At this stage of the admissions process, we’re essentially working our way through a master checklist. Hold final PhD and MALD/MA Admissions Committee meetings. Check. Review decision letter templates. Check. Write blog post to help applicants understand their decisions. Working on it right now.
Though the LLM, MIB and (new) MATA committees still have a little work to do, soon we’ll be down to the tweaking of the final lists.
I like to give readers a sense of what’s coming when we release decisions. And I like to publish the post while the mood among you still seems relatively calm. Throughout the rest of this week, I’ll share a little information on our decision options, and you can mull it over until it’s time to apply it to understanding your own decision.
In today’s post, I’ll run through the decision options, aside from admission.
As I know you are well aware, we will not be able to admit everyone who applied to Fletcher for September 2017 enrollment. And there are two possible outcomes for those who aren’t admitted now. One is that the applicant might be denied admission, and the other is that the applicant could be offered a place on the waitlist, possibly resulting in admission later in the spring/summer.
When we review applications, we’re looking for a combination of academic potential, professional and international experience, and clear academic and career goals. Applicants who are not admitted, or who are offered a place on the waitlist, might be missing one or more of those elements, or they might be a little weak in all of them when compared to the qualifications of admitted students.
The waitlist: Each year, we offer a place on the waitlist to a promising group — applicants whose credentials are solid overall, and yet just a little less solid than those of the applicants we’ve admitted. (A waitlist is what it sounds like — a list of people waiting for a place to open up in the entering class.) In some years, we admit a significant number of students from the waitlist. Occasionally, we don’t admit any. But most years we admit a few. This is true for each degree program, and each maintains its own waitlist.
It can be difficult for waitlisted applicants to get a handle on what this decision means for them. Understandably so. For starters, what matters is not how many waitlist offers we make, but rather how many people decide to accept a spot on the list, and we won’t have that number until the end of April. We don’t rank our waitlist, and when it comes time to make an offer of admission, we go back to the applications and review our notes. Applicants offered a place on the waitlist can take until April 20 to decide whether to wait. Most of our work with the waitlist takes place in May or June, though we’ll keep a list into the summer.
Those not admitted: We’re always sorry to say goodbye to an applicant. We’ve read your story and we know how important gaining admission to graduate school is for you. The fact is that many of the students not admitted this year could be admitted in a future year. We hope you will continue to develop your experience and credentials, and that we may read about you again.
Some applicants to the MALD, MIB, and LLM programs will receive a letter saying that, though they look great overall, we want them to gain relevant professional experience, and it’s the work history that stands between them and the admission they hoped for. We’ll only use this decision option for applicants within about a year of their university graduation. (This year, that means 2016 and 2017 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.
Contact us!: Whether an applicant is denied admission or offered a place on the waitlist, our door is still open for communication, and we hope you will contact us. Increasingly, the Admissions Committee expects to see a record of correspondence from those who are applying for the second time.
Students who are not offered admission have the opportunity to request feedback on their application. 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 will want 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.
As for the waitlist, trust that we’re well aware that no one wants to wait. But for some applicants, the waitlist will ultimately result in admission. We encourage you to make the most of this opportunity by taking the time to give your application a boost. For example, you may have experienced changes in your education or professional life, and we want to know about it. If you have new test scores (GRE/GMAT or TOEFL/IELTS) or grades for classes, please send them to us. If you have changed jobs or assumed new responsibilities at your current position, send us an updated résumé. Now’s your chance to shine up your application before we return to it when we evaluate the waitlist.
Although applicants who have accepted a place on the waitlist still have applications under active consideration, and we won’t offer feedback at this time, we are happy to chat with you in person or by phone. Get in touch, and ask us if there is a special piece of information we need.
Finally, 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.
Tomorrow I’ll run through the different categories of admission.