Currently viewing the tag: "deadlines"

Do I need to say anything that the title of this post doesn’t already say?  A little context, maybe?

Every year, the majority of our applicants wait until the last (or nearly last) minute to submit their applications.  Meanwhile, as the clock ticks down, they anguish, stress, and contact the office to ask for a clearer definition of “January 10 deadline.”

Why?

Seriously.  I’m asking.

Why would you risk the anxiety and hassle (and potential missed deadline) involved in waiting until the very last minute?  And why take the time to ask whether a January 10 deadline means by close of business or before midnight?

Today is December 23.  Eighteen days remain before January 10.  Use 17 of them industriously, and you will not need to contact us for clarification of the deadline.

So, yes, dear blog readers, I am imploring you to do something good for yourself.  Please submit your application before the deadline.  Not so early that it’s incomplete, mind you, but early enough that you can relax while imagining other people’s frenzy on January 10.

And for the record:  applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EST (GMT-5) on January 10.

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Sticking with the idea of helping this year’s applicants get their minds around the process, I’m going to lay out the application deadlines for you.  In fact, you can find them on our website, but my contribution will be to format them in an even plainer way.  Then, assuming you’re applying to one of the programs with more than one deadline, you can pick your own.  Here are the dates and the details on which program applications are due on those days.

October 15
Deadline for January 2014 enrollment in the MALD program.  This is the only deadline for January enrollment, and only MALD students may apply to start their studies in January.

November 15
Early Notification deadline for September 2014 enrollment in the MALD, MA, MIB, or LLM programs.

December 20
Deadline for September 2014 enrollment in the PhD program.  Note that this is the only deadline for the PhD program.
~and~
Early Notification deadline for Map Your Future applicants to MALD and MIB programs.

January 10
Regular deadline for September 2014 enrollment in MALD, MA, MIB, or LLM programs.

February 10
Final deadline (no scholarship consideration) for MALD and MA programs.

March 1
Final deadline (no scholarship consideration) for MIB and LLM programs.

May 15
Regular deadline for Map Your Future applicants to MALD and MIB programs.

Once you’ve made your choice, mark it in your calendar.  And then also put a note on the day one week before the deadline.  That’s the date you should aim for, to minimize wear and tear on the brain and nerves.

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Our youngest and our most academically accomplished applicants will both be submitting their online applications by this Thursday, the 20th.  It’s the deadline for applications to the PhD program, and also for the current undergraduates who wish to enter the MALD or MIB program through the Map Your Future pathway.  It’s a funny pairing, with no special logic behind it except that it’s simplest for us to have fewer deadlines.  And these two categories of applications will travel two different roads, with the PhD applications merely compiled in the Admissions Office before they head out for careful consideration by the PhD Admissions Committee.  We moved to a December 20 PhD deadline several years ago.  Though PhD applicants will learn their decisions in March, along with all the other January/February applicants, PhD applications are so much more complicated that we decided the extra time would serve everyone well.

As for the MYF applications, we’ll receive a small batch from very organized college seniors and May 2012 graduates.  The larger group of MYF applications will arrive by the May deadline, when seniors will have had more time to consider their plans.

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Christine just handed me an idea (nay, a plea) for today’s post.  She told me that, as the staffer who answers the questions of most callers and emailers (particularly while our student interns are in the middle of exams), she has been fielding endless special requests this week, mostly related to taking and submitting results for the GRE/GMAT.  Requests such as:  Can I submit scores late?  Can I take the exam after the application deadline?  Can you waive the requirement for me, because I haven’t studied for the exam?  Or because I graduated from college many years ago?

So, with Christine and all the applicants who take the exam in a timely way (and don’t make special requests) in mind, here’s the deal:  Fletcher requires submission of GRE/GMAT scores because we find them to be a useful analytical tool, even though GRE/GMAT scores are never the sole basis for an admissions decision.  Our expectation is that you will make your application complete as quickly as possible after the deadline.  That is, you must submit the online application materials before the deadline, but supporting credentials (test scores, recommendations) can arrive a little bit later without having a negative effect on your application.  Today’s date is December 13.  If you’re aiming for the January 10 deadline, you have about three weeks to take the exam and still expect to complete your application in time.

(Note that, even within the structure outlined above, you can still see a typically Fletcher-ish flexibility.  We could (but don’t) say we refuse to review an application if all materials don’t arrive by the deadline.  We want to give our applicants every opportunity to put together a strong application.  But that flexibility doesn’t extend as far as offering special arrangements to each of the thousand people Christine feels she has spoken to this week.)

Since many graduate schools have January deadlines, testing centers tend to be very busy this time of year.  That is why, if you haven’t taken the test yet, you need to act RIGHT NOW and find a test date.

What happens if on January 10…January 15…January 20…February 1, your scores still haven’t reached us?  Well, we’re just going to hold all your materials in a folder while we wait.  Leaving your application in that endless purgatory is, let’s say, not a great strategy for obtaining admission.

