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An intense two weeks have led to today.  We’ve had a rescheduled-to-evening final MA/MALD Admissions Committee meeting, scrambling LLM and MIB Committees reviewing March 1 applications, hours reviewing scholarship applications, additional hours checking our system to be sure everything is set up correctly, and even more hours (and people) ensuring every letter is right and then stuffing envelopes.

While we apply the final finishing touches, let me run through what you can expect to learn tonight when we release decisions.  (All decisions, by which we mean decisions for all degree programs on every complete application that was submitted by the final March 1 deadline.  No trickling of decisions for us.  No releasing of decisions by telephone or email either, so please be patient until 5:00 p.m. U.S. EST (GMT-5).)

First, when your decision is ready, you’ll receive an email to check your Application Status Page.  (Reminder for those who haven’t bookmarked the page:  To access your Application Status Page you can either click the “Start an Application” link on the Admissions website or the application link.  You’ll log in with the email and password you used when you created your application.)

I’ve already described the different decision options on Tuesday and Wednesday.  In addition to learning the admission decision, when admitted applicants log in, they will be able to find their scholarship award.  If you’re in a two-year program, you’ll learn your two-year award so that you can plan ahead.  We make scholarship decisions based on a combination of merit and need.  That is, for any level of merit — as determined through the application review process — the larger awards go to those with greater need.  We hope that all applicants will be happy with their awards, though we know that only Admissions Committee members have the full picture of the breadth of need (and merit, for that matter) among the admitted applicants.  Fletcher’s applicant pool is diverse in every possible way.

Beyond all that, let me just say that it is truly a pleasure to work with our applicants.  On the road, here at Fletcher, and through correspondence, Admissions staff members connect with hundreds of people who submit applications each year.  Our connection with some applicants goes back many years.  At the same time as the Admissions Committee’s mandate is to put together a class that will succeed at, contribute to, and benefit from Fletcher, there are many people who may not be admitted at this time but who we know will ultimately be great students.  We hope to see you again.  Meanwhile, I want to thank all of you for your interest in Fletcher and for reading the Admissions Blog throughout the year.

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Continuing to prep readers for the decisions that we will release soon*, I want to share a little insider info on scholarship awards.  Fletcher has a source of scholarship funds for new and continuing students.  All of the funds allocated for incoming students (including those who applied by the Early Notification deadline and were admitted in December) will be offered as scholarships this month, and admitted students will learn the amount of their scholarship award along with their admission decision.

But the situation is more complex than that.  If we have $100 in our special pot of scholarship cash, we don’t simply distribute $100.  Instead, we reckon that half of the award recipients will decide to continue working, attend another program, or, for whatever reason, decline our offer of admission.  This is predictably the case and, with enrollment history in mind, we actually distribute $200 in scholarships.  It’s a gamble, but if we’ve done our math right, it’s a safe gamble.

Why is this relevant for readers?  Let’s imagine that Jim and Bill are friends who have applied to Fletcher.  Both are admitted and receive $100 scholarships.  Bill decides to enroll at Fletcher, but Jim decides to postpone graduate school for a year.  Bill knows that Jim has received a $100 scholarship, and Bill would like to claim it for himself.  Alas, Jim’s award doesn’t represent actual cash that goes back in the pot.

At the end of the enrollment process, we’ll calculate how much genuine money has been added back to the scholarship account.  (Of course, if we make offers of admission to waitlisted candidates, they may also be offered scholarships.)  One thing you can be sure of is that we will distribute all of the available funds.  We don’t get to use them to order lunch or redecorate the Admissions Office.  Scholarship funds are for students, and every last dollar will be offered to someone who will study at Fletcher in the fall.

*soon=end of the business day tomorrow, EST

 

My task today is easier than yesterday’s.  Whether applicants are offered admission with a condition attached or admitted free and clear, they are still admitted.  That said, however, I still want readers to understand the different admission options that Fletcher uses.

