It’s almost that time of year again – applications for the 2023 application cycle will be opening soon! This post is about what you can do now to prepare for your SIPA application!

    1. Research and Track Graduate School Applications – It’s likely that at this point, you already have a short list of where you’d like to apply. It is helpful to track your graduate school applications in an Excel or Google sheet. You can consider including important deadlines, links to information, unique attributes of each school, and/or contact details if you need to reach out. You can also consider including a tab that tracks your progress on application components with self-assigned deadlines for each.
    2. Review the Application Checklist – Review the application checklist on our How to Apply page.
    3. Strategize – Start thinking about each individual component of your application and map out a timeline for completing each section. When I was planning to apply, I found this blog post on the application timeline very helpful.
    4. Brainstorm Your Personal Statement – Start thinking about what you’d like to include in your personal statement. Remember that the personal statement is a key part of your application, and an opportunity for you to share your story with the Admissions Committee. This is where you can describe your past experiences, how they’ve led you to your future aspirations – both at SIPA and beyond. Aim to have a working draft of your personal statement early. This will give you plenty of time to re-draft it, and you can share it with friends, family, mentors, and/or colleagues for feedback. You may also consider sharing it with your recommenders as they are writing your letters of recommendation. Review our blog for some helpful tips on writing your personal statement. 
    5. Draft Your CV – Update your CV with recent and relevant experiences so it is ready to go. Share it with friends and family for feedback and advice.
    6. Letters of Recommendation – Identify potential recommenders. SIPA requires two recommendation letters for the 21-month MIA/MPA application, and applicants can submit up to three letters. It’s a good idea to have a few back-up recommenders in case one falls through. Choose recommenders who know you well and can speak to your personal, academic, and/or professional qualities. Be sure to give your recommenders plenty of time to write your recommendation letters.
    7. Schedule the GRE/GMAT – Remember that GRE (or GMAT) scores are currently optional for applicants in all programs (no waiver needed), with the exception of the MPA in Economic Policy Management program. However, even if optional, we have found them to be useful indicators of academic ability. You may review this blog post here if you are considering taking the GRE/GMAT. If you plan to take the GRE/GMAT, make sure to schedule your exam in advance, so you have time to prepare for it.

I hope that is helpful! Be sure to check out our Admissions Blog for more helpful advice on starting your application, and as always, feel free to reach out to us at sipa_admission@sipa.columbia.edu if you have any questions!