Currently viewing the tag: "Dear Ariel"

Today is the last day of classes for the spring 2013 semester, and it’s also the last day of Fletcher classes for (Dear) Ariel.  There are many second-year students I will wish to thank in person or in the blog for their contributions to the community, and Ariel will be the first.

Ariel started work as an Admissions Intern in September 2011 and she is the quiet super-charged engine of the student staff.  There’s no task that she doesn’t complete efficiently, and that includes writing a Dear Ariel column.  A typical week had me sauntering over to her on a Tuesday at noon and asking if, based on questions turning up by email, she had any ideas for a blog post.  By 12:30, a perfect piece of writing was in my inbox.

Ariel’s final column today returns to the basics of advising prospective applicants.  Next year I’ll face the challenge of finding another writer who may come close to Ariel’s efficiency and skill.  For now:  Thanks, Dear Ariel!

Dear Ariel: Is my GPA competitive for Fletcher?

ArielEvery student admitted by Fletcher’s Committee on Admissions must be able to succeed in Fletcher classes, and the applicant’s academic profile is the most important aspect of an application.  But academic potential (which is indicated primarily by GPA, test scores, and recommendations) is still only one part of the application.  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.  Even a strong GPA, in the absence of international and professional experience, does not guarantee admission.  Since Fletcher students come from a broad range of educational backgrounds that utilize different grading scales, calculating an average GPA for all admitted students is impossible.  Among admitted students who attended colleges or universities using a 4.0 scale, the middle fifty percent of GPAs has fallen in the range of 3.4 to 3.8 in recent years.

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Wednesday’s survey yielded a bunch of useful questions and topics for the blog!  Today, Ariel takes on the first of the questions I passed her way.

Dear Ariel:  Now that I am admitted, and the more I read about Fletcher courses, I feel that I would like to take way more classes than I can fit into two years.  Is it o.k. to use the first semester to look into several subjects and decide on Fields of Study in the second semester?

The number of interesting and intriguing classes at Fletcher can at times be overwhelming!  In addition, it can be hard to narrow down Fletcher’s 23 Fields of Study into the two Fields needed to complete your depth requirement.  There are just so many fascinating topics to pursue!  Your options are really endless when you add in the option to self-design your own field of study.  However, I would say it is definitely okay to use the first semester to narrow down your interests.  Just make sure, if you are branching out into new areas you may not specialize in, that those courses also satisfy some of your breadth requirements.

It is definitely smart to start narrowing your options early, though, to make sure you are able to complete your course requirements within your two years at Fletcher.  So start off your first semester with four possible Fields of Study, not nine.  Because some courses are only offered in the spring and others are only offered in the fall, the earlier you make a plan for your two years, the better.  Also, just because you don’t have room for a special topic in your course schedule doesn’t mean you can’t learn about it during your time at Fletcher.  With all the speakers and events put on by student organizations, you’ll definitely have the opportunity to expand your knowledge and interests.

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I hear a lot of chatter from admitted students that they will be kicking off an apartment hunt during their spring visit to campus.  Ariel is here to help you start your search.  If you have questions about local housing, please leave a comment below, and Ariel will respond!

Dear Ariel:  I just submitted my confirmation that I will be attending Fletcher in the Fall!  I would like to live off campus.  How did you find an apartment?

Most Fletcher students live off campus in the Medford/Somerville area during their two years at Fletcher.  My first step was to find my roommates, which I did through the Fletcher admitted students portal.  We were all first-years — two MIBs and two MALDs.  Then, because none of us were based in Boston, one of my future roommates took a trip up to Boston from DC to search for apartments.  After visiting several apartments she saw listed on Craigslist, she was eventually led to a realty company.  (In starting your search for an off-campus apartment, Craigslist will become your best friend.)  Through the realty company we located an apartment about a 10-minute walk from Fletcher between the campus and Teele Square.  Our four bedroom, one bathroom apartment is $550 per month per person, not including utilities. We signed the lease in mid-June for an August 1st start date and had to pay half of the broker’s fee.

Keep in mind: Living close to Fletcher is a great option for your studies.  It cuts down on your commute and can make life easier, especially when group meetings or study sessions run late into the night.  Some students do live in Boston proper, but not many.  Also, expect rent prices to run anywhere from $550 – $800 per month.  One-bedroom apartments are typically significantly more expensive.  If you have Fletcher friends who are second years, reach out to them to see if their apartments are available for the fall.

Some other things to keep in mind when looking for an apartment in this area:

  1. Is there a broker’s fee?  Some landlords will waive the fee or split the fee with you. It can save you a lot of money if your landlord agrees, because generally the broker’s fee is equivalent to one month’s rent.
  2. Is there a security deposit?  Generally, you will need to pay the first month’s rent and a security deposit at the time of signing.
  3. Does your apartment have oil or gas heat?  Oil heat is extremely expensive during Boston’s cold winters.  If you find an apartment that has gas heat, it might be worth paying a little extra in rent each month, compared to paying a cheaper monthly rent in an apartment with oil heating.
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If you weren’t admitted to Fletcher this year and are thinking of applying in the future, bookmark this post so that you can refer back to it on May 1.  Applicants who have requested feedback have the best chance of putting together a successful application in the future. 

Dear Ariel: I wasn’t admitted to Fletcher.  How can I find out why?

The Fletcher School welcomes applicants who have been denied admission in one year to apply again in a later year. One way to ensure that the future application will be stronger than the previous is to request and review feedback from the Office of Admissions. The intention of this feedback is to help you identify strengths and weaknesses in your application, and to assist you in preparing for your next application to Fletcher.

