Posts by: Jessica Daniels

This is Spring Break week — one of the quietest work weeks of the year.  Though we know that plenty of our students are on or near campus, they’re not hanging out in the Hall of Flags.  Of the students who are traveling, a bunch are on student-organized treks.

There’s the team looking chilly in Russia:

And the business-attired group in Mexico:

And the travelers in Israel/Palestine:

It’s only relatively recently that student-organized treks have proliferated.  Guidelines were just adopted to ensure the safety of all participants.  Given the popularity of these three trips and the Japan trek over winter break, I imagine that more adventures are yet to come!


The first year after graduating can involve lots of movement for Fletcher alumni — leaving the comfort of campus, trying new jobs and cities, and even reevaluating career goals when job markets change suddenly.  Today, we’ll hear from the first of several members of the Class of 2017 who are just wrapping up their first year post-Fletcher.  Sydney-Johanna Stevns was a two-year friend of Admissions while she pursued her MALD.  When we were corresponding about this blog post, I told her how clearly I could picture her sitting in the Admissions Office entryway, waiting for an interviewee or a visitor she would take for coffee.  When not helping out Admissions, Sydney was active with the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy.

Like many of my classmates, I came to Fletcher planning to pursue a career in the U.S. Foreign Service.  At the time I entered, I viewed the field of international environment and development work as being on the upswing, but just in time for me to graduate in 2017, the landscape changed.  I decided to take a month after graduation to mentally regroup and think about a new career path while intensively studying Spanish in Xela, Guatemala.  In this mountain town, I still wasn’t far from Fletcher.  Nearby was a Fletcher friend who started a socially responsible shoe company in Antigua and another who was beginning her first tour as a political Foreign Service Officer in Guatemala City.

After my sunny month in Central America ended, I moved to Washington, DC to begin searching for work.  I reached out to Fletcher alumni and other friends I’d made during my time at Fletcher to learn about their work and to understand opportunities within their fields.  In the end, it was a Fletcher friend who saw a job posting on the Fletcher alumni job listserv, thought it would be a perfect fit, and forwarded it my way.  After responding to the post, I got a call from my soon-to-be boss asking if I could come in on Monday.  What started as a ten-day contract is now my full-time gig.

Hiking up to see the Pachacamac ruins for a much-needed break from meetings and conferences in Lima.

My role is Country Engagement Specialist with the NDC Partnership Support Unit (SU), hosted within World Resources Institute, focused on supporting Latin American countries while they amp up their action against climate change.  In many ways, the work I am doing as a Specialist is what I hoped I would do someday as an Economic Foreign Service Officer and still very much feels like public service.  On missions to Colombia, Honduras, and Peru, I have met with Ministries of Environment, Finance, Planning, Agriculture, Mines, and Energy, among others; representatives from the World Bank, UNDP, Inter-American Development Bank, GIZ, and other government embassies.  In these meetings we identify areas to collaborate across ministries and across international cooperation actors.  This is a central part of the NDC Partnership’s work to support developing countries in their efforts to implement their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) — promises countries made as part of the Paris Agreement to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change.

Meeting with UNDP partners at the UN compound in Lima, Peru in February 2018.

As I’m writing this, I am sitting in Bonn, Germany, still jetlagged from my mission to Lima.  While our team is headquartered in Washington, DC, I’m working with our team in Bonn on a temporary assignment to get to know them and our German cooperation partners better.  We also have regional specialists based across the world.  Together, our team of thirty people comes from over fifteen different countries, making it feel very similar to Fletcher.

No two weeks at work are the same.  By nature of being effectively a “start-up” initiative, the NDC Partnership SU is constantly growing and improving its strategy.  At a week’s notice I might have an in-country mission scheduled to provide support for the local government, or be writing our work program and budget, or drafting an agenda for a meeting with our implementing partners.  Through this work I’m reminded of my time at Fletcher: my ability to convey a message convincingly gained from The Fletcher Forum; team management I learned working with FSIG; and ability to tell a compelling story out of a jumble of numbers that resulted from Impact Evaluation and Economic Policy Analysis classes.

