Never content to keep things simple, even when it comes to admitting applicants, our decisions include multiple options. The bottom line for all is: YAY! You’ve been admitted to Fletcher! Congratulations! But some of the offers of admission are accompanied by a condition, and today’s post is to clarify what those conditions entail.
The Admissions Committee looks at the materials in an applicant’s file and makes certain assumptions, some of which lead Committee members to suggest the applicant will need further preparation. We’ll make that preparation a condition of admission. The most frequently employed conditions require that, before starting Fletcher classes, the student should improve foreign language proficiency, improve English language proficiency, or improve quantitative skills (MIB students only).
We tend to be inflexible about the nature of the pre-Fletcher English training, for reasons I hope are obvious. (In case they’re not as obvious as I think, I’ll spell it out: No one can succeed in Fletcher classes with weak English skills.) There’s more flexibility around summer foreign language training, because the best program depends on the student’s choice of language and current ability.
Does this mean that, if we haven’t attached a condition, we’re absolutely sure your English skills are strong enough to cope with a heavy load of reading and writing? Not necessarily, and now’s a good time to work on those skills. Does it mean we’re sure you’ll pass the foreign language exam? Definitely not. Applicants who self-assess as having intermediate level proficiency might really higher or lower than that. Work on those language skills before enrolling! But, as I said, not everyone who needs some practice will be admitted conditionally.
Beyond the conditional admits, there’s one other complication to the admit category: Occasionally, we admit applicants to a program other than the one to which they applied. Most common example: You applied to the mid-career MA program, but you don’t have sufficient experience to be admitted. For the MALD program, on the other hand, you’re looking good, so we’ll admit you to the MALD! (There’s similar thinking behind offering MALD admission to a tiny number of PhD applicants who lack the master’s level study to enter the PhD program directly.)
Our process would certainly be simpler if there were only one type of admit, but the option to attach a condition to admission is the difference between admit and deny for some applicants. We would hate to turn away a highly qualified applicant who needs a little brush-up on English skills, but we would be obliged to do so if we couldn’t be sure he would pursue a language program.
The happy bottom line is that conditional admission is (once the condition is met) admission. And we’re convinced that fulfilling the condition will enhance the admitted student’s experience at Fletcher. So we’ll maintain our portfolio of admits, sometimes with conditions attached.