I’ve received some good suggestions to fuel my blogging through the next weeks from the survey I posted a few weeks back. Today, I’ll answer a few of the easily answered questions, in hopes that it will encourage more of you to tell me what’s on your mind.
Question: Other than the Admissions Committee, who reviews the applications? How much does the comments by these “others” matter in admitting or rejecting an applicant?
I love this question! I can’t remember ever being asked it by an applicant before. I’m guessing that the applicant is wondering about high-level administrators (the dean, etc.), alumni, or professors who might, somehow, weigh in and influence the admissions process. To answer, I’ll start with a reminder that the Admissions Committees for the MALD/MA and MIB programs already includes professors, along with the students and staff, while the PhD and LLM Committees are composed of professors and staff, but no students. At the master’s level (MALD, MA, MIB, LLM), there is no consultation with the many individuals or constituencies not included on the Committee. For the PhD program, professors are consulted as part of the process of finding the right advisor for each student. In no case are alumni or higher-level administrators part of the process. I’ve heard of other schools where the dean can unilaterally decide to admit an applicant. That’s not how we do things at Fletcher. On the other hand, it is certainly the case that professors are available to help us interpret an application if their expertise would be valuable.
Question: What does the Admissions Committee look for in the second essay?
I’m aware that each individual applicant is on his/her own schedule for researching and applying to graduate schools, so I’m happy to point you back to an Admissions Blog post from just a few weeks back. Most of what I could possibly say is included there, but I’ll reinforce my key point, which is that you should use the second essay strategically by focusing on a topic not otherwise covered in the application but that relates (however tangentially) to your qualifications for Fletcher. On the other hand, you shouldn’t overthink the strategizing — there’s no right answer.
Question: Are there application considerations for military personnel or veterans of military service?
Fletcher has a long history of educating military personnel who will continue their careers or who are transitioning to a new career. (This is one of the reasons I asked Liam to contribute to the blog.) I would say that the Admissions Committee views favorably the opportunity to bring military personnel and veterans into the Fletcher community. We are very familiar with the military academies (and the very heavy courseload that students pursue there), as well as the education paths of the many who joined the military before attending university. With an international student body, we naturally also see military veterans of many other countries, including applicants who have participated in mandatory public service. Beyond that, we review each application with an eye toward fairness, just as we would with applicants who have no military experience. Once students are here, Fletcher (and Tufts University as a whole) participates fully in Yellow Ribbon and other veterans’ scholarship programs, and we have a designated point-person to guide students through the very complicated process. In a bureaucratic duel between Fletcher and one of the military branches, we always endeavor to make Fletcher the less cumbersome bureaucracy. Plus, Dean Stavridis comes from a military background — you can count on a welcoming atmosphere.
Those are the answers for today! Please send me more of your questions!