Catching up with Fletcher friends during a trip to Boston to discuss collaboration between the NDC Partnership and the Climate Policy Lab at Fletcher.

As exciting and interesting as this job is, I’ve also learned that the jet-setting lifestyle is not the beauty I thought it would be.  There are some airports that I know far too well and half the time I cannot justify unpacking my suitcase.  But it provides insight into a world of international diplomacy outside of the Foreign Service and is always eased by the run-ins with Fletcher alumni and by the chance to learn about new cultures.

Although, during my time at Fletcher I was very focused on working for the federal government, in hindsight I see now that Fletcher’s flexible and interdisciplinary curriculum gave me the skills I needed to adapt when the job market changed.  It’s also clear how the relationships I built during Fletcher were the ones that made finding work and building a new career path possible.  The generosity of Fletcher students and alums, which I have continued to receive since graduating, makes me so grateful to have chosen Fletcher.

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The Fletcher faculty (and, by extension, the curriculum) are broadly divided into the three Divisions:  Diplomacy, History, and Politics; International Law and Organizations; and Economics and International Business.  As you read the professors’ descriptions of their recent research and professional activities for this Faculty Facts series, you might find it easy or difficult to decide which Division best suits each professor.  That seems about right in a professional school with a multidisciplinary curriculum.  This is the third post highlighting the current activities of the faculty.

Michael Glennon, Professor of International Law

My current research continues to focus on the clash between President Trump and elements of the national security bureaucracy.  On March 5, I gave a luncheon talk here at Fletcher to visitors from the French War College on the 90th anniversary of the Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact.  On March 6, I gave the dinner talk at a conference at Fordham University in New York on “Re-Imagining the National Security State.”  June 2, I am giving a lecture at the Academy of Philosophy and Letters in College Park, MD on the threat posed by populism to constitutionalism.

Professor Glennon’s profile.  He previously wrote a Faculty Spotlight post.

Jette Knudsen, Professor of Policy and International Business; Shelby Collum Davis Chair in Sustainability

I focus on public and private regulation to improve labor rights and jobs, and I also study regulations to improve the greening of the maritime supply chain.  Examples of my ongoing projects include:

  • Along with my co-author Jeremy Moon of Copenhagen Business School, I published Visible Hands: Government Regulation of International Corporate Social Responsibility (Cambridge University Press, November 2017).  I have presented the book at several seminars and talks, including at University College London in February 2018.  We are currently working on several papers based on the book.  (Click the photo below to watch Professor Knudsen speak about International Corporate Social Responsibility at UCL.)

  • With three colleagues (Ben Cashore from Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; Jeremy Moon; Hamish Van Der Ven of McGill University), I organized research workshops (at Yale in January 2018 and at Copenhagen Business School in March 2018) on “Private Authority and Public Regulation.”
  • I am exploring regulatory initiatives to improve the greening of the maritime supply chain along with Beth deSombre of Wellesley College, and I will attend a research workshop focusing on this topic at Copenhagen Business School in May 2018.
  • With Erin Leitheiser from Copenhagen Business School and Jeremy Moon, I have applied for research funding to explore new regulatory initiatives to improve labor rights in Bangladesh.  I will travel to Bangladesh for research in July 2018.
  • I’m working on a new project together with Dorte Sindbjerg Martinsen from Copenhagen University that examines institutional adaptation to labor and service mobility between states in the EU.

Professor Knudsen’s profile.

Michael Klein, William L. Clayton Professor of International Economic Affairs

Throughout this year, I’ve been focusing on EconoFact, a non-partisan publication through which we aim to bring informed analysis to the national debate on economic and social policies.  EconoFact recently marked one year of work.

Professor Klein’s profile.  He previously wrote a Faculty Spotlight post, and recently he sat down with Dean Stavridis to discuss EconoFact.

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Last Tuesday, while I sat inside my cozy kitchen watching the storm swirl outside, I could also see the emails piling up in the Fletcher Admissions inbox.  Every day since then, there have been long stretches when all you can hear in the office is the tappety tappety of fingers on keyboards as we catch up with the tide of questions flowing our way.

