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Thinking of applying for graduate school admission for 2018 (either January or September)? It’s not too early to move beyond merely “thinking” to a more active phase. And it’s time for me to give you a little guidance.
First, please note that the 2018 Fletcher application is not yet on the website and there is no value to starting to fill in the blanks and essays on what you’ll find there. On August 1, we’ll take down the current application and replace it about two weeks later with the updated one. But even as you hold off on starting to work on the application, you’re certainly free (encouraged!) to peruse the 2017 version and prepare the different elements you’ll need. Just to get you started, here’s your list of what a 2018 application will include.
- The form
- Your transcripts (any transcript, including for a study-abroad semester, that is needed to give a complete picture of your undergraduate record)
- Test scores (GRE or GMAT, and TOEFL or IELTS for non-native English speakers)
- Your résumé
- Two recommendations, with one from a professor who can reflect on your academic work. Submitting a third recommendation is optional.
- Two essays, one of which could be called a statement of purpose
- A scholarship application, if you would like to apply for an award
We’re not changing our essay questions this year, so here’s what you’ll need to write:
□ Essay 1 (600-800 words)
Fletcher’s Committee on Admissions seeks to ensure that there is a good match between each admitted student and the School.
Please tell us your goals for graduate study at Fletcher and for your career. Describe the elements of your personal, professional, and/or academic background that have prepared you for your chosen career path. Why is The Fletcher School the right place to pursue your academic objectives and to prepare you to meet your professional goals? Why have you selected the degree program to which you are applying?
If you are planning to pursue a dual degree, please be sure to address this interest in your personal statement.
□ Essay 2 (500 words maximum)
To help the Committee on Admissions get to know you better, please share an anecdote, or details about an experience or personal interest, that you have not elaborated upon elsewhere in your application.
For further details on all of that, including the variations (there are a few) for the different degree programs, check out the application instructions.
Those are the basics, but let me drill down a little bit on where you might direct your July/August energy. It is not at all early for requesting recommendations. Your recommenders will thank you if you give them extra time. Remember that one recommendation should reflect your academic ability, while we’d generally suggest that the other should come from a professional context. Most important for your application strategy: think about content the recommenders can add to your application, beyond the basics. If you have worked at three organizations, but one organization was the most important to your future career, I’d suggest looking to that organization for your professional recommendation. This is really common sense, but you’ll want to dedicate a few minutes to being common sensible.
Also not too early: lining up your standardized tests. If you haven’t already taken the GRE/GMAT/TOEFL/IELTS, or if you know you want to retest, get your test date and start practicing. Why should you practice? Because familiarity with the test format will enable you to achieve your maximum score. Being unfamiliar with the test will cause you to waste time and your score will suffer.
It doesn’t matter what country or profession you come from — there’s no reason why you can’t organize your academic and professional experience into a tidy résumé. There are a zillion sample résumés online, and the format you’ll want is informative and easy to read. Generally, you’ll list your experience in reverse chronological order (that is, starting with your current activity). A résumé for a graduate school application should be between one and three pages long. (I really like when they’re no more than two pages, but I’m feeling generous. People have different experiences and some of those are hard to describe.) Pulling together a résumé can take some time. That’s why I’m suggesting you start now. Once it’s done, you can tweak it or not, but at least you won’t be scrambling to write it on the day before the application deadline.
I’m going to offer more tips throughout the fall, but I’ll close with one last picky technical point. You and we will all be happiest if you use only one email address when corresponding with us. All your stuff goes into your “file” on the basis of your name and email address. If you want us to be able to find things, don’t lead the system to misfile them. Also, if you’re applying to graduate school (or a job, for that matter), it’s time to get yourself a professional sounding email address. No more firstname.lastname@example.org. Please. Just some variation on your name. Remember to check your email frequently after you start your applications.
That should do it for this time in the summer. Note that I’ve given you three assignments: line up your test dates; request your recommendations; and pull together your résumé. If you complete those three things by the end of July, you’ll be in a good position for the next stages of your application process.
This evening, Fletcher will host Boston Summerfest, which means that at 5:30, the Hall of Flags will suddenly throw off its summer quiet and lively up. It’ll be…Summerfestive! Jointly with our colleagues from Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, and Princeton, we’ll welcome Fletcher students, alumni of all our schools, and prospective students interested in international affairs graduate study. We’re excited about this first-ever Boston Summerfest event.
