An update from the Admissions Committee

Around this time of year I like to update readers on our work in the Admissions Committee. This process is one of my favorites of the year: it’s a great opportunity to work with students, faculty, and other administrators in a unique capacity, and it always reassures me that we’re giving our applicants the deliberate and in-depth consideration they deserve.

I’ve been doing admissions work long enough to know that our committee process is perhaps a bit unusual. In particular, our inclusion of current Fletcher students in committee is something I’ve learned is rare among similar institutions. It’s still a bit hard for me to get my head around as I can’t imagine things any other way. Current students are the peers-in-waiting of our applicants, after all, and in some ways they know better than anyone if an application indicates the qualities that predict success in the Fletcher classroom and community. The opportunity to deliberate with the Admissions Committee feels fresh every year, and the variety of perspectives around the table is fundamental to the process.

Most of the Committee’s time is spent reviewing applications of candidates who exhibit many of the characteristics needed for admission save for a missing or underrepresented element or two. In other cases application readers are left with a point of uncertainty or confusion, and the Committee is a good place to hash these things out. It’s common for the Committee to review a lot of cases of candidates applying during their senior year of undergrad. As many readers know, full-time professional experience is strongly encouraged for all applicants to Fletcher, which means there’s a relatively small number of college seniors admitted directly each year. That’s particularly true of the accelerated Master in Global Affairs (MGA) program, for which substantial prior professional experience is a virtual requirement. Some candidates who aren’t the right fit for that program may still be ready for success at Fletcher and so may be offered admission to the MALD program. Others whose applications lack only that professional exposure might be offered a place on the Wait List, or advised to re-apply in a year or two after gaining some work experience.

I can say confidently that all candidates reviewed by the Committee receive a careful and thoughtful hearing. The pieces of an application that are most salient to a faculty reader might be quite different for a current student reviewer, and different still from what an Admissions staff reader finds most prominent in their review. Multiple perspectives at work bring out valuable details of each applicant’s case, and also help to smooth out the implicit and unconscious biases any reader brings to a review of an application. It’s a fair amount of work keeping the Committee process running, but it’s work that is well worth the effort and in the best interests of our applicants.

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