I dare say that all of my Admissions pals are like me in having anywhere from a few to a lot of emails awaiting answers in their inboxes.  On their (and my) behalf, I want you to know that we’re working hard and we’re going to get back to you.  I know it’s annoying to wait for an answer, but it does take us time to work through all the requests for information.  We appreciate your patience!  (Even you, Cookie Monster.)

As a practical suggestion, I’ll mention that folks who send simple emails tend to receive their simple responses relatively quickly.  When we receive an email or a call with requests for several different types of information, just doing the research can take some time.  I’m not saying you should hold back on your questions — but if you need us to gather a lot of information on your behalf, a little extra patience may be needed.

Speaking of waiting, you should know that the U.S. has already shifted to Daylight Savings Time.  Our current time zone is UTC-4.  Keep that in mind when you set a time for a phone appointment.  Occasionally we find ourselves waiting for a call from someone who is confused about the time and will be an hour late (assuming we’re still available to take the call).

Now back to my inbox!


To close out this week of discussing and releasing decisions, I’m going to turn to the real heart of Fletcher — our students, staff, and faculty.  In this third post drawn from a student-compiled feature, meet the community!

Yiyi (first-year MALD)

What are you studying at Fletcher?
I’m currently studying negotiation skills, development economics, and how to analyze regional and internal conflicts at Fletcher, while taking Arabic language classes at Tufts.

What did you do before Fletcher?
I taught English in rural Yunnan, China for two years.  I was also actively involved in teachers’ training, and education projects that brought educational resources and activities to campus.

Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Changzhou, Jiangsu Province on the east coast of China.  I completed my high school and college degrees in Minnesota, U.S.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
I really loved the national parks in Maine when I visited.

Who are your favorite writers?
Chinese writer Lu Xun; Japanese writer Haruki Murakami.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Being a teacher.

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
Compared to my fellow classmates, I had very limited exposure to international diplomacy, regional politics, and international law.  It’s both a challenge and an opportunity.  My learning curve has quite a good slope. 🙂

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
I love engaging in stimulating conversations with my classmates, and to be able to see the same problem from different perspectives.

Cindy (second-year MALD, and Admissions Graduate Intern!)

What are you studying at Fletcher?
I am concentrating in International Security Studies and International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution.  In particular, I am interested in U.S.-Russia relations and U.S. policy towards Russia and Eurasia.

What did you do before Fletcher?
I worked as a 5th grade Language Arts and Social Studies teacher in rural eastern North Carolina through Teach For America.  I taught for three years alongside my husband, who is also an alumnus of Teach For America.

Where are you from?
I was born in New York, but moved down to Spring Hill, Florida when I was still a baby.  I grew up in Spring Hill, which is north of Tampa, and I definitely love orange juice and the Florida Gators!

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
When I was traveling to Russia for the first time, I had the opportunity to visit Yasnaya Polyana which is the museum-estate of the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy.  It was surreal to be walking around the estate, especially after having just read War and Peace.

Who are your favorite writers?
My favorite writers are actually children’s novelists, which stems from my time as an elementary school teacher.  I loved Roald Dahl, J.K. Rowling, and Shel Silverstein as a kid and enjoyed reading from their books to my students.

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
My husband Brian has been my greatest source of inspiration.  We have been together and have been best friends for the past seven years.  He motivates me to step out of my comfort zone, supports me when I am lacking confidence, and pushes me to achieve my goals.  Having him as a partner has positively changed my perspective on life, and I will always be grateful for him!

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Becoming a Teach For America alumna is my greatest professional achievement.  A personal achievement was when I completed a half-marathon.  (I ran the whole time and didn’t stop!)

Which living person do you most admire?
I know this question asks for a “person,” but I would have to say both of my parents.  They have worked so hard their entire lives to raise five (yes, five) determined, successful, and incredible women.  Their sacrifices for my sisters and me have no bounds, and they are the reason I am pursuing my career goals at Fletcher.  Now that all my siblings and I are finally out of the house, I hope they can get the rest and relaxation they finally deserve!