Later this summer, we’ll also participate in similar events in Washington, DC and New York City, the two cities where Summerfest has been held before. If you’re interested in any of the Summerfest dates, register now at the links above. But registered or not, if you’re in the neighborhood, don’t hesitate to turn up tonight! Walk-ins will be welcome.
We look forward to seeing you here or at a future Summerfest!
In an annual tradition, we’ve asked recent graduates and current students to offer a Coffee Hour wherever they’re spending the summer. These are informal events where prospective applicants and incoming students can sit and chat with someone who’s in the know about the program. Here’s the list of locations where folks will be grabbing a coffee and pulling up a chair. For updated details, check the Coffee Hours website.
Boston, MA (Cambridge)
Boston, MA (Somerville)
Durban, South Africa
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Johannesburg, South Africa
Kansas City, KS
Mexico City, Mexico
New Delhi, India
New York, NY (Manhattan)
New York, NY (Brooklyn)
Ramallah, West Bank
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA
Seoul, South Korea
Tagged with: Coffee Hours
With the academic year behind us and the September 2017 admissions cycle more or less wrapped up, it’s time for the Admissions staff to look ahead and turn our attention to summer projects and routine work. Some of the items on our to-do lists are: Boston Summerfest at Fletcher; Coffee Hours around the world; a new publication to use in the fall; travel planning; continuing student scholarship renewal; application upgrades; and mundane tasks such as booking rooms we’ll need in the next academic year. (Just writing that reminded me it’s not too early to book rooms for Admissions Committee meetings.)
Essentially, we won’t be doing much that interests Admissions Blog readers, except possibly if we decide on additional application tweaks.
Fortunately for all of us, that doesn’t mean that the blog will be daily drudgery. One benefit of my having been overwhelmed with good content in the spring is that I still have lots to share in the coming weeks: Class of 2011 and 2016 updates, general news from the school, tips from students and faculty. All those are coming up soon, though I’m sure I won’t be posting quite as frequently as I did through the spring. And gradually I’ll shift focus from sharing information with the incoming class toward helping prepare future applicants as we look ahead to a new application cycle.
As ever, I’d love to cover topics of interest to readers. To suggest a topic or ask a question, please contact us!
About a week ago, we all took out our calendars to find a day when we could have an off-site retreat. Turns out that, after this week, there were precisely zero days when we would all be here. (Admissions folks tend not to take vacation time during the admissions cycle, meaning we take it all during the summer. Plus, there’s a little recruitment travel on the calendar.) In a last attempt to identify at least a few hours, we realized that yesterday was the day. We had some sandwiches delivered and started talking.
When we were talking wistfully about the beautiful weather outside, Laurie suggested taking a walk. (We’re all involved in a University “steps challenge,” so there was an added incentive to get out there.) We meandered over to the roof of the main library. Here’s a view of the “green roof” portion:
And here’s the view of the city from the roof:
But you might be more interested in the outcome of the discussions than about our mini-field trip. We talked about deferral and reapplication procedures. (Some minor changes will be implemented). We discussed the application reading process and the application itself. (We agreed that we wouldn’t change the application essay prompts.) Most of the rest of the discussion was essentially administrative. (Who will do what, and when.) Overall, a productive four hours, even if we couldn’t quite pull off a full-day retreat.
7:35 this morning found me elbow-to-elbow with my Admissions pal Kristen, registering visiting prospective students who are at Fletcher for the Admitted Student Open House. We sent them off to the coat racks and to breakfast, and then we heard from Dean Sheehan about his own path to Fletcher. (Dean Sheehan is the dean for all sorts of things that aren’t academic.)
The next set of comments came from two current students — who both shared tales of internships/jobs already arranged with the support of Fletcher alumni — and then the crowd was divided by degree program for program-specific introductions. The remainder of the day is a constant challenge in decision making: attend a class; attend a student panel; visit an office; participate in a roundtable. At 5:00, we hope they’ll remember to swing back to Admissions and grab their bags.
Good idea, pink bag student! You won’t have trouble recognizing your suitcase.
Even after our formal activities have wrapped up, there’s an open event at 5:30, Fletcher Reads the Newspaper, which gathers a group of interdisciplinary Fletcher experts to discuss a current news topic. The Fletcher Reads the Newspaper series is, according to the announcement, “a platform for integrating the skills and contextual knowledge that are central to a Fletcher education, where panelists and audience members participate in examining the problem – and the solutions – through multiple disciplinary lenses.” The subject for this evening’s session is:
Resolved: “The US and international system of checks and balances will contain the extremes of the Trump Administration”
Visitors in the audience will be more than welcome to participate, alongside current students.
