re planning to be at the Washington Convention Center tonight, come on over and say hello.
Monday and Tuesday slipped by me this week. I’ve been working on several different things, but I’ve spent much of my time creating a schedule for the students who have volunteered to conduct interviews for us. Scheduling went unusually smoothly this year, which isn’t to say that there aren’t abundant eraser shavings on and under my desk. I needed to do significant fiddling to ensure a match between the interview timeslots and volunteers’ schedules.
We’ll kick off the fall interview program on Monday, September 26, and we have more than 25 interviewees already signed up to chat on campus or via Skype next week with our current students. If you are applying for 2017 enrollment, and if you would like to schedule an evaluative interview, I would encourage you to grab a slot now. You don’t need to interview in September if you don’t want to, but you also don’t want to wait until November to sign up. There’s a good chance that everything will be booked up by then.
Remember that interviews are optional, but they are evaluative. You’ll be talking about the basics — your background, your objectives for study at Fletcher and beyond, and what you’ll bring to the community. I hope you’ll be among the applicants who will meet a student, whether face-to-face or via Skype.
Every so often I like to check in with Admissions Blog readers and have you direct (or redirect) me toward valuable content for the blog. It’s like crowdsourcing my brainstorming. You want to read useful information, and I want to write or recruit content that you’ll find valuable. It’s a win-win!
To that end, please add your ideas to this ultraquick three-question survey. If every reader provided one suggestion, I’d have topics to last me well into the winter! And I promise to do my best with any topics you provide. So please, help me out, cure my writer’s block, and offer up some ideas on the survey. Every time I would otherwise be staring at a blank screen, I will thank you.
I wrote last week that the Admissions staff has started to hit the road. Last Thursday, we sent Lucas to New York for his first Idealist graduate school fair with Fletcher. Today it’s my turn! I’m on my way to NY for the annual APSIA fair, which is held at the Council on Foreign Relations. It’s a busy event, but focused. Everyone who attends is interested in some corner of the broad international affairs arena. I’ll have two alumni with me (and plenty of water to drink). If you’re going to be there, please stop by and say hello!
The Hall of Flags is in full hum today, with new and continuing students popping in and out of Shopping Day sessions. I always think of this first day of the academic year as being the start of a new “blog year,” too.
To kick off Blog Year 2016-17, I’d like to point you toward some of the blog’s past content. For starters, there are the regular posts written for the Student Stories feature, which will continue this year with both returning and new writers. And there are the occasional Faculty Spotlight posts — shining that light on aspects of the professors’ Fletcher life that you won’t see represented elsewhere.
Among the posts from Student Stories writers are what we call “Annotated Curricula.” You can think of them as the roadmap that our writers took through their two Fletcher years.
And then there’s the straightforward admissions stuff. A few years ago, a student member of the staff wrote the “Dear Ariel” column, in which she answered commonly asked questions. I hope to bring a similar feature back this year, once our student staff is back in place. And over the years, we’ve passed along lots of admissions tips — especially ideas for the application essays.
I hope you’ll enjoy catching up on some of the blog’s past posts. I’m certainly looking forward to sharing details of the new Blog Year!
Guys! Finally some useful admissions-related news! As of today, if you look at the interview schedule page, you will see our complete interview offerings for September to December. And here are the details you’ll need:
- Interviews are optional, but evaluative.
- The Admissions Committee does not invite you to come interview. You make that decision for yourself.
- You should schedule your interview early. Do not wait until you have submitted your application.
- Even if you don’t want to have your interview until December 1, you can schedule a time now. That way you’re sure of being able to grab the appointment when you want it.
- Interviews will wrap up at the end of the fall semester — Friday, December 9.
We only started offering interviews by Skype last year, but they were so popular that for this fall we’ve increased the number of sessions each week. At the same time, we really want people to visit the School, so we have preserved on-campus appointments, especially on Monday and Friday, when we also offer Information Sessions.
Tagged with: Interviews
Are you a non-native English speaker who will start Fletcher studies in September? Or even a non-native English speaker who will apply to Fletcher and other graduate schools in the coming year? Or anyone interested in policy and interesting journalism? Well, this post is for you.
Just before the end of the spring semester, we asked the student community to suggest podcasts that they particularly enjoy or appreciate. Since strong listening comprehension skills are very important to success at Fletcher, we’re sharing this list to set you up with material with which to groom your skills. And if your English doesn’t need grooming, take these as suggested listening for your commute.
With no further ado, and in no particular order, here is the list, including any description that the student recommenders included.
Created at Fletcher:
UN Dispatch — Mark Leon Goldberg, a graduate of the Tufts undergraduate program, produces a highly professional international affairs podcast that is perfect for aspiring Fletcher students.