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
The biggest challenge I have faced during my time at Fletcher has been prioritizing what is important to me.  There are countless guest speakers, book talks, information sessions, club meetings, and library workshops that all tend to overlap.  But then you have to focus on what you came to Fletcher for and make sure you complete your readings, meet with your professors, attend group meetings, and submit assignments.  Finding a balance between what is important to me and what is necessary is a struggle, but I am grateful for the abundance of opportunities at Fletcher.

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
Some of my most favorite moments at Fletcher have been performing at the Fletcher winter and spring recitals.  It always feels wonderful and gratifying to work hard on a song with a group of friends and see your work pay off during the performance.  It is also beautiful to see the variety of talent that Fletcher has in its faculty, staff, and student body.

Megan (PhD candidate)

What are you studying at Fletcher?
I am a PhD candidate in Development Economics and Econometric Impact Evaluation (self-designed field).

What did you do before Fletcher?
Prior to coming to Fletcher I worked for four years in grassroots development in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, both as a Peace Corps Volunteer and working for a small local non-profit.  I did my MALD in 2010-2012 and then worked as an economist for three years at the World Bank, where I designed and implemented several randomized control trial evaluations on public health and access to justice programs in Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia.

Where are you from?
I grew up in Boston, MA in Roslindale and Dorchester.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
There is a beach within a national park on the Dominican-Haitian Border called Bahia de las Aguilas.  It is a pristine beach formed where a desert meets the Caribbean.  The water is turquoise and the white sand feels like it goes on forever.

Who are your favorite writers?
I mostly read non-fiction, so I don’t have a favorite author, but I love reading about the history of civil disobedience and organizing efforts in the U.S., and also more recently about psychology.

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
My parents for sure.  Both are social justice activists, my dad in the labor movement as a union organizer and my mother working on a host of social issues in Boston, from public childcare to immigrant and refugee services, all while finding their way to raise a family in the city.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Listening, day in and day out.  I am privileged to be working and researching in international development.  With that privilege comes a deep responsibility to listen and then use the tools I have to make those voices heard.  I do this through large quantitative surveys designed with input from people working on the policies I evaluate.

The other thing I am most proud of is that I really try to bring my values of social justice into all the work I do, whether that is through representing PhD students in the PhD committee here at Fletcher and working for better stipends, or organizing short-term consultants for improved labor conditions at the World Bank.  If we don’t live the values we promote internationally in our own lives, what are we doing?

Which living person do you most admire?
Ecuadorian moms and dads making it happen every day for their families while living in poverty, victims who are brave enough to come forward in Colombia and start to build peace, Haitian entrepreneurs still hopeful despite so much hardship, Dominican families that give meals away even when they don’t have much.

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
Getting by financially, juggling working and being a student.  The other big challenge has been figuring out what I want to do when I grow up, which I have decided may just be a question that I will always carry with me.

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
Throughout my time at Fletcher my favorite moments have been sitting in class feeling fully inspired by my female economist professors.  As a MALD student, dancing in Fiesta Latina and playing Fletcher Fútbol were also unforgettable moments with the awesome Fletcher community.

Tom Dannenbaum (Assistant Professor of International Law)

What do you teach at Fletcher?
International Humanitarian Law and International Criminal Justice.  I’m currently deciding on the subject for my third course, which will be offered for the first time next year.

What did you do before Fletcher?
Immediately prior to Fletcher, I taught at University College London.

Where are you from?
London, UK.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
As a lawyer, I feel compelled to point out that this question poses grave interpretive difficulties.  In the absence of an overlap between my favorite place and the most unique place I’ve been or visited, it’s tempting to think the question has no answer.  That can’t be what the drafter intended.  There are, of course, ways other than overlapping in which “favorite” and “most unique” could interact in their modification of “place.”  However, the structure of the sentence doesn’t privilege one over the others and they each militate in different directions.

