Some applicants have contacted our office and asked how they may submit supplementary materials with their application. At SIPA we only include the materials we ask for on the application site when we forward a file to the Admissions Committee. We therefore do not accept supplementary materials such as writing samples from applicants. There are two main reasons for this.
First, we wish to be fair to all applicants. To use a common expression, the Committee wishes to “compare apples to apples.” If we allowed one applicant to include supplemental materials it would not be fair to the rest of the applicant pool. In evaluating applicants it is important that each applicant be judged upon the same criteria.
Second, the Committee must read several thousand applications in approximately a six week period and we are confident that we can do so based upon the current materials we require from applicants. Although an applicant may wish to include a writing sample or a copy of a thesis completed at the undergraduate level, perhaps copies of certificates earned, or achievements noted in publications of some sort, the Committee simply would not have the time to read and/or review such materials.
While the Committee does not allow for the submission of supplementary materials, there is a way for applicants to inform the Committee of personal achievements. Instead of sending in full copies of supplemental materials to note personal achievements, applicants may include such information in the résumé/CV.
At SIPA we are not concerned with the length of your résumé/CV. This document may be as long as you believe is necessary to summarize your qualifications for our program. Applicants should also not feel pressure to conform to typical résumé/CV standards that might be associated with applying for a job. When applying for a job it is common to limit your résumé to a page or two – but when applying for graduate school the process is different and the typical résumé we review is three to four pages in length.
The résumé/CV may include whatever information you feel is important to informing the Committee of your qualifications as well as circumstances that may have impacted your academic or professional record. For example, let us say that an applicant suffered a serious illness while completing their undergraduate degree and dealing with the illness impacted academic performance. This is something that could be noted in the résumé/CV in a section labeled “Miscellaneous Academic Information.”
Or perhaps an applicant is particularly proud of their undergraduate thesis – maybe the applicant won an award or was invited to a conference to present their thesis. While we will not accept a thesis to forward to the Committee for evaluation, an applicant would be welcome to briefly summarize their thesis and any associated awards or recognition in the résumé/CV.
So while the application process at SIPA does not allow applicants to submit supplemental materials, you may exercise discretion by including information that you feel is pertinent for the Committee to be aware of in the required résumé/CV.