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A few scholarships to note


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Each year, many of our students receive financial support from sources other than SIPA and Columbia University. But they didn’t stumble upon those sources by chance. We’ve realized that it can be time consuming searching the web for potential sources of financial aid, and want to offer you a helping hand. Below are five outside funding opportunities with deadlines that are fast approaching.

You can find many external funding sources by checking out our External Funding Page, where there are more than 240 different outside scholarships, grants and fellowships available for our outstanding students and those interested in public policy programs. Just keep in mind that external or outside awards may affect eligibility for student loans. There are also external funding sources that SIPA provides partial matches for, increasing recipients’ funding. Thus, notify the SIPA Financial Aid Office if you’ve received any additional funding, so that  you do not miss out on any other funding opportunities.

If you have any questions about financial aid, contact us at 212-854-6216 or at

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Top 10 Communication Tips 2011 – #8

This is the eighth entry in our “Top 10″ list for you to consider when communicating with our office and applying.

Number 8 – Familiarize Yourself with Expenses and Start searching for fellowships/scholarships/grants as soon as possible!

There is no doubt about the fact that graduate school can be expensive.  We will do as much as we can to educate you on financial options, but by far the number one thing you can do is to be diligent in searching for fellowships and grants.  Do not wait to search until you have applied, you should start the search long before applying.  Each applicant should follow what I call the “rule of 2.”  Basically my assertion is that applicants should spend twice as much time applying for fellowships as time spent working on an admission application.  If it takes you 10 hours to prepare your admission application, you would be well served to spend 20 hours looking for fellowships – minimum.  A great resource to get you started is our external fellowship database.

Most of the information you need concerning the cost to attend is available on our Web site, such as cost of attendance, types of aid, scholarship information, and information specifically for international students.  Please do note that SIPA scholarships come from one general pool – there is no difference in the scholarship award process at SIPA for domestic and international students – all students are equally considered no matter the country of origin.  Everyone that applies for admission is considered for scholarship funding.

What can I do now?

A few prospective applicants have asked me recently what they can be doing now to improve their chances of attending SIPA.  One thing you can not do now is start filling out the application.  The application for fall 2012 consideration will not be available until September 1st.  However, the first thing you can do is become familiar with the process and what we require applicants to submit.  You can do this by visiting our application check list site.

Do note that we have not finalized the personal statement questions for fall 2012.  An update will be posted to this blog as soon as final questions/topics have been decided upon.  There will also be a series on this blog that addresses each part of the application.  The series will likely start in August.

Second, it is no secret, both graduate school and New York City can be expensive.  My advice is always to be on the hunt for scholarship opportunities.  It is never too early to start looking.  My recommendation is that applicants spend a minimum of twice the amount of time applying for scholarships and grants as applying for graduate school.

Yes SIPA does award scholarships to incoming students, but not to the majority of incoming students.  Therefore it is wise to begin the search for scholarships and grants now.  I do not recommend waiting until after you receive your admission decision to start looking for funding.  We do our best to assist by providing a database of external grants/scholarships/fellowships.  You can access it by clicking here.

Many scholarships do require letters of recommendation and so you should also start thinking about the people you are going to ask to compose letters for you.  If you are applying for several graduate school programs and several scholarship programs you should start to think strategically about who you are going to ask for letters of recommendation and when.  I do warn against letter of recommendation fatigue.  What do I mean by this?

Let’s say you are applying for three graduate programs and five scholarship programs.  It might not be wise to ask the same person for a letter of recommendation eight different times in this instance.  Perhaps you contact the person you wish to write a letter for you and tell him or her that you would like two different versions – one for admission to a program and one for a scholarship opportunity.  You can then ask  the person to give you several copies in sealed envelops so the letters are ready to submit anytime you are ready.  Or you can tell the individuals to be prepared to receive instructions via email.  This is the case with SIPA.  We ask you to fill in the name and email of your recommenders in our system and once you do so the system generates an email with instructions on how to submit their letter.

There are other practical things to consider as well.  I recommend having one or two people proofread your resume and personal statement.  Start to think about who you will ask and contact them early so they can plan this into their schedule.

So my advice at this time is to start the planning process.  Find out when application and fellowship deadlines are and start to plug them in to your calendar.  As one of my old coaches said, “Luck favors the prepared.”  The application deadline for SIPA’s two-year, full-time MIA, MPA, and MPA-DP programs for fall 2012 is January 5th, 2012.

Top 10 Tips for Communicating with Us – Recap

During the early portion of the fall of 2010 I published a series of entries providing notes on things to consider when contacting our office, looking for information, and when applying.  In order to have a single reference point, I decided to combine all of these entries into a single entry.

What you see below are links to the 10 posts.  If you have yet to review the list, I highly recommend doing so. All of the information will help to ensure that we are able to assist you in the best manner possible and that you will be able to submit your application smoothly.

Number 1 – Always use the same email address when communicating with our office – this includes the email you use when you submit your application

Number 2 – Avoid Unnecessarily Creating a Duplicate Online Application

Number 3 – Avoid copying several parties on the same email and avoid long emails

Number 4 – Thoroughly review our FAQ Page

Number 5 – When leaving a voice mail message speak slowly, clearly, and state your telephone number twice

Number 6 – If you must mail something to our office, use a private mail courier

Number 7 – Check out our student, alumni, faculty, staff interview page

Number 8 – Familiarize Yourself with Expenses and Start searching for fellowhips/grants as soon as possible!

Number 9 – Attend an information session or recruitment event

Number 10 – Subscribe to this blog!

"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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