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Time for an admissions process update!

Since January 10 — our first regular deadline for applications for September enrollment — your applications have been working their way through a process that goes like this:

Receive application
Check application for needed materials
Mark application as complete once all materials are received
Have a student read the application (primarily for MA, MALD, MIB)
Have a staff member read the application
Have faculty members read the application, as appropriate (more for PhDs, fewer for MALD)
Move the application to a virtual “bin,” where it waits until we release decisions.

Quite a few applications are already in their final bin, while many others (including those received by February 10) are still snaking their way through the process.  Also on the move: EN applications submitted last fall for which we deferred making a decision to this spring.  All will be reviewed again with Committee discussions as necessary.

Once we complete application review for all programs, we’ll release decisions.  For applicants offered admission, decisions will be accompanied by scholarship information.  Even applications submitted by March 1 (the final deadline for the LLM and MIB programs), will be decided on by the decision date, so long as they are complete on March 1.  We don’t yet know on which day we’ll be releasing decisions, but we always aim for the third week of March or earlier.  I’ll try to provide a date in March, once all is clear.

Whenever I take a minute to think about it, as I’m doing now, I appreciate how long the review process must feel to applicants.  Probably a good number of you are relieved to be done with your applications and to let us do the work for a while.  Others find this stretch much less relaxing.  To all of you, I just want you to know that we’re working hard on your behalf and we’re pleased with how smoothly the process has gone.  Committee discussions are respectful and are helping to shape our reading and our future class.  We still have another month or so in front of us before we’ll release decisions, but I hope it’s helpful to have a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes process.


Our annual mid-winter treat is meeting the prospective students who attend the Open House for the Early Notification round.  Twenty-something of these EN-admitted students will be hanging out on the seventh floor of Fletcher for much of the day, taking the elevator down whenever they want to attend a class.

The EN Open House is both (as I mentioned) a treat for us — turning paper applications into real people — and also a great opportunity for the attendees.  The April Open House, to which all September 2018 admitted students will be invited, is a bit of a fun madhouse.  Today’s event, by contrast, is mellow.  Visitors will have ample opportunity to chat with each other, with current students, and with professors.

My contact with the visitors has been limited so far (signed in a few people and chatted over coffee with a few more), but I’ll be seeing more of them at lunch and then for a panel discussion with current students.  I especially enjoy student panels, and the opportunity to hear first-hand about the Fletcher experience of people I might not meet otherwise, so I’m looking forward to that.  Meanwhile, I’m happy to say that the weather is completely cooperative today.  Sunny, bright, and not too cold, which has not always been the case for this event.


There’s no way that the Admissions Blog can be a comprehensive resource on all things Fletcher — it’s much too busy a place — but I do try to highlight activities that represent that busy-ness.  To that end, I’ve been collecting all we’ve written on several of the research institutes.  Take a look at the posts on these Fletcher groups:

International Security Studies Program

Center for International Environment and Resource Policy

World Peace Foundation

Institute for Business in the Global Context

Maritime Studies


We’re not yet midway through the application review process, but I want to offer some insights that may be reassuring while applicants for September enrollment await the decisions they’ll receive in March.

When the MALD/MA Admissions Committee met last Friday, we considered the case of an applicant who did poorly as an undergraduate but subsequently went on to a successful multi-year career.  The applicant had strong GRE scores and glowing recommendations.  (No surprise — there were no academic recommendations.)  Chances are good that we’ll review an application that fits that general description at every meeting this year.

When we review applications, we are always looking for background and credentials that are well laid out on our website.  The goal is “to enroll a diverse class of students who have demonstrated academic excellence, have a wide range of personal, professional and academic experience, and have a strong commitment to an international career. We seek students who, by virtue of their background, achievement and experience, can contribute to the education of their peers and to the scholarship and practice of international relations.”  That’s both super-specific and, it could be argued, equally vague.  I generally tell applicants that the bottom line is that students must be able to succeed at Fletcher, and that’s true!  But then what do we make of the applicant described above?

Or how about another application from Friday.  The applicant had a nearly perfect undergraduate record and test scores, but won’t graduate until May and, predictably, has limited professional experience.  We’ll see applications like this one every week, too.  As a professional school, we strongly value pre-Fletcher work experience — it supports the development of a student’s objectives and is a key factor as they seek a post-Fletcher job.  But brilliant students generally find their way through the career definition and search process, even if they do need a little extra support from the Office of Career Services.

