Some information for Spring 2016 applicants

I can hardly believe that another year has passed and that we’re well into September already. The time flew by quickly; we reviewed applications, released decisions, had an open house, just wrapped up orientation week, and now it’s all starting again. And if you’re like me, you’re probably freaking out that there are a limited number of weeks before the application deadline(s).

While we’re probably stressed out for a different series of reasons, we both have the same deadlines to meet, and one of them is almost here. Today, there are only three weeks left before the first deadline of application season. October 15, 2015 is the looming date that many of you are hard at work trying to make in order to be eligible for the Spring 2016 term.

At SIPA, there’s a name for the group of students who will join us in the spring. We affectionately (and unofficially) call them “J-termers,” with “J” standing for January, the term they initially join SIPA. As a J-termer, your course offerings may differ out the gate, as more core curriculum courses are offered during the fall semester compared to the spring. Meaning, you’ll probably just take courses out of order compared to the majority of SIPA students. It doesn’t affect your degree plan overall, but don’t be surprised if a few of the courses you’ve been scouting out aren’t available right away.

Some of the benefits to joining SIPA in the spring is that you’ll really get to connect with all of your classmates a lot faster since the group is smaller. (The cohort is about 60 students.) You also get to spend two summers as a SIPA student, which some students take advantage of by pursuing two different internships (one each summer), as Andreas Maerki, MPA 2014points out. (Plus, you’ll get to participate in three seasons of campus-wide snowball fights while enrolled at SIPA!)

If becoming a J-termer sounds good to you, there’s no better time than today to start your application (even Fall 2016 applicants should start now!). The deadlines for all of our programs are known to surprise some of our busiest applicants, so don’t let any opportunity to work on your application slip by. I recommend setting aside just 30 minutes to one hour in your schedule every week to work on a component of your application. (Hint: The easiest sections to check-off your list are the Personal, Family, Education and Professional Experience sections. The Resume and Essays section will require a few hours of your time.)

If you’re not sure where to start, there are plenty of recent posts on the Admissions Blog you should review before you submit your application. Some popular archived topics include application essays, recommendation letters, and test scores. After that, sign-up to attend an information session (either in-person or virtually). Even better, join us for Twitter Talk Thursday today at 9:00 a.m. or 12:00 p.m. EST and ask us anything using #askSIPA.

We want you to submit the strongest possible application, so if you still have questions, send us an email at sipa_admission@sipa.columbia.edu or call us at 212-854-6216 with your admissions-related concerns.

Remember, Spring 2016 applications to the Master of International Affairs and Master of Public Administration programs are due on October 15, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. EST. 

Good luck on your application!

[Photo courtesy of Aditi Mishra‎ via Facebook | A snowball fight breaks out at the steps of Columbia University’s Low Library and Alma Mater.]