What, then, is the essence of the question?  Read in the context of the project overall, and informed by the nature of the other questions, it seems to be to understand something about me through my relationship to place. Since the “most unique” category says more about the place and the “favorite” category says more about me, I expect that the latter is the dominant request.

For reasons to do with the personal emotions they evoke, my favorite places are the Marin Headlands overlooking San Francisco and the Pacific, Delft in the Netherlands, and Clissold Park in London.

A collateral side effect of this answer is that it should give you an idea of what it’s like to sit through one of my classes.

Who are your favorite writers?
Tim O’Brien, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jhumpa Lahiri, Harold Pinter

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
My partner, Keya.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Parenting.  So far (he’s only two).

Which living person do you most admire?
If you were to go over answers to this kind of question from a few years ago, I’d wager that Aung San Suu Kyi would have been among the most popular.  Admiring an individual, rather than admiring an individual’s realization of a specific virtue in a particular context, sets one up for disappointment.

I see friends, family, colleagues, and students exhibit virtues I admire all the time.  Among those that most inspire my admiration are compassion, curiosity, integrity, and resilience.

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
The perennial challenge is re-examining an idea or an argument that didn’t work.

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
It’s a fantastic feeling when students have grasped a complex idea and are debating its merits from a position of mutual respect.  I’ve been fortunate to have several moments like that in my classes.

Leroy Lefleur (Associate Director of Library Services)

What do you do at Fletcher?
I am the associate director of library services at Fletcher.  In that role I help to provide oversight for reference and instruction services, collection development (selecting and purchasing materials), and access services (circulation and document delivery).  I regularly meet with students and faculty to assist with research projects and teach a variety of workshops on research strategies and library resources.  I also serve on a number of Tufts library-wide committees.

What did you do before Fletcher?
Before Fletcher I held similar roles at other universities.  I came directly to Fletcher from the libraries at the University of Rochester in New York, but prior to that I managed the library for the Schar School of Policy and Government and the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University in the Washington, DC area.  I am also an alum from the Schar School.

Where are you from?
I am originally from the “mitten state,” AKA Michigan, but have lived and worked in Chicago, western New York, and Washington, DC over the years.

What is your favorite, most unique place you have ever been or traveled to?
Indonesia — more specifically Java.  I traveled around Central Java a number of years ago, and found it to be geographically beautiful with a rich and complex history, amazing people, spectacular art and culture, and incredible food.

Who are your favorite writers?
That’s a long list, but here I’ll mention James Baldwin and Pramoedya Ananta Toer

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
It may be trite to say, but my mother who just passed away last summer.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Parenting is such a difficult yet rewarding task that I’d put it high on my list of greatest achievements.

Which living person do you most admire?
The Dalai Lama

What has been a challenge you have faced during your career or time at Fletcher?
Time is always a challenge, but there are so many wonderful people at Fletcher that I wish I had the time to get to know better.

What has been your favorite moment at Fletcher so far?
I really enjoy participating in the Annual Faculty and Staff Wait on You Dinner, so I think I’d go with that.  That said, I brought my kids to the Reunion weekend clambake last year and that was a lot of fun, too.

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Sure, I know.  Decisions were released two whole days ago.  Some people have already accepted (or declined) their offers.  But by “some,” I mean only a small number.  Most folks are gathering information.  To that end, let me try to explain a few of the finer points of this process.

First, scholarship awards.  Fletcher has a scholarship budget for new and continuing students.  All of the funds allocated for incoming students (including those who applied by the Early Notification deadline and were admitted in December) were distributed this week.  The well is now completely dry.

Beyond dry, in fact.  Because here’s what you need to know about the scholarship business.  If we have $100 in our special pot of scholarship cash, we don’t simply distribute $100.  Instead, we reckon that half of the award recipients will decide to continue working, attend another program, or, for whatever reason, decline our offer of admission.  This is predictably the case and, with enrollment history in mind, we actually distribute $200 in scholarships.  It’s a gamble, but if we’ve done our math right, it’s a safe gamble.

