2016 Applying to Grad School
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Admissions directors want to know what attracts you to their school, so it pays to get to know the school before applying. Consider a program’s academic structure, curriculum, prerequisite courses, location, and costs. Think about your career goals, and look for programs that set you up for short-term and long-term success.
Note the admissions and financial aid deadlines. Ensure that you meet them, especially if you are seeking any type of funding.
Introduce yourself and build a relationship with a school’s admissions team before you apply. This is your chance to demonstrate interest by asking questions. It also pays to take advantage of any opportunity for a one-on-one interview with an admissions or alumni representative. If you can’t do it in person, an interview via Skype might be feasible.
Visit campus if possible. It demonstrates your interest and can help both you and the admissions officers determine whether the school is a good fit for you.
Tell Your Story
“The strongest applications tell a distinct story—one that could only belong to you,” says Carmen Iezzi Mezzera, executive director of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA). “Anyone can pull a famous quote off the internet. Instead, build an application that explains: Why is this particular program right for you? How does it fit with your objectives post-graduation? What distinctive personal and professional experiences can you bring into the classroom to help others meet their goals? Each piece of the application should reinforce that narrative to give admissions counselors a sense of who you are.”
In your application, explain what you would like to achieve in your career that graduate school will help you accomplish. Clarify why you are applying to graduate school and to a particular program.
As you think about whom you’d like to request recommendations from, consider who could add something specific and detailed to complement your personal statement, transcripts, résumé, and writing samples.
APSIA Admissions Fairs
On November 16, 2016, the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA) will offer a virtual admissions fair, where you can personally connect online with admissions staff from APSIA member schools from anywhere in the world.
APSIA is also offering the following in-person admissions fairs this fall:
- New York, N.Y.: September 13
- Washington, D.C.: September 14
- Toronto, Ontario: September 15
- Chicago, Illinois: September 20
- Berlin, Germany: November 8
- Paris, France: November 9
- Stockholm, Sweden: November 10
In addition, APSIA hosts monthly one-hour webinars focusing on “Best Practices for Applying to Graduate School.” Participation is free. Upcoming webinars will be held on September 27 and October 27.
For more information about any of these events, go to www.apsia.org/admissions-fairs.
Q&A With Admissions Leaders
- 2016 Applying to Grad School
- Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)
- Boston University, Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies
- American University, School of International Service (SIS)
- Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs (Columbia SIPA)
- Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
- University of Notre Dame, Keough School of Global Affairs
- Texas A&M University, Bush School of Government and Public Service
- University of Denver, Josef Korbel School of International Studies