In both of these cases, the Admissions Committee decided to offer the applicant admission.  Admissions people always say they employ a holistic system of review.  The opportunity for Fletcher to admit both of the applicants described here depends on it.  If we were to impose cut-offs — whether logical or arbitrary — one or both of these applicants wouldn’t be admitted.  Instead, the Hall of Flags is sprinkled with people of both types.

Students who went to U.S. colleges and universities often worry that the graduate school admissions process will be the same as it was for undergrad.  I’m happy to say that it isn’t.  Applicants who can objectively be described as qualified for Fletcher, demonstrating all those qualities outlined above, will be admitted.  Fortunately, there’s also room in the class for some students who are missing a few of the qualities.  So long as we can see a pathway for their success, we can go ahead and offer them admission.

I hope that this mid-process pause will help reassure some applicants that they can stop trying to figure out our average GPA or GRE scores.  Reviewing Fletcher applications is too complex for us to rely on numbers alone.


It’s my first day at home reading applications following the January 10 deadline.  Liz and Dan both spent yesterday with their own virtual piles of applications, but they’ve generously left me a few to tackle.

In a recent spare moment, I tagged all the posts I could find about reading days.  There are a lot!  Going back to 2007!  Many refer to the paper files we used to need to carry home.  Now our reading is all computer-based.  Staff members tend to structure their reading days around one of two elements: friendly dogs or warm drinks.  I’m definitely Team Tea/Coffee, but I can’t deny that a fluffy dog like Murray is a good companion for a reading day.

As I settle in with a cup of tea in this year’s new mug, I invite you to peruse the many reports written by my Admissions pals (current and past) and me about the days that we spend at home “meeting” the folks who may be students in September.

Tagged with:

Today’s post offers information that doesn’t change year to year, but I hope that reading it today will help you navigate the post-submission application process.

With no further delay, if you submitted an application yesterday for the January 10 deadline, let me congratulate you on having completed most of your work!  The burden is now on us.  Or, at least, the burden will be on us when your application is 100% complete, including the pieces that you didn’t submit yesterday: primarily, recommendations and standardized test scores.  You’ll know the application is 100% complete when you receive an email from us.  Until then, you need to keep an eye on things.

To that end, here are the instructions for tracking your application.

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

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 log in 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 will wait until a staff member has reviewed each document to check that it is correct and legible.  Only then is the application considered complete and ready to be reviewed by the Admissions Committee.  Your Application Status page displays the most up-to-date information on your application status.  Please allow us up to 10 days after we receive your materials to update your record.  It isn’t that checking each application takes a long time, but there are a great number to review and we want to get it right.

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 (Fletcher Admissions) will contact you.

Fletcher Admissions will also 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 (except wait).

Please Note: Whether your application is processed first or last has no bearing on your admissions decision.  But you do need to ensure that you have sent us all the needed materials.

What could possibly hold up my application?

Assuming you did absolutely everything you’re supposed to do (including ordering your test scores), and submitted all the pieces you need to submit (including scanned copies of official transcripts), the glitch that affects the largest number of applications is recommendations that fail to arrive.  It is so mean when current or former professors or supervisors agree to write a recommendation for an application due January 10, and then don’t submit it!  But the fact that you have my understanding doesn’t relieve you of the need to get that recommendation.  You need to do just the right amount of reminding, but when it becomes clear that the recommender is simply not going to come through, then you need to find and register a new recommender.

When will I receive my decision?

Decisions will be released toward the end of March.  We will send a message to the email address you used on your application.  March decision information will also include details about scholarship awards for students admitted in March or in December (Early Notification).

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.

This part of the admissions process certainly requires some patience.  Whether you’re waiting for confirmation your application is complete, or for the answer to a question, or for your decision to arrive in March, you can be sure we’re working as hard as we can to make everything go quickly and smoothly.  It’s in the interest of the Admissions staff, as well as that of our applicants.


Fletcher is still a quiet place with most students still on their winter break, but the Admissions Office isn’t quiet at all.  We’ve had a few visitors today for the last of the on-campus interviews, and two of our Graduate Assistants — Cece and Cindy — are back at work.  Naturally, the inbox is keeping them busy, as folks send last minute questions.

Tomorrow (Tuesday), the Admissions staff will be meeting off-site for the day, but Cece and Cindy will take care of your last-minute application questions.  And then the following day (Wednesday) is the January 10 deadline, when we’ll receive most of the year’s applications.  Naturally, I hope you’re not waiting for the ultimate last minute (11:59 p.m. EST (UTC-4)) to submit your application, but I reluctantly concede that it’s too late to pester you to submit early.

