Tuesday, December 12, 2017

2018 Admissions Guideline: Analytical Essay

The Analytical Essay topic is, to put it bluntly, pretty vague:
Discuss an issue of national or international importance and its concern to you.
Not surprisingly, we get a lot of questions about this: topic, format, word limit, etc. Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions we receive. 

What is the format of this essay?

There is no one format for writing this essay. Some applicants write op-ed style essays, others write their essay in the form of a policy memo, and some even write in the style of a mini research paper with citations. Think about which writing style can help best express your thoughts clearly. 

Are citations required? 

If the style of paper you choose to write calls for citations, then go for it; however, it is not required.

Will citations contribute to my word count?

No, it will not, but make sure you still remember to keep the 600 word limit in mind. Some of the most successful essays are the ones that are concise and clear.

Does the topic need to be related to the concentration I indicate on my application?

Not necessarily, but most applicants do choose to write on a relevant topic. Why is that? Because most applicants select an area that they already have some experience or knowledge about the topic. You should choose a subject matter that you're well-versed on; now is probably not the time to write about something new (to you).

Basically, we intentionally left the topic vague because we want to assess how you choose to examine a topic that matters to you. It's going to tell us a lot about your perspective as a candidate and as a person. There's no right or wrong answer to this one. It's more about getting to know who you are as a student of international relations and future leader impacting the world. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

December 2017 Recruitment Events

Virtual Information Sessions:

On-Campus Information Sessions:

 Office Hours:

Class Visitations/Interviews:

 Class visitations and optional interviews are now available under MySAIS. If you haven't already, make sure you create a MySAIS account to have access to the class visitation/interview calendar.

Click here to get a step by step guideline to reserve your spot.

Our office will be closed December 23-January 1 for the holiday

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

2018 Admissions Guideline: Statement of Purpose

The Statement of Purpose essay (sometimes also referred to as the Personal Statement) is an integral piece of your application. I like to think of the Statement of Purpose as the keystone of an application - when executed well, it pulls all those pieces together to create a cohesive whole.

So, what is the Statement of Purpose? It's your story. Who you are, where you are, where you're going, and how Johns Hopkins SAIS fits into that picture. Your Statement of Purpose is how you personalize your application to show the Admissions Committee the real person behind the transcripts, recommendations, and test scores. With the Statement of Purpose, we expect you to not only show us why we should admit you but also why Johns Hopkins SAIS is the best fit for you.

A couple of tips for your Statement of Purpose:
  • Statement of Purpose/Personal Statement essays questions can be pretty similar from school to school. Resist the temptation to write one generic essay and submit it to every school.  International relations schools are each different, and we look for different things in an essay. A good essay for SAIS might be a poor fit for another school and vice versa.
  • The first rule of writing anything (not just an essay) is to think about your audience.  Your audience is the Admissions Committee and faculty.  Ask yourself, what does the committee want to know about me?  What information are they looking for?  
  • Good writing is concise writing.  A concise writer can express more in 500 words than a mediocre writer writing 2000 words.  The word limit on the Statement of Purpose is 600 words. 
  • Make sure you revise, revise, and revise.  
  • Revision means that you'll end up spending a lot of time working on this essay.  Don't expect to dash off your essay a few nights before the application deadline and think it will be the best representation of your abilities.  Start brainstorming now, give the essay the amount of time and attention that it deserves, and submit the best version of the essay.

Friday, November 17, 2017

2018 Admissions Guideline: Transcripts

We get a lot of questions in the Admissions Office about transcripts: where to send them, what formats we accept, if we require translations and/or evaluations, etc. Here are some answers to those questions.

What does “official transcripts” mean?

An official transcript is issued to Johns Hopkins SAIS from the college, either electronically (via a service such as eScrip) or in hard copy (paper).  To make the process quicker, we prefer receiving transcripts electronically from your school; however, if you decide to take the paper route, you can (and should) request that the school send the transcript directly to Johns Hopkins SAIS.  If you choose to deliver the transcript to our office yourself, it still needs to be sealed in the original envelope, with your college registrar’s stamp over the seal.

