Archive for Admissions

Why I Chose SIPA

I remember receiving the email on my decision like it was yesterday. I was sitting in my undergraduate institution’s computer lab, lazily scrolling through my email account, looking for a message a professor sent me earlier that week. Then I saw the subject line from SIPA Admissions; I froze for a second and then clicked on it. I had trouble remembering my account password and after a few anti-climatic minutes of picking my brain for my password, I eventually got into the system. I was greeted by streaming confetti down my screen and an audio clip of Frank Sinatra singing “New York, New York”. I had been accepted.

If I said that letter didn’t factor into my decision I would be lying! But in reality, Columbia was one of my top choices, if not my top. By the end of the admissions cycle, I was debating between two programs. One, an elite urban studies school located in the heart of one of America’s great cities. The other was SIPA. I went back and forth. I made charts and attempted to map my decision, listing pros and cons to every program and institution. I thought about how my degree would be perceived and the name recognition for both. I considered the reach of both programs alumni networks and looked over the biographies of dozens of professors I was interested in taking classes with.

After many days of deliberation, I ultimately decided on SIPA because of something I touched on in an earlier post; that is, out of all my options, SIPA seemed like it would provide the most comprehensive and interdisciplinary education I could find. Both programs are comparable in terms of reputation and both have very strong urban studies programs. However, I felt like SIPA’s ‘global’ and international curriculum provided me with more opportunities to take classes outside of my comfort zone, and to find synergies between my own areas of interest and entirely new subjects. I appreciated that the majority of my peers would be international; I knew that their perspectives in the classroom and outside would be invaluable as a future diplomat. I also liked that SIPA offered numerous opportunities to take classes at many of Columbia’s prestigious graduate schools, including the Journalism School and Teachers College. On a personal level, I relished the opportunity to attend events at these elite institutions and to be able to interact with a range of professors, like Sunil Gulati, the ex head of the U.S. Soccer Federation, to former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. Relative to other locations, I knew that access to NYC and its immense social and cultural offerings would also further my education, and my personal growth.

When I fully realized that by attending SIPA I was really gaining access to all that Columbia offers, from its world class libraries to its world class faculty, I came to a decision very quickly. Before I accepted it officially, I played “New York, New York” once more on the acceptance letter portal just for fun and then I made one of the best decisions ever; I clicked the button to begin the enrollment process!

Is this the year you’re applying to graduate school?

Is this the year you’re applying to graduate school? Even if it’s not, we recommend you connect with schools that you’re interested in early on. Graduate school applications can be time-consuming to gather all of the pieces for, especially if you’re juggling several applications on top of your personal and professional life. You also want to make sure that the program you apply to is the best fit for your goals.

Columbia SIPA will be participating in the APSIA Online Grad School fair on July 25. Register today to learn more about what you can do with a SIPA graduate degree – our alumni work in everything from international trade policy to counter-terrorism to social impact investing (and much more).

APSIA stands for the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs, a network of schools that demonstrate their excellence in career-focused, graduate-level, international affairs education. APSIA schools generally stress the application of theory to practical uses and are focused on helping students become meaningful agents of change. APSIA has a robust list of relevant Fellowships & Scholarships for those interested in policy and international affair graduate studies.

If you’re in the area, stop by the Summerfest mini graduate fairs coming up this month. SIPA alumni, current students and admissions staff will be here to answer your questions.

Summerfest New York City
July 17 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm
International Affairs Building, Columbia University
420 West 118th Street, Room 1501
New York, NY 10027

Summerfest Washington, D.C. (July)
July 24 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies
1740 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20036

As a reminder, the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid is closing early today and will be closed tomorrow in observance of U.S. Independence Day.

Join us for Summerfest 2019 in Boston, D.C. or NYC

Just as many of you are planning your next steps, we here at SIPA are making summer plans! SIPA representatives, along with other top graduate programs in public policy and international affairs, will be holding mini graduate-school fairs this summer in Boston, Washington D.C. and New York City.

