What to do now that decisions are live

Hi everyone,

As you may already be aware, decisions rolled out Monday afternoon. While the majority of decisions have already gone out, we plan to release the remainder over the next few days. It hasn’t been easy issuing a mix of decisions to hundreds of qualified candidates, but the Admissions Committee has done a fantastic job nonetheless. While not all decision letters have brought happy news, I know you have questions about what to do next. Thus, I thought this would be a good time to recap what it all means; from waitlists to appeals, and everything in between.

The Waitlist
If you’ve be waitlisted the news can be difficult to handle but that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the line. Your application showed a lot of promise, but there were more highly competitive candidates than we have seats for at SIPA. The good news is that we will move some candidates from the waitlist to the admit list; it just takes time. The waitlist is lengthy, and it’s not ranked, so there’s no way for us to tell your “odds” of being moved up the list. The Admissions Committee typically reviews the waitlist in June, and all final decisions will be released later this summer. If space becomes available, the Admissions Committee will again review your application, so no additional documentation is required.

However, if you’ve retaken the GRE/GMAT or TOEFL/IELTS or have taken additional quantitative coursework to support your application, the committee will consider it as part of your application. (We cannot accept things like updated essays, resumes, award announcements or supplemental reference letters.) Just email us the documents, your name and application number to sipa_admission@columbia.edu with “Supplemental Waitlist Materials from Your Name” in the subject line.

Conversely, if you decide you no longer want to be considered for admission to SIPA, just send us an email to sipa_admission@columbia.edu with your name, application number and reason for removal from the waitlist.

Please keep in mind that we cannot provide periodic updates on your standing. So I only encourage you to email us if you have a specific request regarding your waitlisted application (to update your application or remove it for consideration).

Reapply To SIPA
I welcome you to reapply to SIPA, regardless of the outcome of your first application. All re-applicants are subject to the same deadlines, fees and regulations as first-time applicants. As a benefit, you may reapply using the personal statement, reference letters, test scores and transcripts from this year’s application. When next year’s application goes live in the fall, just email us at sipa_admission@columbia.edu with “Reapplicant Request To Use Past Materials for Your Name” in the subject line and specify which of these materials you want to reuse. For details on materials you must resubmit, visit our Reapplication page.

Appeal An Admissions Decision
The Admissions Committee reviews each application thoroughly and with great care. All decisions are final, so there isn’t an appeal process.

Saying Goodbye
On behalf of the entire Admissions Committee I want to thank you for your effort. We got to know you through your application and it was honor to read your story. If you ultimately decide to decline your admissions offer, remove yourself from the waitlist or won’t reapply next year, I just want to let you know that we hope you’ll continue to develop your academic and professional experience for whatever your future might hold.

Thank Your Recommenders
It’s an obvious thing to do, but many applicants forget this step. No matter if you’ve been admitted, waitlisted or encouraged to reapply next year, it’s still important to thank your recommenders one more time for their help. They took the time to write you an outstanding letter, so thank them and feel free to share your decision news with them (good or bad). This could also be a great opportunity to ask them for suggestions on strengthening your application for next year.

Next Steps for Admitted Students
Lastly, congratulations to those of you who were admitted! SIPA has much to offer, and we hope you will be joining us in the fall. Please review the Welcome Portal to learn more about Admitted Students’ Day in April, register for a coffee chat with a current student over Spring Break, and explore the many benefits of being a Columbia University student. After you’re finished, don’t forget to accept your admissions offer by April 15/May 1, depending on what your admission letter says! (Log-in details for the Welcome Portal may be found in your admissions letter.) I also invite you to follow us on Instagram (@Columbia.SIPA) and share your admissions story with us using #IGotIntoSIPA.

Financial Aid & Fellowships
If you received a scholarship or fellowship, your award is mentioned in your admissions letter. For domestic students, we’ll also communicate student loans and work-study details in award letters, but you’ll only receive that letter after you’ve submitted a FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov, using school code 002707. In order to be considered for financial aid, it’s important that you submit your FAFSA as soon as possible. The sooner you submit it, the sooner the Office of Financial Aid can issue your award letter. Most financial-aid packages are released two to four weeks after your FAFSA is received.

All students, whether funded their first year or not, will be able to apply for second-year funding. Most of this funding is in the form of assistantships for second-year student who succeeded in their first year of studies. (You’ll learn more about these opportunities during the spring semester of your first year.)

We also encourage you to visit https://new.sipa.columbia.edu/financial-aid for more information about funding your education, which includes a database of external funding opportunities.

Dual-Degree Funding
If you’ve been admitted to SIPA as a dual-degree student and were offered funding, the first year of funding is for 2015/16 and the second year of funding is for 2016/17. So if a dual-degree student starts at SIPA and spends Year 2 elsewhere, they get their first-year award, but not their second-year award from SIPA. (The same holds true in reverse.) We can’t extend any part of your second-year award beyond the spring semester of 2017, so you really have to complete your studies at SIPA prior to moving on to the next institution. Why? Well, in order to receive four semesters worth of aid from SIPA, you have to attend SIPA all four semesters. So if you decide to start your studies at another Columbia graduate school, then you actually become one of their students, and not ours, so funding and tuition payments become your responsibility with the other school. And keep in mind if you decide to defer your admission, you forfeit all of your funding because we awarded you merit-based aid on the condition you start at SIPA in the 2015 academic year.

Additionally, if any admitted students have any specific financial-aid inquiries, please email them with a descriptive and informative subject line to sipa_findaid@columbia.edu.