You asked and we answered! The Office of Admissions & Financial Aid is officially offering tours of the SIPA building, known as the International Affairs Building. Tours of IAB are offered following SIPA’s Friday information sessions at 1:30 p.m. The tours are only of SIPA’s building, and they are guided by current SIPA students. (Contact the Visitor Center for a tour of the Columbia University campus.)
To take a tour of the SIPA building, please register in advance. Students are encouraged to attend an information session in conjunction with the tour since tours are offered immediately following the sessions, and it gives applicants the chance to ask the presenter questions about the program. (If you’ve already attended a session, don’t worry about it. Just make sure you arrive on time for the tour so you’re not left behind.)
While tours aren’t required for applicants, students have found them helpful. Unsure if it’s worth it? To help answer that question, I asked our program assistants what they thought about leading SIPA tours and IAB. Here’s what they had to share:
How does attending a tour and/or information session address concerns applicants may have?
Eloy Oliveira, MPA ’16: “You can see if the infrastructure is adequate for your education purpose. See if the library offers enough books, computer Lab, check if the classrooms are well equipped (projectors, recording system, etc). You may ask questions and discuss issues with staff.”
What’s your favorite feature of IAB?
Yiting Xu, MPA ’16: “My favorite feature of IAB is the 13-15th floor where offers a magnificent view of the upper town Manhattan and the campus.”
What’s unique about IAB, or something unexpected/something that surprised you about the building?
Allison Walker, MIA ’16: “I was surprised when I arrived at SIPA to find that IAB is connected to the law school building– this is helpful for finding extra meeting spaces or changing up where you’re studying or grabbing food from.”
Would you recommend students attend an IAB tour prior to applying to SIPA?
Adriana Popa, MIA ’16: “Like with the info session, if they can, yes. It’s an opportunity to see SIPA, visit the IAB, and meet current students and staff. Most importantly, it’s perhaps the only opportunity to feel what it’s like to be a current SIPA student.”
Allison Walker, MIA ’16: “It’s not crucial to take a tour, and those applying from abroad shouldn’t feel like they are missing an important component of the application process.”
Why do you like leading tours?
Adriana Popa, MIA ’16: “I enjoy sharing my personal experience with prospective students, and try to give as much useful advice as possible as they embark on the application process and on their life/studies at SIPA. In truth, I see myself in them, and welcome the chance to tell them what I wish someone had told me when I applied/first came to SIPA. I also enjoy seeing SIPA through their eyes – as if looking at it for the first time. Familiarity breeds contempt, they say, and after spending 3-4 days a week on campus, one tends to forget some of the things that first seemed attractive. The novelty evaporates. Tours are a great guard against routine, and they not only refresh my memory in terms of what was most striking and appealing to me when I first came to SIPA, but also show me new great things, because the students on my tours point them out.”