As soon as we can wrap up the remainder of the process, many Fletcher applicants will learn that they have been admitted, and can join us in September 2016.  Hooray!  We hope that enrolling at Fletcher will be the next step you take as you craft your future career!

Some of the offers of admission, however, are accompanied by a condition, and today’s post is to clarify what those conditions entail.  The first thing to remember is that we don’t bother to admit someone conditionally unless we’re very enthusiastic about other aspects of the application; don’t let the condition diminish your sense of accomplishment!

What is the basis for a conditional offer of admission?  The Admissions Committee looks at the materials in an applicant’s file and makes certain assumptions, some of which lead Committee members to suggest the applicant needs further preparation before enrolling at Fletcher.  We’ll make that preparation a condition of admission.  The most frequently employed conditions require that, before starting Fletcher classes, the student should improve foreign language proficiency, English language proficiency, or quantitative skills.

We tend to be inflexible about the nature of the pre-Fletcher English training, for reasons I hope are obvious.  (In case they’re not as obvious as I think, I’ll spell it out:  No one can succeed in Fletcher classes with weak English skills.)  There’s more flexibility around foreign language training for native English speakers.  We’ll ask students to choose the best program for their level and their choice of language — there are too many variables involved for us to dictate any particular option.  And we offer several options for those who should brush up their quantitative skills.

Does this mean that, if we haven’t attached a condition, we’re absolutely sure your English skills are strong enough to cope with a heavy load of reading and writing?  Not necessarily, and now’s a good time to work on those skills.  Does it mean we’re sure you’ll pass the foreign language exam?  Definitely not!  Applicants who self-assess as having intermediate-level proficiency might have overestimated or underestimated their ability.  Work on those language skills before enrolling!  Do we believe you will sail through the required economics and quantitative analysis classes?  No — we only assume that you will pass those basic classes.  If you’re not so sure, then pick up a text book and familiarize yourself with the basic concepts.

Not everyone who needs practice in English, a foreign language, or quantitative skills will be admitted conditionally.

Beyond the conditions, there’s one other complication to the admit category:  Occasionally, we admit applicants to a program other than the one to which they applied.  Most common example:  You applied to the mid-career MA program, but you don’t have sufficient experience to meet Fletcher’s standard for mid-career.  On the other hand, you look great for the MALD program, so we’ll admit you to the MALD!

Our process would certainly be simpler if there were only one type of admit, but the option to attach a condition to admission is the difference between admit and deny for some applicants.  We would hate to turn away a highly qualified applicant who needs a little brush-up on English skills, but we would be obliged to do so if we couldn’t require pre-Fletcher English study.

The happy bottom line is that conditional admission is (once the condition is met) ADMISSION!  And we’re convinced that fulfilling the condition will enhance the admitted student’s experience at Fletcher.  So we’ll maintain our portfolio of admits, sometimes with conditions attached.

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We just last week received our very last batch of applications — there is a March 1 deadline for the MIB and LLM programs — but we are starting to see the light at the end of the admissions tunnel.  The committees that review MALD, MA, and PhD applications have all made their decisions, and the MIB and LLM committees will rapidly complete the review of the new applications.  Only the tweaking of the final lists and the very lengthy scholarship review process will remain.

And that makes this a good moment to prep all of you for what will be coming.  I think it’s important that you receive information on our decision options well in advance of the release of decisions, so that you can digest the information.  The topic for today is the decisions other than admission.

THE BASICS

The unfortunate reality is that we cannot admit everyone who applies to Fletcher.  And there are two possible outcomes for those who aren’t admitted right now.  One is that the applicant might be denied admission, and the other is that the applicant could be offered a place on the waitlist (which might result in admission later in the spring/summer).

When we review applications, we’re looking for a combination of academic potential, professional and international experience, and clear goals for study and a post-Fletcher career.  Applicants who are not admitted, or who are offered a place on the waitlist, might be missing one or more of those elements, or they might be just a little weak in all of them, particularly compared to the overall qualifications of admitted students.

