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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.

 

We’re kicking off our fall travel schedule this week!  By the end of the weekend, Liz, Dan, Kristen, and I will all have gone somewhere, whether for a day or for a more extended trip.  For an overview, check out our travel calendar.

As I write, I’m about to grab my bag and head for the T (subway) to South Station, where I’ll start my trip to the New York APSIA Graduate School Fair.  If you’ll be there, please be sure to say hi.  I have two alumni booked in to help and I’m looking forward to catching up with them as well as meeting future students.

 

As a service to our applicants, as well as to my Admissions pals, I want to encourage you to select an email address that you will use in corresponding with us, and then stick with that address.  Our application management system files all materials on the basis of your address; if you use multiple addresses, messages and materials that you send to us can be lost.

If you’re thinking that it isn’t your responsibility to worry about our filing system, you’re absolutely right!  But if you don’t worry about it, then you may find us pestering you for some item that you have emailed to us.  We can search for it when it disappears into the void, but it’s easiest to keep it from going in that direction in the first place.  I should mention that this is true for many other graduate schools that are using the same application system.  Sticking to one email address will be a good policy for your correspondence with all your graduate schools.

This is one of the first Admissions Tips blog posts of the new application cycle, but there are plenty more to come.  Stay tuned!

 

Welcome back to the Admissions Blog everyone!  It’s exciting to start a new academic year, though also a bit daunting as the pace of life has picked up dramatically since the sleepy August days of last week.  Already we’re turning our attention to travel and on-campus visitor activities.  Students, new and returning, are meandering through the building, pursuing a special Shopping Day schedule, before the official start of classes tomorrow.  It’s all happening!

An important marker of the start of the new academic year is Convocation, which will take place on Friday.  Those who can’t attend can still participate virtually through the live broadcast on the Fletcher Facebook page.  Tune in Friday at 2:00 p.m. EDT (UTC -4) to hear remarks from Dean Stavridis and Reeta Roy, F89, president and CEO of the MasterCard Foundation, an organization that has partnered with Fletcher in the past.

Between now and Friday, students will nail down their course selections for the semester and enjoy a few days when they are completely caught up with assignments.  We in Admissions will continue booking flights and hotels and contacting alumni to help out during our visits.  On my own to-do list for today is to ship materials for the New York APSIA fair on Tuesday.  If you’re planning to be there, be sure to say hi!

The new year is underway and we look forward to meeting you here at Fletcher or on the road!

 

The icing on the top of this year’s admissions process cake is Orientation.  It’s our first opportunity to see all the new members of the Fletcher community at once and it’s their chance to come together as a family — ready to study together and support each other in so many other ways.

As a practical matter, it’s also the point when nearly all former-applicant/now-student concerns shift from Admissions to other Fletcher offices.  Until scholarships are renewed next spring, nearly all questions are best answered by other offices, though we’re always a resource for helping students find their answers.

Today the newbies will be attending several sessions at which general information will be shared with them.  Tomorrow we’ll help promote community building.  I’ll be among the staff members who are leading ice-breaker sessions.  (Since I’m a little shy myself, I’ll be running introvert-friendly activities that I hope will work well for all.)  The rest of the week continues with a similar mix of information sharing and community building.

And with that, another academic year begins!

 

Even I — who strongly discourages applicants from waiting until the last minute to submit an application — wouldn’t suggest you zap your app to us for 2018 enrollment now.  But I would definitely encourage you to check it out, figure out what materials you’ll need, and start thinking about your essays and recommendations.  If you’re applying for January enrollment, there’s less than two months to the October 15 deadline, and you should start moving on the process.  To that end, I’m happy to say the 2018 application is available now.

While we’re providing updates, please remember that the interview calendar, for both Skype and on-campus interviews, is waiting for you.  Sign up now, or risk missing out on your preferred date/time.  And if you’re planning a visit, you may want to see what classes are available.  Here’s a schedule.

And because it’s summer, a good time for linking to silly videos, take a ride with Jumbo (the Tufts mascot) and tour the campus.  Jumbo finally reaches Fletcher at the end of his ride, passing our summer construction on the way.  We sometimes describe Fletcher as if it were standing by itself somewhere, but in fact, we’re situated on a lovely campus, as Jumbo will show you.

 

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