Advice to incoming students: dive into the curriculum

Continuing our series of tips to help incoming students prepare for life at Fletcher, today I’ll focus on another topic that might make you think “well duh.” A reasonable response to my advice to start digging into the Fletcher curriculum is to point out that any student who applied to Fletcher, much less confirmed their plans to attend, surely has done quite a lot of this already. I sure hope so! However, the lens through which you view curricular offerings as an applicant or even an admitted student can be quite different for enrolled students. You’ve moved from compare-and-contrast mode into planning-your-actual future mode.

A clarification: I am definitely NOT implying that incoming students should be feeling pressure to map out their entire course schedule semester-by-semester. That would be difficult to manage at this point even if one were so inclined, and it’s important to remain open-minded and flexible in your approach to grad school, especially in the early going. That said, now is the perfect time to reacquaint yourself with course offerings at Fletcher. Start making a list of all the courses that interest you, and maybe loosely group them by priority level. Once you have that in place you can check to see what curricular divisions and Fields of Study each course falls into, which in turn can help you start planning out how to fulfill the curricular requirements. It’s likely you’ll find that your list satisfies quite a lot of both the breadth (i.e. some courses from each of the three major divisions) and depth (i.e. courses in two Fields of Study) requirements already, and you’ll be in a good position to start considering how you might fill in any “gaps” to complete the requirements, and what remaining courses will be priority electives for you.

This is just a suggested exercise that you can feel free to embrace or ignore, but spending some time with the course catalogue however you choose to do it is well worth your time. You might also dig into the archives of this very blog to check out some past annotated curriculum posts from Fletcher students, where you can see how different students have approached curricular planning. You absolutely do not need to have everything figured out by the time you arrive in the Hall of Flags, but the more familiar you are with the curriculum in advance, the easier your first few weeks as a student will be.

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