Meanwhile, review of the applications submitted by December 20 for the PhD program and the Map Your Future pathway is well underway.  PhD applicants will still need to wait until late March to receive their application results, but MYF applicants will hear this month.

Back to all the January 10 applicants.  What can/should you be doing now to ensure smooth submission of your application?  I’m going to assume you’ve completed most parts of it, so the big task now is a careful proofreading.  Make sure your essays are correct, no longer have editing marks in them, and don’t include mention of any of the other schools to which you’re applying.  (Yes, that happens.  Too often!)  Double check your email and mailing address.  For the mailing address, please use standard punctuation and upper/lower case.  It’s amazing how many people provide us with an address that isn’t actually useful for mailing things.  Take a few minutes and write out abbreviations that might not be clear to us, even if they’re completely clear to you and your peers with the organization.  And do return to your essays and make sure they answer the question we’ve asked.

Above all, remember that the application you send us is the one we’ll review.  Unless there’s a technical problem that results in an illegible attachment, we expect you to get it right the first time.  So proofread proofread proofread!  And we look forward to reading your application.


Every year I introduce our new graduate assistants, and I write posts as needed about new staff members.  But I generally (and inexcusably) neglect to tell you about the long-time staff.  In fact, you may be wondering whom I’m referring to when I mention Liz or Kristen, or another of my Admissions pals.  Today I’ll fix that.  Note that all of us do a little of everything, but each of us has greater responsibility for certain projects or programs.  My introductions focus on the activities that distinguish us from each other.  With that, please meet us!

In alpha order, we have:

Dan may be best known to blog readers as the human friend of Murray, our canine pal, but even more noteworthy is that Dan is the lone Fletcher graduate among us.  He had previously worked in international education, and a post-MALD position in Fletcher Admissions was a natural for him.  Dan is also the Admissions liaison to the LLM program.  He reads LLM applications and works with the program staff throughout the application process.






Jessica is me!  In addition to the blog, I’m the Admissions link to the PhD program.  Anything else you might need to know about me has turned up in some past post.








Kristen is unlike the other members of the staff in that her desk is not within the Admissions Office.  She’s upstairs with other folks working on Fletcher’s business programs, reflecting her dual-focus.  Like the rest of us, she does a little of everything, but she manages the Admissions process for the MIB program, and also oversees some content aspects of the program itself.






Laurie is the director of Admissions (the assistant dean, to be precise) and naturally she has a hand in everything.  Laurie doesn’t have a Fletcher degree, but she’s still a double Jumbo, with undergraduate and graduate degrees from Tufts.







You’ll hear from Liz if you have sent us a question about the May Your Future pathway to admission to the MALD or MIB program.  And once MYF applicants have been admitted, it’s Liz who provides them with a pre-enrollment Fletcher community.  Liz is also the master-organizer for our fall visit days and spring open houses.







Lucas oversees our Slate application system with zen-like calm.  No matter what crazy request we make, he’s likely to make it happen.  The interview program took a step into the 21st century this year when Lucas created a mechanism for our volunteer interviewers to receive reminders and for them to file their reports directly into Slate.  It’s a behind-the-scenes change, but if you participated in an interview, you benefited from his work.






Marquita is the newest member of the Admissions Staff and anyone who visits will find her out front in the office.  We gave her a couple of months to learn everything she would need to know about Fletcher, and then we passed her the task of organizing the winter break coffee hours.  Apparently, details do not faze Marquita.






And that’s the Admissions team.  You don’t need to worry about keeping track of who does what, but I hope this makes it clearer why you’re hearing from one of us rather than another.


The Admissions Office wasn’t closed last week, but it was a lonely place for Marquita, who was keeping everything going.  We’re back today and ready to take your questions ahead of the January 10 deadline.  Send us an email, give us a call, or participate in our online chat on Thursday.  We look forward to hearing from you!


Please note that the Admissions Office, and the rest of Fletcher and Tufts University, will be closed today and tomorrow (Tuesday) for the Christmas holiday.  We’ll also be closed on Friday and on Monday, January 1, for the New Year’s holiday.

If you have questions on any of these days when the Admissions Office is closed, please feel free to send them by email.  We’ll respond as soon as we can.

I wish all the readers of the Admissions Blog happy holidays and a happy and healthy start to 2018!


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