Lesson Three brings the good news. Within the next couple of weeks, many Fletcher applicants will learn that they have been admitted. We will congratulate all of you and we’re genuinely happy that Fletcher may play a role in your future. Big smiles all around!
Some of the offers of admission, however, are accompanied by a condition, and today’s post is to clarify what those conditions entail. Point one is that we don’t bother to admit someone conditionally unless we’re very enthusiastic about other aspects of the application; don’t let the condition diminish your sense of accomplishment.
What is the basis for a conditional offer of admission? 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 needs further preparation before enrolling at Fletcher. 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, English language proficiency, or 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 for native English speakers. We’ll ask students to choose the best program for their level and their choice of language — there are too many variables involved for us to dictate any particular option.
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 have over-estimated or under-estimated their ability. Work on those language skills before enrolling! Not everyone who needs some practice will be admitted conditionally.
Beyond the conditions, 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 meet Fletcher’s standard for mid-career. On the other hand, you look great for the MALD program, 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 require pre-Fletcher English study.
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.