Application tips: essays!

Over the next few weeks, our office will be sharing advice on the various requirements of our application process. First up: essays!


The essay, although just a single component of your application, holds immense significance. It offers you the best opportunity to provide the admissions committee with a compelling response to the “Why?” behind your journey to join the Fletcher community. What drives your interest in becoming a part of Fletcher? Why did you choose your specific program? And why now?

To briefly summarize, all applicants are expected to address at least two essay prompts. The first prompt, mandatory for all applicants, is as follows:

Kindly elucidate your objectives for graduate study at Fletcher and for your professional trajectory. Share the facets of your personal, professional, and/or academic background that have equipped you for your chosen career path. Why is The Fletcher School the ideal institution for pursuing your academic goals and preparing for your professional aspirations? Furthermore, please explain your choice of the degree program you are applying for.

Subsequently, all applicants must craft a second essay by selecting one of three prompts. However, applicants to the MGA and PhD programs, as well as those following the Map Your Future pathway, are also required to address a third prompt. For the purposes of this post today, our advice primarily centers on the first essay.

It is crucial that your essay directly addresses the prompt, leaving the admissions committee with minimal queries about your suitability for the Fletcher community. To achieve this, write with clarity, conciseness, and an absence of grammatical errors.

In line with this, ensure you proofread your essay thoroughly. Consider printing it and reading it aloud, or using a writing assistant tool. Collaborating with trusted colleagues for editing is also a viable option. Allow yourself ample time for multiple drafts, as most errors emerge when rushed. Your initial draft will require refinement, which is perfectly fine, as the essay benefits from ample time to evolve before submission. Embrace the concept of drafting and letting your ideas mature before the final polish.

Remember that your resume already outlines your professional and academic journey. Consequently, avoid excessive recapitulation of information already present in your resume. It’s acceptable to acknowledge your prior experiences, but the most impactful essays delve deeper into how those experiences have shaped your decision to pursue an education at Fletcher.

Lastly, be authentic and aim to infuse a touch of enjoyment into your essay. This is one of the rare opportunities in your application where the admissions committee glimpses your personality (besides optional interviews, of course!). Keep in mind that there is no definitive “right answer” for these essays. We want to understand what truly excites you about global affairs and the Fletcher community. Given our multidisciplinary focus, there’s no such thing as a “typical” Fletcher student – individuality abounds.

I trust that this advice proves beneficial. We eagerly anticipate reviewing your application, especially your essays!

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