As I mentioned last week, nearly all applications have been read twice now, which means they’re hurtling down the track toward final decision-making and processing. For now, I’ll need to stay annoyingly cagey on when decisions will be released, but we know it will be around the middle of March. We’re not quite close enough to give a specific date, and we have also been plagued with technical problems through much of this year so we want to leave ourselves some wriggle room. (Happily, most of the technical troubles have resolved in the last few months, and we’re optimistic that all will go smoothly.)
An applicant asked me recently about the reading process. I think that each of our Committee readers has a slightly different approach toward an application file, but that ultimately most of us read from front to back. We arrange each application in a standard way (application form, résumé, transcripts, test scores, essays, recommendations, correspondence, interview report), and it’s just easiest to go through the pages one-by-one. That said, there’s a lot of flipping back and forth.
What have we been looking for? The bottom line is always that applicants need to be able to succeed in the classroom. In some cases, there’s perfect confluence between undergraduate transcripts, test scores, and recommendations. In other cases, a student may have slipped up a bit as an undergrad, and we’ll rely a little more heavily on the test scores and recommendations. Or an applicant may be a poor test taker, and we may set aside the test scores, in favor of the transcript. In any event, we’re looking hard at all the data.
Beyond that, we want to admit students for whom Fletcher is a good match and who, with the benefit of their Fletcher education, are likely to achieve their goals. For this information, we’re looking at the essays, recommendations, past professional experience, and even the academic record. (Some applicants travel a linear road from undergraduate studies, through professional experience, to Fletcher and beyond.) Of course, we also look to bring into our community people who will add to the richness of the student and alumni groups.
None of this information is new, of course, and I’ve written about it before. What’s new, instead, are the blog’s readers (applicants). If there’s a message that I’d want you to take away from this post, it’s simply that we look carefully through all the materials in an application. For some of us (who are bad with names), your identity will be more tied to your experience than what others generally call you. (As in “remember that guy who went to Tufts undergrad and then did Peace Corps in Ecuador?”)
I know that the decision process remains a mystery to most applicants, so I hope this post at least reassures you that every application is reviewed thoroughly and carefully.