One of the objectives of the Admissions Blog at this time of year is to fill the long silence between when you submit your application and when you receive your admission decision. On the other hand, it’s hard to make our January-to-March activities sound interesting. We process applications. We read applications. We decide on applications. We do other stuff, including planning for next year before we’re even done with this one. Blog readers should rest assured that we are making progress on all of our work.
But applicants should not interpret the long silence to mean that they needn’t think about their graduate studies. The hard work of preparing applications may be complete, but you’ll be doing yourself a favor if you set yourself up to make an informed decision in April. To that end, here are some things you can do or think about while you’re waiting for graduate schools to make their decisions.
1. If you didn’t have a chance to visit Fletcher (or your other schools) in the fall, it’s not crazy to plan a trip for the coming months. We hope that admitted applicants will participate in the April events we organize for them, but if you want to see the school in everyday mode, don’t hesitate to come over. We’ll be offering a few information sessions each month, and you’re always welcome to attend a class, whether or not we have scheduled activities.
2. Go back to the websites of your selected schools and make sure your interests are truly in line with what the schools offer. Based on the questions we receive in the spring, we know that many applicants have not thought through their choices quite as carefully as would be optimal. Or, equally possible, their interests have migrated a bit in the months since applying. Either way, check over the information so that you’re ready to make an informed choice.
3. If you sent off your application without a firm financial plan in mind, now is the time to think about money. Are you eligible to take education loans? How big a loan burden are you willing to take on? Are there any scholarships out there for which you’re a competitive applicant? Every graduate school has its own scholarship policy, but in the world of professional schools, scholarships for full tuition and living expenses are relatively rare. Even if you receive a full tuition scholarship, how will you cover all of the living expenses that a year in graduate school involves? What if you don’t receive full tuition, as is the case for the majority of Fletcher students?
4. Related to #3, now is a really good time to save your pennies. I’d even suggest a starvation spending diet, so that you can build a cushion for the lean earnings period of graduate student life. This may be counter-intuitive. Some people might think that now is the time to enjoy having an income, but the additional funds will be so much more valued when you don’t have money coming in.
So, broadly speaking, I’m suggesting information gathering and financial planning as two worthy activities for the coming months. Making a decision in April will be ever so much easier when you have all needed information in place.