Can I submit unofficial transcripts?

Applicants may upload unofficial transcripts as part of the application process, but will be required to submit official copies prior to enrollment. 

Where do I send my transcript?

Transcripts in hard copy should be sent to the Office of Admissions in Washington, D.C.: 

Johns Hopkins SAIS 
Office of Admissions 
1740 Massachusetts Avenue NW 
Washington, D.C. 20036 

Transcripts in electronic copy should be sent to sais.dc.admissions@jhu.edu.

What does “all college-level coursework” mean? Isn’t my degree-granting transcript enough?  

Most students have at least a few transfer credits on their undergraduate transcript for various reasons, ranging from study abroad to summer programs to switching schools.  You will need to submit transcripts for ALL of your coursework.  We want to see how you’ve done in all your coursework–not just some of the schoolwork.
If they list the course titles AND grades for all transferred credits on your degree-granting transcript, then you don’t need any additional paperwork.  If they don’t, ask if they have copies of the other school’s transcript in your files and ask them to include copies with your degree-granting transcript. 
If neither of these options works for you, you’ll need to contact multiple schools to request all the transcripts you need.  Additionally, if you’ve taken any additional coursework post-graduation (for credit) you’ll need to supply those transcripts as well.

What about international transcripts?  

  • What if I received my bachelor’s degree from a U.S. institution and I completed a semester or two abroad?

The first thing you need to do is check your undergraduate transcript and see how the courses are recorded. We need to see both the courses and the grades listed on your transcript. If the transcript lists both, then you’re covered and you won’t need to do anything else. However, if your school only lists the courses as transfer credits, you’ll need to provide an official copy of your study abroad transcript.
This is easier than you might think. Any U.S. school that accepted study abroad credits will have an official copy of your study abroad transcript in your student file; all you have to do is ask them to send a copy of it to the SAIS Admissions Office and you’re ready to go.

  • What if I received my bachelor’s degree from a non-U.S. institution?

First, you’ll need to determine if your school will issue a transcript in English. Many international institutions are prepared to do so; if your school is an international institution, you’ll need to acquire an English-language copy in a sealed envelope (don’t open it!) and forward it to our office.

If your school does not provide transcripts in English, you are asked to provide an official translation of the entire transcript and an explanation of the grading system of the university. You are strongly encouraged to use a credential evaluation service, particularly if you are not sure of how to obtain original transcripts or face difficulties obtaining them. See the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services for a list of providers. Transcripts and translations must be received by the Johns Hopkins SAIS Office of Admissions before the relevant deadline, so please make any requests well in advance.

  • What if I took non-credit language courses abroad?
SAIS doesn’t require official transcripts for non-credit language courses, so you don’t need to submit these transcripts - you can indicate language experiences on your application and your resume. If you want to send us photocopies/scanned copies as proof of these courses, you’re certainly welcome to do so, but we don’t require them.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

2018 Admissions Guideline: Preparing for the Interview

Did you know that Johns Hopkins SAIS offers optional interviews for MA applicants both on-campus and on Skype?

Interviews are a great way to individualize your application and to shine your personal strengths in addition to what's written in your application. In other words: an interview makes your application more competitive and adds an extra touch to your application. It also gives you the opportunity to demonstrate that you have the professional focus and preparation to thrive at a place like Johns Hopkins SAIS, as well as the chance to show your interest in our program.

Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your interview.

Tip #1: Sign up early

Slots for interviews are limited, and because interview slots fill up rather quickly, it is in your best interest to register as soon as you are certain of your availability. You do not need to start or submit an application in order to sign up for an interview.

To learn how to sign up for an interview, check out this blog post.

Tip #2: Show up early

Whether you're planning to do an in-person interview or a Skype interview, make sure you show up early. First impressions are always important, and the last thing you want to do is make the interviewer wait for you to show up. If you show up early, you can make sure you have all your documents ready, calm your nerves, and if you're Skyping in, you can make sure that the internet is connected and working.

