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One less-heralded benefit of applying by our November 15 Early Notification deadline is a rapid turnaround.  You’ll be hearing back from us before the end of December, less than six weeks after you first applied, keeping the amount of waiting time to a relative minimum.  Given the schedule, you may be wondering what the Admissions Office is up to, and I’m here to tell you.

Our first step toward releasing EN decisions was hiring and training the students who are full members of the Committee on Admissions.  They start their reading with EN applications, which provides a perfect small-batch learning/coaching opportunity for all of us.  We can take the time to offer comments and ensure that the new readers are on the right track.  As it happens, the students on this year’s committee are amazing!  Good news for the staff.

Once we have a committee, we start reading.  Every application is read twice, and then Laurie looks at all of them to ensure consistency from reader to reader.  When needed, we discuss applications in a full-committee setting that will include the professors on the committee.  Our EN meeting will be next Friday.  (Can’t wait!  LVE committee meetings!)  Nearly every application has already been read twice — we’re well on our way through the process.

From the perspective of a staff member (i.e., me), EN is great because it throws us into the heart of the admissions process, but with an application volume that enables us to test and, when necessary, improve systems before the January 10 flood of applications.  Next Friday’s meeting will help students calibrate their assessments of applicants.  Then in January, we’re in the best position for the process to go smoothly.

But none of that matters to you EN applicants.  What you need to know is simply that we are making great progress in completing the review of applications, and you’ll be hearing from us before the end of this month.

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The final trip of the Fletcher Admissions travel season was Laurie’s visit to Europe, which ended about two weeks ago.  The greatest distance was covered by Liz, when Fletcher joined several other schools for a trip to Southeast Asia.  Here’s her report, along with her photos.

In October, I participated in a great recruiting trip to Southeast Asia.  I traveled with colleagues from Johns Hopkins SAIS, Columbia SIPA, and Georgetown MSFS.  You may be wondering why we travel together, since we’re all competitors.  The answer is that for over forty years we’ve traveled together to inform students about educational and career opportunities in international affairs.  We know many students will end up applying to all four schools, and so we work together to get the word out about our programs and to recruit students from around the world.

Our first stop was in Singapore.  We had a day to recover from our 27-hour flight across the world and so two colleagues and I decided to head over to Sentosa, an island just off Singapore.  There are two ways to get to Sentosa: train or cable car.  We decided to check out the cable car so we could really see the island.

Here are a few snaps from our trip:

Sentosa

Lpdp

Liz (third from left), travel companions, and LPDP host.

We had great school visits at Yale-NUS and National University of Singapore — where I was thrilled to meet faculty of both schools who were Fletcher alumni!  It was neat to tour the Yale-NUS campus, as it’s so new, and so lush with vegetation!  From there we flew to Jakarta, Indonesia for visits at the EducationUSA Center (@America), meetings with LPDP (the Indonesia Endowment for Education) and school visits to the University of Indonesia and UPH (Universitas Pelita Harapan).

@AmericaVisit
We ended our trip in Bangkok, Thailand.  Our time in Thailand was solemn, as His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej had just passed away.  Because the trip had been planned well in advance, we still hosted events at Thammasat University, as well as with the U.S. Embassy, and were grateful for those who were able to join us, despite the timing.

Overall the trip was great!  We got to eat some wonderful food, meet fantastic prospective students, and continue to spread the word about international affairs graduate schools!

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It isn’t that I love only the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.  I love the lead-up to it, too.  From the weekend onward, folks can be seen pulling suitcases along the sidewalk on their way to somewhere.  Chatter about the weather gives way to questions about Thanksgiving plans.  Newspapers dedicate space to discussion of how to put together a complicated meal, for those who only do so once each year.

Turkey2Each year before Thanksgiving, I like to pause and thank Admissions Blog readers for giving me a forum to talk about my favorite holiday, as well as more admissions-relevant topics.  I never forget that the decision to attend graduate school is one that our students take seriously and make only after much consideration.  I’m happy that I can play a small role in helping them with their decision making.

