The beginning of the academic year sees me buried in a variety of stats projects about the newest class and overall enrollment at Fletcher. While it’s a lot of work that needs doing on a pretty tight schedule, it’s also fun for what it reveals about our student community. In particular, it’s nice to get to know our new students a bit better in aggregate form. Stats over the past couple years have had more “blips” than normal given the vagaries of the pandemic, but in our newest class we see a lot of things getting back to what we’re more or less used to, with a few other areas still rebounding from our ongoing global moment.
For starters, you can always wager safe money on the average age of the new class. In ten years of Admissions work I’ve never seen it stray from the 26-27 range, and this year comes in at a predictable 27; as usual, Fletcher students bring a lot of prior real-world experience with them. The new class is about 50% international, heartening to see after a year in which many international students faced formidable barriers to studying overseas, even virtually. That international student population is broad as well as deep. The new class includes students from Cote D’Ivoire, Panama, Paraguay, Qatar, The Gambia, Somalia, Myanmar, and Trinidad & Tobago (among dozens of other countries), all places from which we haven’t welcomed students in quite some time.
There are fewer Returned Peace Corps and AmeriCorps Volunteers than usual, but given how the pandemic hollowed out those programs in the recent past that’s no surprise (we have loads of students who were on their way into those and other similar service programs whose plans were upended). There’s a healthy crop of US Veterans, and a typically broad array of prior educational institutions represented. There’s also a significant number of students who are the first in their families to have attended college. I like seeing this not only for these individual students but also for our broader community playing a small role in diversifying a variety of professional spheres that have traditionally drawn upon legacy and privilege (and I acknowledge the irony of this coming from a New England private university admissions representative).
As usual, the overwhelming portrait is one of a group of students with greatly varying backgrounds, experiences, and areas of academic and professional interests. This is the stuff that makes our community great!