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Are you a non-native English speaker who will start Fletcher studies in September?  Or even a non-native English speaker who will apply to Fletcher and other graduate schools in the coming year?  Or anyone interested in policy and interesting journalism?  Well, this post is for you.

Just before the end of the spring semester, we asked the student community to suggest podcasts that they particularly enjoy or appreciate.  Since strong listening comprehension skills are very important to success at Fletcher, we’re sharing this list to set you up with material with which to groom your skills.  And if your English doesn’t need grooming, take these as suggested listening for your commute.

With no further ado, and in no particular order, here is the list, including any description that the student recommenders included.

Created at Fletcher:

Investing in Impact Podcast, created by the Fletcher Social Investment Group.

Broadly Fletcher-related:

UN Dispatch — Mark Leon Goldberg, a graduate of the Tufts undergraduate program, produces a highly professional international affairs podcast that is perfect for aspiring Fletcher students.

Council on Foreign Relations, The World Next Week, recommended by several people, offers a great look at international affairs and comes generally in 30 minute soundbites.  And extra points because one co-host is a Fletcher alum!

Foreign Policy Magazine’s The E.R.

Harvard Kennedy School’s Policycast.

War on the Rocks, described by a student as hit or miss, but worth following.

Revolutions, which focuses on the history of several revolutions (such as the English Civil War, and the American, French, and Haitian revolutions) and how they turned out the way they did.

Vox’s The Weeds — a little more wonky and focused primarily on U.S. public policy issues, but interesting analysis of issues nonetheless.

Planet Money

Freakonomics by WNYC Studios – recommended by several people.

Fareed Zakaria GPS by CNN.

BBC Global News Podcast, covers a broad range of international issues.

Start-Up, one of Gimlet Media’s podcasts, and the host Lisa Chow is a Fletcher alum!

Students also recommended many shows available through National Public Radio, including:

Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me — Recommended by several people as a good window into American culture and a great way to work on American colloquial English.

Fresh Air — Conversational, but many topics that will be studied here.

Serial — The presenter is slow and methodical in her interviews. The most recent season focuses on a former POW in Afghanistan.

This American Life

TED Radio Hour

Radiolab

Snap Judgment

And a few others, just for fun:

Stuff You Missed in History Class

Stuff You Should Know

 

Regular readers may remember that, following our spring review of the 2016-17 application process, I said that there wouldn’t be significant changes to the application for admission.  Turns out I spoke too soon.  So here’s the news, fresh from our discussions: Applicants for 2017 enrollment (either January or September) in our master’s-level programs will no longer need to include three recommendations.  Two will suffice.

Why the change?  I suppose we’re looking to make the process a little easier for everyone.  You’ll need fewer recommendation letters, and we will have a slight reduction in our reading.

On the other hand, submitting a third letter remains an option for you.  Who might want to submit three letters?  Well, anyone — but especially applicants with several workplaces in the rear-view mirror.  They might choose to submit one academic letter and two letters from supervisors, one from each of two different past positions.  But it will no longer be necessary (or, for that matter, encouraged) to include two recommendations from the same experience, such as having two professors both say you’re a great student, or having two supervisors from the same workplace say you’re a great employee.  There’s less to be gained (but no penalty!) for the repetition.

Also, I want to be sure to note that the change will not affect applicants to the PhD program — they will still need to submit three letters, with two academic recommendations preferred.

Questions about the new policy?  Send them along!  Please know, though, that you are still welcome to send a third letter if it will boost your application, and we absolutely will read it.

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Kristen just put out a second call for hosts of our semi-annual array of Coffee Hours.  This is noteworthy because the list of locations is already quite impressive.  Though details are still in the planning stage, students have volunteered to meet with potential applicants, enrolling students, and anyone else who wants to talk Fletcher in:

Accra, Ghana
Austin, TX
Bangalore, India
Beijing, China
Bogota, Colombia
Boston, MA
Cape Town, South Africa
Charlotte, NC
Dakar, Senegal
Dublin, Ireland
Honolulu, HI
Islamabad, Pakistan
Istanbul, Turkey
Jakarta, Indonesia
Kabul, Afghanistan
Kathmandu, Nepal
Lahore, Pakistan
London, UK
Mexico City, Mexico
Nairobi, Kenya
New Delhi, India
New York, NY
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Rome, Italy
San Francisco, CA
Santiago, Chile
Seattle, WA
Seoul, Korea
Stuttgart, Germany
Tel Aviv, Israel
Vienna, Austria
Washington, DC

Check the Coffee Hours list on the website for details and to see if an event will be planned near you.  Most events will take place in July and August, and the dates should be posted soon.