Tip #3: Dress the part

You should dress the way you want to be remembered. First impressions can have a lasting impression, so it's a good idea to come dressed professionally.

Tip #4: Have your resume/ CV ready

It should be noted that we do not share any piece of your application with your interviewer, so be prepared to provide a copy of your resume or CV so that the interviewer can have some background information. If you interview in person, that means bringing along an additional hard copy. If you interview via Skype that means sending the resume or CV digitally through Skype.

Tip #5: Practice and be prepared

Practice with questions that might be asked. Trust me, you'll be less nervous if you prepare. You should expect the interview to be evaluative as well as informative. This means your interviewer may assess any and everything from your intellectual curiosity to your professional acumen.

Among other topics, be prepared to discuss your goals, how a Johns Hopkins SAIS education will help propel you towards these goals, and what unique qualities/experiences you might contribute to the SAIS community. Our advice is to prepare for this interview as you would any high-stakes interview.

Tip #6: Ask questions

During the interview, ask your interviewer thoughtful and relevant questions to assess if the program is a right fit for you. Our interviewers are second-year MA students currently in the program so they can help provide honest answers about the school and the program.

Rebecca Chun
Admissions Coordinator

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November 2017 Recruitment Events

Virtual Information Sessions:

On-Campus Information Sessions:

Master of Arts Regional Studies Program
Find out more about our African, China, Japan, Korea, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Canadian, European and Eurasian, Latin American, and Middle East Studies

 Off-Campus Information Sessions:

Class Visitations/Interviews:

 Class visitations and optional interviews are now available under MySAIS. If you haven't already, make sure you create a MySAIS account to have access to the class visitation/interview calendar.

Click here to get a step by step guideline to reserve your spot.

Taster Lectures: 

Jessica Fanzo at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
Get a taste of the academic life by attending Professor Jessica Fanzo's lecture

Our office will be closed November 20-24 for the holiday.

Monday, October 30, 2017

2018 Admissions Guideline: Work Experience

Most of our students coming into Johns Hopkins SAIS enter with at least 1-2 years of work experience. We often get questions about how much work experience is needed to apply. Let me break it down for you based on some of the most frequently asked questions.

Johns Hopkins SAIS Career Fair

What exactly is considered work experience?

Work experience is a full-time job. We value internships and volunteer experience, which you can include in your resume/CV portion, but the term "work experience" specifically means professional experience.

How important is work experience for my application?

Work experience is one of the many factors we consider when looking at your application. The average work experience for the incoming class is typically 2 years, but that also depends on which degree you apply to.

For a more detailed look at the different degrees, click here.

How many years of work experience should I come with?

About 88% of our incoming MA students come with at least one year of work experience. These jobs range from being directly related to international relations to a wide range of other experiences in the financial sector, teaching abroad, consulting, Peace Corps, private industry, and law.

What if I just finished undergrad studies and have little to no full-time work experience?

Each year, around 10%-12% of the incoming MA students enter Johns Hopkins SAIS right after completing their undergraduate studies. Many of these younger candidates come with internship experience in internships related directly to the field of international relations, some do not.

What if I have more than 7+ years of work experience?

All of our programs are open to candidates with varying levels of experience. For experienced professionals with seven or more years of work experience, and wish to advance in their career, there are two programs to consider: a 9 month Masters of International Public Policy (MIPP) and a 16 month Master of Arts in Global Policy (MAGP) for working professionals. For more information, click here.

Are there any part-time degrees?

Our degree programs are full-time, though experienced professionals with 7 or more years of work experience can be employed full-time and pursue our Master of Arts in Global Policy degree. In order for students to maximize their full experience at Johns Hopkins SAIS, we encourage students to take full advantage of the various academic and social offerings such as panel discussions, co-curricular activities, special workshops, lectures, guest speakers, and student trips.
If you are interested in pursuing part-time coursework, you may consider taking the part-time non-degree courses that are offered throughout the year through our Part-Time and Non-Degree Office.

Can I work while I study?

