Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Applying to SAIS: A virtually paperless trail

Applicants to SAIS can submit almost all of their materials through our online application software.

(Just a few years ago I might have written "virtually" all of their materials, but the digital revolution requires a different adverb.)

The software, which will go online later this month, does away with almost all of the paper and postage that for decades characterized applications to college and graduate school. The application will be available here.

One type of document needs eventually to be sent in hard copy -- the undergraduate transcript. Everything else can be submitted electronically.

Here is what the applicant can submit with the online software:
  • the "application", which provides basic information on the candidate: name, address, date of birth, undergraduate institution, academic background
  • CV
  • statement of purpose
  • analytical essay
Referees can upload their letters of reference directly to the candidate's online application. If they prefer, they can mail a hard copy of the recommendation to the SAIS DC Admissions Office, where it will be uploaded into our system.

Candidates taking standardized tests such as the TOEFL or the GRE should provide SAIS's code when registering for the exams. The test organizers will then send your results directly to SAIS.

The online platform allows candidates to start an application, save it and come back later to continue work. When everything is in order, one can press the submit button. (The deadline for applications is January 7, 2014. There is no particular advantage in submitting your application early, although it is best not to wait until the last minute in case technical gremlins are on the prowl.)

If you are considering applying for 2014-15, there is plenty of work that can be done outside of the platform starting right now:

  • freshen up your CV;
  • schedule standardized tests and start preparing for them;
  • line up the referees who will write your letters of recommendation and brief them on why you are considering SAIS and graduate school;
  • start planning your statement of purpose and analytical essay.

Each of these tasks will take thought and time. There is no need to wait for the application to come on line later this month to get started.

Remember that in coming months we will be holding online information sessions, with each one focusing on a different element of the application. For a schedule and list of topics, click here.

Do you have questions? Don't hesitate to contact us via email (, Skype (jhubc.admissions) or the phone (+39 051 29 17 811).

Nelson Graves

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