Friday, September 2, 2016

A hitchhiker's guide to applying to graduate school

The world of graduate school is galactic.

As you've heard us say before, there are so many programs out there that choosing the right one(s) is not easy.

Today, we want to share some tips on applying to graduate school. Our online application for 2017-18 is not live yet -- but the online application is not the starting point.

As you consider your options, it is important that you take a moment to think and to ask yourself
some questions. The answers will point you in the right direction.

Graduate school is an investment and you want to make sure you invest in something you will enjoy and that will give you the returns you're looking for.

Take some time to research different programs. You might think you know what you'd like to study, but challenge yourself and think of programs you may not have thought about before. They might hold something for you.

Once you've understood what you'd like to focus on, inform yourself. As we said in a previous post, to make a good choice, you need to have as much information as possible.

We at SAIS understand applicants have lots of questions, which deserve thorough answers. Don't be afraid to get in touch with us, we will be happy to answer your questions.

Start putting together your application documents. To apply to SAIS, if English is not your native language, you will need to take the TOEFL, IELTS or the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE). 

Consider taking the GRE. Non-U.S. student applying to spend their first year at our campus in Bologna are not required to take this test. However, we do encourage applicants to challenge themselves and to take the GRE.

Start jotting down ideas for your statement of purpose and begin to think what might be the focus of your analytical essay. The statement of purpose is the document where you will explain what motivates you to apply to SAIS and how SAIS can help you reach your goals. The analytical essay will serve to show your analytical and writing skills.

Think of who might be the best people to write your letters of recommendation. Choose your referees carefully and be sure to give them plenty of time to write their supporting letters.

Think of how you might finance your studies. While we do offer generous financial support, most students make ends meet through a combination of resources. Be sure to start your search well in advance.

The above seems to be a long list of things you need to do. But, "Don't Panic" says the catchphrase from Douglas Adams's science fiction. 

Amina Abdiuahab

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