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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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I did not do a good job of lining up tales from the road this year.  I usually ask my Admissions peeps to write a little about what they’ve been up to, but the opportunity slipped by me.  Until, that is, Kristen’s final trip, which started well after everyone else’s had ended.  Lucky for me, she agreed to write this blog post:

Last week I returned from what was officially the last recruiting trip of our admissions “travel season.”  Talk to any admissions professional, and you’ll quickly find out that we have a love/hate relationship with the fall.  Most of us love being out on the road and meeting new applicants, but the pace can be frenetic and hard to manage with everyday work.  My own travel schedule was very manageable this year, but the last trip — to India — represented a significant undertaking.

I was really excited to travel to India.  I had been once before, in 2000 for the wedding of a friend.  Each time I mentioned this to anyone familiar with India, the refrain was always the same: “Wait until you see how it has changed!” I didn’t quite know what to expect, and I can’t say that I saw many changes, but I certainly experienced them.  Most notably, improvements to traveler infrastructure were apparent, and the whole trip was incredibly smooth and quite easy.  This growth in infrastructure represents why we choose to go to a country like India:  as the market develops, so does the number of qualified professionals seeking graduate degrees.  In recent years, we’ve seen an increase in the number of applications and enrolling students from India, so we felt it was time for a visit.  (A small footnote to say that that’s not the only basis for our travel — we also go to places from which we would like to see more applicants.)

A highlight of any Fletcher trip is the ability to interact with our alumni.  I was able to meet with some really inspiring Fletcherites, including one recent grad who is working at an innovative organization that uses rigorous and scientific impact evaluations to combat poverty; a current PhD student who is studying with a Boren Fellowship, and another who does very interesting work at the nexus of business and economic development.

Of course, these trips have their personal highlights as well.  For me, that’s always about the food.  I have to eat, right?  I had some really spectacular meals, and I was both heartened and disappointed to find out that one of my favorites was at a small chain that has an outpost in New York!  Disappointed to know that I chose so unadventurously, but heartened to know that when the Fall 2012 recruiting season rolls around, I’ll be able to hit an old favorite in New York.  It’s the glorious cycle of admissions.…

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