Decoding the application form

In an ongoing effort to provide a bit of helpful insight to the various pieces of the Fletcher application, today I’ll turn to the application form itself. This portion of the application may feel like a formality, a bit of necessary throat-clearing before the “good stuff,” but there’s a lot of detail that we learn about an applicant here, and it’s important that you complete it fully and accurately. I like to think that the form is mostly straightforward and self-explanatory, but there are a few segments that can cause mild confusion or uncertainty for applicants. I’ll do my best to give a bit of context for a few of these.

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Recommendations: Help them help you!

For those of you planning to apply by the January 10 application deadline, you should by now have lined up recommenders. If you haven’t yet done so, don’t panic, but also don’t delay any longer! January 10, while still well over a month away, is effectively closer than it seems. Keep in mind that many people – particularly potential academic recommenders – are likely entering one of the busiest times of the year, both professionally and personally. Final exams, holiday preparations, and related travel will be occupying a lot of bandwidth for many; it’s reasonable for them to need as much notice as possible, and probably a few reminders to submit their letters, too.

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A Foreign Service Officer walks into a bar…stop me if you’ve heard this one

Any line of work has its points of repetition. McDonald’s cashiers take a lot of orders for Big Macs, flight attendants can do the safety procedures shtick in their sleep, and Death Star platform workers quickly learn when to duck if they want to make it in a tough industry. Admissions officers read a lot of application essays. Like, a whole lot. Unsurprisingly, many of them cover similar themes. As fall application deadlines begin to approach, I hope a brief discussion of some of the more common tropes we see will be helpful as you begin to craft your own essays.

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Early Notification FAQs

Blog readers by this point are surely aware of the upcoming application deadline for Early Notification (EN) consideration. The fact that November 15 – a mere ten days from now – is the date to remember for those planning to get their applications together for early evaluation is, I assume, common knowledge that needs no further belaboring. Even Murray, this blog’s official Minister of Deadline and Other Action Item Reminders, is pretty tapped out by the prospect of another deadline reminder. It’s good to know that we’re all on the same page here, and on our end we’ll be looking forward to receiving all your applications! As applicants get ready to submit their materials, it seems a good time to discuss several common questions we receive regarding the EN deadline.

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The benefits of a clean resumé

Throughout this blog’s history, Jessica has provided a lot of insight and helpful advice for preparing various pieces of your Fletcher application, all of which remains relevant. At the risk of further flattening well-trodden territory, I’ll offer some thoughts during the coming weeks on things for applicants to keep in mind as they prepare individual portions of the application (and I’ll here remind readers that the deadline for Early Notification applications is November 15). Today, a few words about resumés.

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Januarians, assemble!

The arrival of late September in the Admissions Office can only mean one thing: it’s time to think about January! Admissions is a deadline-driven business, and we have an important one approaching. October 15 is the date by which applicants for January 2019 enrollment need to submit application materials. This one has a tendency to sneak up on everyone. Relative to the fall enrolling class, our annual group of “Januarians” is small (usually a few dozen students), and as such the application and enrollment period for them is quite compressed. With a mid-October application deadline, we expect to release admissions decisions for these candidates in early November, and to receive enrollment decisions from them by the end of that month. There’s a lot that needs to happen in just a handful of weeks.

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April flowers…and networking

Today we’ll close out the Prep for App/Prep for April tips. Before Kristen and Dan give you their thoughts on how to gather information, I want to share two items. The first is that the application for 2018-19 enrollment is open now. Whether you want to sit down and conquer it in one session (probably not advised) or start by poking around and seeing what questions you’ll be answering, take a look!

Second, I want to point you toward this very thoughtful New York Times column that Kristen sent my way. The author has done a lot of research and writing on college admissions and the college experience. You might wonder why I would highlight an article that is targeted toward undergraduates. Well, I’ll bet that some blog readers are undergrads. But also, much of the advice is equally relevant for graduate students. Wherever you end up, get to know your professors, remember to sleep, take some risks.

Okay. On to the advice.

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April: Financial Plans and visits

I know it seems like plenty of time — Admissions decisions will be released by all your schools in March, and you’ll need to make your enrollment decision by April 20 for Fletcher, and around that time for your other schools. Five weeks (more or less) to think it all through — easy peasy, right? Well… It should be very straightforward: gather all your data, plan a visit or more, make a decision. Done! Enjoy your summer! But year after year, we hear from folks who find themselves scrambling on April 19, still collecting information, feeling extremely stressed, and unable to make the final decision on a school or program. So, friends, let my Admissions pals guide you to avoid that fate. First, Liz has a suggestion for an info-gathering opportunity.

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