Decision Guide #2: The flavors of admission

In Friday’s post, I provided the information that applicants who are not offered admission in this round can use to understand their decisions.  Today, as the staff creeps ever closer to being ready to release decisions, we’ll look at the different categories of admission.

Within the next week (and we’re really working as fast as we can), many Fletcher applicants will learn that they have been admitted for September 2018 enrollment.  Some of the offers of admission, however, will be accompanied by a condition.  The first thing to remember is that we don’t bother to admit someone conditionally unless we’re very enthusiastic about other aspects of the application; don’t let the condition diminish your sense of accomplishment!

What is the basis for a conditional offer of admission?  After reviewing a prospective student’s application, the Admissions Committee may suggest the applicant needs further preparation before enrolling at Fletcher.  We’ll make that preparation a condition of admission.  The most frequently employed conditions require that, before starting Fletcher classes, the student should improve:

  • English language proficiency
    We tend to be inflexible about the nature of the pre-Fletcher English training, for reasons I hope are obvious.  (In case they’re not as obvious as I think, I’ll spell it out:  No one can succeed in Fletcher classes with weak English skills.)
  • Foreign language proficiency
    There’s more flexibility around foreign language training for native English speakers.  We’ll ask students to choose the best program for their level and their choice of language — there are too many variables involved for us to dictate any particular option.
  • Quantitative skills (MIB program only)
    We will suggest several options for those who face this requirement.

The remaining (majority of) admitted applicants will have no condition attached to their admission. Nonetheless, we’ll encourage everyone to do an honest self-assessment and brush up any skills (English, foreign language, quantitative) that might need brushing before starting classes.  No condition on your admission doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work on any shortcomings.

For the last few years, some students admitted to the MALD program have also been asked to focus on their quantitative skills.  This year, instead, we are going to put a greater emphasis on advising all incoming students so that they make the right course choices for their quantitative requirements.  We’ve been thinking for a couple of months about what this might look like.  In any case, no quantitative conditions on admission to the MALD program.

Beyond the conditions, there’s one other noteworthy aspect to the admit category:  Occasionally, we admit applicants to a program other than the one to which they applied.  Most common example:  You applied to the mid-career MA program, but you don’t have sufficient professional experience to meet Fletcher’s standard for mid-career.  On the other hand, you look great for the MALD program, so we’ll admit you to the MALD!

Our process would certainly be simpler if there were only one type of admit, but the option to attach a condition to admission is the difference between admit and deny for some applicants.  We would hate to turn away a highly qualified applicant who needs a little brush-up on English skills, but we would be obliged to do so if we couldn’t require pre-Fletcher English study.

The happy bottom line is that conditional admission is (once the condition is met) ADMISSION!  And we’re convinced that fulfilling the condition will enhance the admitted student’s experience at Fletcher.  So we’ll maintain our portfolio of admits, sometimes with conditions attached.


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