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Two years ago on approximately this day, I published the Admissions Blog’s one thousandth post.  Like the November morning when #1000 appeared, today is the day before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.  This post, however, is a rather uncelebratory number 1,394, a total that includes several odes to our national holiday.

Since last week, I have been using spare blocks of time to accomplish a little of the Thanksgiving prep.  On Friday, I shopped for food.  On Saturday, I made cranberry sauce.  On Sunday, I mixed the topping for a pie.  And so on, until I will bake as much as time allows today and then finish up tomorrow.

It seems that every year there are more and more Thanksgiving gatherings for students who are staying in town.  Last year there was a Blakeley Hall meal, and other feasts that students hosted at their apartments.  Thanksgiving is an especially nice time to reach out and include others who may not have a feast of their own.  Our family meal will also include my daughter’s roommate and my cousin’s Nepali neighbors.

Working at Fletcher, there’s a lot to be thankful for.  It’s an interesting place, loaded with inspiring people who are committed to a common goal of joining (or preparing) the next generation of international affairs professionals.  Within the Admissions Office, I am fortunate to work with a collection of characters who regularly go beyond what is expected and support each others’ work.  And they frequently make me laugh in the process.  That counts for a lot!  Not to mention all the amazing students who volunteer to help us in so many ways, from conducting interviews to writing blog posts to hosting admitted students.  We couldn’t get it all done without them!

Whether you’re in the U.S., celebrating in a remote location, or looking forward to learning more about this American holiday as a Fletcher student next year, I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.

(Note that the Admissions Office will be closed from this afternoon through Sunday.  We’ll be back on Monday.)


I have been truly remiss these past few months in that I haven’t introduced the newest member of the Admissions team.  You may already have heard from Lucas, our new Admissions Coordinator, when you contacted the office with a question — he is overseeing the processing of applications, getting them ready for Admissions Committee members to read.  He joined the staff just as the semester began and he has been quickly learning everything he needs to know.

Yesterday I ran the following information by Lucas (who has a much better understanding of the back of the Slate system than I do) to be sure it is still completely accurate, and he confirms that it is.  With a note to myself to ask him for a more complete introductory blog post soon, here is the information that Early Notification applicants will need if they want to follow the progress of their application.


AFTER YOU SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION, your Application Status page will display the information you need to track your application.

To access your Application Status Page you can either click the “Start an Application” link on the Admissions website or save the application link.  You will login with the email and password you used when you created your application.

How Do I Know If My Application is Incomplete or Complete?

Even after you have submitted all the required materials, your application is not complete until a staff member has reviewed each document to check that it is correct and legible.  Your Application Status page displays the most up-to-date information on your application.  Please allow us up to 10 days after we receive your materials to update your status.

Your application will be marked as incomplete if we find that items are missing, your transcripts are difficult to read or not translated into English, or your application fee has not been received (with the exception of fee waivers).  If we are missing materials or cannot read application documents, we will contact you.

Fletcher Admissions will send you a confirmation email when all of your application materials have been compiled and your application is ready to be reviewed by the Admissions Committee.  Once your application is complete, there’s nothing more you need to do.

Please Note: the order in which your application is processed has no bearing on your admissions decision.

When Will I Receive My Decision?

Early Notification admissions decisions will be released before December 30.  We will send a message, with information regarding your decision, to the email address you used on your application.  Note that EN applicants who applied for a scholarship will receive information about their award in March, at the same time that we release decisions for those who applied in January.

If you have further questions, please email us or call us at +1.617.627.3040.

Please use the email address that you included in your application on all email messages to the office.  We try to respond to every message on the same day we receive it, but due to the large number of emails we receive, it can take several days for us to reply to you.  We appreciate your patience!


It has been a long time (two years, to be precise) since I asked applicants what admissions-related information they would like to see in the blog in November, December, and beyond.  I have been feeling that I could use some inspiration and guidance, so I’m reintroducing the blog survey, and calling upon readers to help me out.  Is there a topic that you would like to learn more about — more than the information you find on the website, or receive in an email, or learn during an information session?  Please tell me about it in this one question survey.  The blog is truly the best place to share details about and explanations of the fine points of the process, as well as the School, so please don’t hold back!  I look forward to reading (and answering) your questions.


