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It has been a long time (two years, to be precise) since I asked applicants what admissions-related information they would like to see in the blog in November, December, and beyond.  I have been feeling that I could use some inspiration and guidance, so I’m reintroducing the blog survey, and calling upon readers to help me out.  Is there a topic that you would like to learn more about — more than the information you find on the website, or receive in an email, or learn during an information session?  Please tell me about it in this one question survey.  The blog is truly the best place to share details about and explanations of the fine points of the process, as well as the School, so please don’t hold back!  I look forward to reading (and answering) your questions.


At this point, we can see the end of the travel season, which I kicked off back in September.  Today, Liz reports on her trips with our peer schools in the Group of Five (G5).

I’ve just returned from a couple of weeks on the road, traveling with representatives from four of our peer institutions: Johns Hopkins, SAIS; Columbia, SIPA; Princeton, WWS; and Georgetown, SFS.  Over 40 years ago, these five schools that together we call the “Group of Five” (G5) decided that if we traveled together, we would reach more prospective students for our programs and could cover more regions of the world.  The schools tested out the idea, and we’ve been traveling together ever since.  We collaboratively decide where we would like to target our outreach for the year, and then work together to plan the trips.  During these trips we try to offer general graduate school advice, while also highlighting what makes our schools both similar and unique.  I like this recruiting method, as we also get to know our colleagues quite well (you learn a lot while traveling by minivan!) and we have a chance to see many different regions of the U.S. and beyond.

My first G5 trip this year was here in New England.  I was in charge of planning, which was neat since the visits were in our “backyard.”  Despite occasional rain, it was a beautiful trip, as the leaves were turning into stunning fall foliage.  We met some great candidates and I’ve heard from several students who decided to visit the Fletcher campus as a follow up!  Here is the New England group prior to our session at Amherst College.

G5 Panel

From left to right, representatives from: Georgetown, Fletcher (that’s Liz!), Johns Hopkins, Columbia, and Princeton.

Other times, if we’re not able to find a session time that works for our travel schedule and the class schedule of the college we’re visiting, we will set up a table in a common area.  Here we are tabling at University of Massachusetts.

G5 Table

After New England, I was off to California to do similar visits in the Bay Area.  We covered a lot of ground, and had a chance to see some of America’s most famous (and beautiful!) bridges.  We had fantastic weather, and most importantly, we had really great school visits, where we met interesting prospective students.


We also try to find ways to have a little fun during our group travel weeks.  Here we are checking out the large Redwood trees, seeing the famous “Bucky the Bronco” at Santa Clara University, and posing with members of the academic council at University of California, Davis.

UC Davis

Overall my two weeks with the G5 were really successful.  It’s always fun to see other parts of the U.S., reconnect with colleagues, and meet new people.  I’ve completed my travel obligations for the year, but Fletcher is still on the road!  Laurie is off to Asia soon (also doing G5 travel), and Dan is currently on his own G5 Pennsylvania trek, having visited South America earlier this year.  Keep your eye on our travel schedule, to see where else you can meet us on the road!

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Applications for January enrollment were due only one week ago, but we’re already looking toward the end of the process.  We’ll continue reading/discussing the applications and then, when they all have had their moment, we’ll pivot immediately to finalizing decisions.  It’s our most compact application review period, but we don’t have much time to play with — admitted students need to make plans!

While we complete that process, we’re also turning toward the Early Notification deadline of November 15 (three and a half weeks away!).  More and more questions fill the inbox as prospective students get serious about their applications.  If you’re one of those people, I might suggest you peruse our Application Boot Camp posts from about one year ago.

I have been the office slacker when it comes to reading the applications for January enrollment.  Creating a block of time to read is on my list for this afternoon.


Yesterday slipped by me without a chance to write a “today’s the deadline” post.  Applications for January enrollment in the MALD or MIB program were due yesterday, and today the staff is doing what needs to be done to make the applications ready to read, as well as to let applicants know if any materials are still needed.

Those who submitted an application know that there is still another week or so when recommendations and test scores can arrive and be reviewed.  In fact, since we correspond rather a lot with applicants, there isn’t much that I can add about the process.  But I will say something about the time frame.  We turn these applications around quickly!  The spring semester starts on January 19 and people need to make plans.  And get visas.  And relocate, etc.  So we’re already reading the applications that are complete (by “we,” I don’t yet mean “me,” but I’ll read some this weekend), and the whole process will wrap up within a month.  At that point, we’ll get ready to welcome our newest Januarians.

The small batch of applications for January is just what we need to get started on the annual application review cycle.  I’m looking forward to learning about our soon-to-be students.

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Just a quick note, especially for the applicants eyeing this Thursday’s deadline for January enrollment.  Today is a public holiday and the Admissions Office is closed.  We’ll be back tomorrow morning, when we’ll do our best to answer all your last-minute questions as quickly as we can!



Just a quick post as I finally settle down to catch up with email, etc., this morning.  The two-plus hours since I arrived today have flashed by.  At 8:30, the first of our 35 Visit Day attendees came by to sign in, and we’ve been setting them up for the day’s activities ever since.  Some will participate in an interview.  Others will head off to a class.  At 11:00, everyone will come together for an Information Session, and then for lunch.  Aside from the lunch, all of the Visit Day activities can be done on any day we offer an Information Session, but it works really well when everything comes together in a tidy package.  We’ll offer one more Visit Day this fall, on November 16.