And here’s how I like to describe what this means to the recipient of a 2018 scholarship.  Let’s imagine that Jim and Bill are friends who have applied to Fletcher.  Both are admitted and receive $100 scholarships.  Bill decides to enroll at Fletcher, but Jim decides to postpone graduate school for a year.  Bill knows that Jim has received a $100 scholarship, and Bill would like to claim it for himself.  Now that you’ve read this post, you know that the $100 that was returned to our scholarship fund is imaginary money.  That is, we’ve already calculated that Jim (0r someone like Jim) will return the scholarship, and no funds were actually liberated.  At the end of the enrollment process, we’ll calculate how much genuine money has been added back to the scholarship account.  One thing you can be sure of is that we will distribute all of the available funds.

Even as we can’t solve all financial problems for every student, we aim to provide clear and useful information to allow you to plan.  Students in a two-year program learn their two-year scholarship when they’re admitted.  And you might want to know how the Committee on Admissions makes awards.  Our scholarship decisions are based on a combination of merit and need: for any level of merit — as determined through the application review process — the larger awards go to those with greater need.  We hope that all applicants will be happy with their awards, though we know that only Admissions Committee members have the full picture of the breadth of need (and merit, for that matter) among the admitted applicants.  Fletcher’s applicant pool is diverse in every possible way.

Next, waitlist ranking.  As I mentioned last week, we don’t rank the waitlist, and there’s really no way to talk your way to the top of the list.  But we do encourage you to update us with information that brightens up your application.  Each time we make an offer of admission from the waitlist, we’ll be re-reviewing the applications and if you’ve updated any aspect of your file, we’ll review it then.  Oh, and remember Jim and Bill from the scholarship example?  When Jim makes his decision not to enroll, it doesn’t mean we’ll be going right to the waitlist.  We need to wait until after April 20 before we’ll know how close we have come to our planned enrollment.

Finally, this year, like every year, we’ll be asked whether we will reverse decisions.  I’m sorry.  We do not reverse decisions.


Yesterday’s storm really was something, but we’re all digging out today.  If you haven’t already checked your application status page, you’ll find that it probably has your admission decision (assuming your application was complete).  If you had deferred your enrollment from a previous term, or if you were admitted last fall (Early Notification), and if you applied for a scholarship, you’ll find award information there, too.

And today I want to offer my congratulations to everyone who was admitted!  We’re excited to start the next phase of our work — meeting you (in person or virtually) and taking your questions.  In the next five weeks, student-by-student, the Fall 2018 class will form and we know the Hall of Flags will be filled with talented and inspiring people in September.

Five weeks should be plenty of time to choose a graduate school, but it’s not necessarily more time than you’ll need.  Even if you have already decided to enroll at Fletcher, we suggest you use these weeks to collect useful details to guide your planning.  If you haven’t already selected a school, we hope you’ll make an informed decision — often we find that a lot of research goes into the selection of schools to apply to, but the more complex questions are raised only after admission decisions go out.  To that end, contact us, review the Fletcher website, and be sure to look at the student profiles, which will connect you with our community.  We’ll also be sharing tons of information with you during the next few weeks, aiming to surround you with Fletcher love.  Naturally, we hope you’ll decide to enroll here.

To those who were offered a place on the waitlist, we know that extra waiting is not what you want to do.  A little advance notice that, if you are offered admission down the road, you’ll have a very narrow window for making your decision.  Please be sure you’re ready, should the opportunity arise.

And, finally, if you were not offered admission, remember that you can request feedback after May 1.  We will offer you information that will help you understand the Admissions Committee’s decision.  Following the guidance we provide is often the pathway to a successful future application.

Even without yesterday’s storm, this would be a busy day.  The Fletcher Admissions email inbox was filling up quickly by yesterday afternoon.  As I said, we’re digging out — both from the snow and the email and phone messages.


March 13, the birthday of Austin Barclay Fletcher, and here we are, hunkered down during a major snowstorm.  The “nor’easter” swirling off the coast of the U.S. is due to leave us with at least a foot of spring snow, and Tufts University, along with nearly every other school or university in the area, is closed.

