Sure, I know. Decisions were released two whole days ago. Some people have already accepted (or declined) their offers. But by “some,” I mean only a small number. Most folks are gathering information. To that end, let me try to explain a few of the finer points of this process.
First, scholarship awards. Fletcher has a scholarship budget for new and continuing students. All of the funds allocated for incoming students (including those who applied by the Early Notification deadline and were admitted in December) were distributed this week. The well is now completely dry.
Beyond dry, in fact. Because here’s what you need to know about the scholarship business. If we have $100 in our special pot of scholarship cash, we don’t simply distribute $100. Instead, we reckon that half of the award recipients will decide to continue working, attend another program, or, for whatever reason, decline our offer of admission. This is predictably the case and, with enrollment history in mind, we actually distribute $200 in scholarships. It’s a gamble, but if we’ve done our math right, it’s a safe gamble.
And here’s how I like to describe what this means to the recipient of a 2018 scholarship. Let’s imagine that Jim and Bill are friends who have applied to Fletcher. Both are admitted and receive $100 scholarships. Bill decides to enroll at Fletcher, but Jim decides to postpone graduate school for a year. Bill knows that Jim has received a $100 scholarship, and Bill would like to claim it for himself. Now that you’ve read this post, you know that the $100 that was returned to our scholarship fund is imaginary money. That is, we’ve already calculated that Jim (0r someone like Jim) will return the scholarship, and no funds were actually liberated. At the end of the enrollment process, we’ll calculate how much genuine money has been added back to the scholarship account. One thing you can be sure of is that we will distribute all of the available funds.
Even as we can’t solve all financial problems for every student, we aim to provide clear and useful information to allow you to plan. Students in a two-year program learn their two-year scholarship when they’re admitted. And you might want to know how the Committee on Admissions makes awards. Our scholarship decisions are based on a combination of merit and need: for any level of merit — as determined through the application review process — the larger awards go to those with greater need. We hope that all applicants will be happy with their awards, though we know that only Admissions Committee members have the full picture of the breadth of need (and merit, for that matter) among the admitted applicants. Fletcher’s applicant pool is diverse in every possible way.
Next, waitlist ranking. As I mentioned last week, we don’t rank the waitlist, and there’s really no way to talk your way to the top of the list. But we do encourage you to update us with information that brightens up your application. Each time we make an offer of admission from the waitlist, we’ll be re-reviewing the applications and if you’ve updated any aspect of your file, we’ll review it then. Oh, and remember Jim and Bill from the scholarship example? When Jim makes his decision not to enroll, it doesn’t mean we’ll be going right to the waitlist. We need to wait until after April 20 before we’ll know how close we have come to our planned enrollment.
Finally, this year, like every year, we’ll be asked whether we will reverse decisions. I’m sorry. We do not reverse decisions.