Archive for dead line

Five Business Days

It has been five business days since the application deadline passed and I want to provide an update to give some insight on how things are going.

As a reminder, we print application batches (explained here) and each batch can contain up to 600 pages of printed information.  We have printed 90% of the applications submitted.  Again, when an application is printed and completed is not important – it is important that all documents were submitted in a timely fashion.

We have manually reviewed roughly 50% of the applications submitted, and of those reviewed approximately 70% have been completed on the “first pass.”  By this I mean all of the required documents were submitted on line and printed all at once – thus making it incredibly easy to process.

Those that are not complete get set aside and filed for a “second pass” at a later time.  The reason is simple – we still have a great deal of unopened mail and searching for documents at this time is not a wise use of our time.  We do not penalize applicants that did not submit all of their documents on line, however it will take longer for us to indicate that your file is complete.

Our goal is to manually review all applications submitted as soon as possible and by the time we have done so I believe that roughly 65% will be complete on the first pass.  This will leave us with a substantial amount of work to do on matching documents.

Completing a file using the matching process takes much more time.  We have to comb through thousands of documents that are filed away and this is a very time intensive process.

If you have not received an email noting that your file is complete, there is no need to email our office. Once we complete our second pass, we will start sending emails if something is holding up the processing of your file.  We will contact you so we would ask that you resist the urge to contact us regarding the receipt of individual documents at this time.

Thank you again for your patience and I am extremely pleased with our progress after only five business days of processing – we are ahead of where I had hoped we would be.

Right on Schedule

Numbers are definitely a big part of the life of anyone that works in an admission office.  Here are a few insights into what has been on my mind lately . . .

Each year at SIPA roughly half of the people who apply submit their application within 72 hours of the deadline.  A recent report I ran indicates that this year will be no different.

120 hours prior to the January 5th deadline approximately 25% of those in the system had submitted their application.  Roughly 75% are still working away and it would not be surprising to see another 25% submit within a 48 hour period leaving us with 50% remaining for the final 72 hours.

The story is really no different for letters of recommendation.  In the last 24 hours of 2010 there were some busy people.  We received 224 recommendations in the 24 hours prior to the new year and there are still roughly 1,000 that need to be submitted in the final few days.

For those that did submit the application early, now maybe you can understand why we do not start printing applications as soon as they are submitted.  When we print applications, we tell the system to print any submitted recommendations letters at the same time.  Thus, in a perfect world, if you as the applicant submitted all of your information on the application site and your recommenders submitted their letters online as well, everything would print at a single time.

If we print your application and a letter has not been submitted (or any other document for that matter) we have to run a “sweep” at a later time to look for the documents required to complete your file.  The dreaded sweep is filled with peril.  Looking for documents that have been submitted separately can lead to all sorts of paper cuts and staple gouges.

So if you have submitted your application please be aware that it can still take us some time to complete your file.  And if you have yet to submit your application and do so within the next few days, please understand that it might be a few weeks before we certify your file as complete.  Please carefully review this post for important information on how we track application in our office.

All things considered, we appear to be right on schedule.

2010 Application Information Post #2: Résumé/CV Changes

In a recent post I mentioned that the Admissions Committee has decided to make some changes to the application process in the coming year.  As the title of this post suggests, I will be laying out the changes in a series of entries in the coming weeks.

One of the changes may at first seem a bit burdensome, but I assure you it is in the best interests of both applicants and Committee members who review applications.  In the past we have asked for the submission of one résumé.  Starting with the spring 2010 cycle we will be asking for two résumés (note that we consider CV and résumé to be interchangeable terms).

Traditional Résumé

The first résumé will be the “traditional” résumé we have always asked for as a part of the application process.  A traditional résumé includes, but is not limited to, information such as:

  • Positions held (employment and internships)
  • Academic degrees and other academic achievements
  • Volunteer, public service, political work completed
  • Memberships in honorary societies and awards for service or leadership
  • Extracurricular activities and particularly if an MIA applicant – foreign travel undertaken, including purpose and length of stay.

