Currently viewing the category: "General Admissions News"

The Admissions Office (along with the rest of Tufts University) is closed today.  For your application question planning pleasure, please note that the office will be closed on these dates:

Friday, December 23 (today)
Monday, December 26
Friday, December 30
Monday, January 2

In addition, note that the staff will be meeting away from the office on Monday, January 9.  We expect to have one of our graduate assistants available to answer last minute pre-deadline questions by phone or email.

Happy holidays to everyone!

 

Final exams officially end today, but students have been heading off for winter break since before last weekend.  Curious about where folks are traveling?  Our Coffee Hour list gives you a good indication.  And also an invitation!  If you will be in one of the cities on the list, you’re invited to join a Fletcher student or recent alum for conversation over your preferred hot beverage.

Details are still being finalized for some locations, but we hope you’ll plan on joining us if you can.  Register from the website for coffee in any of these cities.

Fletcher MugAmman, Jordan
Austin, TX
Bangalore, India
Berlin, Germany
Bogotá, Colombia
Boston, MA
Chicago, IL
Copenhagen, Denmark
Edinburgh, Scotland
Fez, Morocco
Geneva, Switzerland
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Honolulu, HI
Istanbul, Turkey
Kathmandu, Nepal
Larnaca, Cyprus
Los Angeles, CA (Huntington Beach)
Madrid, Spain
Melbourne, Australia
Mexico City, Mexico
Miami, FL
Minneapolis, MN
Moscow, Russia
Mumbai, India
New Delhi, India
New York, NY
Newport, RI
Norfolk, VA
Phonm Penh, Cambodia
Prague, Czech Republic
Rome, Italy
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA
Salt Lake City, UT
Seattle, WA
Seoul, South Korea
Tel Aviv, Israel
Tokyo, Japan
Washington, DC

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Like Oscar and Felix of The Odd Couple, the two programs with a deadline today are an unlikely pairing.  Our youngest applicants — those who apply to the MALD or MIB programs through the Map Your Future pathway — and our academically most advanced applicants — those aiming for the PhD program — are in the final stages of application preparation, if they haven’t submitted their materials already.  And just as the two programs are different, our reasons for assigning them this December 20 deadline have little in common.

PhD applications face a particularly long review process, involving not only the PhD Admissions Committee, but also potential faculty advisors.  Every admitted PhD student needs to be assigned an advisor at the point of admission and it’s meant to be a relationship that continues throughout the student’s time at Fletcher.  All this review takes time and we realized years ago that the process would go more smoothly if we started the clock ticking earlier, though PhD applicants are notified of the decision on their application at the same time as everyone else.

For Map Your Future applicants, our thinking was simply that we wanted to be able to offer a little extra time for pre-application communication/counseling and that’s easier to do in December than it is in January.

A quick check this morning showed me that we already have quite a few PhD and MYF applications ready to be reviewed, and many more in another phase of preparation.  For those still adding the finishing flourishes to their applications, you have until 11:59 p.m. EST (UTC -5) tonight.

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Early Notification applicants will know by now that we have released decisions on all of the complete EN applications.

To those who were admitted, congratulations!  Learning in December that you have been admitted is a great opportunity to plan for your graduate studies.  Members of the Admissions staff will be reaching out to you and you’ll have plenty of opportunity to ask your questions.  Working with you throughout the early spring is a welcome reminder for the staff that the applications we’re toiling over represent future students!

But today I’m really writing for those who weren’t admitted.  To those who were denied admission, please let me say that we’re sorry to make these decisions, but we hope it will help you craft your strategy on where to apply in January.  Later in the spring, you will also be welcome to request feedback on your application.

This post is really for those applicants whose applications were deferred for review in the spring, a good news/bad news situation.  The bad news is the lack of happy admissions news, but the good news is that you still have the opportunity to try to bring about happy news in March.  Our Admissions Committee will gladly review an update to your application!  But what makes a useful addition?  Here’s a list of updates that we particularly value:

  • An updated transcript that reflects grades received since you submitted your application;
  • New standardized exam (GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, IELTS) score reports;
  • A revised résumé that includes information on a new job position;
  • An additional recommendation that sheds light on an aspect of your background you weren’t able to illuminate in other parts of the application.

Before I go on, I’ll emphasize that no one is required to submit an update.  Not at all!  But you are invited to submit one, and why would you turn down this opportunity?

