Archive for materials

Don’t let time pass you by

You want to pursue your MIA/MPA degree at Columbia SIPA but you’re not confident that you have the right credentials to compete with the other applicants. One of the reasons we don’t like to state our admissions rate is because it discourages prospective candidates from applying, who may have been good candidates. They get stuck on the number and they second guess their value. My word of advice (and I am sure my colleagues would echo it), JUST APPLY. You have a 50/50 chance of being admitted if you try and a 0% chance of admission if you don’t try.

Of course, you should put together the best application you can and not haphazardly pull something together for submission. You also should be clear about why you are applying to the school and what you wish to get out of the degree. If you can’t answer those two basic questions, you should take some time to think about it before you invest your time and money in pursuing a degree you may not need or really want.

The most daunting part of the entire application is gathering and submitting all the requested materials within the posted deadlines. Don’t procrastinate – You don’t want to accidentally miss the deadline for getting all your materials in for consideration and/or miss an opportunity to be considered for a scholarship because you didn’t submit your application in time. If you have time, consider submitting your application several weeks prior to the deadline so that if the office of admissions finds pieces of your application missing, you have time to gather and submit them. You may also view your status on your application status page.

OCTOBER 15 – Preferred


ROLLING ADMISSIONS We accept and consider applications during a broader period of time and will render decisions once an application has been reviewed. Class closes November 30.


NOVEMBER 1 EARLY ACTION You receive a decision from us by January 1 (Merit Scholarships to top candidates will be awarded).   Non-binding.




You will be considered for a SIPA scholarship.


FEBRUARY 5 FINAL DEADLINE All applicants who wish to be considered for fall 2015 admission, must submit by this date.


Note that our spring term uses a “rolling admissions” process. This means that the admissions office accepts and considers applications during a broader period of time and will render decisions once an application has been reviewed – Applicants do not all receive their decisions at the same time on a particular date far in the future. It’s a good idea to get your application in as early as possible since will review and allocate scholarships and fellowships to admitted students on a first come, first serve basis during the spring rolling admissions process. The earlier you apply, the better the chance you will receive the financial help you need to go to school.

The key to a successful application is time – giving yourself enough time to collect materials, find and instruct the best people to write letters for you, write and edit your essays. Good luck!


aye carumba!

Application materials continue to come in… flooding our mailboxes.  We receive a lot of paper for an application that allows applicants to upload everything electronically.  These documents will all be processed and uploaded into the applicants’ files.

We continue to respond to emails and voice mails — proudly I can say we are finally all caught up, which means that there are no email/voice mails sitting in our main SIPA Admissions mailbox for more than 24 hours — a huge feat during this BUSY season with messages hitting us day and night.  We are lucky to have super students and admissions counselors responding to them as quickly as they can — because we all know how frustrating it can be to wait for a response when you are trying to decide what to upload into your application.  Hopefully we can stay at this pace for the next few months.

To help us comb through the paper and emails faster, please do not send any additional supplemental materials that we do not require from you.  And again, official documents do not need to be submitted for your application to be reviewed.  You may submit copies.  Official documents are only required if you have been admitted into our program.  Also, it will be helpful if you send us an email attachment with materials, to include your name and the program you are applying in the subject line.  Many thanks.

Reading process has started and is going well with our new application system — Readers seem to be happier; it’s always better to have a happy reader.  Looking forward to getting through some of my reads this week (happily).


Four days post the MIA/MPA App Deadline (with fellowship consideration)

The first application deadline has passed and the admissions staff is busily processing all submitted applications.   A few of the submitted applications are missing a couple of items so they are in our “Awaiting materials” bin until ‘completion’.  However, the majority of the applications submitted are complete and have already moved forward for review.   Congrats!

But we did notice a couple of applicants mistakenly did not complete all three required essays:

If you are a re-applicant, you will also need to respond to the “Re-applicants Only” essay: How have you enhanced your candidacy since your previous application?  Please detail your progress since you .

There is also an optional essay for any applicant who has something more to say about their candidacy.  There is no word limit; however, use some discretion and keep it within reason.

Please make sure all your materials are submitted by the indicated deadlines for consideration.  If you forgot to upload required materials and clicked the “submit” button — No worries, you may still upload them into your application.  If you have trouble doing it yourself, please let us know.  You can find a checklist of required admission-related items on our website.

You may track your application status by logging back into your application account any time.  Materials submitted and received will be reflected as we process them — this may take up to 10 days.   If you are reading this post over the weekend, don’t check now and freak yourself out — there was a glitch in the system today that changed all received materials to “awaiting material” status so if you submitted and you see this in your application status, relax.  We got you.  The tech team is working on this and will have it resolved early next week. 

An application that is (submitted and) complete goes to the Admissions Committee for review.  Once an admission decision is reached, you will receive an email to check your account again (this will happen in March); so don’t lose your application log in information.

For now, don’t lose sleep and enjoy your weekend.

Ch ch ch ch ch changes….

As regular readers of this blog already know, we implemented a new application system starting with the fall and summer 2014 cycle. The new online application system (known to us as, Slate) is much more intuitive, sustainable (no hard copies!)  and user friendly (for everyone) but as with any new system, there is a learning curve as the “kinks” are ironed out. We are aware of most of the problems that have come to our attention at this point and we are working to fix these, if they haven’t been addressed already.

You may be thinking that if we have a new system, that means we are transitioning out of the old application system (known to us as, ApplyYourself).  This system will not be accessible after the New Year (January 1, 2014), nor will information stored in it.

We have received quite a few emails and phone calls the past few days from applicants that mistakenly created or continued to work on an application in the old system. In an effort to avoid any panic when clicking “submit” on your application, we strongly advise you to double check that you are completing the correct application in the new (right) system (URL:

If you are re-applying, please note that we will only be able to access materials received within ONE year (i.e. applied to fall 2013) from this fall and/or summer 2014 cycle only.  In other words, you should send a request to carry over previously submitted materials that you wish to reuse for this year’s fall application. Requests should be emailed to: with specific details (your full name, previously used email addresses, the program and term that you previously applied to) and clear information on what materials you wish to carry over (name of referee for recommendation letter for example) so we can locate and match these materials to your new application.

Don’t forget to use descriptive subject lines on email messages to expedite your request!

So as we prepare to go on a mini-holiday break, we leave you with some music motivation, David Bowie, Changes.  Deadlines got you down? Get out from Under Pressure, Queen.

Our advice? Take a minute and dance it out!

"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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