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Fletcher in the summer is an entirely different workplace from Fletcher in the academic year.  A few students (graduated or continuing) can still be found, but sightings are rare and our work goes on largely uninterrupted.  Time to turn to the projects that are best tackled when fewer to-do-list items fight for our attention.

At yesterday’s retreat, we focused primarily on topics that won’t have an obvious effect on 2017 applicants, but there are a couple of points worth noting.  First is that we’ll probably keep our essay questions as they are.  Second is that we will now ask applicants to select no more than ten trips to include in the travel/study abroad/international living section of the application.  Requiring (or even inviting) everyone to list every trip meant a lot of questions about how to deal with multiple-country trips or multiple trips to a single country.  And it also meant that half of the online reader view of the application might be occupied by lists of trips.  (Of course, information about multiple international living experiences will still be of interest to us.)

We also talked about tweaks to the interview schedule, now that we have a year of experience with Skype interviews behind us.  The biggest challenge is helping applicants to understand that they need to arrange their interview appointments early.  By the time December rolls around, there are no appointments to be had.  That’s an ongoing challenge for us!

Over the summer, I might write less than usual, but I’ll be thinking about new 2016-2017 blog offerings.  I welcome your suggestions!  Share them in the comments section below or, if you prefer, send us a note.  I love reading your good ideas!

Meanwhile, today’s post is number 1500 for the Admissions Blog!  Sure, many of those 1500 were reminders of deadlines, restatements of application procedures, or other short updates.  But as I said for number 1000 and after number 500, we in the Admissions Office appreciate the opportunity that keeping a blog has offered us to connect with and offer substantive information to our applicants and incoming students.  As we motor on toward the 2000th post, thank you for reading!

 

With Commencement behind us, the Admissions Office is already looking ahead to the 2016-2017 application cycle.  To start us off, we’ll be meeting for the whole day today with a full retreat agenda.  We’ll talk through summer projects, plan travel, discuss potential changes to the Slate application, and just generally shift our thinking forward to what’s ahead of us.

Meanwhile, with nearly all students on their way to see family or start internships or freshly graduated and off to new things, Fletcher is a quiet place.  We’ll enjoy the quiet for a while, until we start wishing the students would come back to keep us company.  But first, a day away to figure out our next steps.  The office will be closed today.  We’ll be back tomorrow (Wednesday).

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

 

On an only barely related note, have I mentioned that my daughter, Kayla, was one of the many Tufts students to complete the undergraduate program with Commencement on Sunday?  No, I believe I haven’t.  Kayla has been an occasional character in the blog, when I felt that her application process related in some way to the Fletcher process, when she did something that might interest Fletcher-ish folks, or simply when she accompanied me for a donut around town.  She has earned her shout-out moment!  Congratulations to Kayla, and to all your fellow Jumbos!

 

This is the last full week of classes for the spring semester, the 2015-16 academic year, and the Fletcher in-class experience of those who are graduating.  And I know what it means for those of us on the staff.  There will still be a full house for the last day of classes on Monday, but the student population will drop off remarkably quickly after that.  Following two study days, first-year MALD and MIB students will take their exams and then start to disappear — most of them heading off to their internships.  Graduating students usually stay around to relax and participate in “Dis-Orientation” week before Commencement weekend, but they tend not to hang out in the building.  After Commencement, it will be very very quiet around here.

This week's calendarMy informal and unscientific poll of students indicates that their current stress level varies greatly.  Whereas one student had the semester’s toughest week last week, another is looking ahead to a miserable finals week, and still another is suffering now.  They’re a remarkably durable bunch, though, and I know they’ll get through it.  Oh, and while they’re sweating over exams, papers, presentations, and capstones, there’s still a full agenda of out-of-class activities.

