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Technically, 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.
On 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.
The 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.
But 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!
Tagged with: Murray
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);
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.
Tagged with: Paying for Grad School
The quickest of updates today. First, the Office of Admissions is closed for the public holiday. We’ll reopen tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.
Our January 10 applicants will want to know that we’re making excellent progress in compiling and reading applications. The students on the Admissions Committee read a lot of applications over their break, and now it’s up to the Admissions staff to pick up the pace of their own reading. Applicants should know, though, that no matter whether we read your application first or last, all decisions will go out together at the end of March.
The process for reviewing PhD applications takes extra time, but nearly all of those submitted on December 20 have been read at least once already. Decisions for PhD applicants will also go out at the end of March.
I recently heard some news about a 2015 graduate and I could not have been happier for him. (More on the actual news in a future post.) This was someone with whom I had been in frequent contact throughout his application year and during his two years at Fletcher. Honestly, these relationships are the best part of my job. I get so much satisfaction out of my tiny part in helping applicants/students accomplish their goals, and I’m always happy to take questions from prospective students who are putting together all the pieces as they explore their graduate school options.
Despite the value that my Admissions pals and I place on our interactions with you, and at the risk of seeming peevish, I want to ask you to be a little patient this week while we go through the many applications that were submitted over the weekend. Please don’t email individual staff members directly to ask us to check your application. Reread yesterday’s blog post, and then sit tight. The task of the week is reviewing all the applications, and you’ll hear from us soon.
The relative speed with which we can compile applications is one of the prime benefits of our relatively new application system. It used to take WEEKS before we would have completed the process of matching applications with supplemental materials. The first day after the deadline would be consumed with little more than printing the applications and putting them into folders! (This 2012 post gives you an idea. SIXTEEN DAYS before I was able to say that we had cleared the table of piles of mail and folders waiting to be compiled!)
Keep the bad old days of 2012 in mind as you read my request that you not ask to jump the application review queue. You’ll hear from us soon about the completeness of your application. On the other hand, all other questions are still fair game. Feel free to write about other topics that are on your mind, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
There’s a hurry up and wait quality to the application deadline. Those of you whose applications have our staff busy checking materials may have raced up toward the deadline to add all the finishing touches. And now all you can do is wait. Wait…and also monitor your application status until you’re sure that your application is complete and has moved along to the Admissions Committee. To that end, here are the instructions for tracking your application.
AFTER YOU SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION, your Application Status page will display the information you need to track your application.
To access your Application Status Page you can either click the “Start an Application” link on the Admissions website or save the application link. You will login with the email and password you used when you created your application.
How Do I Know If My Application is Incomplete or Complete?
Even after you have submitted all the required materials, your application will wait until a staff member has reviewed each document to check that it is correct and legible. Only then is the application considered complete and ready to be reviewed by the Admissions Committee. Your Application Status page displays the most up-to-date information on your application. Please allow us up to 10 days after we receive your materials to update your status. It isn’t that checking each application takes a long time, but there are a great number to review and we want to get it right.
Your application will be marked as incomplete if we find that items are missing, your transcripts are difficult to read or not translated into English, or your application fee has not been received (with the exception of fee waivers). If we are missing materials or cannot read application documents, we will contact you.
Fletcher Admissions will send you a confirmation email when all of your application materials have been compiled and your application is ready to be reviewed by the Admissions Committee. Once your application is complete, there’s nothing more you need to do (except wait).
Please Note: Whether your application is processed first or last has no bearing on your admissions decision. But you do need to ensure that you have sent us all the needed materials.
When Will I Receive My Decision?
Decisions will be released toward the end of March. We will send a message with information regarding your decision to the email address you used on your application. We will also include information about scholarship awards for admitted students in March.
If you have further questions, please email us or call us at +1.617.627.3040.
Please use the email address that you included in your application on all email messages to the office. We try to respond to every message on the same day we receive it, but due to the large number of emails we receive, it can take several days for us to reply to you. We appreciate your patience!
I remember reading with my kids a book about kindergarten students who think their teacher lives at school (shuffling down the hall in her pink slippers and bathrobe). I’m confident that no Fletcher students imagine a similar scene of professors and staff members drinking hot cocoa in the Hall of Flags, but I can tell you what it is like here in the week between Christmas and New Year’s: Quiet. Very quiet. Students are gone — taking time with family or friends in the area or far away. Professors are gone — even if they’re still grading exams and papers, they’re generally not doing it at Fletcher. And many staff members are gone — with students and professors away, it’s a perfect time for us to take vacation.
But the School is still open, and in the Admissions Office, we continue moving the application process along. That said, the Office will be closed tomorrow and Friday for the New Year’s holiday. We’ll be back on Monday, and we hope that we will be greeted by some applications that are submitted over the holiday weekend.
All of us in the Office of Admissions send our wishes to you for a happy and peaceful 2016!
A note to let you know the Admissions Office holiday schedule. In general, we’ll be open our usual 9:00-5:00 hours throughout the next few weeks. We will be closed, though, on:
Thursday, December 24
Friday, December 25
Thursday, December 31
Friday, January 1
Feel free to zap us an email on any of those days and we’ll respond when we’re back at work.
Even as our focus is fixed on wrapping up the Early Notification process and preparing for the applications that will greet us on or before January 10, there’s another deadline coming up on Sunday, December 20. That’s when we’ll receive two very different sets of applications: for the PhD program, and for Map Your Future.
Many years ago, we moved the PhD program deadline from January to December so that we would have extra time to let the process run. There’s a committee of five professors and several staff members who review the applications, and need time to do so. In addition, dissertation proposals are shared with members of the faculty to ensure there’s a good match between the applicant’s interests and faculty expertise. All of that takes time, and kicking off the process ahead of the January rush has served us well.
When we were considering the application process for the relatively new Map Your Future pathway to admission to the MALD or MIB programs, we decided that the December 20 deadline would work for these applicants, too, though they could hardly be more different from those who apply for the PhD. Map Your Future is for students currently in their last year of undergraduate study (or six months post graduation) who, if admitted, will enroll at Fletcher in two years. So the applicants we’ll consider this month will finally start their Fletcher classes in September 2017 (if they are 2015 graduates) or September 2018 (if they are 2016 graduates). This path works well for applicants who want the security of a graduate school admission offer, but who also want to pursue professional experience before starting their graduate studies.
When we consider MYF applicants, we are really looking for indications of potential. We like to see a strong academic profile and some early professional and international experience. Of course, your typical 21-year-old will not have the experience of our average student admitted directly to the MALD or MIB program, but (in a sense) we make a bet that our admitted MYF students will accrue a lot of great experience in the two years before they enroll.
The MYF application is pretty much the same as for students who apply directly to the MALD or MIB. Any tips that I might give to a MALD/MIB applicant would be appropriate for an MYF applicant, too. It’s only the review process that differs. Now that the second group of MYF admitted applicants has enrolled, we are happy to see how well this option is working.
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