What type of optional update is best for you?  Well, let’s start with the parts of your application that you know are weakest.  Are those aspects something you can improve on?  For example, did you decide it would be better not to mention the causes of your weak undergraduate semester?  I’d encourage you to explain it, particularly if it pulled down your overall GPA.  Did you indicate that your language skills are not strong enough to pass our proficiency exam?  Send us information on your plan for achieving proficiency before the end of the summer.  Did you mistype your years of employment at a certain job, making it look like you were there for two months, rather than four years and two months?  You can make that correction now.  And, if your GRE/GMAT scores were significantly lower than you expected, you may want to take the test again.  (Note here that I’m not telling you to take the standardized exam again.  I’m suggesting that you consider if you could have done better and, if so, that you make that decision for yourself.)

Another suggestion:  If, upon reflection, your essay didn’t state your goals as clearly as you would have liked, send us a clarifying email!  We won’t substitute it for your personal statement, but it will certainly be reviewed.  This could be particularly helpful if you’ve taken steps to learn more about your ultimate career goal.

Possible additions to your application need not be limited to what I’ve listed above.  The key question to ask yourself is:  Does this actually add anything?  If the information is already included in your application, then there’s there’s not much value in sending it again.  (An additional academic recommendation will add little to an application that already includes two.)  On the other hand, a professional recommendation will add a lot to an application that only includes academic recommendations.  Think it through before you flood us with info, but don’t hesitate to send us something that will give your application a happy bump.

Whether you were offered admission this week, or you were told we’ll reconsider your application in the spring, we look forward to hearing from you and to working with you during the coming months.  Please be sure to contact us with your questions.

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Though there’s a lot of overlap in the work done by each member of the Admissions team, we also have the projects that belong primarily to one or the other of us.  For me, in addition to writing/editing the blog, that would include coordinating the Admissions Committee for the MALD and MA programs.  The responsibilities start with hiring the students who sit on the committee (along with Dan this year) and continue through gathering feedback at the end of the process.  Along the way, everyone plays a role.  For example, Theresa ensures we’re fed and caffeinated (important!), Lucas “drives” the computer from which we see the application under discussion on the screen (and provides the behind-the-scenes details we need), and today, Liz is making it possible for one committee member to phone in.  My most important role this morning was to pick up the cookies that will go with the coffee.

Bringing together a group of students, staff, and faculty is both easy and difficult.  We all do our jobs, naturally.  But what we want is for students to feel comfortable expressing their views to professors who may be teaching them on other days, and for the professors to value the students’ unique perspective on the community.  A little conversation over coffee and lunch goes a long way toward bringing us together as more than a group of individuals.  And now I’m off, cookies at the ready, for our first committee meeting of 2016-17.

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One less-heralded benefit of applying by our November 15 Early Notification deadline is a rapid turnaround.  You’ll be hearing back from us before the end of December, less than six weeks after you first applied, keeping the amount of waiting time to a relative minimum.  Given the schedule, you may be wondering what the Admissions Office is up to, and I’m here to tell you.

Our first step toward releasing EN decisions was hiring and training the students who are full members of the Committee on Admissions.  They start their reading with EN applications, which provides a perfect small-batch learning/coaching opportunity for all of us.  We can take the time to offer comments and ensure that the new readers are on the right track.  As it happens, the students on this year’s committee are amazing!  Good news for the staff.

Once we have a committee, we start reading.  Every application is read twice, and then Laurie looks at all of them to ensure consistency from reader to reader.  When needed, we discuss applications in a full-committee setting that will include the professors on the committee.  Our EN meeting will be next Friday.  (Can’t wait!  LVE committee meetings!)  Nearly every application has already been read twice — we’re well on our way through the process.

From the perspective of a staff member (i.e., me), EN is great because it throws us into the heart of the admissions process, but with an application volume that enables us to test and, when necessary, improve systems before the January 10 flood of applications.  Next Friday’s meeting will help students calibrate their assessments of applicants.  Then in January, we’re in the best position for the process to go smoothly.

But none of that matters to you EN applicants.  What you need to know is simply that we are making great progress in completing the review of applications, and you’ll be hearing from us before the end of this month.

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The final trip of the Fletcher Admissions travel season was Laurie’s visit to Europe, which ended about two weeks ago.  The greatest distance was covered by Liz, when Fletcher joined several other schools for a trip to Southeast Asia.  Here’s her report, along with her photos.