With the exception of our Master of Arts in Global Policy (MAGP) for working professionals, it is very difficult for students to maintain a full-time career while in school. However, many of our students work part-time jobs on campus which have flexible hours or participate in one of the many internships offered through our Global Careers Office.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

2018 Admissions Guideline: Application Fee Waiver

Did you know that you might be eligible for an application fee waiver? Not a lot of applicants realize that if they are/were part of a certain professional development program, they can receive a fee waiver.

These are the following professional development programs:
  • Pickering
  • PPIA
  • IIPP
  • McNair
  • Rangel
  • Teach for America
  • Teach for China
  • Fullbright (those currently on fellowship)
  • Peace Corps

Are you eligible? If so, here are the steps to make sure that you get your fee waived.

  1. In the online application form, select the option to pay by check.
  2. Submit any official documents confirming your participation in the appropriate program by sending it to our email at sais.dc.admissions@jhu.edu
  3. Once we receive your documents, our office will waive the fee.

For non-U.S. students applying to SAIS Europe, there is no application fee.

Have a question? Send us an email or call us at (202) 663-5700!

Rebecca Chun
Admissions Coordinator

Monday, October 23, 2017

2018 Admissions Guideline: Letters of Recommendation

Here are some helpful answers to FAQs about letters of recommendation. Make sure you get a head start on these!

How many letters of recommendation do I need?

The Johns Hopkins SAIS application process requires two (2) letters of recommendation, but you can submit up to three letters of recommendation. It's up to you if you decide to submit 2 or 3.  Personally, I always think it's good to ask for 3 just in case one person forgets to submit a letter on time. The last thing you want is to stress over a missing letter even though you completed the application on time.

How do I submit my letters of recommendation?

All letters of recommendation are submitted electronically in our application portal. Having it submitted electronically instead of by snail mail makes it easier for our office, you, and the person writing your letter. Once you start working on your application, you can fill out the contact section for your referrals, and we will send them a link to where they can submit your letters.

Who should I ask for my letters of recommendation? 

Should they be professional, academic, or one of each? We don't have a preference for one type over another.  Rather than acquiring specific types of recommendations, you should look to solicit letters of recommendations from individuals who can best speak to your suitability as a international relations professional.  For those who have been out of school for a few years, that may mean all your recommendations are professional.  If you're younger, that might mean all your recommendations are academic in nature. That's okay. Just make sure you ask someone who can really speak well about your strengths for the program.

How should I ask for a letter of recommendation?

When you approach someone about writing a recommendation letter for you, make sure they know about the program.  Be prepared to tell them why Johns Hopkins SAIS interests you, and why it's a good fit for you.  If you want them to focus on specific items in the recommendation, make sure they know.  If you haven't seen this individual in some time, you may want to spend some time catching up and letting them know what you've been doing lately and what you plan to do after graduate school.  I always think it's a good idea to give a copy of your resume/CV to help them use as a reference while writing your letter.

You should also ask them well in advance.  You never know how many other people are asking them for letters of recommendation, and you need to give your recommender enough time to write a strong recommendation. Remember, they're doing you a favor, so make it a smooth process for them.

Can it be in another language?

Sadly, our office of Admissions does not speak every language in the world. Although this would be a nice skill to have, we ask that all letters of recommendation be in English. If your recommender does not speak English, he/she will need to get a translator, but we ask that your letters are in English.

Will I be able to see the letter of recommendation?

Unfortunately, you will not be able to see any of the letters since your recommender will submit it electronically through a separate link sent to them. However, you can see if they have submitted the letter through the application portal.

What if I am done with my application and I am only missing the letter of recommendation?

We strongly encourage students to get all of their documents ready prior to the deadline. If your referral did not write you a letter, you should reach out to them directly and send them a reminder. Chances are they might have forgotten in the midst of their other work, which happens. It wouldn't hurt to send a reminder, but make sure you're not over doing it by sending them emails after email. Last case, find another person to write your letter.

If you have any other questions, feel free to send us an email, tweet, or FB message!

