Recent Questions

A few applicants have submitted inquiries regarding the application review process. Here are answers to some of the questions that have come in recently.

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Does the completion date of my file impact the admission decision?

. . . or stated another way perhaps . . .

Why is my application not complete yet?

The answer to the first question is “No.” The date a file is completed has no impact on the decision process. The process of completing files in the office is time consuming and we appreciate your patience as we work quickly to make sure everything has been received so that we may forward the file to the Committee for review. If we are missing any required documents we will let you know.

So in response to the second part of that question, we are working as quickly as we can but still have several hundred applications that are waiting in printed batches to be reviewed.

When/how will I find out about my decision?

Our goal is to make decisions available in early March. We do not send out all decisions at once. As much as we would like to send all decisions at once, some files take a bit longer to review than others and we do not wait until a decision has been made on every file before starting to send decisions. When your decision is ready to view you will receive an email from our office letting you know. The email will instruct you to visit the application site to view your decision letter.

I will post updates on the process on this blog so please make sure to subscribe to the blog by entering your email into the Feedburner box in the right hand menu or add this blog to your RSS reader.  I will elaborate more on the topic of informing applicants of decisions as we draw closer to releasing decisions.

Are interviews a part of the admission process?

With thousands of applicants applying from all over the globe, it is not possible for the Admissions Committee to conduct interviews with applicants. In rare cases I may be asked to follow up with an applicant regarding a detail in their application.  This contact would come in the form of email.

Thus, after you receive an email from us noting that your file is complete, you likely will not receive another email from us regarding your file until a decision has been posted.  When the decision is posted you will receive an email indicating such.

Will there be an opportunity for admitted applicants to visit SIPA?

SIPA will host an Admitted Student Day on Tuesday, April 12th. It will be a full day event open to all applicants admitted to SIPA for the fall 2011 semester. We also have information sessions each Monday at 6:00 PM and Friday at Noon, with exceptions for holidays. If you wish to register for an information session, you may send an email to sipa_admission@columbia.edu.

Registration for the Admitted Student Day on April 12th will take place after admission decisions have been made. Registration for Admitted Student Day takes place on a secure Web page and admitted applicants will be given access to this page (information will be in the admission letter).

I received an email noting my file was forwarded to the Admissions Committee, but I have more information that I would like to include in my file, can I send it to you?

The application review process at SIPA is paper based. All of the required documents are placed in a file and that file then is sent to Committee members for review. Although we know what individuals are reviewing particular files, it is not possible for us to quickly track down files once they are batched and sent out for review.

As you might imagine, it would not be possible for members of our staff to try to track down a file to add additional documents as this would be incredibly time consuming. If you submitted all of the required documents and your file is complete, the Committee will have the information it needs to make a final decision.  If we feel we need more information or need to clarify information submitted we will contact you.

What size of class does SIPA plan to enroll?

The typical incoming class size for the MIA, MPA, and MPA-DP programs is around 475 students (all three programs combined).  Final enrollment goals may adjust slightly as time progresses, but at this point this is a good estimate of the number of students we will enroll for fall 2011:

  • MIA: 260 students
  • MPA: 180 students
  • MPA-DP: 35 students

Again, these numbers are estimates only and may change based upon a variety of factors the Admissions Committee takes into consideration.

How does being an international student affect my consideration for SIPA fellowships?

First let me say that fellowships at SIPA are mainly reserved for second year students. Unfortunately we are only able to offer roughly 10-15% of first year students fellowship funding. Approximately 70% of second year students that qualify to apply (by obtaining at 3.4 GPA at SIPA) receive a second year award and the average award is roughly $20,000.

Second, SIPA fellowships are not based on citizenship. We have one fellowship budget and it is used to award funding to qualified applicants, no matter the country or origin or citizenship. Therefore, citizenship has no impact on the fellowship process at SIPA.

How dry are your hands?

Okay, no one actually asked that question, but with the amount of paper I have been handling I almost feel like I have chalk sticks for fingers my skin is so dry.