Currently viewing the tag: "Interviews"

The on-campus interview program officially ended on Friday, but your opportunities to interview are far from over.  There are limited on-campus slots still available through January 9, and an infinite number of times when you can record your own video interview.  Christine gives you the details.

For the second application season, Fletcher Admissions is giving you the chance to star in your own video interview!

Can’t make it to campus?  Well, brush up on your interviewing skills, dress professionally, and conduct an interview right from the comfort of your own home (or coffee shop, or hotel lobby, or friend’s house — you get the idea). Video interviews are a great way to add valuable supplemental information to your application, such as detail about your background and how The Fletcher School will help you meet your personal and professional goals.

The video interview allows you to respond to a pre-recorded set of questions asked by current Fletcher students.  Your recorded response to each question may take up to two minutes.  The entire process can be completed in 15 to 20 minutes, so long as you follow the basic instructions.

So how do you go about requesting a video interview?  Simple!  You email us your name, preferred email address (in the body of the email message), and résumé.  You will then receive a response containing the instructions and, more important, a link to the interview site.  All video interviews must to be submitted before you submit your application.  More information, including instructions and helpful tips, can be found on the Fletcher Admissions website.

We look forward to seeing you on the big screen!

If you have any questions regarding the video interview, please email us or call us at +1.617.627.3040.

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Today, Christine gives you all the details on Fletcher’s evaluative interview program.  Remember to check this page when you plan your interview!

The Evaluative Interview program has kicked into high gear!  Appointments are starting to fill throughout the fall, leading to many happy interviewers, who are eager to get to know you!

By now you may be thinking, how can I interview and meet one of Fletcher’s highly trained student interviewers?  Well, I am here to answer your interview-related questions.

What is an evaluative interview?  Great question!  A personal evaluative interview is a valuable way for you to share information about yourself and learn how The Fletcher School will meet your academic and professional goals.

Should I interview?  The interview is recommended, but not required, for all applicants; however, PhD applicants are encouraged to interview.

When should I have my interview?  Interviews should generally be completed at least one week prior to the application deadline.  The interview program kicked off on September 23 and will run through Friday, December 6.  Interviews are offered Monday through Friday during business hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.).  Additional interviews will be conducted on a very limited basis until January 9.

When should I schedule my interview?  You should schedule your interview as soon as possible, once you have an idea when you would like to visit.  We have a good number of appointments available, so it is helpful if you can name a few dates that would be convenient for you.  (Note, though, that dates in late November and December fill early!)  If you are visiting from out of town (or even down the street!), you may want to schedule your interview in conjunction with an Information Session.  More details regarding Information Session dates and times can be found here.

How should I schedule my interview?  Please call the office directly at +1.617.627.3040.  You should have dates and times in mind when you call, to allow us to best schedule you!  If you are unable to call, you can also schedule your interview by email, though this can involve a long back-and-forth process until we find a convenient date.  Scheduling by phone is more efficient.

I’m all scheduled!  Now what?  Once you have scheduled an appointment, you will receive an email confirmation with the date and time of your interview.  Make sure you save and read this email thoroughly as it includes directions to the school, as well as what to bring with you (your resume!), practical suggestions (how to dress), and even hints as to the interview content!

If you have questions about the interview program or anything else Admissions related, please call us at +1.617.627.3040 or send us an email.

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There’s a certain irony that the week when Fletcher turns lively is also a week when I don’t have much time to write about it in the blog.  I’ll do better next week!

Meanwhile, I wanted to say a quick word about the Fletcher approach to admissions interviews.

We’ll be kicking off the season for on-campus interviews on Monday, September 23.  There is also an option to record an interview as part of your application.  Both forms of interviews are strictly optional.  But I would encourage you to try to include one in your application.

We’re going to have plenty to say about both the on-campus and online interviews in the coming weeks.  Today, I’ll just cover two key organizational points about scheduling an on-campus interview.

Point One:  Interviews are generally offered only through the first week of December, and most applicants plan to schedule their interview before submitting their application.  It isn’t an invitation process — it’s your decision.  (Yes, I know that many professional schools take a different approach, but their approach is not relevant for your Fletcher application.)  So if you’re going to want to interview on campus, you should make your plans to visit now.

Point Two:  If you’re going to visit, you should call us soon to schedule your interview.  Right now, there are appointments available nearly every hour on nearly every day (Monday to Friday) throughout the fall.  Come up with a visit concept (date, morning/afternoon) and then call (or email, though calling can be more efficient) and grab a time.