What does this mean for anxious applicants?  Nothing to worry about!  Following hours of intense work yesterday and continuing throughout today (not so much by me, I hasten to add — I don’t want to steal the thunder of my colleagues), admission decisions will be available by this evening for all MALD, MA, MIB, LLM, and PhD applications that are complete.  (That’s evening in U.S. East Coast terms.  UTC-4.)

When your decision is ready, you’ll receive an email to check your Application Status Page.  (Reminder for those who haven’t bookmarked the page:  To access your Application Status Page you can click the application link, or the “Start an Application” link on the Admissions website.  You’ll log in with the email and password you used when you created your application.)  If you haven’t already done so, read the posts from yesterday and Friday.  These will help you interpret the decision you receive.

Needless to say, with the office closed, there’s even less benefit than usual to phoning and asking for your decision today.  Just stay patient, like our little buddy Murray (who is keeping cozy during the storm), and the information will soon be available.

While we’re all waiting, let me add that reading applications and getting to know our applicants is one of the best parts of the yearly admissions cycle.  We read so many inspiring stories and learn so much.  Releasing decisions marks an end to the application review part of the year, but it starts a six-month phase of building more meaningful relationships with future students.  Wherever you will be in September 2018, please know that we appreciate your interest in The Fletcher School!


In Friday’s post, I provided the information that applicants who are not offered admission in this round can use to understand their decisions.  Today, as the staff creeps ever closer to being ready to release decisions, we’ll look at the different categories of admission.

Within the next week (and we’re really working as fast as we can), many Fletcher applicants will learn that they have been admitted for September 2018 enrollment.  Some of the offers of admission, however, will be accompanied by a condition.  The first thing to remember is that we don’t bother to admit someone conditionally unless we’re very enthusiastic about other aspects of the application; don’t let the condition diminish your sense of accomplishment!

What is the basis for a conditional offer of admission?  After reviewing a prospective student’s application, the Admissions Committee may suggest the applicant needs further preparation before enrolling at Fletcher.  We’ll make that preparation a condition of admission.  The most frequently employed conditions require that, before starting Fletcher classes, the student should improve:

  • English language proficiency
    We tend to be inflexible about the nature of the pre-Fletcher English training, for reasons I hope are obvious.  (In case they’re not as obvious as I think, I’ll spell it out:  No one can succeed in Fletcher classes with weak English skills.)
  • Foreign language proficiency
    There’s more flexibility around foreign language training for native English speakers.  We’ll ask students to choose the best program for their level and their choice of language — there are too many variables involved for us to dictate any particular option.
  • Quantitative skills (MIB program only)
    We will suggest several options for those who face this requirement.

The remaining (majority of) admitted applicants will have no condition attached to their admission. Nonetheless, we’ll encourage everyone to do an honest self-assessment and brush up any skills (English, foreign language, quantitative) that might need brushing before starting classes.  No condition on your admission doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work on any shortcomings.

For the last few years, some students admitted to the MALD program have also been asked to focus on their quantitative skills.  This year, instead, we are going to put a greater emphasis on advising all incoming students so that they make the right course choices for their quantitative requirements.  We’ve been thinking for a couple of months about what this might look like.  In any case, no quantitative conditions on admission to the MALD program.

Beyond the conditions, there’s one other noteworthy aspect to the admit category:  Occasionally, we admit applicants to a program other than the one to which they applied.  Most common example:  You applied to the mid-career MA program, but you don’t have sufficient professional experience to meet Fletcher’s standard for mid-career.  On the other hand, you look great for the MALD program, so we’ll admit you to the MALD!

Our process would certainly be simpler if there were only one type of admit, but the option to attach a condition to admission is the difference between admit and deny for some applicants.  We would hate to turn away a highly qualified applicant who needs a little brush-up on English skills, but we would be obliged to do so if we couldn’t require pre-Fletcher English study.

The happy bottom line is that conditional admission is (once the condition is met) ADMISSION!  And we’re convinced that fulfilling the condition will enhance the admitted student’s experience at Fletcher.  So we’ll maintain our portfolio of admits, sometimes with conditions attached.