Council on Foreign Relations, The World Next Week, recommended by several people, offers a great look at international affairs and comes generally in 30 minute soundbites. And extra points because one co-host is a Fletcher alum!
Foreign Policy Magazine’s The E.R.
Harvard Kennedy School’s Policycast.
War on the Rocks, described by a student as hit or miss, but worth following.
Revolutions, which focuses on the history of several revolutions (such as the English Civil War, and the American, French, and Haitian revolutions) and how they turned out the way they did.
Vox’s The Weeds — a little more wonky and focused primarily on U.S. public policy issues, but interesting analysis of issues nonetheless.
Freakonomics by WNYC Studios – recommended by several people.
Fareed Zakaria GPS by CNN.
BBC Global News Podcast, covers a broad range of international issues.
Start-Up, one of Gimlet Media’s podcasts, and the host Lisa Chow is a Fletcher alum!
Students also recommended many shows available through National Public Radio, including:
Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me — Recommended by several people as a good window into American culture and a great way to work on American colloquial English.
Fresh Air — Conversational, but many topics that will be studied here.
Serial — The presenter is slow and methodical in her interviews. The most recent season focuses on a former POW in Afghanistan.
And a few others, just for fun:
Regular readers may remember that, following our spring review of the 2016-17 application process, I said that there wouldn’t be significant changes to the application for admission. Turns out I spoke too soon. So here’s the news, fresh from our discussions: Applicants for 2017 enrollment (either January or September) in our master’s-level programs will no longer need to include three recommendations. Two will suffice.
Why the change? I suppose we’re looking to make the process a little easier for everyone. You’ll need fewer recommendation letters, and we will have a slight reduction in our reading.
On the other hand, submitting a third letter remains an option for you. Who might want to submit three letters? Well, anyone — but especially applicants with several workplaces in the rear-view mirror. They might choose to submit one academic letter and two letters from supervisors, one from each of two different past positions. But it will no longer be necessary (or, for that matter, encouraged) to include two recommendations from the same experience, such as having two professors both say you’re a great student, or having two supervisors from the same workplace say you’re a great employee. There’s less to be gained (but no penalty!) for the repetition.
Also, I want to be sure to note that the change will not affect applicants to the PhD program — they will still need to submit three letters, with two academic recommendations preferred.
Questions about the new policy? Send them along! Please know, though, that you are still welcome to send a third letter if it will boost your application, and we absolutely will read it.
Tagged with: Recommendations
Kristen just put out a second call for hosts of our semi-annual array of Coffee Hours. This is noteworthy because the list of locations is already quite impressive. Though details are still in the planning stage, students have volunteered to meet with potential applicants, enrolling students, and anyone else who wants to talk Fletcher in:
Cape Town, South Africa
Mexico City, Mexico
New Delhi, India
New York, NY
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
San Francisco, CA
Tel Aviv, Israel
Check the Coffee Hours list on the website for details and to see if an event will be planned near you. Most events will take place in July and August, and the dates should be posted soon.
Tagged with: Coffee Hours
Fletcher in the summer is an entirely different workplace from Fletcher in the academic year. A few students (graduated or continuing) can still be found, but sightings are rare and our work goes on largely uninterrupted. Time to turn to the projects that are best tackled when fewer to-do-list items fight for our attention.
At yesterday’s retreat, we focused primarily on topics that won’t have an obvious effect on 2017 applicants, but there are a couple of points worth noting. First is that we’ll probably keep our essay questions as they are. Second is that we will now ask applicants to select no more than ten trips to include in the travel/study abroad/international living section of the application. Requiring (or even inviting) everyone to list every trip meant a lot of questions about how to deal with multiple-country trips or multiple trips to a single country. And it also meant that half of the online reader view of the application might be occupied by lists of trips. (Of course, information about multiple international living experiences will still be of interest to us.)
We also talked about tweaks to the interview schedule, now that we have a year of experience with Skype interviews behind us. The biggest challenge is helping applicants to understand that they need to arrange their interview appointments early. By the time December rolls around, there are no appointments to be had. That’s an ongoing challenge for us!
Over the summer, I might write less than usual, but I’ll be thinking about new 2016-2017 blog offerings. I welcome your suggestions! Share them in the comments section below or, if you prefer, send us a note. I love reading your good ideas!
Meanwhile, today’s post is number 1500 for the Admissions Blog! Sure, many of those 1500 were reminders of deadlines, restatements of application procedures, or other short updates. But as I said for number 1000 and after number 500, we in the Admissions Office appreciate the opportunity that keeping a blog has offered us to connect with and offer substantive information to our applicants and incoming students. As we motor on toward the 2000th post, thank you for reading!
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