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Among the other projects I’m working on this summer is the overdue launch of evaluative interviews via Skype.  Up to now, the great majority of our evaluative interviews have been on campus and face-to-face between the applicant and interviewer.  We also offered the opportunity to record an interview online, but the resulting videos, though still helpful in the application review process, couldn’t measure up to the more natural and interactive format.  We all had a voice whispering in our ears that the time had come to offer Skype interviews, but we needed to be sure we had all the pieces in place to do so successfully.  Now we think we do.

The new Skype interviews will capture many of the features of our on-campus interviews.  Evaluative interviews are offered to interested applicants from mid-September through early December.  (That is, usually before applications are submitted.)  Interviewers will generally be current students.  There will be plenty of opportunity for the applicant to ask questions.  And whether on campus or via Skype, interviews (however helpful they are for interviewers and the Admissions Committee) remain optional.

We’re still ironing out one wrinkle in the registration process, but we should have that settled next week.  (It could be settled in half an hour, but vacation schedules rarely put us all in the same place at once.)  When the registration question is decided, the early set-up work will be complete and we’ll share a link to the interview registration page.  Note that the Skype interviews are really intended for applicants outside the Boston area, and we will ask you to share your résumé and Skype user name before the interview.  Though there are bound to be some bumps in the process, we’re excited to be able to extend the face-to-face interview opportunity to applicants who aren’t able to visit campus.

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Though September/October/November is when the Admissions team is most likely to be on the road for recruitment travel, we also make occasional trips in the spring and summer.  On the schedule this time of year is “Summerfest,” an evening reception and information session activity cooperatively organized by us and our friends at Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA); Georgetown University, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service; Johns Hopkins University, The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS); Princeton University, The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Summerfest events are held in New York City and Washington, DC, and the New York event is tonight, July 16!  If you’re interested in attending the New York reception, you can sign up here.

Two DC events were scheduled for the summer, and the second is coming up on Tuesday, July 21.  If you’d like to attend the DC reception, sign up here.

We’ll have a member of the Admissions staff and alumni or students at each event, and we hope to see you there!


This is the week when our summer Coffee Hours with current students really get going, and from now through the end of the summer there will be several events each week.  Our students have all volunteered for the opportunity to chat, and I hope you’ll take advantage of this chance to meet them if you’re in one of these cities where a coffee hour is scheduled.

Amman, Jordan
Atlanta, GA, USA
Bangalore, India
Chicago, IL USA
Dili, Timor-Leste
Geneva, Switzerland
Guadalajara, Mexico
Hanoi, Vietnam
Honolulu, HI, USA
Johannesburg, South Africa
Kuwait City, Kuwait
Lima, Peru 
Louisville, KY, USA
Mexico City, Mexico
Moscow, Russia
Mumbai, India
Nairobi, Kenya
New York City – focus on international organizations
New York City – focus on security studies
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
San Francisco, CA, USA
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Seattle, WA, USA
Seoul, Korea
Taipei, Taiwan
Tehran, Iran


In the summer, I enjoy writing about my own weekends as a way of describing our great neighborhood.  But this past weekend was anything but typical.  On Saturday, all of us in Admissions were together to celebrate the wedding of our own Christine to her true love, Eric.  It was a lovely ceremony and a great party, and we all had a fun time.  Plus, of course, it’s such an honor to witness a marriage.

We don’t often manage to capture a photo of the full staff, but here we are.  Theresa, Kristen, Laurie, Christine (of course), Liz, Dan, and me.  (Sunglasses courtesy of Christine and Eric for use during the cocktail reception around the roof-top pool.)Wedding-1



FP sectionAround this time, blog readers tend to fall primarily into two groups — enrolling students and prospective students who are just getting going on their graduate school search.  For this latter group, I thought I’d share a special supplement to the December/January issue of Foreign Policy, entitled “Leaders in Higher Education.”  In addition to the advertisements from Fletcher and our peers, the article highlights the work of Dean Stavridis as an organizational leader and scholar.  Click on the photo to read more.

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CoolerBack in January, the Office of Admissions received silver level certification from the Tufts Office of Sustainability Green Office Certification Program.  Now that our online application process is a very light user of paper, we have our sights on gold level certification.  Making that leap will take some work, but we can tick the first box: we have given up our water cooler.  As such, we paused for a moment to say farewell as the cooler, and its empty bottles, hit the road.