To request feedback, please send us an email after May 1. Your message should include the following information:

•          State your request for feedback, noting the date of your original application.
•          Note any special questions you have about your application.
•          Tell us your plans for the coming year.
•          Tell us when you plan to reapply.

Because many applicants request a review of their application and it is a time-consuming process, application feedback will be provided starting in June.

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Dear Ariel: Can I transfer into the MALD?

While Fletcher does not formally accept “transfer” students, students who apply, are admitted, and matriculate at Fletcher may petition to have a certain number of courses taken at another institution accepted for credit.  The courses must be relevant to your academic program at Fletcher and transfer credit will not be granted if the courses are part of a degree that has already been completed.  Students must submit a petition to the Committee on Student Academic Programs to have these courses accepted for credit once they matriculate at Fletcher.  Transfer credit is not an option for MA, LLM, MIB, and PhD candidates.  Fletcher will allow a maximum of four courses of transfer credit for our MALD program, only.

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Even during the heart of the admissions process, applicants write in with questions about whether their applications are competitive.  Here Ariel makes a rare Tuesday appearance to lay it all out in the most basic way.

Dear Ariel: What are the characteristics of a successful MALD applicant?

Fletcher actively seeks 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. In general, applicants must demonstrate research ability and a strong familiarity with a second language, and hold a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. All students must have proven English language proficiency. Fletcher students come from a wide range of undergraduate majors, including international relations and other social sciences, the humanities, business, and physical sciences and engineering. It is suggested (but not required) that students take microeconomics and macroeconomics prior to enrollment.

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It took Ariel and me a couple of weeks to coordinate to start up for the spring semester.  Today, Ariel regretfully takes on a topic she covered in the fall.  Regretfully because so many people didn’t read it then.  It’s good info.  Please read what Ariel has to say.

Dear Ariel:  I submitted my application for the January 10th deadline.  Have you received by GRE scores yet?  My recommendation letters?  My transcripts?  Is my application complete?

Because we get a lot of mail and phone calls, the easiest (and fastest) way to find out if you have any missing items is to check our online application system.  After you submitted your application, you should have received an email with your username and password to login to the Tufts Graduate and Professional Schools Application Management System.  We like to call it GAMS for short.  If you didn’t receive this message, check your spam folder.  If you still can’t find the email, do not distress!  Just email us and we will send you a new username and password.

You can login to GAMS to check the status of your application, and also to see if you are missing any application materials.  To be extra sure you know if something is missing, we’ll also contact you to tell you what hasn’t arrived.

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It doesn’t matter how many years I’ve worked at Fletcher, the transitions between vacation and the semester, or between the semester and exams, is always surprisingly abrupt.  A week ago, the Hall of Flags was still filled with activity.  Today, it’s very quiet and nearly empty.  Students go through the critical phases of visible (in classes); hiding (studying and taking exams); and gone.  Many have already taken off, though others are still enduring exams and papers.

Occasionally one of our student interns pops into the office for an hour of brain-clearing application filing, but we mostly don’t see them much during exams.  In fact, the last time I saw Ariel (the last two times, in fact), she was singing holiday songs with the Ambassachords (Fletcher’s a cappella group).  Then she went back into hiding.  Thus, the Dear Ariel feature is on hiatus.

With the students goes the school’s energy, but sometimes it’s good for us administrators to have a chance to recharge.  We know it won’t be long before the students return and, by then, we’ll be ready for a busy Hall of Flags.


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Dear Ariel:  Can I attend Fletcher part-time? Can I take classes online?

The MALD, MA, MIB, LLM, and PhD degree programs are all full-time, residential programs.  The Global Master of Arts Program (GMAP) is designed so that students can continue working while pursuing their degree.  Although part-time study isn’t available for those seeking a degree, non-degree students have the option of part-time study in Fletcher’s annual Summer School program.

No online classes are offered for students enrolled in our five full-time programs.  The GMAP program, which combines three intensive two-week residency periods with extensive internet-mediated study, is designed so that students can work and study simultaneously, but it requires a serious one-year commitment.  Learn more about our GMAP program here.

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Dear Ariel:  What joint degree programs does Fletcher offer?  Can I create my own joint degree program?

Fletcher currently offers the following formal joint or dual degree programs:
•    MALD/JD – Harvard Law School, Harvard University
•    MALD/JD – School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley
•    MALD/MBA – Tuck School of Business Administration, Dartmouth College
•    MALD/MBA – HEC MBA Program, HEC School of Management (Paris, France)
•    MALD/MBA – Instituto de Empresa (Madrid, Spain)
•    MALD/MBA – China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) (Shanghai, China)
•    MALD/MAIS – Diplomatische Akademie Wien — Vienna School of International Studies (Vienna, Austria)
•    MALD/MIA – University of St. Gallen (St. Gallen, Switzerland)
•    MALD/MA – Department of Urban and Environmental Policy, Tufts University
•    MALD/MS – Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University
•    MALD/MA or BA – Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Tufts University
•    MALD/MS – School of Engineering, Tufts University
•    MA/MD – School of Medicine, Tufts University
•    MA/DVM – Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University

Like MALD students, MIB degree candidates may pursue a joint degree with a law school or other graduate program, but may not arrange a joint degree with an MBA.  LLM degree candidates may pursue a joint degree with the MALD, requiring five semesters of study.

All students interested in joint degree programs must apply to The Fletcher School and the partner institution separately.  Each school/department will admit students according to their own policies and qualifications. Financial aid will be determined by the school in which the student is registered.

In addition to the formal dual degree programs offered by Fletcher, students may design their own dual degrees programs with other professional schools (such as law or business school) or academic programs. Students interested in an ad hoc dual degree program should apply separately to both institutions, and should consult with each school after admission to arrange a program of study.

More information on joint degree programs can be found on our website.

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