I know it seems like plenty of time — Admissions decisions will be released by all your schools in March, and you’ll need to make your enrollment decision by April 20 for Fletcher, and around that time for your other schools. Five weeks (more or less) to think it all through — easy peasy, right? Well… It should be very straightforward: gather all your data, plan a visit or more, make a decision. Done! Enjoy your summer! But year after year, we hear from folks who find themselves scrambling on April 19, still collecting information, feeling extremely stressed, and unable to make the final decision on a school or program. So, friends, let my Admissions pals guide you to avoid that fate. First, Liz has a suggestion for an info-gathering opportunity.
My advice for students who have recently been admitted and are overwhelmed with all the information sent their way is to attend April’s Open House for Admitted Students. This is true for Fletcher and our peer institutions, as most schools will have some sort of admitted student visit opportunity. I admit, I do have a vested interest in our Open House, as I am one of the main organizers of the two-day event, but I truly believe it’s the best way to get to know Fletcher! I’ve also heard from countless current students and alumni who have noted that the Fletcher Open House is what helped them solidify their decision about where to attend graduate school.
We offer attendees the opportunity to sit in on classes, connect with faculty, staff, and students, learn about clubs and organizations, attend topical roundtable discussions, and more! Plus, if you’re coming from out of town, we’ll arrange for you to stay with a current student, so you really get a sense of what being a Fletcher student is all about. We understand that it’s not always feasible to join us on campus and there are ways to learn more from afar. (Info on available virtual opportunities will be shared with admitted students.) But if you can make it to campus, I really do think the Open House is the best possible way to help you decide if Fletcher is the right graduate school for you!
Next, Lucas and Marquita dive into the dollars and cents.
Have a financial plan! Hope for the best-case scenario, but prepare for the worst. Fletcher scholarship funding is limited, and many external scholarships and fellowships have early spring, or even fall, deadlines. There are few things more exciting than getting into your program of choice, but having a solid financial plan in place will help you make the best decision as soon as you know your options.
Don’t forget there is more to your graduate expenses than just tuition! You will want to compile as much data as possible on the cost of attending your chosen graduate program. Look into off-campus housing (on-campus housing is very limited at Fletcher). Research possible TA or RA positions, or office jobs, at Fletcher or elsewhere at Tufts. Will you qualify for work study? (Have you completed a FAFSA yet?!) Tufts is less than a 30-minute train ride into Downtown Boston. Take a look at the businesses close to/around the campus — are these places you could see yourself working for extra income? Are you bringing a car to Tufts? Don’t forget to factor in the cost of parking on campus — or the income you can make driving for Uber/Lyft. No matter how you craft your financial plan, don’t wait until the last minute to think of all your expenses and all the possible ways you may be able to offset them!