THE DETAILS

The waitlist: Each year, we offer a place on the waitlist to a promising group — applicants whose credentials are solid overall, and yet just a little less solid than those of the applicants we’ve admitted.  (A waitlist is what it sounds like — a list of people waiting for a place to open up in the entering class.)  In some years, we admit a significant number of students from the waitlist.  Occasionally, we don’t admit any.  But most years we admit a few.

It can be hard for waitlisted applicants to get a handle on what this decision means for them, which is understandable.  For starters, what matters is not how many waitlist offers we make, but rather how many people decide to accept a spot on the list, and we won’t have that number until the end of April.  We don’t rank our waitlist, and when it comes time to make an offer of admission, we go back to the applications and review our notes.  Applicants offered a place on the waitlist can take until April 20 to decide whether to wait.  Most of our work with the waitlist takes place in May or June, though we’ll keep a list into the summer.

Those not admitted: We’re always sorry to say goodbye to an applicant.  We’ve read your story and we know how important gaining admission to graduate school is for you.  The fact is that many of the students not admitted this year could be admitted in a future year.  We hope you will continue to develop your experience and that we may read about you again.

Some applicants to the MALD, MIB, and LLM programs will receive a letter saying that, though they look great overall, we really want them to gain some relevant professional experience, and it’s the work history that stands between them and the admission they hoped for.  We’ll only use this decision option for applicants within about a year of their university graduation.  (This year, that means 2015 and 2016 grads.)  We encourage them to work for a couple of years, although (depending on their internship record), it could take more or less time for them to build their professional experience and become competitive applicants.

MOST IMPORTANT 

Contact us!:  Whether an applicant is denied admission or offered a place on the waitlist, there’s one important thing I want to share, which is that our door is still open for communication, and we hope you will contact us.  Increasingly, the Admissions Committee expects to see a record of correspondence from those who are applying for the second time.

Students who are not offered admission have the opportunity to request feedback on their application.  If you’re planning to reapply, I encourage you to ask for feedback this spring.  (That is, don’t wait until the month before your next application — you may want some time to make improvements.)  We’ll accept feedback requests on May 1 and you’ll hear back from us within a month or so of your request.

As for the waitlist, all members of the Fletcher Admissions staff know that the extra waiting is unwelcome.  But for some applicants, the waitlist will ultimately result in admission.  We encourage you to make the most of this opportunity by taking a little time to give your application a boost.  For example, you may have experienced changes in your education or professional life, and we want to know about it.  If you have new test scores (GRE/GMAT or TOEFL/IELTS) or grades for classes, please send them to us.  If you have changed jobs or assumed new responsibilities at your current position, send us an updated résumé.  Now’s your chance to shine up your application before we return to it when we evaluate the waitlist.

Although applicants who have accepted a place on the waitlist still have applications under active consideration, and we won’t offer feedback at this time, we are happy to chat with you in person or by phone.  Get in touch, and ask us if there is a special piece of information we need.

Finally, Fletcher welcomes applicants to reapply.  Someone who applies unsuccessfully, smooths up some of the rough points in the application, and reapplies in a subsequent year, has shown determination and a strong interest in the School — two qualities we love in our applicants.

Tomorrow I’ll run through the different categories of admission.

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Through various channels, I’m hearing that applicants are getting a little bit nervous while they wait for admissions decisions.  Must be time for a quick update!

We are motoring along through the process.  Motoring!  Our student readers have been terrific, needing only occasional reminders to READ MORE!  The staff readers are keeping up and will finish off nearly all of the reading this week.  Committees for each of the degree programs have been meeting, working through lists of applications and, at the same time, establishing the standards and priorities for the year.

