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October 27This morning’s weather was cool and crisp.  We’ve had some cooler days and some warmer days lately, but today truly felt like autumn.  Around here, it’s not uncommon to have trees that are still green and trees that are nearly bare side-by-side, as in this photo from my walk up to campus.  Looking at our schedules, the Admissions staff is also in autumn mode.  Though several travelers are now back in the office, several of us are on the road or soon will be.

What’s happening today?  Prospective MIB students are visiting, keeping us all busy as they come and go from the office.  In our new online application review system, I can see that nearly 1000 people have started applications.  A small percentage of those are for January enrollment, and we are busy reviewing them, getting to know this small group that will be with us very soon.  We need to finish reading the applications in time to allow the new incoming students to prepare to join us, and also in time to start on the Early Notification applications that will be ready for us on November 15.

Meanwhile, we’re selecting students to sit on the Admissions Committees for the MALD/MA and the MIB degrees.  The selected students don’t yet know they’ll be offered slots on the Committees, and yet we’re counting on them to attend the first orientation meeting on November 7 — less than two weeks from now.

One of my other current tasks is working with new student bloggers.  I’m regretting that I’ve let so much of the semester slip by, but I do have three returning bloggers and three new ones, and their posts will start appearing soon.

 

In an unusual scheduling fluke, the entire Admissions staff has been in the office for the past two days.  Not for long, though.  Flights will soon be carrying my colleagues to California and to the midwest (Chicago and Minnesota), and then next week to Asia.

While not as glamorous, but with the advantage that it requires no flights or jetlag, I’ll be taking off in less than an hour for my tour of Boston’s western suburbs.  At noon, I’ll be at Wellesley College, followed by a late afternoon information session at Boston College.  (So crafty of me to fit them both in one day!)  It’s the perfect time to take a drive in that direction — the fall foliage is in full color burst — and we always receive great applications from graduates of both colleges.  Plus, at Wellesley, I’m looking forward to meeting up with not one but two alums working in the careers office.

Two colleges, alumni visits, fall foliage, and home for dinner.  A quick trip with lots of benefits!

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Today we’re hosting a PhD Visit Day.  Like all of our Visit Days (and there is one for MIB applicants coming up next week), the day is light on programming, but still draws together all the activities an applicant might want before applying to Fletcher.  In the case of the PhD Visit Day, this means that at 12:30, I’ll be eating lunch with our visitors and offering information about the program.

Are you interested in the PhD program but not here with us today?  It’s still easy to put together a day of relevant activities.  PhD applicants need to contact us directly to set up an interview, but you can arrange one for a day when there is an Information Session scheduled.  If you have questions about the program even after the session, any member of the Admissions staff can help you.

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I always like applicants to know who it is who may answer the phone when they call or their emails when they write.  This year we have a small group of four dedicated student interns working in the Admissions Office.  They’ll introduce themselves in today’s post, but this won’t be the only time you’ll be hearing from them on the blog.  I’ve asked them to write about their student activities, too.  But first the intros.

RebekahRebekah: Hi everyone!  I am a second-year MALD student focusing on gender and human security.  I am originally from San Luis Obispo, California and attended Occidental College in Los Angeles for my undergraduate studies.  Prior to Fletcher I lived in Washington, DC and worked as an administrative and research assistant for an international trade consulting company, where I focused primarily on trade and investment issues in Latin America.

I spent this past summer interning with the conflict resolution NGO Search for Common Ground (SFCG) in Luanda, Angola, where I had the opportunity to work on SFCG Angola’s gender programming.  This year at Fletcher, I am excited to be serving as the co-president of Fletcher’s Gender Initiative and as the second-year Student Representative on Fletcher’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusiveness.  I also represent the Fletcher student body on the President’s Sexual Misconduct Prevention Task Force.  When I’m not on campus, I enjoy cooking, running, and exploring the Boston area. I look forward to hearing from you in the Admissions Office this year!