As I said, more details will follow, but I want to get the word out there that now is a good time to plan your Fletcher visit.

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Whether you’re celebrating a holiday at this time of year or not, it’s always a good time to receive a gift, right?  We agree, which is why Liz has pulled together tips that will help you through the (optional) online interview process.  This is the first year we’ve offered online interviews and, if we’re going to draw accurate conclusions from our experiment, we need applicants to submit high quality interviews.  Without further ado, here is Liz’s gift for you:

Fletcher online video interviews:  How to prepare
We recently launched our optional Interview Stream online video initiative and we’ve already started receiving submissions.  A big thank you to those who have already sent us videos!  We’re reviewing them currently, and we’ll note that you didn’t have these tips when you submitted them, so not to worry!  For those who haven’t yet taken advantage of this special opportunity, we thought it would be helpful to share some tips and tricks on how to prepare.

As you would for the on-campus interview option, take some time to prepare for your interview.  The technology enables us to provide an online interview experience that mirrors an on-campus interview reasonably well, and the questions asked are quite similar to those you could expect if you visited Fletcher.  You should be prepared to talk about your résumé, your previous work experience (internships and professional experiences), your interests and professional goals, and why Fletcher is a good fit for them.  By answering these questions, you can show the Admissions Committee a little more about who you are and what you will bring to the Fletcher community.

Some additional tips:

  • Learn More!  From the interview sign-in page, click the Learn More button, which leads to a host of helpful features including the opportunity to test your technology (microphone and camera), and tips and tricks on how to select and light the setting in which you are filming.  Most important, it will give you a practice question so you can familiarize yourself with the technology and how it works.  Take some extra time to explore this helpful section.
  • Be specific!  In answering the questions, don’t assume the person watching your video has your résumé in hand.  Use some of the time allotted to highlight your experience.  Use the full name of organizations or companies you’ve worked for, and use titles to help us understand your roles.  It’s important to create a clear picture of who you are and what you’ve done.
  • Use your time wisely!  As noted in the instructions (found on page 13 of the online application), you have two minutes to answer each question.  You may be concerned that this isn’t enough time, but you should be able to adequately answer each question and provide specific examples.  (Tip:  You have an opportunity for a “do-over.”   Use your first try at each question as a practice to help you prepare your thoughts.)
  • You have options!  As noted above, you do have the chance to re-record your response to any of the questions asked.  However, once you have moved on to the next question, you cannot go back to previous questions.  After each question is asked, you will begin recording your answer almost immediately (there is a countdown clock).  Once you’ve finished recording your answer, you can either review your response, re-record your response, or press continue to move on to the next question.  You can see right on the screen how many tries you have left, so make sure you know when you are recording your final try.
  • Wait until the end!  After the final question is asked and recorded, Interview Stream must upload the video into our system.  This will happen as the closing video plays.  You will receive an email confirmation to let you know it has been submitted.

We hope you enjoy this new option for interviews!  Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.

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Once again drawing ideas from the results of my little survey, today I’m going to talk about the application, and what a good application looks like.  But first, exciting news!  We have now officially launched our new online interviews!  If you have already started an application, you’ll be given a link to access the interview site.  Meanwhile, you can read all about it in this article from the Tufts Daily.  I did a test interview myself.  My suggestion:  take advantage of the opportunity to record a practice video.  I learned everything I needed to know by seeing my own mistakes in the test recording.  (Note that there is no penalty to EN applicants who applied before we had the system in place.  Those whose applications are deferred for reconsideration in the spring will be invited to submit an online interview.)

And now, turning to the application.  The reader’s suggestion was actually to talk about what makes a good applicant, and I promise to return to that subject soon.  But today, I want to talk about the application itself.  The fact is that applicants who will apply in January can no longer make many significant changes to their credentials.  Can you change your work history?  Grades for your undergrad study?  International experience?  No.  No.  And no.  So what power can you still exert over your prospects for admission?  Well, you can make sure you submit a good application.

So what distinguishes a good application from a crummy one?  Two key points.  The first should be obvious, but apparently it isn’t:  Follow the directions!  Answer every question on the form thoroughly.  Never (ever ever) say “please refer to résumé.”  Be sure to list all your key professional experiences, even if they were unpaid.  Don’t assume we don’t want to know about the two years you spent working in a laboratory when, by omitting this information, you make it appear you were unemployed for all that time.  List your recommenders, even though you also need to register them through a separate part of the application.  I could go on, but the point should be clear — complete every part of the application form with care.