On a related note, today is Day 6 of the interview program, and just about everything has been going well.  A few dropped connections during Skype interviews, but nothing that upset the interviewer or applicant too much.  At the risk of repeating myself, if you’re interested in having an interview as part of your application process, I encourage you to sign up as soon as possible.  (Remember that Fletcher interviews take place before your chosen application deadline.)  There is plenty of availability now, but the schedule will fill in soon and it may be hard to score an appointment on the day/time you want.  And consider a Friday visit!  For reasons unknown, our Fridays are filling in very slowly.  Fewer classes are offered on Friday than on other days of the week, but the classes that are offered are among the most popular at Fletcher, and you’re welcome to attend one.

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I work pretty closely with applicants to the PhD program, and I should write more to help them.  The deadline for applications is December 20.  That’s a little less than three months off and, given the requirements of the application, it’s definitely not too late to get started.  There’s only one deadline each year, and only September enrollment is possible.

The PhD application requires all the usual elements (transcripts, test scores, essays, etc.), but applicants must also submit a master’s thesis (or major research paper) and a preliminary dissertation proposal.  While the proposal should be well developed, it’s understood that a student’s ultimate dissertation will reflect learning and growth from three semesters of Fletcher classes.  Though it is not required that applicants contact members of the Fletcher faculty before applying, I can say that nearly all of our successful applicants have done so.  Reaching out to Fletcher professors gives you a chance to confirm that your interests are aligned with theirs.  All admitted PhD students are assigned an advisor, and the expectation is that students will stick with that advisor all the way through.

Beyond that, most successful PhD applicants will include two recommendations from professors who can reflect on their work, and most will be asking professors from their master’s-level work to write the recommendations.

I should pause to note that applying directly to the PhD program requires a master’s degree.  Students without a master’s degree, or those who have a degree that lasted only one year, need to start with the MALD (usually) or MIB (also possible) degree.

We’ll be conducting two virtual information sessions, on October 15 and November 16.  There’s also more information that I can pass along.  If you’re interested, please contact us!

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♦  Come up with a plan for fall interviews, including NEW Skype interviews: CHECK
♦  Train students volunteers to conduct interviews: CHECK
♦  Assign students to each of the 35+ interview timeslots each week: CHECK
♦  Dust off the furniture in the interview rooms: CHECK

I guess we’re just about ready to kick-off the fall interview program on Monday.  “Just about” ready, because I haven’t yet identified the inevitable glitches that will occur.  But we’re excited to get started, especially as the interview calendar is filling up nicely!  We were fully booked for the first two Mondays until we added a few extra appointments yesterday.  (Please grab one of those new slots if you were disappointed to have been closed out!)

As I always hasten to say, interviews are an optional part of the application process, but now that applicants have the choice of both on-campus and Skype interviews, I hope that many applications for January or September 2016 enrollment will include an interview report.  It’s a great opportunity for applicants to share a little of their own story.  And through the conversation, they can hear about the experience of their student interviewer, too.


Lost in the whirlwind that characterizes the start of the semester is attention to our applicants for January enrollment.  It just seems impossible that our first application deadline of 2015-16 could be less than a month away.  (I wrote that in mellow lower case, but what’s going through my head is “LESS THAN A MONTH AWAY!!!)

Though most students start their studies in September, there are lots of good reasons to think about January as a good MALD or MIB enrollment option.  The Januarian group tends to be (and remain, throughout their two years) very close.  It’s an instant peer group — far more manageable than the wave that rolls in each September.  The option to take two summers for internships also works well for students who are exploring more than one career path.  If those reasons, as well as the general timing, make sense to you, then it’s time to start your application.

There’s no time like the present, then, to share some tips with the applicants who may be our next crop of Januarians.  Because the application timeframe may creep up on you, just as it has for me, I suggest that you start an application right away, if you haven’t already done so.  You don’t need to do much with it yet, but make sure you know what will be required.  The essays are straightforward, but they may take you some time to perfect.  Don’t wait too much longer to start drafting them.

At last week’s APSIA fair, I was reminded how often we’re asked for our advice on how to put together a good application.  My best, if most basic, advice: Follow the directions.  Yep, if everyone followed this simple advice, we would see a lot more high quality applications.  More advice can be found in a post from last December.  And you should also check out our Application Boot Camp from last fall for more ideas.

Finally, if you hope to include an evaluative interview as part of your application, you need to schedule that now.  The first week of our interview calendar (which starts September 28) is nearly full already.  Whether you’re able to visit campus or you prefer to take advantage of the new Skype option, you’ll want to schedule your interview for before the application deadline of October 15.

We’re looking forward to reading some great applications in October!  As ever, if you have questions, be sure to contact us.

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Yesterday was my first day at Fletcher following the start of classes and I was reminded what a busy place it is.  Lots of new students stopping by the office to be redirected to the people who could actually solve their problems (Once they have started classes, the answer is rarely found in the Admissions Office.) and lots of continuing students popping in to say hello and catch up after the summer.

The shift from slow summer to fast fall happens so abruptly that it catches me by surprise each year.  Suddenly, we’re in the thick of the travel season.  (Since the NY fair that I attended on Tuesday, we’ve participated in two more APSIA fairs — Laurie staffed the Boston table, and Liz was in Pittsburgh last night.  More coming next week.)  The first applications (for January enrollment) will arrive in just a month.  It’s Admissions time!

Which brings me to this: there are lots of ways to connect with Fletcher Admissions — either on campus or nearer to you.  There are visit events, information sessions, and opportunities to interview on campus.  And we offer online information sessions and interviews via Skype if you’re not able to visit.  The Skype interviews are new this year, as are program-specific online information sessions.  We’ll offer a session for MIB applicants on October 8, for PhD applicants on October 15, and for Map Your Future applicants on October 28.  Check the schedule for general sessions and the November/December calendar.

As ever, we hope to hear from you.  Contact us if you have questions about the School, the admissions process, or opportunities to meet us on campus or on the road.  We look forward to being in contact during the application process.


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