Justin, 2Justin: Hey!  I am Justin Peña, a second-year MALD student at Fletcher.  I’m from New York City, having grown up in the lower east side of Manhattan.  I graduated from Wesleyan University in 2012, where I majored in Government and International Politics.  My current interests revolve around U.S. Foreign Policy, with an emphasis on U.S.-China relations.  I’ve had a long interest in Chinese politics and society, which stemmed from my study of Mandarin in high school.  This had led me to study abroad in Hangzhou, China during my undergraduate years.  Prior to Fletcher, I interned for a Beijing-based NGO, the China Development Brief, which reported on civil society in China.  In Beijing, I also spent some time advising Chinese high school students seeking to matriculate in U.S. colleges.

While at Fletcher, I have decided to concentrate in Security Studies and Pacific Asia.  Outside of the classroom, I have tried to remain engaged in a number of ways.  During my first year, I worked as a research intern for the Center on Conflict, Development, and Peacebuilding, examining the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement process.  I had also worked with PRAXIS, Fletcher’s journal of human security.  My work with the Office of Admissions began in the latter half of that academic year. Over this past summer, I interned at the State Department’s Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs, which exposed me a bit to the world of diplomacy.  This year, along with continuing my work with the Admissions office, I am one of the co-leaders of Fletcher’s China Studies Society.

So that’s about it for now, but I look forward to sharing more of my experiences at Fletcher as the year rolls on.

EmmaEmma: Hi!  I am a second-year MALD student from Cleveland, Ohio and Portland, Oregon.  Here at Fletcher, I focus on International Security Studies and International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, with a particular interest in strategies for confronting non-state armed groups in the Middle East.  I spent last summer in Beirut, Lebanon assisting a peacebuilding and conflict resolution organization and eating all the fattoush I could.

Living close to Davis Square, just a few T stops from Cambridge and Boston, means that I get to explore my new city, eat a ton of delicious and diverse food, and indulge my love of U.S. history.  Outside of the classroom, I’m a senior staff editor for our foreign policy journal, The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs.  I look forward to hearing from you all soon and hopefully welcoming you to the Fletcher community!

AllisonAllison: Hi everyone!  I am a first-year student in the Masters of International Business (MIB) program.  I started at Fletcher last January, so I am one of about 40 “Januarians” at Fletcher.  For my undergraduate degree, I studied political science at Tufts.  After graduating in 2009, I moved to Geneva, Switzerland to work at the World Economic Forum on its social entrepreneurship initiative.  I later joined the Peace Corps as a Water and Sanitation volunteer in Peru.  Upon concluding my time with the Peace Corps, I returned to the social entrepreneurship team at the World Economic Forum.  When I arrived at Fletcher, I planned to focus on the role of the private sector in international development, but my interests have shifted as new professors and courses have given me the opportunity to explore new areas of study.  My Fields of Study are International Finance and Banking and International Business and Economic Law.  When I’m not studying, I love hanging out with other Fletcher students, going running, and cooking.

 

Way back in the August archives lives a week-long series that Christine and I put together to help you, dear applicant, with your application.  Consult our Application Boot Camp for tips on arranging supportive recommendations, writing strong essays, test scores and transcripts, and more!

I also wanted to pause for just a minute to tell you what’s happening around the Admissions Office.  Our first batch of applications for 2015 is trickling in, with the deadline for January enrollment coming up next Wednesday, October 15.  This will be our first opportunity to work with our new online application review system (exciting and nerve-racking in equal amounts).  We’re glad that the first batch of applications we’ll read on the new system is small enough to allow us to iron out some wrinkles.

Our travel season is in high gear, and it’s a rare day when every member of the staff is in the office.  We’ve already covered DC, Toronto, New York, the Pacific Northwest, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado.  Chicago, Minneapolis, San Diego, San Francisco, Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, and other locations are still in front of us.  Having our application readers on the road complicates the January admissions process, but we always get everything done in time for admitted students to organize themselves to arrive here in mid-January.

Our student interviewers are getting into the swing of things, and we’ll soon be selecting students to serve on the Admissions Committee.  We also called on our Admissions Ambassadors to join visitors for lunch on Monday, during our Visit Day.

All in all, we’re enjoying hosting visitors at Fletcher, meeting prospective applicants on the road, and putting our systems together to make the admissions process run smoothly for everyone.

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Today we’re hosting the first of the fall’s Visit Days.  Prospective students will start arriving at about noon, and we’ll all have lunch together.  Then we’ll move on to an Information Session, and a student panel.  The first of the visitors have already arrived for morning interviews, and others are checking in at the office just to be sure they’re in the right place.