As for all the other reasons people give for not wanting to take the exam (graduated long ago, math skills are rusty, etc.), I can only say that your fellow applicants would probably say much the same.  No one likes taking these exams.  We understand that.  But like many unpleasant things in life, you simply need to do it.  In this case, you also need to do it on our schedule — not because we seek to inconvenience you, but because not following our schedule may hurt your own chances of gaining admission.

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On Saturday, October 27, my friend Joann was in her house, just north of New York City.  She said to her son, Alec, that Hurricane Sandy was coming, and that they should submit all his college (undergraduate) applications RIGHT AWAY, so that they wouldn’t need to worry about the storm.  Sandy arrived around mid-day on Monday (October 29) and knocked out Joann’s electricity until Friday, November 2, one day after the deadline that Alec needed to meet.

Dear blog reader, every year I beg applicants to submit their applications early.  Do they listen to me?  Well, some do.  But 75% of our applicants do not.  This year, I once again implore you to submit early, but if you don’t want to listen to me, then listen to Joann.

Lest I leave any doubt, I am not suggesting you submit an application that is incomplete or somehow wanting.  Rather, I’m telling you to create a personalized deadline that is ahead of our deadline, and work back from there to ensure your application is perfect and complete.  For example, if you’re aiming for our January 10 deadline, then:

January 3, complete the application form (short answers) while continuing to polish essays
January 5, add your essays to the application, and proofread everything
January 6, do something completely different that will clear your head
January 7, reread the application instructions and, with special attention to ensuring you have followed those instructions, review each part of your application
January 8, submit the application
January 9-10, in your head (not out loud, please), gloat about your timely application submission

If, like Joann and Alec, you’re concerned about the potential for technical problems, set your personalized deadline earlier than January 8, and start the final polishing earlier, too.  The idea is to aim for a date that enables you to present a flawless document, but also leaves breathing room before the actual deadline.  Remember, too, that meeting the deadline requires that you submit the online application (and included materials) by 11:59 p.m. EST (GMT-5) of the due date.  If test scores or recommendations arrive slightly after the deadline, we’ll still consider your application to be on-time.

I assure you that this is good advice.  But if you don’t believe me, ask Joann.  Alec doesn’t yet recognize the value of his mother’s wisdom, but you can still learn from it.

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Covering a few topics in one post, I want to catch up on some late-summer news items.

First, and most important to prospective applicants, is that our application for January or September 2013 admission is ready!  Set up your account, and any information you enter on the application will be saved until you’re ready to submit it.

Second, and related to the first point, is that I want to highlight our new application deadline.  If you have been thinking about Fletcher for a while, you’ll notice that we’ve moved our regular application deadline forward a few days to January 10.  We didn’t want to ruin your New Year’s holiday, but we needed a little extra time to compile applications.  Plus Mother Nature always seemed to find joy in complicating our work.

Next, we will now officially accept either official or unofficial transcripts for your application.  Here are the new instructions for the uploading of transcripts, snipped straight out of the application instructions for each of the degree programs, which you’ll find to the right on just about all of the pages under Apply to Fletcher.

We think this change is going to make life easier for all of us, however it’s very important that you know that all enrolling students must have official transcripts in their file.  The change in our policy relieves some time pressure, but you still need to ensure we receive an official transcript.

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This was my weekend for remembering that the Boston area can have a small-town feel. Everywhere I went, I ran into people:  on Saturday at the winter farmers’ market (one of two in Somerville and Cambridge) and, later, at the movies; on Sunday, when we went to see Red at the SpeakEasy Stage Company and then at dinner, when we met Anne, one of last year’s Januarians, and her family.  But funniest was bumping into both Laurie and Kristen at the mall yesterday, when we were all taking care of a few shopping errands.

Now we’re back to work and compiling applications is the theme of the day.  We’re fortunate to have had a crack team of student interns working through the break, with the satisfying result that we’re up to date on processing mail (until a big bag of envelopes arrives later today).  But just printing the applications that were ready on Sunday took two hours, and we know it will be days before all the materials in the office (the applications and their corresponding transcripts, etc.) will be united in a folder.

But being realistic, I know you’re primarily concerned with the progress your own materials are making.  So here’s a summary of how everything happens.  Note that many of these steps (some done by machine and others by humans) are taking place simultaneously:

1.  You hit the online “submit” button.  Your application was “stamped” with the date and time, and will wait within the Embark system for your registered online recommenders to submit their letters.  If all your recommenders have already submitted their letters, or if you haven’t registered any online recommenders, the application will be ready for us immediately, and we’ll upload it into our internal program.  (If your recommenders haven’t done their part, it’s your responsibility to remind them that the deadline has passed.)

2.  When your application (with online recommendations) is uploaded, you’ll receive an automatically generated email stating that we have received your application, and that you should wait ten business days before contacting the Admissions Office about any missing materials.  (Note that this means that you don’t receive the email if the application is still waiting for recommendations.)  The email also provides you with a username and password to access the Tufts Graduate Application Management System (GAMS).  GAMS is the best way to track your application throughout the process.  We’ll also be posting decision letters to your GAMS account, so hang on to your username and password!

3.   Uploaded applications are printed in batches.  Once we have the paper copy, we’ll create a file folder for you.  (A big moment in the life of your application!)