Going for gold will require some more intentional changes than we needed for the silver level.  That particular accomplishment followed naturally from changes we made for other reasons (i.e. the new application).  But there’s no reason not to aim high!



Would I prefer to be swimming at Walden Pond every warm summer day?  Yes, I would.  But I have to admit to a (perhaps nerdy) appreciation of summer Admissions work.  Without the volume of visitors or the pressure of application deadlines, we are left free to, well, get stuff done.  Thus the team sat down on Tuesday and collectively mulled the question of whether we should change the essays for the upcoming application cycle.  In the end we did.  Minimally.  So for those who are already thinking about such things, an advance look at the essays for January or September 2016 applications.

Essay 1: (600-800 words, single-spaced, Arial 12 point font)
Fletcher’s Committee on Admissions seeks to ensure that there is a good match between each admitted student and the School.  Please tell us your goals for graduate study at Fletcher and for your career.  Describe the elements of your personal, professional, and/or academic background that have prepared you for your chosen career path.  Why is The Fletcher School the right place to pursue your academic objectives and to prepare you to meet your professional goals? Why have you selected the degree program to which you are applying?  If you are planning to pursue a joint degree, please be sure to address this interest in your personal statement.

Essay 2: (500 words maximum, single-spaced, Arial 12 point font)
To help the Committee on Admissions get to know you better, please share an anecdote, or details about an experience or personal interest, that you have not elaborated upon elsewhere in your application.

If you have already prepared essays (not that likely, I understand, but just in case), I hope you’ll agree that the current prompts reflect only the slightest change from what we used last year.  In fact, there are only two differences:  1) We stopped calling Essay 1 a personal statement, in the hopes that people will actually read the question.  (Admissions tip:  Read the question before writing/uploading the essay.)  2) And we changed the wording for Essay 2 to give applicants slightly more guidance, without actually limiting the scope of what you can write about.

For the sake of completeness, I’ll also note the other essays that particular applicants need to submit.

Those who have applied before must submit the Reapplicant Essay.  (500 words maximum, single-spaced, Arial 12 point font)
Please explain how your candidacy has changed since your last application.

Those who are applying to the PhD program must submit the PhD Essay. (500 words maximum, single-spaced, Arial 12 point font)
Please explain why you believe a PhD from a multidisciplinary program in international affairs at a professional school, as compared with a doctorate from a conventional program in a single academic discipline, advances your intellectual and professional ambitions.

Those who are applying through our Map Your Future pathway to the MALD or MIB program must complete the Map Your Future Candidates Essay. (500 words maximum, single-spaced, Arial 12 point font)
What professional opportunities do you plan or hope to pursue during the next two years? What do you hope to learn and what skills do you hope to cultivate?

Finally, while not an essay, I’ll also include the prompt for Additional Information (single-spaced, Arial 12 point font)
Please provide any additional information that you would like to bring to the attention of the Admissions Committee. This may include information regarding your academic records, plans to retake standardized tests or any other information relevant to your application.  Please do not upload writing samples.

What common instructions could I provide for all of these essays?  First, there’s the aforementioned “read the question.”  We’re well aware that applicants are feeling the pressure of a big task, with deadlines, with which they want to be successful.  But that doesn’t mean that you can slap the same essay onto an infinite number of applications.  Sure, go ahead and grab paragraphs from a “master essay,” but be sure that those paragraphs meet your objective of answering our question.  Keep the length under the maximums, but don’t spend hours struggling to cut those last ten words.

Beyond those technical tips, a little content guidance.  Make sure it’s easy for tired readers of Essay 1 to identify your objectives.  If we need to read your essay over and over in search of your goals, then you have not really answered the question.  I personally like a crisp statement of goals in paragraph one or two.  Don’t make us dig.

Describing your goals means the essay will be essentially forward looking.  You’ll want to refer back to your relevant experience, but don’t allow yourself to be sucked too far back into your distant past.  If your distant past is highly relevant, then write about it in Essay 2.

All of this is WAY premature.  There’s no obligation to start your application this early.  (And, in fact, you won’t be able to access the application online until August.)  But if you’re in the process of gathering info and ideas, this post was for you.

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Only five days remain until the deadline for admitted and waitlisted applicants to indicate their decisions.  With that in mind, a quick note for applicants who wish to accept a place on the waitlist.

As soon as we can next week, we’ll be counting the enrolling students and deciding whether we should make additional offers of admission.  That means that anyone on the waitlist who wishes to send us additional materials should plan to do that by the 20th, too.

A reminder of what constitutes a useful addition to an application that will be reconsidered in the waitlist process:  Updates (new exam scores, grade reports, résumé, etc.); an additional recommendation that sheds light on an area of your background that you didn’t illuminate as thoroughly as you might have in your original application; a letter that restates and clarifies your interests and objectives.  If you’re thinking about sending us information that doesn’t seem particularly new, there’s probably not much benefit to it.  But it’s always nice to hear from you that you are still interested in enrolling, so feel free to send a quick note.

April 21 is only the very beginning of the process for reviewing the waitlist.  As likely as not, nothing much will happen for a few weeks, so patience is still needed.  But don’t hold off much longer in sending any new materials that you want us to consider.

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This is the Fletcher Admissions Blog, and it might seem that one of my tasks is to answer directly the question of why an admitted applicant should decide to enroll at Fletcher.  As it happens, several years ago I created a “Why Fletcher” tag, but it only has a few posts in it:  the one when we asked students in the Hall of Flags why they had enrolled; the one in which I shared the results of an informal survey on the topic; the one that a student wrote about how it’s really okay to spend two years away from the Beltway.  In total — not even enough posts for Why Fletcher to appear in the tag cloud.

The paucity of posts reflects my understanding that admitted students don’t want to make their enrollment decision on the basis of the opinions of an Admissions staff member.  Plus, isn’t this entire blog an answer to the Why Fletcher question?  There are the stories of our faculty members, who are both experts in their fields (as you would expect) and also interesting individuals.  There’s all the information about our students, including their reports on interesting things they do each year, and their ongoing stories.  And there are our alumni, particularly those who graduated a year ago or five years ago, and whose trajectories are most relevant for someone who is about to start graduate school.

Within posts, there are many references to the exciting work being done by our programs and centers, such as the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy, the Institute for Business in the Global Context, and the International Security Studies Program.  And last, there’s all sorts of good stuff cookin’ at the Office of Career Services, not to mention in our neighborhood.

So, to me, it’s obvious why a student would want to spend one or two (or even more) years at Fletcher.  I hope that after doing your research, including reading through the blog archives, you’ll agree!  But I know that I won’t be the one who ultimately convinces you.

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Jelly beansI’m grabbing a few minutes in between assignments during our Open House for admitted students.  I started my day with my favorite task — checking folks in — and now I have a few more minutes before it’s time to answer questions during our open office hours.  To greet the visitors, we’ve decorated the Hall of Flags with extra Fletcher banners, and brought in balloons and jelly beans and others of the many products that can be ordered in more-or-less Fletcher orange.  Right now, all the visitors are tucked into sessions for their degree programs.

BalloonsIt’s not an easy task to increase the School’s population by a third, even only for a day.  The solution: offer a zillion different activity options and keep everyone moving.  At 11:05, those who aren’t visiting the Admissions Office with questions may be at a panel discussion with current students, a Career Services presentation, any of five classes (Political Economy of Development; Islamic Banking and Finance; Public International Law; Applied Microeconometrics; Accounting for Profit, Non-Profit, and Government Organizations), or roundtable discussions on International Environment and Resource Policy, or Business in Practice at Fletcher.  Whew!  Similar line-ups are offered in the blocks starting at 12:30, 1:55, 3:20, and 4:30.  It isn’t only the Admissions Staff who need to put their feet up at the end of the day!  (And no feet need elevating more than Liz’s, as she has spent the last couple of months setting all of this up.)

Despite the pace, admitted students who visit report they are able to gather substantive information that helps them make their decision on where to pursue their graduate studies.  Plus, it’s fun.  Who wouldn’t want to spend a day living the life of a student without needing to worry about exams or papers?

The first of the question askers has now arrived, and it’s time for me to spring into action!  We have a busy afternoon in front of us.



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