I Didn’t Get the Decision I Wanted – What Can I Do?

This post was adapted from a previous version.

We released decisions for Fall 2018 admissions about two weeks ago, so by now you should have checked your status. I’m sure you went through a mix of emotions when you did read your decision. You may be thinking, “What do I do now? What can I do?”

Whatever decision you received, there are some things that our waitlisted candidates, and those who weren’t granted admission, should know going forward.

The Waitlist

If you were waitlisted, your story with SIPA might not end here. Admissions at SIPA is competitive, but your application showed promise. While seats are limited and went to more competitive candidates, some of you will move to the admitted students list over the next few months.

SIPA does not rank the waitlist. Since the waitlist is not ranked, and the entire admissions process is holistic and reactive to the applicants we receive, it will take some time for the waitlist decisions to come out. You should know that we look over the waitlist starting in May and will release final decisions for waitlisted candidates by July 15. If you’re an international student, you’ll still have time to apply for a visa – just make sure you don’t procrastinate the process once you’re admitted.

Please don’t email to ask if your status has changed. We promise that we have not forgotten about you, we’re just unable to provide periodic updates on your standing. Please only contact us if you have a specific request about your waitlist application, like updating your application or removing it from consideration.

Waitlisted applicants can send in updated test scores and transcripts. I want to emphasize that we’ll only review new supplemental materials so you can keep us updated on your academic and professional pursuits. If you’ve retaken the GRE/GMAT or TOEFL/IELTS/PTE, or you’ve taken or completed additional quantitative coursework, you can send that information to sipa_admission@columbia.edu by June 1.

Make sure you include the documents, your name and application number, and the subject line “Supplemental Waitlist Materials from Your Name” in the email. And because you want us to be happy, please send it all at once, and not piecemeal.

You can remove yourself from consideration for admission by emailing us at with your name and application number, and letting us know that you’d like to be removed from consideration.

Requesting Feedback

Due to the volume of applications we receive, we cannot offer individual feedback. However, we recommend you review What We Look For in applications, and common feedback suggestions for applicants.

“Can I Appeal an Admissions Decision?”

No – all decisions are final. The Admissions Committee reviews each application thoroughly and with great care; as such, there is not an appeals process. But, you can…

Reapply to SIPA

If you didn’t get the admission decision you were hoping for, you are welcome to reapply to SIPA. As a reapplicant, you will go by the same deadlines, fees and requirements 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. As the essay questions change every year, we encourage you to submit new ones (and possibly new recommendation letters).

When next year’s application goes live in mid-August 2018, 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. View the details on Reapplying to SIPA here.

Thank Your Recommenders

This seems obvious, but many applicants still forget this step. No matter the outcome, you should thank your recommenders one more time for your help. They invested time and effort into your future, and I’m sure they’re curious on how things turned out. Even if you weren’t admitted, this can lead to an opportunity for advice from someone with a different perspective, or suggestions on strengthening your application for next year.

Saying Goodbye

On behalf of the entire Admissions Committee, I want to thank you for your effort. We all got to know you through your application materials and it was an honor to read about your achievements and ambitions for the future.

If you ultimately decide to decline your admissions offer, remove yourself from the waitlist, or won’t reapply next year, please know that we hope you’ll continue to develop your academic and professional experience for whatever your future might hold. I sincerely wish you all the best of luck in your future endeavors.