Rebecca Chun
Admissions Coordinator

Friday, October 20, 2017

2018 Admissions Guideline: The myth behind economics courses

When prospective students first hear about the International Economics course requirements at Johns Hopkins SAIS, I often see a look of worry from applicants.  Because we are a school of international studies, we want to make sure that our students are well equipped with the knowledge they need to excel for wherever they go to work internationally or domestically. Yet, I want to reassure you that the economics requirement is not as daunting as it sounds.

In case you didn't know...

Every Master of Arts (MA) student is required to take a minimum of 4 economics courses: intermediate microeconomics, intermediate macroeconomics, international monetary theory, and international trade theory.

But I already know this stuff...

If you feel that you already have a strong economics background or you've taken these courses in the past, you can apply to take a waiver exam online. To find out more about the waiver exam, click here

What if I need help?

Economics is not an easy subject for everyone. We understand that and we want to make sure that all of our students thrive and excel in this area, so there are a lot of helpful resources available on our campus.

1. PEERS IN THE CLASS: Working with your peers in study groups and group projects will not only help you to find a community of students to grow with, but you will also get a better understanding of the topic, course, and assignments. 

2. STUDENT TA'S: Student TA's are a great resource available for students. If you have a question about an assignment or a lecture, you can stop by the office and personally ask one of our wonderful TA's. If you feel that you have a strong grasp, you can apply to be a TA yourself. 

3. WEEKLY FACULTY MEETINGS: The International Economics Program invites professors every Thursday afternoon to present and receive feedback on research papers. 

4. BROWN BAG EVENTS: Every Wednesday, you can bring your lunch and listen to professors and invited guests discuss and receive feedback on preliminary research ideas.

5. LIBRARY: Our library located on the Nitze building 6th floor has an extensive number of resources available both on campus as well as online. If you can't find something you need, just let one of our librarians know.

6. OUR LOCATION: There's a reason why our campus is located in Bologna, Nanjing, and DC. These three cities are prime locations to find upcoming events about international topics, panel discussions, and more.

Can I get a head start?

Absolutely! At Johns Hopkins SAIS, we have pre-term classes throughout the year where you can take the Online Principles of Economics course to fulfill your microeconomics or macroeconomics requirement. This is a great way to transition to your move in DC during the summer before starting your full load of classes in the fall. 

To find out more about other pre-term courses, click here.

Rebecca Chun
Admissions Coordinator

Monday, October 16, 2017

2018 Admissions Guideline: Why you should consider the early notification application

As you get your application together for the 2018 admissions, I'm sure you've questioned whether or not you should consider the early notification deadline or to take more time preparing for the regular deadline. Although the regular deadline gives you the benefit of having more cushion time, I wanted to share some of the benefits for applying to the early notification enrollment option that you might not have known about.

1. Anyone who gets accepted in the early notification pool receives a half tuition fellowship

What that means: It means, you automatically get a fellowship (or scholarship) added to your tuition just for being accepted into the early notification pool. 

2. No one gets rejected

What that means: Any applicants applying through the early notification enrollment option either get accepted or deferred to regular decision pool. It's like a free second chance.

3. Get it out of the way

What that means: You're all done and can spend more time focusing on other things that you enjoy.


So, what are you waiting for? Get your application together to apply to the early notification pool.


Check out other important dates and deadlines here.

Rebecca Chun
Admissions Coordinator

Thursday, October 12, 2017

2018 Admissions Guideline: Standardized Tests

As you are getting your application together, I'm sure you are thinking a lot about the standardized tests and language competency exams. We get a lot of questions about them, so I want to demystify them for you.

Who's required to submit standardized test scores? 

The answer to this question depends on which degree program you choose to apply for. Applying to the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Masters of Arts in International Economics and Finance (MIEF), or Master of Arts (MA) program? Then standardized test scores as well as English competency exams such as the TOEFL or IELTS are required for non-native English speakers. Applying to the Master of Arts in Public Policy (MIPP) or Master of Arts in Global Policy (MAGP)? If so, the standardized test scores (GRE or GMAT) are strongly encouraged, but not required. However, the English competency is still required for non-native English speakers. The only exception for MA applicants is international students applying to Bologna, who have to complete an interview instead.

