Archive for Spring admission

1 month out and 4 reasons to say ‘yes’ to Spring 2017 admission

The Spring 2017 application deadline is a month away, and there are plenty of reasons you should join us sooner rather than later.

1. The program starts sooner
This one is pretty obvious, but sometimes applicants forget how fast the turnaround is for our spring class. While the pressure to submit a completed application by the deadline is tighter compared to fall applicants, it means you can start at SIPA just three months after the deadline. So if you’re ready to start the next step in your life, then spring is the perfect time! After all, who really has time to wait?

2. You get, count ’em, two summers
Since you graduate at the end of your final fall semester (as opposed to your final spring semester), you’ll actually get to spend two summers as a SIPA student! You can enjoy your summers as a homework-free grad school in your hometown. Or take advantage of all that free time by pursuing two different internships (one each summer), as Andreas Maerki, MPA 2014points out.

3. There are three snowball fight seasons
In addition to two summers, you’ll get three winters in the city! While some of you might find that fact chilling, it’s actually very beautiful in the city when the snow falls. Need some proof? Here’s a great video by Columbia University student, Kevin Chiu SEAS 2017, which he shot at last year’s first snowball fight of the season. (Can you feel the goosebumps?)

4. Your cohort gets a fun nickname
We affectionately (and unofficially) call them “J-termers,” with “J” standing for January, the term they initially join SIPA. As a J-termer, your entering cohort is smaller, with roughly 60 students, so that means you’ll really connect with all of your classmates in your first term.

If becoming a J-termer sounds good to you, there’s no better time than today to start your application.

So what are you waiting for? The Spring 2017 application deadline for the Master of International Affairs & Master of Public Administration programs is October 15, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. EST (UTC-4 hours).


J-Termer Experience

First of all, J-Term/J-Termer is not an official name at Columbia University; however my group of 60 students who started in January of 2013 is called “J-Termers” within SIPA. The “J” stands for January, since that’s the month when we started our program. Compared to the fall term start, our group is much smaller and more exclusive.  🙂  I chose to start in the spring semester, because two main reasons. One, it worked out with work; two and the important one, I knew starting the two year program in January will allow me to do two internships over the two summers. Having more practical experience will be valuable when applying for jobs after graduating from SIPA. Also, I think especially if one wants to transition into another field, having two summer internship opportunities will be a great asset to acquire specific industry knowledge that one can bring to the table when applying for that full-time job after SIPA. And for the students who may not know exactly in what field they want to pursue a career in, the two internships will allow them to explore two different fields before making a decision. My previous professional experience is in Private and Investment Banking and I am looking to move into a more macroeconomic and risk analysis career. Therefore, having a couple summers will allow me to gain the appropriate tools to successfully make this transition.

The curriculum for J-Terms is exactly the same as for any other students starting in the fall semester; however the courses have a slightly different order, which may pose a challenge to some students. I personally don’t think this is a significant issue, especially with the assistance of the Student Affairs Office and its Deans. Since our group is small compared to the group in the fall, all concentrations were in the same group during orientation. This was especially interesting since I not only got to meet my fellow IFEP’ers (International Finance and Economic Policy folks), but also students from all the other concentrations, which will enhance the opportunities to connect with interesting people that have different backgrounds and professional goals.

Another point that may mistakenly be held against starting in January is the opportunity to be a TA (Teacher’s Assistant) or receive fellowships/scholarships. From my experience this is a misconception; since many of my classmates received summer scholarships and fellowships for the fall semester (only after a semester into their studies). Receiving such scholarships/fellowships depends on your grades, performance and initiative.

Bottom line; the students who start in January may (at most) have to be a little more flexible since some first semester courses will only be offered during the J-Termer’s second semester; however that said if you are a go-getter and don’t mind taking the initiative then the J-Term is a great way to get your degree at SIPA. So far, I am very satisfied that I am one of the J-Termers and look forward to meeting you at SIPA.


posted by Andreas Maerki, MPA 2014, International Finance and Economic Policy (IFEP)



"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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