I’m on my way to the last MALD/MA Admissions Committee for this year. We’re starting 30 minutes early to be sure we can finish our work. When we wrap up, we’ll have a celebratory cake (Shhhhhh! Don’t tell the Committee members. It’s a surprise!) and we’ll debrief and talk about ways to make the process even smoother in the future. All of the different degree program Admissions Committees will be wrapping up by next week, and we’re starting the final phase of the decision-making process.
Meanwhile, this week was swallowed up by a slew of projects, and I’m turning, a few days later than I would have liked, to writing posts to help applicants make sense of the various admission decisions. I think it’s really important to do this well in advance of the release of decisions, so that everyone has a chance to digest the information. Despite having missed my mid-week target, today I’ll share some info about what happens when an applicant isn’t admitted. Because, much as it saddens us, saying “no” is something we need to do.
When we review applications, we’re looking for a combination of academic potential, professional and international experience, and clear goals for study and a post-Fletcher career. Applicants who are denied admission might be missing one or more of those elements, or they might be just a little weak in all of them, particularly compared to the overall qualifications of admitted students.
Because gaining admission is your objective, falling short will inevitably feel like bad news, but we do make one distinction among those who will not be offered admission this year. Some applicants to the MALD and MIB programs will receive a letter saying that, though they look great overall, we really want them to gain some relevant professional experience, and it’s the work history that stands between them and the admission they hoped for. We’ll only use this “work deny” decision for applicants within about a year of their university graduation. (This year, that means 2013 and 2014 grads.) We encourage them to work for a couple of years, although (depending on their internship record), it could take more or less time for them to build their professional experience and become competitive applicants.
Here are two points to file away, in case you may find them useful later this year. The first is that Fletcher will provide feedback to applicants. If you’re planning to reapply, I encourage you to ask for feedback this spring. (That is, don’t wait until the month before your next application — you may want some time to make improvements.) We’ll accept feedback requests on May 1 and you’ll hear back from us within a month or so of your request.
The second is that Fletcher welcomes applicants to reapply. Someone who applies unsuccessfully, smooths up some of the rough points in the application, and reapplies in a subsequent year, has shown determination and a strong interest in the School — two qualities we love in our applicants.
Next week, I’ll turn to the waitlist and the various versions of admission.