4.  Meanwhile, Admissions Office staffers will risk paper cuts and worse while they open an endless stream of envelopes holding test scores, transcripts, letters of recommendation from recommenders who weren’t registered online, etc.  We sort and file the mail.  If the application hasn’t yet been uploaded, the paper materials will “wait” for it to emerge from the system.

5.  Once we have your application in a file folder, we dig out the mail that has already been received for you and include it.  Then we manually update your record in the admissions system to show what materials have come in by mail.  You should track your application through GAMS, but we’ll also email you if there’s a document missing.  Emailing a member of the Admissions staff will, at this point in the process, give you only the information you can access yourself through GAMS.  And I want to stress here that the aforementioned ten business days are the period during which the humans will be entering information into GAMS.  Keep on top of things, but remember that the registering of your materials won’t happen immediately.

6.  Your completed application is then given to Committee members to review, and you’ll receive your admission decision in late March.

The bottom line:  Pressing submit is the easy part for you, and receiving online materials is the easy part for us.  The challenge is that most applicants submitted their applications during this past weekend, and it will take us a couple of weeks of mad scrambling to clear the instant backlog and create a thousand-plus application files.

Be sure to stay on top of the status of your application, but try to give us a little time to pull everything together.  By early February (only two weeks away, though we know it can feel like forever), everyone who has submitted all the materials needed for an application should find accurate and reassuring information on GAMS.

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My daughter Kayla, under pressure both internally generated and externally imposed by her mother, submitted the last of her college applications early last week.  A brief family celebration marked the final application fee payment.  Now she can start to track the applications and ensure they’re complete, followed by sitting back and relaxing (until it’s time to fret about the results).

Dear blog reader, do you envy Kayla?  Why not join her?  If you submit your application by January 3, we’ll have two work weeks before the January 15 deadline in which to unite your application with test scores and other materials.  In fact, so long as your online recommendations have been received, you’ll be able to monitor your file’s completion before our more, well, deadline-pushing applicants have even submitted theirs.

(And if your recommenders haven’t yet submitted their letters, the fact that your application is waiting for them may just be the little nudge they need.)

To be sure, I’m not telling you to submit essays that you haven’t had time to proofread, or transcripts that will be updated in just a few days.  If there’s a reason why your application will be better or more complete on January 15 than it is now, then you should certainly wait.  But I know there are a lot of you out there, who either aren’t yet feeling much time pressure, or who actually have all the essays written and forms complete, but simply can’t bear to press the button.

Do it, intrepid applicant — take the plunge and submit the application.  Start the year off right.

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I’m still having trouble believing that October is over, so imagine my surprise that the first application deadline for September 2012 admission is tomorrow!  Our newly selected student members of the Admissions Committee are already busy reading files, grabbing two last week and two today — a pace that will soon be unsustainably (laughably) slow.  (I think they know that, but we’re glad to allow them to breathe for a few days more.)  Time for me to get going, too!

For the majority of you who have not yet submitted your EN application, it’s not too late to avoid running up against the precise deadline of Tuesday, November 15, 11:59 p.m. EST (GMT -5).  Submit your application today, and you can pat yourself on the head that you were early.  Note that the piece that must arrive by the deadline is your online application.  It’s preferred that your recommendations, transcripts, and test scores arrive by tomorrow, too, but please don’t hold your application simply because your professor hasn’t zapped through a letter.

Once you’ve submitted your part of the total file, you can monitor our work through the Graduate Application Management System (find details here).  Fortunately for you ENers, we’ll receive a very manageable number of applications tomorrow, and we can compile files much more quickly than in January.  In fact, the whole turnaround for the EN process is super rapid.  You’ll hear from us well before the end of December (exact date still TBD).

Finally, the decision options for Early Notification fall in three groups.  We may choose to admit applicants (occasionally with a condition, such as additional foreign language study); to defer the decision to the spring, when we’ll look at the application in the context of the larger pile; or to deny.  Last year was the first year we denied some applicants and, while I appreciate how disappointing this is, we believe it’s better for the applicant to have clear information that can be used in deciding which other schools to apply to in January.

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A little extra frenzy around the Admissions Office this week.  First, we’ve had some coming and going among staff members, with several of us taking a few days away from work for post-decision family visits.  Then, Monday was a public holiday and the office was closed, which increased the phone calls/emails/foot traffic from Tuesday onwards.

Continuing through the week, yesterday was the deadline for most admitted students to make their enrollment decision.  (Next step for that process is to figure out how many admitted students have accepted our offer, and whether we’ll need to admit waitlisted applicants.)

And, finally, today is the deadline for our current students to submit an application for the renewal of their scholarships for next year.  This shouldn’t really create much work for us, since the application is fairly simple and routine, but you know how people are about deadlines.  At least a quarter of the applications have flowed in today.

From my own perspective, since I’m the scholarship application collector, this means a shortage of interesting blog posts for the rest of the week.  I’ll be back on Monday, once the scholarship applications (and related questions) are tucked in a box and I’ve managed to clear my email backlog.

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