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FP Guide

2019 Applying to Grad School in International Affairs

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New Data Shows Slowdown in Growth of International Students in the U.S.
The lowest growth rate in a decade could impact the bottom line for some universities.

BY  | NOVEMBER 20, 2019


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 to international affairs graduate programs follow the guidelines below, recommended by admissions directors and other experts at leading schools in this FP Guide. Requirements and strategies vary from school to school, as detailed on the pages that follow. Some of this advice, however, may apply more generally:

1| Consider working for a few years before graduate study. While work experience is not always required for acceptance, schools consider it a bonus, both as an indicator of a student’s motivation for further study and as a way to gain appreciation for the classroom experience.

2| Actively interact with the school community before applying. This can be accomplished through information sessions, open houses, webinars, and online workshops.

3| Present a compelling rationale for why you want to attend a particular program, how the degree will fit into your career plan—and how you will contribute to the program.

4| Display intellectual honesty in your personal statement. Schools look for applicants who know their shortcomings and demonstrate an ability to compensate for them.

5| Prepare for standardized exams (the GRE or GMAT, plus the TOEFL or IELTS for international applicants). If an exam is not required, focus on shaping the different qualitative pieces of your application into a portfolio that tells a story about you.

6| Think carefully about recommendation letters. The most effective are those that add depth and distinctive detail, rather than repeating information that can be gleaned from a transcript or résumé.


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