So you have submitted your application and you are patiently waiting for us to match all of your documents to your application . . . now what?
The answer for most of you is to not just wait – there is more to do if you want to increase your chances making your goal of attending SIPA a reality. More on that in a bit but first some notes on our time line.
We will have our first batches of admission files ready for distribution to the Admissions Committee in the third week of January. It takes four to eight weeks for a file to run through the review process. Our goal is to have the majority of our decisions made and available on the application Web site by early March.
About 80% of our admission decisions are posted to the application Web site on a single day. We do not post decisions as they are made and we do not want to wait until all decisions are made to send out notifications. Approximately 20-25% of applicants selected for admission will be set aside for the SIPA Fellowship Committee to review. This takes an additional one to two weeks so some applicants may have to wait an additional period of time for a decision.
Applicants who are admitted will have the opportunity to participate in an online message board in order to interact with current students and we will host an Open House for admitted applicants on Tuesday, April 14th.
A concern for most of our applicants is how to pay for all of the costs associated with attending graduate school. Tuition, housing, food, travel, books, and all of the associated costs for a two year program can be well over $100,000.
Some applicants have already obtained funding commitments through government agencies, private foundations, and other scholarship programs. If you have not obtained funding it is certainly not too late to start looking and my highest recommendation is that you make the process of searching for funding a part of your weekly routine.
The more time you spend looking, the more you increase your chances of obtaining funding that does not need to be repaid. While it is not a perfect analogy, think about retirement. When is the best time to start saving for retirement? The answer is, as soon as possible. It is not wise to wait until late in your life to start saving for retirement.
Similarly, the time to start searching for graduate school funding is as soon as possible. That means if you have not already incorporated scholarship research into your routine you should start today. Just like you may plan time to go to the gym or watch your favorite T.V. show, you should set time aside on consistent basis to look for funding opportunities and fill out applications.
The Internet is certainly the easiest way to get started. Search engine queries and RSS feeds should be at the top of your list. If you do not know what an RSS feed is, see this previous entry. We have our own RSS enabled, searchable scholarship database to assist you as well – click here to access it.
You can also network. Talk to people who have gone to graduate school, former professors, and to work colleagues. If you are U.S. citizen become familiar with federal aid options as well as options available through your state of residence. If you are an international student you can start researching opportunities here. General search engine queries will reveal sites such as these: Gradview and Education Database.
I know it might be easy to simply sit back and await an admission decision in March, but if you are interested in increase your chances of obtaining funding that does not need to be repaid, the time to start looking is now.