A few weeks after the big January application deadline, our processing factory is at full steam and we’re happily reading through all of your applications. All of you applicants, however, are faced with what surely seems like a long wait, and as I’ve come to appreciate as a new parent, waiting is not easy!
I’m an advocate of taking a bit of time to enjoy yourself at this point, as getting your application together and submitted is a fair amount of work. Whether your tastes run more toward Cobra Kai or Capital and Ideology, now is a good moment to live a little! At the risk of sounding like the fun police, though, I’ll mention that it’s also a good time to put some serious work into your financial plan, on which we of course hope you’ve already gotten started.
Most applicants will enroll somewhere in the fall, and whether or not that ends up being Fletcher it’s important for all to have a financial plan in place, and to understand the total costs of attendance and major “touch points” throughout the year. The costs of grad school include not just tuition but also mandatory health insurance and fees as well as living expenses. For the great majority of students, meeting the cost of attendance will require a number of different asset streams, as it’s extremely rare for all expenses to be covered by scholarship (whether from Fletcher or an external source). Now is the time to research educational loans for which you might qualify, and to investigate eligibility and deadlines for external scholarship awards (a good place to start is the accordions toward the bottom of this page). Sketch out some broad estimates for any potential earnings during the year (for campus-based jobs, most students manage something in the range of 10-12 hours per week at $13-$15 per hour). For those of you coming from outside the US, factor in a cushion for potential currency volatility against the US dollar. Finally, be aware of the general timing of university billing: at Tufts, bills are issued in early July for the fall semester (and due in early August) and early November for spring (due in early December). It’s likely this is true at most other institutions, as well.
It’s understandable if all this feels like a lot to think about! All the more reason to start to do so now, while you have plenty of time to research and consider what options are right for you.