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We’ve got zillions of people signed up for an Admissions Visit Day on Monday.  (If not zillions, at least a few dozen.)  It will be a fun day for all of us (except maybe for Liz, who’s in charge and might be a little stressed).

There’s another official Visit Day scheduled for November 7, but maybe you’re not free that day.  Or maybe you don’t want to wait.  Why not Do It Yourself?  You could schedule your DIY Visit Day for a Monday or Friday, when we regularly offer Information Sessions.  Add an evaluative interview.  Toss in a couple of class visits.  And don’t forget to register for coffee with a student.  Ta-daaa!  You’ve got yourself a visit day.

Whether you’re at Fletcher during an official Admissions Visit Day or one of the DIY variety, you’ll find it a good opportunity to ask lots of questions and gather the information you need to think about spending a couple of years here and to prepare your application.  Come on over anytime!  But note that evaluative interviews will be offered only until December 9.


Following a blur of a September and an equally busy start to October, I’m now looking at the first deadline of the 2016-17 application process, coming up on Saturday!  Sure, the collection of applications we’ll receive for January enrollment is very manageable, but we’ll also be aiming for a quick turn-around, and October 15 is followed by deadlines on November 15, December 20, and January 10.  That is, we’re heading into the heart of the application process!

Applicants for January 2017 enrollment can trust that we’ll be sending out decisions before November’s over, giving you some planning time.  (Not much, mind you — classes will start with Shopping Day on Tuesday, January 17).  It’s only about three months before we welcome our next group of “Januarians.”

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In just a few minutes, I’ll be on an airplane to Washington, DC for tonight’s Idealist Grad School Fair.  I’m expecting a busy evening.  Fortunately, I’ve booked in two great alumni, Kiyomi and Margot, and I’m confident we can keep the information flowing without anyone needing to wait in line for too long.  Plus, I get to catch up with two great Friends of Admissions from their student days.

I’ll be trying to pick out the question of the evening, as I did in Boston last week.  If there’s a good theme, I’ll report back on Thursday.  Until then, if you’re planning to be at the Washington Convention Center tonight, come on over and say hello.


Monday and Tuesday slipped by me this week.  I’ve been working on several different things, but I’ve spent much of my time creating a schedule for the students who have volunteered to conduct interviews for us.  Scheduling went unusually smoothly this year, which isn’t to say that there aren’t abundant eraser shavings on and under my desk.  I needed to do significant fiddling to ensure a match between the interview timeslots and volunteers’ schedules.

We’ll kick off the fall interview program on Monday, September 26, and we have more than 25 interviewees already signed up to chat on campus or via Skype next week with our current students.  If you are applying for 2017 enrollment, and if you would like to schedule an evaluative interview, I would encourage you to grab a slot now.  You don’t need to interview in September if you don’t want to, but you also don’t want to wait until November to sign up.  There’s a good chance that everything will be booked up by then.

Remember that interviews are optional, but they are evaluative.  You’ll be talking about the basics — your background, your objectives for study at Fletcher and beyond, and what you’ll bring to the community.  I hope you’ll be among the applicants who will meet a student, whether face-to-face or via Skype.


Every so often I like to check in with Admissions Blog readers and have you direct (or redirect) me toward valuable content for the blog.  It’s like crowdsourcing my brainstorming.  You want to read useful information, and I want to write or recruit content that you’ll find valuable.  It’s a win-win!

To that end, please add your ideas to this ultraquick three-question survey.  If every reader provided one suggestion, I’d have topics to last me well into the winter!  And I promise to do my best with any topics you provide.  So please, help me out, cure my writer’s block, and offer up some ideas on the survey.  Every time I would otherwise be staring at a blank screen, I will thank you.


I wrote last week that the Admissions staff has started to hit the road.  Last Thursday, we sent Lucas to New York for his first Idealist graduate school fair with Fletcher.  Today it’s my turn!  I’m on my way to NY for the annual APSIA fair, which is held at the Council on Foreign Relations.  It’s a busy event, but focused.  Everyone who attends is interested in some corner of the broad international affairs arena.  I’ll have two alumni with me (and plenty of water to drink).  If you’re going to be there, please stop by and say hello!


The Hall of Flags is in full hum today, with new and continuing students popping in and out of Shopping Day sessions.  I always think of this first day of the academic year as being the start of a new “blog year,” too.

To kick off Blog Year 2016-17, I’d like to point you toward some of the blog’s past content.  For starters, there are the regular posts written for the Student Stories feature, which will continue this year with both returning and new writers.  And there are the occasional Faculty Spotlight posts — shining that light on aspects of the professors’ Fletcher life that you won’t see represented elsewhere.

Among the posts from Student Stories writers are what we call “Annotated Curricula.”  You can think of them as the roadmap that our writers took through their two Fletcher years.

For the past few years, I’ve asked alumni to write about their post-Fletcher lives, in either a one-year update or a five-year update.

And then there’s the straightforward admissions stuff.  A few years ago, a student member of the staff wrote the “Dear Ariel” column, in which she answered commonly asked questions.  I hope to bring a similar feature back this year, once our student staff is back in place.  And over the years, we’ve passed along lots of admissions tips — especially ideas for the application essays.

I hope you’ll enjoy catching up on some of the blog’s past posts.  I’m certainly looking forward to sharing details of the new Blog Year!


Guys!  Finally some useful admissions-related news!  As of today, if you look at the interview schedule page, you will see our complete interview offerings for September to December.  And here are the details you’ll need:

  • Interviews are optional, but evaluative.
  • The Admissions Committee does not invite you to come interview.  You make that decision for yourself.
  • You should schedule your interview early.  Do not wait until you have submitted your application.
  • Even if you don’t want to have your interview until December 1, you can schedule a time now.  That way you’re sure of being able to grab the appointment when you want it.
  • Interviews will wrap up at the end of the fall semester — Friday, December 9.

We only started offering interviews by Skype last year, but they were so popular that for this fall we’ve increased the number of sessions each week.  At the same time, we really want people to visit the School, so we have preserved on-campus appointments, especially on Monday and Friday, when we also offer Information Sessions.

Need more details?  Read my post from last year, or contact us.

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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


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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