At this point, we can see the end of the travel season, which I kicked off back in September.  Today, Liz reports on her trips with our peer schools in the Group of Five (G5).

I’ve just returned from a couple of weeks on the road, traveling with representatives from four of our peer institutions: Johns Hopkins, SAIS; Columbia, SIPA; Princeton, WWS; and Georgetown, SFS.  Over 40 years ago, these five schools that together we call the “Group of Five” (G5) decided that if we traveled together, we would reach more prospective students for our programs and could cover more regions of the world.  The schools tested out the idea, and we’ve been traveling together ever since.  We collaboratively decide where we would like to target our outreach for the year, and then work together to plan the trips.  During these trips we try to offer general graduate school advice, while also highlighting what makes our schools both similar and unique.  I like this recruiting method, as we also get to know our colleagues quite well (you learn a lot while traveling by minivan!) and we have a chance to see many different regions of the U.S. and beyond.

My first G5 trip this year was here in New England.  I was in charge of planning, which was neat since the visits were in our “backyard.”  Despite occasional rain, it was a beautiful trip, as the leaves were turning into stunning fall foliage.  We met some great candidates and I’ve heard from several students who decided to visit the Fletcher campus as a follow up!  Here is the New England group prior to our session at Amherst College.

G5 Panel

From left to right, representatives from: Georgetown, Fletcher (that’s Liz!), Johns Hopkins, Columbia, and Princeton.

Other times, if we’re not able to find a session time that works for our travel schedule and the class schedule of the college we’re visiting, we will set up a table in a common area.  Here we are tabling at University of Massachusetts.

G5 Table

After New England, I was off to California to do similar visits in the Bay Area.  We covered a lot of ground, and had a chance to see some of America’s most famous (and beautiful!) bridges.  We had fantastic weather, and most importantly, we had really great school visits, where we met interesting prospective students.


We also try to find ways to have a little fun during our group travel weeks.  Here we are checking out the large Redwood trees, seeing the famous “Bucky the Bronco” at Santa Clara University, and posing with members of the academic council at University of California, Davis.

UC Davis

Overall my two weeks with the G5 were really successful.  It’s always fun to see other parts of the U.S., reconnect with colleagues, and meet new people.  I’ve completed my travel obligations for the year, but Fletcher is still on the road!  Laurie is off to Asia soon (also doing G5 travel), and Dan is currently on his own G5 Pennsylvania trek, having visited South America earlier this year.  Keep your eye on our travel schedule, to see where else you can meet us on the road!

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Applications for January enrollment were due only one week ago, but we’re already looking toward the end of the process.  We’ll continue reading/discussing the applications and then, when they all have had their moment, we’ll pivot immediately to finalizing decisions.  It’s our most compact application review period, but we don’t have much time to play with — admitted students need to make plans!

While we complete that process, we’re also turning toward the Early Notification deadline of November 15 (three and a half weeks away!).  More and more questions fill the inbox as prospective students get serious about their applications.  If you’re one of those people, I might suggest you peruse our Application Boot Camp posts from about one year ago.

I have been the office slacker when it comes to reading the applications for January enrollment.  Creating a block of time to read is on my list for this afternoon.


Yesterday slipped by me without a chance to write a “today’s the deadline” post.  Applications for January enrollment in the MALD or MIB program were due yesterday, and today the staff is doing what needs to be done to make the applications ready to read, as well as to let applicants know if any materials are still needed.

Those who submitted an application know that there is still another week or so when recommendations and test scores can arrive and be reviewed.  In fact, since we correspond rather a lot with applicants, there isn’t much that I can add about the process.  But I will say something about the time frame.  We turn these applications around quickly!  The spring semester starts on January 19 and people need to make plans.  And get visas.  And relocate, etc.  So we’re already reading the applications that are complete (by “we,” I don’t yet mean “me,” but I’ll read some this weekend), and the whole process will wrap up within a month.  At that point, we’ll get ready to welcome our newest Januarians.

