So your application is submitted and all materials have been received (i.e. complete), now you have some free time to start preparing for school in the fall. What should I do? Good question! We have compiled a list of things you can do while you wait for an admissions decision from SIPA and other policy schools. Please remember, these are only some suggestions that we think would be helpful while waiting for admission decisions…
Keep updated with current events:
Policy courses at SIPA will introduce both old and new policy events that will be analyzed and dissected. Take for example, the Columbia University expansion in New York City – it’s been discussed in multiple classes, most recently “Policy Implementation” with Professor Kristina Ford. Keeping yourself updated with current events at the local, federal and foreign events will help you understand concepts and contribute to class discussions.
Review quantitative courses:
SIPA students are expected to learn how to read and analyze policy papers heavy with quantitative information. In fact, three of the core classes for MIA and MPA are under the economics and statistics department. Having an understanding of the basics in economics and statistics will only help you succeed in the classroom. Lastly, brushing on some math will help during the ever-popular Math Camp. Students can take courses at their local Community College over the Summer and or take free online classes, also known as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC). To get you started, here are some links we found by doing a simple Google search on the topic:
- Introduction to Statistics
- Intro to Pre Calculus
- Via LifeHacker: Extra Credit: How To Find Your Own Online Classes
- Blog post throwback: To Be or Not To Be Afraid of Quantitative Courses at SIPA
*Side note… if you are thinking about applying to SIPA in the future, courses taken to strengthen your quantitative background/skills on your application should be taken at an accredited (or international equivalent) university for a grade.
Looking for other ways to get prepared? Nonprofits in your local community deal with everyday issues (homelessness, higher education access, foreign aid, etc), volunteering with them will give you a unique perspective of how nonprofits tackle some of some the most pressing problems. The experience will provide you with an understanding of different management styles that will be essential in the classroom. So, where can I find volunteer opportunities? Below are some sites we found to be useful:
External Funding Search:
Although the application deadline has passed, funding season is still open. You should always be looking into funding opportunities beyond SIPA fellowships and loans. Our Financial Aid Department has compiled a list of external funding opportunities for incoming and continuing students. The advance search option allows you to search by category (i.e. human right, Urban policy) and by application deadline.
Buy a Coat!:
Thinking of making the brave move from warmer climates to the (U.S.) northeast? It’s the perfect time to buy a winter coat – many stores are gearing up for Spring and will be having last minute sales on winter coats.
Take these suggestions with a grain of salt – good luck with admission decisions!