But friends, it’s still only the last week of February, and we are not ready to release decisions.  As you know, we don’t have rolling admissions, and we don’t trickle out the decisions.  They all come out in a March flood.  So far as awaiting your Fletcher decision is concerned, you still have plenty of time to relax.  Focus on other things.  Enjoy yourself.  Or, alternatively, use the coming weeks to do a little advance research on the graduate programs you’re waiting for.  (The period from receiving decisions until the deadline for making your enrollment choice goes quickly.)  In any event, you can trust that we’re working hard to wrap up this process, but we still have several weeks to go.

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I’ve unintentionally neglected the applicants who applied by our Early Notification deadline but who didn’t receive a final decision from us in December.  Part of the application review process this month is to return to those applications.  Though I don’t have much to add to the suggestions I made in December regarding any supplemental materials that you might want to submit, I’d like to attach a deadline for you.  Thus…if you want to send us updated transcripts, test scores, résumés, or whatever, please plan to submit them by Friday, February 19, roughly a week from now.

Of course, if you don’t take the GRE/GMAT/TOEFL until after the 19th, you should submit the scores whenever you can.  For everything else, though, there’s no need to wait any longer.  Send us what you’ve got, so that we can take a look.

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Murray 2Technically, Murray is not a member of the Admissions staff.  But he is the good friend (and dog) of Dan, who is.  Murray has had many opportunities to observe Dan reading applications.  Last year and once before, Dan wrote about spending a day with both applications and a dog who might want to be out and about.  Today, Murray shares his perspective on a day reading applications.

Murray's kissesOn a normal day the man lets me out into the backyard when I wake up.  He says it’s “to help the grass grow,” but that’s not what I do out there.  Then he leaves.  I go back to sleep.  I usually have a full schedule with a lot of sleeping to take care of, so it’s good for me to get to it early.  Today isn’t a normal day.  The man is still here.  He looks like he has sleep he needs to take care of, too, but he sits at a table with a computer instead.  I think it’s probably another way of sleeping because he doesn’t say very much.  He hasn’t even licked his hand yet, but I can take care of that.  Teamwork.

Murray in coatThe man thinks I’m stupid because my brain is the size of a walnut, but I know he’s “reading applications.”  I don’t know what that is, though.  I DO know that he gets an hour, at most, before he’s taking me outside, whether he likes it or not.  Take me outside!

Here’s the thing – I have to wear this embarrassing jacket.  If the man is going to make me wear it, we should stay outside for at least six hours, which I think is fair.  Look how totally sunny it is!  The man can easily “read applications” outside while I smell things, and look at things.  And smell things.

Murray and toyBut like I said, I have a busy work day.  This toy won’t kill itself, so I have to take care of that, which means I probably won’t get all the sleep done I’m supposed to.  Sleeping is a core part of my job description, so I have to make time.  Sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day.

The man has stayed at home like this a few times before, and I’ve heard him say what he looks for on these days are “strong academics,” “international exposure,” “professional experience,” and “a clear sense of interest and goals.”  I don’t know what those words mean, but my guess is they’re food.  I have to think about the most important foods a lot, too, so it makes sense that the man does the same thing.  The things I look for in a day are beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and turkey.  And meat.  If a day has those things, there’s a good chance I’ll eat them!

Like I said, not enough hours in the day. It makes me tired just thinking about it.Murray napping

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I always enjoy the Open House that we put on for applicants admitted through the Early Notification round.  Only a small group (fewer than 20) prospective students join us each year, and it’s always a mellow day for us, but a productive day for them.  Unlike the April Open House, when visitors add an additional fifty percent to the student body and thus dominate the building, today’s attendees can slip into classrooms in a much more natural way.

One of the best features of the day is the opportunity we have to connect (or possibly reconnect) names and faces.  I just finished two one-on-one meetings with folks I had met during the fall — one at a campus visit, and one here at Fletcher.  But even more special is that people who were little more than online applications until today are now real people.  And meeting these real people reminds us that the applications we’re still slogging through will become real people later in the spring.  Sometimes I need that reminder!