And the advice is essentially the same for the essays.  Follow the directions and make sure you have answered the questions.  It’s very frustrating for Admissions Committee readers when they reach the end of the personal statement and still don’t know what the applicant wants to do at Fletcher and beyond.  A frustrated application reader is bad news for the applicant.  We know you want to recycle the same essay for different schools with different essay prompts.  Go ahead and recycle selectively, but you still need to be sure to answer the question.

The second point may be slightly less obvious.  Your application has many parts, all of which should work on your behalf.  Make sure that each piece tells a little more of your story.  Beyond the form itself, make sure your résumé is very clear.  Avoid acronyms.  We know that you know what your organization, Xybrav, does, but we don’t know, and you should tell us.  Do you work for the UN agency UNRAITUSAL?  Please remind us what that agency does.  Remember that Fletcher is a multidisciplinary place — it’s not realistic (or in your interest) to expect everyone to be equally conversant in all areas.  And please, I estimate that there are fewer than five applicants each year who need a résumé longer than about three pages.  Carefully consider whether you are truly one of those five.  (Hint:  Is your graduation year 2011 or later?  You do not need more than three pages.)

Make sure your recommendations are all written in English.  I know that this is a genuine challenge for many of you, but I cannot guarantee your application will be reviewed by someone who speaks your native language.  A letter written in a language no one on the Admissions Committee reads is a wasted letter.

If you’re going to upload your transcripts, ensure they will be legible for us, or we’ll need to contact you to send new ones.  Will your transcript copy be covered with warnings that say the photocopy is unofficial?  You may need to mail us the original.  And way too many people ignore the requirement that they explain their education system’s grading, if it’s not on the 4.0 scale that is common (but not universal) in the U.S.  Is your grade of 5 out of 6?  Out of 10?  Out of 12?  Out of 20?  All these options would reflect grading systems we have seen.  Is your GPA of 1.3 as horrible as it looks in the U.S. context?  Or is it as good as it looks in the German context?  A passing grade in the U.S. is usually 65.  Did your university follow the British convention, in which a 56 might be a good result?  As many universities and systems as we know, it is a mistake for you to assume we know yours.  If your transcript doesn’t explain it, you should!

Use your essays mindfully.  Make sure the second essay tells us something that promotes your candidacy.  We still talk about the essay (which, to be fair, was written in response to a since-abandoned prompt) that an applicant sent about how his life’s greatest challenge was getting drunk on his 30th birthday.  Need I say more?

Finally, DO NOT WASTE SPACE in your personal statement or second essay addressing shortcomings in your application.  Use the “Additional Information” section for that.  And if you need to explain your grades or test scores, do not whine.

Last, both before and after you have completed the application (but before you submit it), review the application instructions, which you can find to the right on this page for each program.  Make the corrections before you submit the application so that you’re not one of those people who asks us to ignore something they’ve already sent.

There you go.  Make us happy with a well-constructed application that tells your story in the best possible way.  It will make us respect you as an applicant, and respect is a good thing.

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Leaping forward with new technologies, we are almost ready to launch a new feature of the Fletcher admissions process — an online interview!  Applicants will be invited to access the interview website and to record responses to a short list of questions.  Of course, we fully realize that this is not the same as an on-campus interview.  (If nothing else, there’s no opportunity to ask questions, an important part of the traditional interview.)  But we’re excited about the option for applicants who are not able to visit Fletcher, and who otherwise would not have an interview as part of their application.

We expect the new system/process to be up and running in December, in time for applicants aiming for the January 10 deadline.  Early Notification applicants for whom we defer making a final decision to the spring will also have the opportunity to record an interview.

Stay tuned for further details!

And speaking of further details, the most targeted and relevant-to-applicants information goes to those who have connected with us.  If you haven’t yet done so, I’d encourage you to sign up for emails.

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My primary focus for the past three days has been developing our interview schedule.  More precisely — we already had a schedule, but now we have students assigned to all the interview times from this Monday through December 7.  What are we missing?  Applicants to interview!

Of course, interviews remain optional, but we always encourage people to visit if they are able.  The interview program is one of my favorite Admissions activities.  The volunteer interviewers are fantastic, and I know they’re the perfect source of information for someone who is ready to apply.

So don’t delay!  Check your calendar and contact us to arrange your interview!