The small batch of applications for January is just what we need to get started on the annual application review cycle.  I’m looking forward to learning about our soon-to-be students.

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Just a quick note, especially for the applicants eyeing this Thursday’s deadline for January enrollment.  Today is a public holiday and the Admissions Office is closed.  We’ll be back tomorrow morning, when we’ll do our best to answer all your last-minute questions as quickly as we can!



Just a quick post as I finally settle down to catch up with email, etc., this morning.  The two-plus hours since I arrived today have flashed by.  At 8:30, the first of our 35 Visit Day attendees came by to sign in, and we’ve been setting them up for the day’s activities ever since.  Some will participate in an interview.  Others will head off to a class.  At 11:00, everyone will come together for an Information Session, and then for lunch.  Aside from the lunch, all of the Visit Day activities can be done on any day we offer an Information Session, but it works really well when everything comes together in a tidy package.  We’ll offer one more Visit Day this fall, on November 16.

On a related note, today is Day 6 of the interview program, and just about everything has been going well.  A few dropped connections during Skype interviews, but nothing that upset the interviewer or applicant too much.  At the risk of repeating myself, if you’re interested in having an interview as part of your application process, I encourage you to sign up as soon as possible.  (Remember that Fletcher interviews take place before your chosen application deadline.)  There is plenty of availability now, but the schedule will fill in soon and it may be hard to score an appointment on the day/time you want.  And consider a Friday visit!  For reasons unknown, our Fridays are filling in very slowly.  Fewer classes are offered on Friday than on other days of the week, but the classes that are offered are among the most popular at Fletcher, and you’re welcome to attend one.

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I work pretty closely with applicants to the PhD program, and I should write more to help them.  The deadline for applications is December 20.  That’s a little less than three months off and, given the requirements of the application, it’s definitely not too late to get started.  There’s only one deadline each year, and only September enrollment is possible.

The PhD application requires all the usual elements (transcripts, test scores, essays, etc.), but applicants must also submit a master’s thesis (or major research paper) and a preliminary dissertation proposal.  While the proposal should be well developed, it’s understood that a student’s ultimate dissertation will reflect learning and growth from three semesters of Fletcher classes.  Though it is not required that applicants contact members of the Fletcher faculty before applying, I can say that nearly all of our successful applicants have done so.  Reaching out to Fletcher professors gives you a chance to confirm that your interests are aligned with theirs.  All admitted PhD students are assigned an advisor, and the expectation is that students will stick with that advisor all the way through.

Beyond that, most successful PhD applicants will include two recommendations from professors who can reflect on their work, and most will be asking professors from their master’s-level work to write the recommendations.

I should pause to note that applying directly to the PhD program requires a master’s degree.  Students without a master’s degree, or those who have a degree that lasted only one year, need to start with the MALD (usually) or MIB (also possible) degree.

We’ll be conducting two virtual information sessions, on October 15 and November 16.  There’s also more information that I can pass along.  If you’re interested, please contact us!

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♦  Come up with a plan for fall interviews, including NEW Skype interviews: CHECK
♦  Train students volunteers to conduct interviews: CHECK
♦  Assign students to each of the 35+ interview timeslots each week: CHECK
♦  Dust off the furniture in the interview rooms: CHECK

I guess we’re just about ready to kick-off the fall interview program on Monday.  “Just about” ready, because I haven’t yet identified the inevitable glitches that will occur.  But we’re excited to get started, especially as the interview calendar is filling up nicely!  We were fully booked for the first two Mondays until we added a few extra appointments yesterday.  (Please grab one of those new slots if you were disappointed to have been closed out!)

As I always hasten to say, interviews are an optional part of the application process, but now that applicants have the choice of both on-campus and Skype interviews, I hope that many applications for January or September 2016 enrollment will include an interview report.  It’s a great opportunity for applicants to share a little of their own story.  And through the conversation, they can hear about the experience of their student interviewer, too.


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