TurkeyEarlier this week, students set up a little crafts center and invited the community to make a hand turkey with a comment or wish on it.  Anyone who was in school in the U.S. for preschool or the early grades will recognize these.  Trace your hand and decorate the shape to look like a turkey.  Anyway, the turkey messages in the Hall of Flags were very sweet, as was the very idea of creating an activity that would be silly and fun — a quick distraction from all the academic deliverables that students are getting ready to produce in the roughly four weeks that remain of the semester.  The turkeys were put together on a “Wall of Gratitude,” positioned a short distance from the boxes collecting contributions for the Fletcher Food Drive.

PieSpeaking of deliverables, my task for today is to bake bake bake.  My objective is roughly the same as it was a few years back when I took this photo.  Add an apple pie and swap out a cranberry pie for cranberry ginger cake, and I think that should do it.  We’ll have 14 folks (including a recent Fletcher grad) and one baby over for dinner tomorrow.  And then 17 on Friday!  I won’t need to worry about eating leftovers after that.

Wishing all our readers a happy Thanksgiving, with good food and friends or family!

(The Admissions Office will be closed tomorrow and Friday.  We’ll be back Monday morning, as usual.)

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Through several information sessions that I ran in the past few weeks, my travels in September/October, and the emails I’ve received, I’m very aware of the broad span of preparedness where we find our applicants in the fall.  Some folks have already submitted their applications and may have been thinking about graduate school for a year or more, having gathered ample data on their different options.  Others have started their search more recently, but they will still have time to prepare themselves to put together a strong application in January.

Are you in the latter group?  Let me provide you with some points that you can add to your personal graduate school roadmap.  Though most of our travel is behind us, we’re still offering on-campus and virtual information sessions that will help you fast-track your research.  Check our calendar for everything on offer for the next month or so.  And note that we’ll be participating in an APSIA Online Admissions Fair next week on November 16, through which you can gather information on Fletcher and our APSIA friends, too.

I don’t need to tell you that Fletcher has plenty of information on our website, as do our peers.  Try to understand the different programs and find the best match for your objectives.  Also on Fletcher’s website, information on the application process.  Start creating a timeline so that you’ll be able to complete your applications with minimal stress.  Contact us with your questions that aren’t answered on the website.

 

We’ve got zillions of people signed up for an Admissions Visit Day on Monday.  (If not zillions, at least a few dozen.)  It will be a fun day for all of us (except maybe for Liz, who’s in charge and might be a little stressed).

There’s another official Visit Day scheduled for November 7, but maybe you’re not free that day.  Or maybe you don’t want to wait.  Why not Do It Yourself?  You could schedule your DIY Visit Day for a Monday or Friday, when we regularly offer Information Sessions.  Add an evaluative interview.  Toss in a couple of class visits.  And don’t forget to register for coffee with a student.  Ta-daaa!  You’ve got yourself a visit day.

Whether you’re at Fletcher during an official Admissions Visit Day or one of the DIY variety, you’ll find it a good opportunity to ask lots of questions and gather the information you need to think about spending a couple of years here and to prepare your application.  Come on over anytime!  But note that evaluative interviews will be offered only until December 9.

 

Following a blur of a September and an equally busy start to October, I’m now looking at the first deadline of the 2016-17 application process, coming up on Saturday!  Sure, the collection of applications we’ll receive for January enrollment is very manageable, but we’ll also be aiming for a quick turn-around, and October 15 is followed by deadlines on November 15, December 20, and January 10.  That is, we’re heading into the heart of the application process!

Applicants for January 2017 enrollment can trust that we’ll be sending out decisions before November’s over, giving you some planning time.  (Not much, mind you — classes will start with Shopping Day on Tuesday, January 17).  It’s only about three months before we welcome our next group of “Januarians.”

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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!

 

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