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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!

 

The Hall of Flags is in full hum today, with new and continuing students popping in and out of Shopping Day sessions.  I always think of this first day of the academic year as being the start of a new “blog year,” too.

To kick off Blog Year 2016-17, I’d like to point you toward some of the blog’s past content.  For starters, there are the regular posts written for the Student Stories feature, which will continue this year with both returning and new writers.  And there are the occasional Faculty Spotlight posts — shining that light on aspects of the professors’ Fletcher life that you won’t see represented elsewhere.

Among the posts from Student Stories writers are what we call “Annotated Curricula.”  You can think of them as the roadmap that our writers took through their two Fletcher years.

For the past few years, I’ve asked alumni to write about their post-Fletcher lives, in either a one-year update or a five-year update.

And then there’s the straightforward admissions stuff.  A few years ago, a student member of the staff wrote the “Dear Ariel” column, in which she answered commonly asked questions.  I hope to bring a similar feature back this year, once our student staff is back in place.  And over the years, we’ve passed along lots of admissions tips — especially ideas for the application essays.

I hope you’ll enjoy catching up on some of the blog’s past posts.  I’m certainly looking forward to sharing details of the new Blog Year!

 

Guys!  Finally some useful admissions-related news!  As of today, if you look at the interview schedule page, you will see our complete interview offerings for September to December.  And here are the details you’ll need:

  • Interviews are optional, but evaluative.
  • The Admissions Committee does not invite you to come interview.  You make that decision for yourself.
  • You should schedule your interview early.  Do not wait until you have submitted your application.
  • Even if you don’t want to have your interview until December 1, you can schedule a time now.  That way you’re sure of being able to grab the appointment when you want it.
  • Interviews will wrap up at the end of the fall semester — Friday, December 9.

We only started offering interviews by Skype last year, but they were so popular that for this fall we’ve increased the number of sessions each week.  At the same time, we really want people to visit the School, so we have preserved on-campus appointments, especially on Monday and Friday, when we also offer Information Sessions.

Need more details?  Read my post from last year, or contact us.

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