Monday, January 31, 2011

The Deadline

February 1 must be near: I can tell from the mail that is piling up in our Admissions Office.

A rising tide of applications
These days the legendary Ivo Rossetti, who among myriad other things handles SAIS Bologna mail, has been beating a path to room 305 to deliver your applications. He calls them "macaroni" -- nothing disparaging about the term. He means that students are the Center's sustenance and lifeblood.

(Ivo should know: he's worked at the Bologna Center for more than three decades, first as a barista, which is how a generation of alumni know him. See a photo of Ivo from our archives at the bottom of this post.)

Deadline: Feb 1
The February 1 deadline marks the end of a chapter in the admissions process. But of course much remains to be done.

Many of the applications are complete -- thanks to those who sent us all of the required material on time. I know what a challenge it can be. Other dossiers are missing some elements -- some of you have been calling or writing us to explain the circumstances.

If you are applying and something is missing from your file, and you have not been in touch with us already, please let us know when we can expect it. An explanation of the reason for the delay would also be appreciated.

Our February 1 deadline is actually later than that of many U.S. graduate programs. That is because our academic calendar is aligned with that of European institutions, which start the year in October.

That means we have a lot to get done in the next few weeks: check the applications to make sure they are complete, organize interviews with applicants, have several faculty read each of the applications, take the tough decisions. (Tomorrow I'll publish a post on the interviews.)

The checklist
All of this will culminate with admissions decisions, which we expect to take in early April. I'm confident we'll have an excellent SAIS Bologna class here next autumn.


As a former wire service journalist and a father of three children, I can't resist commenting on deadlines in more general terms.

Each of us tends to take our own approach towards deadlines. Some people thrive on them, others cringe. Some grow accustomed to them, others have more difficulty.

Perhaps you've learned something about yourself during the application process. It's required you to take a look at your motivations, your aspirations, your intellectual qualities. You've had to synthesize in writing why you think SAIS Bologna is the place for you. You've shared your thoughts with your referees and coaxed them into writing in your favor -- no small task.

You've managed a process that is complex and challenging. Well done. Your eyes are on the destination -- admission.

But why not take a moment to reflect on how you managed the process? You might learn something about how you respond to deadlines.

Over the years, that knowledge could prove valuable as you grapple with the time demands that, love them or loathe them, invariably mark our lives.

Ivo in earlier days at his bar
Nelson Graves


Steven Arjonilla said...

Dear Nelson,
Now that all applications should be submitted to Washington and Bologna I am curious to know what recent SAIS graduates are doing now, especially those that began their career after SAIS. I suggest to include a few profiles of recent graduates on this blog.

Nelson Graves said...

Steven - Great minds think alike! I hope to write a post tomorrow on careers -- the kinds of things that SAIS graduates do. The real expert on careers here in Bologna is Meera Shankar, head of our career services and alumni relations office. She is travelling to London and Brussels this week with students to broaden their career horizons. There is a lot to be said on careers, and two posts would not be too many. So more on careers in tomorrow's post. Today we'll discuss interviews. Nelson

Nelson Graves said...

Steven - Today (Feb 2) Meera Shankar published a post on Career Services. We realize this is a big and important topic, and we will be coming back to it again. Your idea of profiling recent graduates is an excellent one. Applicants want to know what career opportunities are out there. The good news is that there are many, many for SAIS grads. Nelson