As has always been the case, with this traditional résumé we do not recommend trying to keep it to a single page in length.  A one page résumé is more aligned with applying for a job.  This résumé is for graduate school consideration and the Committee encourages applicants to list all relevant information and to not use a small font or extended margins in an attempt to cram a great deal of information into a very small space.  A typical résumé in this format submitted to SIPA is three to four pages in length.

Quantitative/Language Résumé

The second résumé will focus exclusively on an applicant’s background with quantitative methods and language learning/ability.

Quantitative Methods

The core curriculum at SIPA includes required coursework in economics, statistics, and financial management.  The Committee is therefore quite interested in the quantitative aptitude of applicants to our program.  This most typically includes coursework and/or professional experience related to mathematics, statistics, and economics.  Also of note  can be quantitative experience as it pertains to areas such as science or engineering.

Unfortunately, academic transcripts rarely provide in depth descriptions of the actual content of coursework completed.  For example, a class labeled as “Principles of Economics” on a transcript provides little detail on how much focus was placed on the use of quantitative methods.  And with the large number of international applicants to SIPA, often times transcripts translated into English will just list a class as “Mathematics” thus giving the Committee little information on the actual content/level of math studied.

Providing the opportunity for applicants to list detailed information pertaining to quantitative preparation/experience will allow for better explanations of past academic and professional experience.  The goal is to be able to allow applicants to list full descriptions of courses included in a course catalog or in the syllabus used in a class.

Language Learning/Ability

Proficiency in a second language is a graduation requirement of the MIA program but is not a requirement of the MPA program.  Proficiency is defined as the ability to use a second language at an intermediate level.  Academically this is defined as the ability to achieve a grade of “B” or better in an intermediate level 2 language course.

Incoming  MIA students who speak English as a native language will be tested in a second language of their choice upon entering into the program.  Due to the intensity of the MIA program at SIPA, it would be quite difficult for an applicant with no previous language study to achieve intermediate level proficiency in two years of study.  The Committee therefore wishes to see at least elementary level proficiency in a second language when evaluating an MIA applicant for admission.

If an incoming native English speaker passes the proficiency exam administered shortly after beginning the program, no additional language study is required.  If the grade achieved on the exam is not sufficient, to prove proficiency a grade of “B” or better must be achieved in an intermediate level 2 language course during the time at SIPA in order to graduate.

For MPA students that speak English as a native language, second language learning is optional so it is not required to include language learning information in the second résumé.  However, if an MPA applicant does have experience in a second language we encourage them to provide this information because it provides us with additional information on your background. 

Please do note that there is one exception to the language requirement for the MPA program.  If an MPA applicant chooses the Economic and Political Development concentration, second language proficiency is a requirement just like in the MIA program.

For applicants that do not speak English as a native language, the second résumé will provide an opportunity to elaborate further on time spent studying English and other languages.  This can of course include academic study but can also include additional information not included in transcripts or test scores such as time spent living in English speaking environments.

Details on Quantitative/Language Learning

The second résumé is meant to provide applicants with the ability to provide detailed information which can include:

  • Name/level/grade/institution pertaining to classroom courses.
  • For classroom courses, a description of the course and specific learning objectives (best done by providing a description from a course catalog or a syllabus that was used for the class).
  • Examples of working knowledge of the subject matter as demonstrated in academic or professional settings.
  • Tests taken and grades/scores achieved.
  • Specific certificates earned.
  • In the case of second language learning, the following information is useful:
  1. Information on time spent in a foreign country where the language is spoken.  Or, if the second language was spoken in your home country please provide the context (i.e. did you grow up in a home where a second language was spoken but your academic training was in another language?).
  2. Details regarding professional/volunteer/personal use of the language.
  3. Specific details/examples regarding writing, reading, speaking, and listening ability.

One question you might have is, “If the course is listed on my transcripts or noted in another part of my application, is it necessary to include it in the Quantitative/Language  résumé?”

The answer is yes.  It is okay to be redundant or to include the same information that might be listed in another part of the application in this section.  Seeing the information twice, but in more detailed format in the  résumé portion, is what the Committee is seeking to achieve.

You can view samples of this résumé by clicking here.  Do note that the sample is only a guide.  The level of detail you wish to include is entirely up to you.

"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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