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On Monday we start up the fall student interviewer program.  I’ve spent much of my time this week constructing a schedule with our 40-or-so volunteer interviewers — bent over my desk, surrounded by yellow papers on which they’ve indicated the free time in their schedules.  It’s a little like one of those little number puzzles from back in the day:  I can slide this student into the Monday at 10:00 slot, but I’ll need to move that student into the Tuesday at 2:00 slot.  Right now, it’s all looking orderly, with a time assignment for most interviewers, and an interviewer for most time assignments, and there are still a few people I need to plug in.

Next week will be crazy, with lots of interviews already scheduled, but we’re looking forward to having students and applicants moving through the office every day, reminding us there are faces connected to the names we encounter through the Admissions process.

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As soon as I finish writing this post, I’m going to send an email message to our interviewers, thanking them for their work and inviting them to stop by the office to pick up a gratitude-loaded chocolate bar.  It goes without saying that a piece of chocolate could hardly represent the contribution they make to the admissions process.  The Admissions Office’s ability to offer as many as 40 interviews each week — plus three information sessions — depends on the enthusiasm of Fletcher students for the community and on their interest in contributing to the selection of future community members.

On the one hand, all we ask of our interviewers is a roughly 90-minute weekly commitment.  And we know that the opportunity to interview regularly can be a professional development opportunity, keeping those skills sharp.  On the other hand, we put the burden on interviewers to find their own substitutes, even during midterm exams.  We demand that their notes arrive quickly after the interview, regardless of what they have going on during the day.  (And we tell them they need to look nice, though they may be coming from the gym.)  In a sense, it’s not the time they offer each appointment, but the steady full-semester commitment that we so appreciate.  And interviewees appreciate them, too — the evaluation surveys that interviewees are invited to complete are extraordinarily positive.

We’ll continue to offer a very limited schedule of interviews (most of which are already booked — remember that interviews remain optional) until January 15, drawing on our student interns, a few in-town volunteers, and Admissions staff, but the experience for those who visit Fletcher during the winter break is never as satisfying as a mid-semester visit.  We take pride in our visit program, through which applicants can be students for a day.  The focus for most visitors is the evaluative interview.  Many, many thanks to our student interviewers for helping us to make it happen.

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One of the best things I do at Fletcher each year is work with the students who have volunteered to conduct evaluative interviews.  (Note:  Take advantage of their generous contribution of time by arranging for an interview today!  Student interviews run only through December 10.) And we have a really great group this fall — great not only because they show up on time, but because they have wonderful insights into the process.  Today, Marc Frankel, a MALD student who started last January, shares his unusual dual perspective.

Interviewing for graduate school can be tough – not only have I been there myself, but I’m still there now.  I’m Marc and I’m in my second semester here at the Fletcher School.  I play on the intramural soccer team, I’m in the Fletcher Business Club, and I write the occasional article for the local humor newspaper, the Fletcher Ledger.  I’m also an admissions volunteer, which means that once a week, I spend an hour or so interviewing prospective Fletcher candidates.

During my time here at Fletcher, I’ve decided that I’d like to pursue a joint degree with an MBA program.  I’m in the process of applying to schools now, so I’m writing the same types of essays and enduring the same interview anxiety as many of the prospective students I interview.  Being both an interviewer and an interviewee has given me a few insights I’d like to share with this year’s applicants:

#1)  Be candid.  As an interviewer, I can tell whether you’re legitimately passionate about what you’re applying for or whether you’re just saying what you think we want to hear.  If you’re going to drive all the way up here, get dressed up, and spend an hour with us in an interview, you owe it to yourself to let us get to know you openly and honestly.  I’m a lot more impressed with people who are proud of their accomplishments than I am with someone who spends 20 minutes trying to explain how their job “kinda sorta” fits their idea of a program here.

#2)  Be informed.  This doesn’t mean that you can’t ask questions about the program, but it does mean that you’ve done your homework on the easily-researched basics such as required courses, fields of study, and the number of students here.  These points are all easy to find online, and familiarity shows that you’re serious about your application.

#3)  Do the little things right.  The logo on your shirt or the bond weight of your résumé paper isn’t going to make much of a difference to us, but if you’re late or sloppily dressed, or if you don’t bring a copy of your résumé, we’re going to notice.  Be comfortable at your interview, but treat it professionally.  On that note…

#4)   RELAX!  Believe me, I had the sweaty palms and the jitters before my business school interviews, so I know what you’re going through, but just take it easy.  Your interview is a half-hour when all you really need to do is talk about yourself (the subject you know the most about).  So perk up, smile, and look forward to it.

I know a lot of this is common sense, but I also know how hard it can be to heed common sense when it’s time for your interview.  Just remember to be yourself: the interviewer on the other side of the table will appreciate it.

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