If you’ve ever been curious about graduate school, this is your chance to get more information in person. Representatives from the following graduate programs will be available to discuss admissions requirements, the application process, financial aid, and more:

  • Columbia University – School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA)
  • Georgetown University – Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service
  • Johns Hopkins University – The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)
  • Tufts University – The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy

Come learn from alumni and admissions staff at these free events. Click on any event below to register.

Summerfest Boston
June 19 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
160 Packard Ave.
Medford, MA 02155

Summerfest Washington, D.C. (June)
June 26 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Georgetown University Law Center
120 F Street NW
Gewirz Student Center, 12th Fl.
Washington, D.C. 20001

Summerfest New York City
July 17 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm
International Affairs Building, Columbia University
420 West 118th Street, Room 1501
New York, NY 10027

Summerfest Washington, D.C. (July)
July 24 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies
1740 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20036

APSIA, G4, and Connecting With Us

I’m preparing for a webinar right now with colleagues from several peer instutitions along the East Coast (The G4: Columbia SIPA, Georgetown MSFS, Tufts Fletcher, and Johns Hopkins SAIS), and I wanted to remind our blog readers about opportunities to connect with not just us at Columbia, but a variety of other great policy schools and graduate opportunities.

First, let’s explain the acronyms and names. The G4 (Group of 4 schools) are part of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA). APSIA has many affiliated policy schools, but the G4 schools have been travling together to inform students about educational and career opportunities in international affairs for more than 40 years.

APSIA itself has a fantastic list of Fellowships & Scholarships, and their website lists a variety of global events where you can learn more about a graduate degree in international affairs. Last year Columbia SIPA attended APSIA events in Madrid, Paris, London, as well as a variety of places across the U.S.

It’s never too early to start thinking about entering a career tackling political, social, and economic challenges in the world. Even if you’re not planning on applying to graduate school this year, tap in APSIA and these other resources earlier. Reach out to us at SIPA, as well! Graduate school applications can be quite thorough and time-consuming to complete, especially if you’re applying to several schools at once, so it never hurts to prepare early.

As a quick update on what Columbia SIPA is up to, we have a few final webinars for admitted students coming up (check them out in the Welcome Portal!). The school year is winding down too, and SIPA students are barreling towards graduation in just a few weeks. Let us know what’s been on with you — I’m assuming it includes Beyonce and Game of Thrones, at the very least.

SIPA Admitted Students’ Day 2019

Last week we held our annual open house for the newly admitted MIA, MPA and MPA-DP incoming Class, Admitted Students’ Day 2019. While it was fantastic for us to meet many of the names behind the emails and calls, it was especially great for the admitted students to meet each other and the larger SIPA community, including faculty, alumni and current students.

Admitted students get a lot of specialized content to better inform them of what SIPA offers as a policy graduate school. This includes Faculty Webinars like this one with Vice Dean Scott Barrett,  and additional ones with Professor Tamar Mitts and and upcoming webinar with Professor Dipali Mukhopadhyay. While we can only share the first webinar, you can learn more about Professor Mitts’s work in big data within counterrorism here,  and Professor Mukhopadyay’s work in rebuilding countries post-conflict here.

Admitted students have also been meeting up with alumni all over the world, most recently in Washington, D.C.

Overheard at this D.C. meetup? “I was on the fence but after tonight I’m sold. I can see how close the alum are and it’s great y’all came here to answer questions.”

I encourage every person interested in SIPA, admitted student or thinking of applying in a bit, to directly connect with SIPA as much as possible. This might be connecting with SIPA alumni and/or current students, but it can also include researching what courses are available, or visiting classes in the fall and spring semesters. Finding out if a graduate school is right for you can be time-consuming, so it’s never bad to start early.

It was great meeting all of the admitted students last week – we hope you had fun – and we look forward to seeing the Class of 2021 in the fall.

"The most global public policy school, where an international community of students and faculty address world challenges."

—Merit E. Janow, Dean, SIPA, Professor of Practice, International and Economic Law and International Affairs

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