Here’s what SIPA means by ‘early action’

The early action or early decision deadline means different things depending on the institution and level of study. Some programs require a binding commitment to the program of admission (and withdrawal of applications at other institutions upon admission), while others just give you an admission decision sooner without a binding commitment. At SIPA, we use the terms interchangeably, and I’m pleased to share we’re part of the flexible camp. So if you’re admitted to SIPA as an early-action candidate, then it means your decision is non-binding. (Yay for you!)

When is the early-action deadline? Well, it’s coming up pretty soon: November 2, 2016 11:59 p.m. EST. To be eligible for this deadline, all of your application materials must be submitted on time. There are a couple of advantages to meeting this deadline:

  1. You apply early, so you get a decision early: typically by the first week of January. (Type A personalities unite!)
  2. If you’ve applied for an outside fellowship, like the PPIA or another program, you typically need to tell the granting organization that you’ve been admitted to graduate school earlier in the year than when most admissions applicants are due. Thus, that’s where Advantage No. 1 comes into play.
  3. You’re still eligible for SIPA’s merit-based scholarships/fellowships. In rare circumstances you’ll hear about your fellowship decision at the time of admission, but most students have to wait until after the final Fall application deadline. So most of you will hear about your fellowship consideration in early March when the remainder of admissions decisions are released.

There you have it; in a nutshell that is what we mean by “early action.” If you have any questions about this process, as always give us a call at 212-854-62126 or email at sipa_admission@columbia.edu. For specific questions regarding fellowships and/or financial aid, email our financial aid department at sipa_finaid@columbia.edu.