Thursday, September 13, 2012

Our new application is up and running

Our new application is now online.

Why a new application?

SAIS is a global institution with a foothold on three continents; in fact it is the only graduate program of its kind. It is natural that our three campuses -- Bologna, DC and Nanjing -- should use a common application.

To achieve such convergence, we had to make some changes to the application. A word on those later. But first, what remains the same?

- An applicant can start the application, save it, close it down and come back later to edit it and flesh it out. This gives candidates more time to tie up loose ends and to fine-tune the dossier. We hope the flexibility encourages candidates to start their applications early. As we wrote in a recent post, the early bird ...

- Almost all documents can be submitted online. These include the statement of purpose and analytical essay. Referees can upload their letters of reference -- which remain confidential to the applicant -- to the site. Standardized test scores can be sent directly from the testing institution to SAIS. The only documents which have to be sent via post are undergraduate transcripts.

So, what is new?

- The new deadline for applications for all candidates who want to study at SAIS Bologna is January 7, 2013.

- Candidates who want to pursue the two-year M.A. at SAIS are given three choices when asked to select a campus:

  • Washington
  • Bologna
  • I am open to either campus for my 1st year

With respect to one's chances for admission, there is no statistical advantage in choosing one answer or the other. Applicants' choices of campus help guide our work in admissions. In the case of candidates who are undecided, more work needs to be done to establish which campus would be the best choice; uncertainty at the application stage is not necessarily a problem.

- The test codes that determine where TOEFL, GRE and GMAT results are sent have been standardized across SAIS's three campuses. Here are the codes:

TOEFL - 5610-0000
GRE - 5610-0000

- We have standardized the wording of the explanation of who needs to take an English competency test as part of the application process. It now reads:

You must submit an English competency score if (1) English is not your native language and (2) you do not hold an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution in a country where English is an official language and where English is the language of instruction.

Please note that candidates who are not native English speakers and who did not do their undergraduate work in an English-speaking country must take one of the competency tests. So if your undergraduate studies were in English and the institution was in a country where English is not an official language, you must  take an English competency exam.

If you are in that category, then our advice is to go out, take one of the competency tests and sweep away any uncertainties.

- Consistent with the increasingly widespread practice in academic admissions, we have added a section on candidates' disciplinary history. Candidates are given a chance to explain any disciplinary issues they have faced in the past. Here is the introduction to the section:

Johns Hopkins SAIS receives applications from a diverse pool of candidates. The following questions ensure we have the clearest possible understanding of each candidate's background. Your answers will be kept confidential.

We realize that candidates put a great deal of effort into their applications and they will have many questions. That is why Amina and I stand ready to answer your questions. You can reach us:

  • By email at
  • By phone at +39 051 29 17 811
  • By Skype at jhubc.admissions

Nelson Graves

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