Visit Days are energizing for the staff, and useful for applicants.  Not only does the schedule allow a convenient way to stuff a lot of activities in a short period of time, but it’s always helpful for applicants to hear what others are thinking.  (The person obsessing over the personal statement will benefit from the questions asked by the person obsessing over the résumé, and vice versa.)  It’s helpful for the blog, too!  If I hear any good questions that I hadn’t already planned to answer, I’ll make note and cover them in the coming days.

If you aren’t joining us today but the Visit Day concept is appealing, consider joining us on November 17 for a general Visit Day, or on October 20 (PhD applicants) or October 27 (MIB applicants).

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I had a surprisingly nice quick trip to Toronto.  I arrived yesterday morning, took a long walk around, and figured out where the APSIA fair would be taking place (down the street, behind the construction site — so I was glad I bothered to look).  The first visitors to the fair arrived as I was still setting up, well before the official start time, followed by three solid hours of talking.  Nice to meet some eager 2015 graduates of University of Toronto, as well as professionals in the area!

I was joined at the Fletcher table by an alum, Farrukh Lalani, a 2008 graduate, and she shared her perspective with the visitors interested in the student and alumnus experience.  As the fair wound down, and over tea after the fair ended, we had time to discuss her new start-up venture, Aria Gems, a non-profit that seeks to build a business, and a model that others can follow, in ethical gem mining in Afghanistan.  This led to a long chat about the non-traditional paths taken by many of her 2008 classmates.  Mining/gems/Afghanistan/start-ups are not concepts we usually weave together when we’re telling prospective students about typical Fletcher career paths, but the atypical path is, itself, somewhat typical.

Coincidentally, yesterday I heard from Farrukh’s classmate, Margherita Zuin, who was featured in a Foreign Policy career guide.  In a sense, Margherita’s career path has been typical for a graduate of an international affairs professional school, though perhaps still atypical in its intensity.

So all in all, a good trip — productive participation in the APSIA fair, and a great opportunity to get to know an alum I hadn’t crossed paths with when she was a Fletcher student.

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I didn’t intend for this to be such a slow blog week, but that’s how it has turned out.  Between setting up the interview schedule, attending a few meetings, and I’m not even sure what else, the first half of the week flew by.

The busy pace of September always comes as a bit of a surprise.  We all know it’s going to suddenly turn from August mellow to zany, but the meaning of zany is easily forgotten.  One aspect: by Monday, nearly every Admissions staff member will have been out on the road.  (Me, I’m on my way to Toronto for an APSIA fair.  If you’ll be there, be sure to say hello!)

More, and richer, blog content coming next week, when I hope I’ll have a firmer grip on our schedule.

 

While Fletcher offers admissions Information Sessions every week, we occasionally add in a little extra programming.  This year, we’ll welcome applicants to all programs for a General Visit Day on Monday, October 6 and Monday, November 17.  On these days, in addition to a one-hour info session, we’ll arrange a student panel and a lunch.  You can also schedule yourself for an interview.

For MIB applicants, we’ll offer a special MIB Visit Day on Monday, October 27.  The Information Session will be focused on the MIB program, and you’ll have extra opportunities to interact with current MIB students.  Once you sign up to attend the MIB Visit Day, we’ll contact you to arrange an interview.

Same for the PhD applicants’ Visit Day on Monday, October 20 — a focused Information Session and extra opportunities to meet current PhD students.  Once you indicate that you’d like to schedule an evaluative interview, we’ll contact you with an appointment time.

Regardless of the program you’re interested in, you’re always welcome to visit!  But we also encourage you to take advantage of these extra activities, designed to help you prepare for your application to Fletcher.

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It seems like forever since I last wrote a post about general admissions news, but the new semester has begun and we already feel like we’re deep in the new admissions cycle.  Travel starts next week for several of us (spreading us from DC to Michigan to Toronto and Mexico City) and less than six weeks separates us from our first application deadline (for January admission).  Today I’m meeting with about 20 students who have volunteered to conduct interviews for us.  It will be terrific to have them trained and ready for the start of on-campus interviews on Monday, September 22.  I’d better turn my attention right now to preparing for the training session!

 

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