The Joys of Applying to Graduate School

The following entry was written by Beatriz Guillén, a second year student concentrating in Economic and Political Development.


Applying to SIPA was challenging. I remember trying to confront the long list of things I had to do. First, it was the tests. It took me a long time to prepare for the GRE. I remember struggling with questions such as “Is malinger to duty the same as recluse is to humanity or is it scholar to pedantry?” “What is the area of the square inscribed in the circle of radius a?” I also had to take the TOEFL, because I am an international student, and needed a score of at least 100!

At the same time I had to figure out who was going to write my recommendations. My boss? One of my former professors? How am I going to contact them?  And of course, the essays… Thinking of my life goals, my quantitative experience… (That was a tough one… I had to study macro and micro economics in a community college because I hadn’t enough quantitative experience.)

But, in the midst of all this excitement and stress, the admissions blog helped me through the whole process. I realized I wasn’t the only one with these problems and questions and that many people had done it before me, so I could do it. And after everything, here I am, in my second year at SIPA, experiencing one of the best stages in my life.

I strongly encourage all of you struggling with your application or in need of inspiration for your essays to come and visit the campus in the coming weeks. I love Columbia University during the winter time, especially when they turn on the holiday lights around campus. It is very inspiring to walk through the main campus. And if you cannot come to New York, follow what is going on at SIPA through the website, the blog, or watching conferences and lectures by SIPA professors  here. We have interesting events and remarkable speakers visiting school every day.

All of this will give you courage and the motivation to re-take your tests if you didn’t get the score you wanted, or the inspiration and vision to finish your statement of purpose.

Good luck!  All the hard work is worth it!