Deadline Communications

We are rapidly approaching the admission deadline (January 5th, 2010) for our two-year, full-time MIA, MPA, and MPA-DP programs and the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid is a flurry of activity.  As expected our phone is ringing, postal letters are arriving in massive quantities, and our email box is full as soon as we clean it out.  The purpose of this post is to give you a few pointers during this busy time of year for our office.

The first pointer has to do with email.  If you email our office we please ask that you send your message to only one email address.  Some applicants will copy several accounts or personal addresses on a single message and this can lead to confusion and extra work in our office.  We highly recommend that you use our main account for your inquires.  The address is: sipa_admission@columbia.edu.  Using one account will allow us to answer inquiries much more quickly.

The second pointer has to do with phone calls.  If you call and get voice mail, rest assured that we will get back to you, but it may take us some time.  If you do leave a voice mail and call again, it is helpful to let us know that you left a voice mail so we know that your question has been answered and can cross the voice mail message off of our call back list.  Also, when you do leave a voice mail, please speak slowly and clearly, state you telephone number twice, and also please state your location.  With calls coming from all over the world, knowing what time zone you are in will allow us to call at an appropriate time.

Third, realize that we do need to manually check each and every application.  This means that when an application is submitted, it will be printed and double checked.  So for example, after you have self reported your test scores in Part 2 of the application, we will check to make sure they have printed out and then mark them as received on the application site.  Thus do not expect that your application will show as complete immediately after submitting it.  We will process it as quickly as possible and reach out to applicants if there are any issues with documents.  For more details, please see this past entry.

Fourth, this time of year we receive hundreds of pieces of mail per day.  We try to keep up but each year we will open mail after the deadline passes.  As long as the documents were received prior to the deadline they will be considered on time.  Please understand that we are not able to respond immediately to inquiries about the receipt of individual documents due to the extremely large volume of mail we receive.

We are very excited to begin the review process and appreciate your understanding regarding this issues.  Thank you in advance for your patience and we will update your application on line as quickly as we are able.