I admit, the Admissions staff will not be joining the discussion. We’ll be on our way home, where I think it’s fair to say, we all look forward to swapping shoes for slippers. We’ve been on our feet and enjoying meeting people whose applications we remember since 3:30 yesterday. The Open House is a really fun event, but just crazy enough that we’re also happy to wrap it up at the end of the day.
It’s noon now and I’m going to grab my box lunch before heading off to a few lunchtime discussion sessions, to check in with the faculty leaders. Then back to Admissions to answer questions, a student panel at 3:20, more questions at 4:30, and farewells at 5:00. A long but happy day!
Tagged with: Open House
It’s a beautiful day, but the Tufts campus is notably depopulated, thanks to Spring Break. As I tromped up from my bus this morning, I passed only two students, and it was quiet enough that I could hear a woodpecker on a distant tree. There were precisely zero people in the Hall of Flags when I walked through.
Fletcher students approach Spring Break in a number of ways. Some folks stay in town, work on internship/job searches, write their capstones, or otherwise use the time to lift some pressure from the end of the semester. Others will visit friends or family, or travel for a few days with fellow students. But more and more students are pursuing structured travel options, such as the Israel/Palestine Trek, which promises meetings “with prominent Israelis and Palestinians in the political, business, and security sectors,” or the Colombia Trek, where participants “will engage with government, NGO, rebel, and U.S. actors to better understand how Colombia can navigate the road to reunification,” following the signing of the country’s peace agreement. Past participants in Fletcher treks have reported an exciting, if exhausting, week of travel and learning with friends and peers.
As for those of us left behind in Admissions, we’ll continue the upstream swim to stay ahead of our inboxes, but there will be less traffic in and out of the office from current students and faculty. For one week, the building is owned by the staff. The perfect working conditions as we start our second week following releasing decisions. And with that, I’m going to turn to email. But before I do, a quick reminder that I still want to know what you want to read! If you haven’t already completed the blog suggestions survey, please do!
Not only because my well of ideas occasionally runs dry, but more importantly because I aim to provide useful information, I would like to invite readers to answer my three-question survey. It’s easy-peasy and gives you the opportunity to suggest the topics that student bloggers and I will cover throughout the spring. I won’t go on, because I’d prefer you apply your time to the survey. Thanks, in advance, for sharing your ideas!
Not every country changes the clocks to take advantage of summer sunshine, and the ones that do roll forward or back on different dates. For those outside the U.S., please note that we are currently in Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT), which is UTC-4. We moved the clocks ahead on Sunday morning, and we know from past experience that this will catch some folks by surprise when they learn they have missed a scheduled phone call with us. Please take note! If you are outside the U.S., do the calculation so that you call at the correct time.
To emphasize the importance of this information, I have called in Dan’s pal, Murray.
As we can see, Murray is eagerly looking forward to your 10:00 phone call. He’s a busy dog, though, and you don’t want to keep him waiting.
While his scheduled 10:00 caller mistakenly assumes it’s still only 9:10, he will give up waiting and settle in for his nap.
Naturally, Admissions staffers don’t nap every time someone is late for an appointment, but you still don’t want us to move on to the next activity. Please be sure you’ve made note of the time difference between Fletcher and wherever you’re calling from.
Tagged with: Murray
Here we are again. Me, my computer, and my cup of tea, working in my kitchen. But this time it isn’t because I’m reading applications at home. Instead, Mother Nature has decided that a March snowstorm is what the East Coast was missing, and the University is closed today.
Does that mean you won’t receive a timely answer to your admission or waitlist questions? No, the snowstorm will not affect our handling of the email inbox — we’re all working at home.
Alas, I still can’t guarantee a quick response to your questions. Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day, but we were already falling behind. Each of us tap-tap-tapped away at our emails, but whenever we crossed paths, we agreed that we had already lost the inbox battle.
Don’t take that to mean that you shouldn’t send your questions. Please do! But also be patient with me and my Admissions pals as we work our way through the requests for information.
We’ll be back in the office tomorrow (Wednesday) to take your calls and continue our inbox attack.
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