The morning’s activities have included breakfast, a session to introduce the School and the degree programs, and choice of a class visit or an informal chat with current students.  We’ll all meet up again for lunch, and then more classes, or a student panel/Q&A, or a Fletcher tour.  Like I said, a relaxing day, but one that offers admitted students a nice glimpse into an average day at Fletcher.

 

The Admissions Committee just concluded its first winter meeting of the year.  We’ll meet weekly from now through the beginning of March, with meetings running progressively longer and covering more applications.  For today, a relatively short discussion, fueled by coffee and pastries.

After the meeting we sent our student readers out for an exciting weekend of skiing at Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine (or, perhaps, a quiet weekend in town with most classmates away in Maine).  The ski trip is a monumental undertaking, involving hundreds of students, spouses, and even children.  Many of the skiers (or snowboarders) will never have hit the slopes before.  Some of them will never have been in such a cold and snowy place before.  The lead-up to the trip involves several organizational meetings, featuring PowerPoint presentations that emphasize the cold and suggest wearing “hat, goggles, neck-warmer (or scarf), long-underwear (layers!), mittens, another warm layer (fleece jacket/wool sweater, etc), warm socks (NOT COTTON), water-proof/wind-resistant outer layer jacket and pants.”

Cold or not, everyone always reports having a great time.  The organizers of the first trip, not even ten years ago, could hardly have imagined what a community-building institution in would become.

 

Applicants who have submitted all their graduate school applications in recent weeks may be thinking that the next two months are free to relax and get on with life.  That’s true.  Or a little bit true.  Or maybe not so true.  In fact, I would encourage you to keep thinking about how your graduate school options are going to come together.  Specifically, do you have all the financial resources you need for your studies?

Yes, it’s true that some students will receive a full tuition scholarship from the graduate school of their choice.  But we also know that both our own students and those of other graduate schools of international affairs are usually drawing from a combination of different financial resources.

One potential resource is income for work during the semester.  For most Fletcher students, that means campus work.  (Most international students, especially, have few options for work off-campus, given visa regulations.)  Last semester, whenever I saw a job posting, I tucked it away in a folder, and I thought I would share a few so that you can get a sense of the range of campus work.  Please note that income from a campus job is likely to help you cover some expenses — maybe all of your food expenses — but is not likely to make a serious dent in your tuition.  With that in mind, here are a few of the different jobs offered in the fall.  Note that these positions are not open now or for fall 2016, but you can be sure that similar postings will appear in each semester.

Work in offices

The Office of Student Affairs is seeking a student to work approximately 10 hours per week starting as soon as possible and continuing to the end of the academic year.  The position entails management of the Fletcher Connect Calendar and other student affairs projects during the semester.  Duties include heavy administrative work, logistics, and event planning.  Interested students should have strong organizational and communication skills, a proficient knowledge of Microsoft Word and Excel, and an interest in working closely with school administration.  A flexible and friendly attitude is also appreciated.

Tufts Telefund:  The Tufts Telefund position offers flexible work hours, great pay and a friendly work atmosphere with fellow students. You will forge strong relationships with alumni, parents and friends of the university to raise funds towards scholarships and many other meaningful causes while earning an hourly wage with the opportunity for incentive-based rewards.  Student fundraisers are persuasive, energetic and passionate about Tufts University.

Student, Talent Handler, TV Studio:  Dual Reporting to Ginn Library and Communications, Public Relations & Marketing (CPR&M).  Provides onsite staffing and support for live and pre-recorded television news interviews with faculty and experts of The Fletcher School in keeping with established protocols and processes. Arrives no later than half an hour before scheduled interview to prep and test studio equipment and establish connection with VideoLink; greets talent; assists talent with on-air preparation.  Flexibility is a must!  There are no set hours — you will work when there is a broadcast, and requests will come in oftentimes with little advance notice.  Assignments will be distributed among a pool of handlers to accommodate other commitments.

