Wednesday, December 14, 2011

FAQs at Open Day

Missed Open Day at SAIS Bologna last week and wondering what happened?

Worry not. Below are questions that were raised by the several dozen prospective applicants who attended.

Q: Am I required to choose a concentration when I apply?
Prospective students and faculty members enjoy
a coffee break.
A: In the application you are asked to indicate your concentration preference. The choice you make when you apply is not binding, and you can switch to a different concentration when you start your studies at SAIS Bologna. The only concentration one cannot switch into once one has started SAIS is International Development. If you are interested in IDEV (SAIS jargon for International Development), you should indicate it as your first choice on the application. In your letter of admission you'll learn whether or not you have been admitted to the IDEV program.

Q: My undergraduate degree was taught in English but in a country where English is not an official language. Am I required to submit TOEFL or other English proficiency scores?
A: Yes. However, we will consider exceptional circumstances. Keep in mind that strong scores will give you a chance to present the best possible dossier to the Admissions Committee. They look for an indication that a candidate can handle the challenging English curriculum here. The best way to do so is to take the TOEFL,  IELTS or Cambridge Proficiency in English (CPE) exam and perform well. We understand that these tests are not always perfect tools, but they are important benchmarks that can offer you a chance to stand apart.

Prof. Erik Jones presents the European Studies Program.
Q: I understand GRE and GMAT scores are not required for non-U.S. citizens who want to start their studies at SAIS Bologna. However, they are strongly recommended. How much weight do they carry in an application?
A: GRE and GMAT scores can help strengthen your profile. That said, they are not a requirement, and one is not at a disadvantage if GRE or GMAT scores are not submitted. We understand that standardized tests are not a perfect tool, but like TOEFL scores, they can help you put your best foot forward and enable you to stand apart.

Q: How long should my statement of purpose be? 
A: We recommend that you submit a statement of aims between 500 and 600 words. Part of the challenge is to convey concisely to the Committee why you want to study at SAIS, how you would benefit from the program and what you would bring to the Center.

Q: I recently wrote a paper. Can I use that as my analytical essay?
A: It's best not to. A paper is likely to go well over the limit of 600 words. The essay allows the Admissions Committee to see how you write and develop your analytical thinking in a few hundred words. Like the statement of purpose, the challenge is to stick to the word limit while conveying your thoughts. You can use the topic of a paper for your analytical essay -- but keep it tight.

Q: Do I have to convert my overall undergraduate grade into a GPA?
Nelson answers questions from prospective students.
A: No. But we do require a guide to your university's grading system. Here is a link to a website that will help you convert your grades into letter grades. Last year we received applications from 72 countries. You can see how these guides to the different grading systems helps us assess your academic performance.

Q: Do I need to translate my transcripts?
A: We accept transcripts in English and Italian. Transcripts in other languages will need to be translated by an official translator.

Q: How much does a solid academic performance weigh in my application?
A: When we assess your dossier, we will look at your academic performance. However, academic performance, while important, is not be the only thing we take into account. We like to get a 360-degree view of our applicants. Academic performance is a part of the landscape but not the only part.

Q: How important is work experience?
A: Exposure to the job market can help strengthen your profile. However, it is not a requirement, and lack of work experience will not be a deal breaker. If you have undertaken internships in the past, make sure you mention them.

Q: How is financial aid awarded and how do I apply for financial aid?
A: Scholarships are awarded on the basis of need, merit and academic promise. There is a form with instructions included in the application. If you are interested in a specific scholarship administered by SAIS Bologna, be sure to mention it. Please make sure you mention any other scholarships or loans that you are applying for. This will give us a complete picture.

Prospective students listen to the faculty presentations.
Amina Abdiuahab

No comments: