You’re filling out your application and then DREAD fills you…….RECOMMENDATIONS.
You have to ask other people to tell SIPA why they think you should be accepted into SIPA. Now….. you know you’re awesome but now someone else has to talk about how and why you’re awesome. UGHHHHHH.
We here at SIPA have you covered. Simple actions can make this process go smoother.
The first thing you are going to need is TIME. PLEASE START EARLY. The minute you start thinking about applying, think about recommendations. More time will help everyone involved. More time will mean less anxiety. More time also allows for your recommender to write a great letter for you.
This is definitely advice I should have taken because I became waaaaay too stressed about asking my managers/former professors for recommendations. It took me three weeks to work up the courage to tell them I’m looking at grad school and need them to recommend me. Luckily they were very cool and still did wrote me recommendations, but moral of the story is don’t be like me and wait!
Second, DEFINITELY ask academic/professional contacts that know you the best, or at least ones you have some connection with. They should know you on a personal level and be able to speak about who you are as a person and how SIPA will assist you in getting to the next step in your career. If you don’t have a strong connection with any academic/professional contacts, you can ask professors of classes you performed well in, though having them write a recommendation may require more work. To assist them, it would be beneficial to write a mini-personal statement (similar to what you’d write for the application) on why you want to go to SIPA and how SIPA fits into your plans. A mini-personal statement is useful to have regardless if you know the person well or not. It will show them why you want to attend SIPA, as well as help you write the statement for your application. This mini-personal statement will help guide them in their recommendation of you and help them focus their writing. The mini give the person reading the recommendation a sense of who you are.
Third, if they seem to be taking too long, just kindly remind them that you need it before the deadline.
Lastly, remember to say “Thank you!”