Fletcher’s Communications, Public Relations & Marketing (CPR&M) office is seeking talented student writers, videographers, photographers, and editors for paid assignments covering events on campus.  We will be taking applications for individual positions as well as combined (e.g., Student Photographer/Writer), with a preference for adaptable candidates who possess at least two skills sets and are able to work across different media.  Applications are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the academic year.

Research Assistant Positions

Research Assistant for Humanitarian Technology:  Kings College/London, the Overseas Development Institute, and the Feinstein International Center are partnering on a new research initiative that looks at the current humanitarian system, its deficiencies and strengths and how it might be reformed to be more fit for purpose both in the short term and over a 10 to 15-year horizon. One significant component of this Planning from the Future Project (PFF) is a review of technological “game changers.”

Our research assistant will conduct a rapid literature search and review, highlighting these areas:

  • Cash (and support programs like Kache); Hawalas, mpesa or e-money transfer systems, etc;
  • ODK, KOBO and digital data collection, entry, and analysis platforms;
  • ICT/ comms;
  • Crisis-mapping and crowd sourcing information;
  • Dashboards and data amalgamation/analysis platforms;
  • Drones; satellite remote sensing, etc.
  • “Big data” ( and protecting personal ID and personal data);
  • Fieldwork.

The Research Assistant should have the following qualifications:

  • Strong research skills, including the ability to quickly search and summarize diverse literature
  • Writing ability (demonstrate previous lit reviews)
  • Knowledge of humanitarian technologies
  • Availability to begin work immediately, and to contribute 50 hours of effort by middle of November (15-20 hours/ week)

The Office of the Dean is looking to hire a current first year student as research assistant.  This position will take on occasional projects given by Dean Jim Stavridis.  Requirements include approximately 10-15 hour per week commitment, strong research skills, knowledge of Microsoft PowerPoint, attending occasional meetings with the Dean, and the ability to function as part of a two-person team with a second-year student.

A Fletcher professor and a Brandeis University professor are co-directors of a project on on “Leadership and Negotiation” sponsored by the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.  They are looking for a second-year MALD or PhD student to help them with the project.  Candidates should have a strong interest and background in negotiation, leadership, conflict resolution.

Teaching Assistant positions

International law:  Every spring several of Fletcher’s International Law faculty teach an undergraduate course on International Law through the Tufts Political Science department.  Two Fletcher students are hired each year to help out as coordinating instructor and TA.  In addition to attending the weekly lecture, you would also hold office hours each week for an hour and help run three to four review sessions during the semester.  The TA position is a two-year commitment so you will need to be at Fletcher next year.  You would be the TA for the course this Spring. Next spring you would be the coordinating instructor with a new TA.  The TA would ideally have some background in international law.

The TA tasks include the following:

  • preparing discussion questions and leading weekly discussion groups;
  • helping to organize a moot court exercise;
  • running review sessions 3-4 times a semester;
  • assisting with general logistics of the course, including grading;
  • holding office hours once a week.

Other teaching positions

The Fletcher Graduate Writing Center is accepting applications for writing tutors. The job basics:

  • Work one-on-one tutoring fellow Fletcher students in writing skills
  • Plan, execute, and assist with periodic writing skill workshops
  • A time commitment of 3-6 hours per week – schedules to be arranged after hiring
  • The ideal applicant has experience with tutoring AND editing of various kinds with people from a wide array of backgrounds.

Winter Teaching Opportunity at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute: Lead a short study group for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Tufts, an adult education program for retirees seeking intellectual stimulation in a convivial  atmosphere.  No tests.  No pressure.  No grades.  Just the thrill of learning for its own sake.  The Institute is currently soliciting proposals for 2- and 4-session study groups for its 4-week winter program, which will run in January and February.

You’ll receive a small honorarium, valuable classroom experience, an opportunity to develop a course in a subject you’re excited about, and the joy of knowing that everyone who signs up for your class has done so out of  genuine interest.  Study groups generally meet once per week, either on Mondays or Fridays on the Medford campus, or on Wednesdays at a “satellite campus” in Lexington.

 

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