While readers are paying attention, but before you all get too anxious, I want to help you understand the options that the Committee on Admissions selected from when making admissions decisions.

In general terms, as I’m sure you could have figured out, the decision choices range from admission to no admission, with the offer of a place on the waitlist somewhere in the middle.  I’m going to write about these latter two options today, and I’ll focus on admission options on Monday.  I do this annually, but we have actually made a few changes for this year.


As I know you are well aware, we will not be able to admit everyone who applied to Fletcher for September 2018 enrollment.  There are two possible outcomes for those who aren’t admitted now.  One is to deny admission and the other is to offer the applicant a place on the waitlist, possibly resulting in admission later in the spring/summer.

When we review applications, we’re looking for a combination of academic potential, professional and international experience, and clear academic and career goals.  Applicants who are not admitted, or who are offered a place on the waitlist, might be missing one or more of those elements, or they might be a little weak in all of them when compared to the qualifications of admitted students.


For those not admitted: We’re always sorry to say goodbye to an applicant.  We’ve read your story and we know how important gaining admission to graduate school is for you.  The fact is that many of the students not admitted this year could be admitted in a future year.  We hope you will continue to develop your experience and credentials, and that we may read about you again.

Some applicants will receive a letter saying that, though they look great overall, we want them to gain relevant professional experience, and it’s the work history that stands between them and the admission they hoped for.  We’ll only use this decision option for applicants within about a year of their university graduation.  We encourage them to work for a couple of years, although (depending on their internship record) it could take more or less time for them to build their professional experience and become competitive applicants.

For those offered a place on the waitlist: Each year, we offer a place on the waitlist to a promising group — applicants whose credentials are solid overall, and yet just a little less solid than those of the applicants we’ve admitted.  (A waitlist is what it sounds like — a list of people waiting for a place to open up in the entering class.)  In some years, we admit a significant number of students from the waitlist.  Occasionally, we don’t admit any.  But most years we admit a few.  This is true for each degree program, and each maintains its own waitlist.

It can be difficult for waitlisted applicants to get a handle on what this decision means for them.  Understandably so.  For starters, what matters is not how many waitlist offers we make, but rather how many people decide to accept a spot on the list, and we won’t have that number until the end of April.  We don’t rank our waitlist, and when it comes time to make an offer of admission, we go back to the applications and review our notes.  Applicants offered a place on the waitlist can take until April 20 to decide whether to wait.  Most of our work with the waitlist takes place in May or June, though we’ll keep a list into the summer.


Contact us!  Whether an applicant is denied admission or offered a place on the waitlist, our door is still open for communication, and we hope you will contact us.  Increasingly, the Admissions Committee expects to see a record of correspondence from those who are applying for the second time.

Students who are not offered admission have the opportunity to request feedback on their application.  If you’re planning to reapply, I encourage you to ask for feedback this spring.  (That is, don’t wait until the month before your next application — you will want time to make improvements.)  We’ll accept feedback requests on May 1 and you’ll hear back from us within a month or so of your request.

As for the waitlist, trust that we’re well aware that no one wants to wait.  But for some applicants, the waitlist will ultimately result in admission.  We encourage you to make the most of this opportunity by taking the time to give your application a boost.  For example, you may have experienced changes in your education or professional life, and we want to know about it.  If you have new test scores (GRE/GMAT or TOEFL/IELTS) or grades for classes, please send them to us.  If you have changed jobs or assumed new responsibilities at your current position, send us an updated résumé.  Now’s your chance to shine up your application before we return to it when we evaluate the waitlist.

Although applicants who have accepted a place on the waitlist still have applications under active consideration, and we won’t offer feedback at this time, we are happy to chat with you in person or by phone.  Get in touch, and ask us if there is a special piece of information we need.

Finally, Fletcher welcomes applicants to reapply.  Someone who applies unsuccessfully, smooths up some of the rough points in the application, and reapplies in a subsequent year, has shown determination and a strong interest in the School — two qualities we love in our applicants.

On Monday, I’ll run through the different categories of admission.


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