The Admissions Staff is just coming out of an especially busy month of meeting admitted applicants, answering questions, and otherwise doing what we needed to do to help students decide whether to enroll at Fletcher.  A little quiet seems like a good thing right now.  It will be less welcome by week six of the summer break, when we’ll very much wish for a student to pop in and interrupt our work.

 

April 20.  The day when admitted students need to tell us their enrollment plans.  Quite a lot of people have submitted decisions already, but an unsurprisingly large number have not.  That’s fine.  Take your time.  You have until 11:59 p.m. EDT (UTC -4) tonight.

If you need one last piece of information on “Why Fletcher?”, perhaps these videos would be helpful for you.  Note that there are additional videos hiding behind the degree program tabs about halfway down the page.

Thursday starts a new chapter for the Admissions Office — one that includes only enrolling students and that is marked by less overstuffed inboxes.  It’s nice when those people who were once only applications to us become real future students!

As ever, please contact us with your last-minute questions!

 

With the Open House for admitted students now in our rear-view mirror, we’re looking ahead to April 20, the date when admitted students need to have decided whether to enroll.  This week and next, we’ll continue to take questions by email and phone, and to spend time with prospective students who visit campus.  It’s busy, but the real work is being done by the admitted students who are deciding what they want their graduate school experience to look like.  In only nine days, we’ll find out which students want their experience to look like Fletcher!

Along the way, we’ve offered several online chats.  In addition to providing an opportunity for admitted students to ask their questions, it’s a chance for the staff to sit together and chat while typing.  Students have joined us for each of the chats, and we enjoy hearing about Fletcher from their perspective.  At one chat, we talked around the table about apartment hunting and cricket playing.  A member of the Career Services staff has also joined each of the chats, and it helps us to know how they answer some of the questions that go their way.

For blog readers who have accepted a place on the waitlist, I’ll mention that there won’t be any action for a while still.  If you have questions, or if you would like to send us an update, now would be a good time to contact us.  In fact, I have two emails in my inbox right now from applicants on the waitlist.  (Answering them is my next task.)

I hope it’s helpful to learn what’s going on behind the scenes.  If you have questions you’d like me to answer, you can email me, or add your question in the comment section below.

 
OH reception

The Hall of Flags scene for Sunday’s Open House reception.

So today we’re hosting about 130 newly admitted students for our Open House and everything is going swimmingly.  We started with a reception and alumni panel yesterday evening, with many current and new students heading off to a pub after the official event concluded.  Many of the visitors are being hosted by current students — they may have met-up yesterday afternoon or they found each other during the reception.

Then, this morning, we all reconvened.  So far, I (along with Kristen) have completed my favorite job of registering the visitors — keeps me busy, allows me to meet everyone — and I also met with our visiting mid-career MA students.  Now I have five minutes between chats during Admissions Office walk-in office hours.

Because nothing is ever as much fun if it goes predictably, Nature has given us something to talk about.  Following a very warm week last week, we’ve had snow yesterday and today.  April snow is a rare event, but not unheard of.  We might wish that it didn’t fall during the Open House, but the scenes outside each window are lovely.

Back to the office hour queue.  This will be a busy day for all of us!

 

During the students’ break last week, we were lucky that we had some help from the student staffers who weren’t traveling.  Several times during the week, Dristy popped in to ask a question that had arrived via phone or email from a prospective applicant to the PhD program.  With most of our brain cells pointed toward the needs of newly admitted students or those who have decided to accept a place on the waitlist, it’s easy to forget that a new admissions cycle is already beginning, even as the previous one is still wrapping up.

The fact is that, while our work is entirely cyclical, there’s more than one cycle running at any time.  In January, for example, we’re both welcoming students who start that month, while also accepting applications for September.  Right now, we’re primarily working with the incoming class, but we’ve already started compiling lists of projects for the summer that will (we hope) make the next cycle run more smoothly.

All of this is to say that, if you’re starting your graduate school research this spring, you should feel free to contact us at any time.  We’re happy to help you lay the groundwork for an application in the fall.

 

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