Currently viewing the tag: "Ask Cindy"

Though many incoming students have already lined up their housing, I know that other folks are still searching or, even, just kicking off their search.  Here’s some advice from Admissions Graduate Assistant Cindy, who conducted her housing search last summer.

During the few months before starting at Fletcher, one of my biggest worries was figuring out where I was going to live.  At the time, I was finishing up a teaching job and living with my husband in North Carolina, so I was very anxious about trying to find housing remotely.  I could only imagine what that process would be like for students living and working outside of the United States.

I learned very quickly that housing in the Medford/Boston area goes on and off the market at a fast pace, and websites like Zillow were not always helpful.  As badly as I wanted to secure housing early on, trying to search for housing in March or April was unrealistic.  That being said, I was able to start getting in touch with different realtors and learn about how to find an apartment that suited our needs and budget.  After working with a realtor, we ended up taking a weekend trip to Medford in June, looking at a few places within our budget, and submitting an application for an apartment.  We eventually moved to Medford in late July.

My situation is not exactly typical of Fletcher students; I wanted to find a one-bedroom apartment for my husband, my dog, and me, which was a difficult task.  I would say, however, that it is much easier to find housing if you are open to the idea of roommates, so that you can split the rent.  To find out current information about houses or apartments for rent, I would check out the Off Campus Housing Resource Center.  On this site, you can click on the apartment listing spreadsheet which is continually updated throughout the year.  (Scroll down for the latest listings.)  There is also helpful information on trusted real estate agents, but keep in mind you often have to pay realtor fees if you work directly with a broker.

Another way of seeing what is available is getting in touch with current Fletcher students and finding out if they are graduating or relocating.  If you’re not already connecting with people on the incoming student Facebook page, it’s not too late.  Blakeley Hall, Fletcher’s co-ed dorm for single or married students not living with their spouse/children, is also an option, though by now the rooms will all be taken for Fall 2017.  For those who have already reserved a Blakeley room, you’ll find it a great way to remain involved on campus and it has a special culture that its resident have developed over time.

Searching for housing can be stressful, but if you keep in mind the timing of your search as well as the options listed above, I’m sure you will find a great home.  Good luck!

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Returning to the Fletcher Admissions inbox and the many questions within, Admissions Graduate Assistant Cindy tackles a student life question.

CindyNew Fletcher students often wonder how they’ll get around town without access to a car.  Have no fear!  There are plenty of options available for you to get to and from campus, and also ways for you to get to popular areas in neighboring cities.

Many students live within walking distance of the campus.  Depending on where you live, you might be separated from campus by a small hill, but students who live within walking distance are usually happy with their choice.

For those who live further afield, taking public transportation is the most common way to get around.  There are dozens of bus lines throughout the Greater Boston area, and it is relatively easy to check out the MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) website and figure out the best routes to take from any location.  The bus routes that come onto the Tufts campus are the 80, 94, and 96.

Although it doesn’t come directly onto campus, the best option to go from Tufts to downtown Boston is the MBTA subway train — which everyone calls the “T” — from nearby Davis Square.  It takes about 20 minutes to reach the center of Boston, and along the way there are four stops in Cambridge, for those wanting to visit Harvard or MIT.  The option to take a bus or subway definitely expands the circle of convenient places to live.

Be on the lookout at the beginning of each semester for a notification from Tufts about purchasing a “Charlie Card.”  Students are eligible to purchase a discounted bus-only or bus/train pass at the beginning of each semester, which gives you unlimited rides.  Taking the bus or train expands the circle of convenient places to live.

If you would like to cut down on your walking and public transportation time, a great option is to bike to and from Fletcher and around the area.  It is definitely a cheaper way to go, and there are plenty of places to store your bike on campus.  If you are worried about the safety of your bike, I recommend purchasing a U-Lock and registering the bike with the Tufts Police Department.

If you do have access to a car, students can purchase a decal permit for parking on campus.  Parking is limited, however, and students may only park in designated areas around the Tufts campus, so many students think it’s best not to have a car.  If you’re in a pinch and need to get somewhere quick, Uber and Lyft are great resources, and they may provide discounted rates for students in areas near the Tufts campus.  This is a good option if you are cross-registering for a class at Harvard and happen to miss the bus one day.  The campus also has several Zipcars that you can borrow, if you have a Zipcar membership.  There’s even a Zipcar in the parking lot directly behind Blakeley Hall dormitory.

Last, but not least, Tufts offers a shuttle service, nicknamed the “Joey.”  You can grab the Joey right near Fletcher and take it to Davis Square.  It also makes several stops on the Tufts campus.

Despite the usual urban-area traffic, it’s pretty easy to get around the Medford/Somerville/Boston area.  Once you have lived here for a little while, you will figure out the best way to get to and from campus, and you’ll travel like a pro!

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One of the questions we hear most often at this time of year asks whether students often work on campus and, if so, how they find their jobs.  That makes this the perfect opportunity to introduce “Q&A with Cindy” — a new occasional feature in which our Graduate Assistant Cindy will answer some of the questions popping up most often in the Fletcher Admissions inbox.  Obviously, Cindy has found herself a job, so let’s have her describe the process.

Even before submitting my application to Fletcher, I was already thinking about how I would support myself while in graduate school.  The reality of a Fletcher education is that the tuition and average housing cost you will pay is expensive, but I like to consider it an investment in my future career and professional network.  That being said, I started researching right away how to obtain a job either on or off campus.

The JobX website became my best friend the summer before coming to Fletcher, when I was already living in the area after completing my work as a teacher.  This website is run by Tufts University and utilized by both employers to post jobs and students to explore what opportunities are available.  If you click on “Students” then “Find a Job,” it takes you to a page where you can filter for both on- and off-campus jobs and also whether the job is “work study.”*  I was able to get in touch with several employers through this website to obtain more information about positions.  I looked at jobs within the Study Abroad Office, Tufts Student Services, The Tisch College of Civic Life, and various undergraduate departments.  I was lucky to obtain a summer job before starting at Fletcher, which gave me extra money for living expenses.

My second best friend (or enemy, depending on how many messages I received each day) was my email inbox.  At the beginning of my first semester, I was inundated with emails about student organizations, events at Fletcher, classes being offered, and, luckily, available jobs at Fletcher.  After sorting through what was important and what was not, I came across an email from the Fletcher Office of Admissions about an open position.  One thing led to another, and I am now happily working as a Graduate Assistant with the Admissions Team.

Aside from my particular job, there are other types of employment available to students.  You can reach out to professors who teach at Fletcher or at the undergraduate level who may be looking for teaching or research assistants.  There are also tutoring positions, sometimes available through the Fletcher Graduate Writing Center.  For those of you who are comfortable with the dorm lifestyle, you can look into becoming a Graduate Residence Director.  Of course, there is always the option of doing your own off-campus hunt for retail, food service, or other jobs that fit your weekly schedule.

One thing to keep in mind is that whatever job you take will mostly help to cover your living expenses.  Realistically, your job earnings will not contribute much towards chipping away at your tuition.  Despite this, I hope some of the job information provided above has been helpful to you.

Good luck and happy job hunting!

*Note that people use the phrase “work study” in two ways.  One is simply to refer to a job that fits a student schedule.  The other is an official program for U.S. citizens and permanent residents.  Some offices will only hire students who have the official “work study” funding, though many will not impose that restriction.

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