In October, I participated in a great recruiting trip to Southeast Asia.  I traveled with colleagues from Johns Hopkins SAIS, Columbia SIPA, and Georgetown MSFS.  You may be wondering why we travel together, since we’re all competitors.  The answer is that for over forty years we’ve traveled together to inform students about educational and career opportunities in international affairs.  We know many students will end up applying to all four schools, and so we work together to get the word out about our programs and to recruit students from around the world.

Our first stop was in Singapore.  We had a day to recover from our 27-hour flight across the world and so two colleagues and I decided to head over to Sentosa, an island just off Singapore.  There are two ways to get to Sentosa: train or cable car.  We decided to check out the cable car so we could really see the island.

Here are a few snaps from our trip:

Sentosa

Lpdp

Liz (third from left), travel companions, and LPDP host.

We had great school visits at Yale-NUS and National University of Singapore — where I was thrilled to meet faculty of both schools who were Fletcher alumni!  It was neat to tour the Yale-NUS campus, as it’s so new, and so lush with vegetation!  From there we flew to Jakarta, Indonesia for visits at the EducationUSA Center (@America), meetings with LPDP (the Indonesia Endowment for Education) and school visits to the University of Indonesia and UPH (Universitas Pelita Harapan).

@AmericaVisit
We ended our trip in Bangkok, Thailand.  Our time in Thailand was solemn, as His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej had just passed away.  Because the trip had been planned well in advance, we still hosted events at Thammasat University, as well as with the U.S. Embassy, and were grateful for those who were able to join us, despite the timing.

Overall the trip was great!  We got to eat some wonderful food, meet fantastic prospective students, and continue to spread the word about international affairs graduate schools!

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It isn’t that I love only the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.  I love the lead-up to it, too.  From the weekend onward, folks can be seen pulling suitcases along the sidewalk on their way to somewhere.  Chatter about the weather gives way to questions about Thanksgiving plans.  Newspapers dedicate space to discussion of how to put together a complicated meal, for those who only do so once each year.

Turkey2Each year before Thanksgiving, I like to pause and thank Admissions Blog readers for giving me a forum to talk about my favorite holiday, as well as more admissions-relevant topics.  I never forget that the decision to attend graduate school is one that our students take seriously and make only after much consideration.  I’m happy that I can play a small role in helping them with their decision making.

TurkeyEarlier this week, students set up a little crafts center and invited the community to make a hand turkey with a comment or wish on it.  Anyone who was in school in the U.S. for preschool or the early grades will recognize these.  Trace your hand and decorate the shape to look like a turkey.  Anyway, the turkey messages in the Hall of Flags were very sweet, as was the very idea of creating an activity that would be silly and fun — a quick distraction from all the academic deliverables that students are getting ready to produce in the roughly four weeks that remain of the semester.  The turkeys were put together on a “Wall of Gratitude,” positioned a short distance from the boxes collecting contributions for the Fletcher Food Drive.

PieSpeaking of deliverables, my task for today is to bake bake bake.  My objective is roughly the same as it was a few years back when I took this photo.  Add an apple pie and swap out a cranberry pie for cranberry ginger cake, and I think that should do it.  We’ll have 14 folks (including a recent Fletcher grad) and one baby over for dinner tomorrow.  And then 17 on Friday!  I won’t need to worry about eating leftovers after that.

Wishing all our readers a happy Thanksgiving, with good food and friends or family!

(The Admissions Office will be closed tomorrow and Friday.  We’ll be back Monday morning, as usual.)

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Through several information sessions that I ran in the past few weeks, my travels in September/October, and the emails I’ve received, I’m very aware of the broad span of preparedness where we find our applicants in the fall.  Some folks have already submitted their applications and may have been thinking about graduate school for a year or more, having gathered ample data on their different options.  Others have started their search more recently, but they will still have time to prepare themselves to put together a strong application in January.

Are you in the latter group?  Let me provide you with some points that you can add to your personal graduate school roadmap.  Though most of our travel is behind us, we’re still offering on-campus and virtual information sessions that will help you fast-track your research.  Check our calendar for everything on offer for the next month or so.  And note that we’ll be participating in an APSIA Online Admissions Fair next week on November 16, through which you can gather information on Fletcher and our APSIA friends, too.

I don’t need to tell you that Fletcher has plenty of information on our website, as do our peers.  Try to understand the different programs and find the best match for your objectives.  Also on Fletcher’s website, information on the application process.  Start creating a timeline so that you’ll be able to complete your applications with minimal stress.  Contact us with your questions that aren’t answered on the website.

 

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.

 

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