Some decision-related fine print

One of the two or three most exciting points of the admissions year is upon us, readers. The release of admissions decisions, scheduled for early next week, is perhaps rivaled only by the first day of Orientation and Open House as a tentpole admissions event. It brings a group of extraordinary candidates a big step closer to joining us at Fletcher, and in general feels like a pretty big deal. While decision release comes with a moment of literal and figurative exhalation for us, for many of our applicants it marks the start of a new phase of research, anxiety, and decision-making. Before charging into the thicket of decision-related particulars, I’ll emphasize how truly appreciative we are to all those of you who took the time to submit applications this year. Amidst all my deadline reminders, exhortations to do this, that, or the other thing to strengthen your application, and bludgeoning nudging you toward various bits of online Fletcher content, all of us here are well aware that completing your application boils down to work for you, work that’s on top of the full-time gigs most of you hold down. So thanks for your effort! We really enjoy getting to know you through your applications.

For many applicants, the decision information you’ll shortly receive is pretty straightforward. We’re excited for those of you about to be admitted, and genuinely sorry to deliver disappointing news to those who are denied. To this latter group, I’ll note that Fletcher welcomes both reapplications and requests for feedback, and also the assurance that both our current student and alumni populations are rife with people who weren’t admitted upon their first attempt. Seriously, we hope we’ll see another application from you in the future!

Each year there also are a bunch of decisions that come with a variety of special contexts. Here I’ll briefly discuss the two most common types, the conditional admit and waitlist decision. Some applicants receive an offer of admission contingent upon pursuing additional academic preparation, most frequently related to second language proficiency. It’s crucial for non-native English speakers to have a strong command of written and spoken English to succeed in Fletcher’s academic environment, and likewise critical for native English speakers to to be in a position to achieve a level of foreign language proficiency that will allow them to pass Fletcher’s language exams. Otherwise strong candidates who can benefit from a bit of extra language study or practice may therefore have their admission predicated upon pursuing a language course or immersion experience.

Other applicants will receive an offer of a spot on the waitlist. Given that the applicant pool every year includes more well-qualified candidates than available spots in the class, there are always accomplished applicants to whom we’re nonetheless unable to offer admission. I’ll get into more details on the ins and outs of the waitlist at a later time, but the basics are as follows: if you’re offered a spot on the waitlist, you’ll need to accept or decline that offer. Soon after our April 20 response deadline for admitted candidates, we’ll assess how many (if any) spaces remain the class, and make offers of admission to the strongest remaining waitlisted candidates until the class is full. By definition, accepting a spot on the waitlist means putting up with a period of uncertainty, and it’s up to each candidate to decide how they’d like to proceed. Frustrating, I realize. For what it’s worth, I can tell you that we tend to admit some waitlisted candidates in most years.

One way or another, we’re looking forward to continuing to be in touch. Thanks again, applicants, and best of luck to all of you!


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