Admissions Boot Camp doesn’t lend itself to photos, but here’s one anyway — Fletcher on one of the beautiful days we’ve had this week. And now we’ll return to business…
There are a few elements of the application that allow you significant freedom to determine their content. The first (and most flexible) is your résumé — a great place to slip all sorts of information that you want to share with us. Naturally, you’ll include all the usual elements — professional experience, academic background, etc. — but you can add details that you can’t otherwise fit into the application. Some of this freedom comes from the amount of space you’ll have to work with. You don’t need to feel limited to a one-page résumé; up to three pages can be fine, though longer than that is usually a negative. You can then include descriptions (for example) of community work that is relevant to your application, or links to publications that you want us to look at, or a link to the website for your successful sideline knitting business, or a list of your relevant skills.
Use the résumé to help us understand your workplace, too. If everyone uses an abbreviation for your organization, the résumé is a great place to spell it out for us, and also tell us what it does. It’s really best to assume we don’t know — a lot of eyes will review your application, and it’s likely that someone will be seeing the name of your organization for the first time. If the organization provided great preparation for Fletcher, you’ll surely want to tell us about it — don’t leave us guessing what you did.
For those of you accustomed to a longer c.v., I’d encourage you to look around for a sample of an American-style résumé. It isn’t that we can’t deal with the c.v., but you’ll end up hiding some of the information you want to highlight. You’ll find a zillion samples online.
Another area of the application (or application process) that allows you significant opportunity to expand upon your background is the optional evaluative interview. I never know why people who live near Fletcher don’t at least try to schedule an interview. The face-to-face meeting really can only help your application, and you’ll have the opportunity to gather information that gives a boost to your essays. (In fact, I always suggest trying to schedule the interview before submitting the application. Leave the door open to learning something helpful during your visit!)
For those who are located farther away, we hope you’ll appreciate the option of participating in an interview via Skype. Yes, video conversations are a little awkward for all of us, but the interview will, again, only help your application.
Both the interview and the résumé are the finishing touches for your application, allowing you to flesh out the story you want to tell. As I suggested in my post about the essays, think about your application as a whole and slip the details in wherever they fit best. Your résumé or interview might just be the best place.