If English is NOT your native language, (or in the case of bilingual students, your dominant language is not English), you will need to submit an English competency exam such as the TOEFL or IELTS. If English is NOT your native language, (or in the case of bilingual students, your dominant language is not English), but you hold an undergraduate degree granted by an accredited institution in a country where English is an official language and where English is the language of instruction, than you will not be required to submit your TOEFL scores. However, in the same case, but with a graduate degree, you will need the approval of the Office of Admissions to be exempt from submitting an English competency exam.

Do I take the GRE, GMAT, or LSAT? 

We’re perfectly happy to accept either the GRE or GMAT; however, we don't accept LSAT.

What is the minimum test score for the GRE or GMAT?

We don't have an arbitrary cut-off for our test scores. These scores can be a bit controversial, and it's not uncommon to hear people discuss the cultural bias of standardized test scores. So we recognize that strong candidates can perform poorly on standardized test scores, and we don't use a minimum test score as a baseline to eliminate candidates. 

We may reject someone with poor test scores, but that applicant was rejected because his/her application contained a series of weaknesses-not because of test scores alone.

To find the test score range from 2017 applicants, click here.

What is the minimum test score for the TOEFL/IELTS?

We do have minimums for these exams, but we don't do this so we have an easy way to eliminate applicants. We have a minimum score on the exam because we want to make sure that all of our students are well-prepared to succeed in our program. If we admitted an applicant with less than minimum scores, we would be doing a disservice to him/her, because we would know that they would be unable to keep up with the intensity of our program.

A TOEFL score of at least 600 for the paper-based exam, 250 for the computer based exam or 100 for the internet-based exam is required. Students who choose to submit the IELTS exam results must meet a minimum of 7.0.

To find the test score range from 2017 applicants, click here.

Can I take the GRE and GMAT multiple times without adversely affecting  my application?

The reviewer will not see that you've taken it multiple times. They will only see the best scores you've received.

We only consider the best sub-scores you receive in each category...

...even if they are from different test dates. Say you take the GRE three times, and each time you max out score-wise on a different section. We will use whichever quantitative score is best, whichever verbal score is best, and whichever analytical writing score is best, even if all three scores came from three different dates.

You might get your scores instantly, but we won't.

It takes up to 10 business days for our office to receive official GRE/TOEFL test scores (and potentially longer for GMAT and IELTS), even though the testing center will give you unofficial score results for the verbal and quantitative section on the same day. To ensure that your official test scores reach Johns Hopkins SAIS on time, you should take the appropriate examinations and request your official score reports at least a month before the deadline.

So, when planning for your application, make sure that you take the standardized exam well in advance of the application deadline to make sure we get your scores in time.

Make sure you check the important deadlines to make sure you don't miss any important dates!

Friday, October 6, 2017

2018 Admissions Guideline: Who do I contact?

As an Admissions Coordinator, one of the most common questions I get asked is "who do I contact to get more information about ______________?" Although most of the contact information is on our website, it takes a lot of time navigating the site to find the exact person or department, so for this post, I put together a list of contact information in one place to help you find the contact person for your questions. For general questions, you can always contact the Admissions Office and someone will be more than happy to help you; however, if you have a specific question and you want to talk to someone from a certain department, use this directory to get in touch with the right person.


Admissions Office in DC


Hopkins-Nanjing Center in DC

SAIS Europe in Bologna


African Studies

Allison Janos


American Foreign Policy

Starr Lee
China Studies

Zhaojin Ji
Conflict Management

Isabelle Talpain-Long
Energy Resources & Environment

Jaime Warren
European & Eurasian Studies

Cristina Benitez
International Development

Ada Ho
Nicole Kazi
International Economics

Savannah Altvater
International Law & Organization

Tiffany Basciano
International Political Economy

Starr Lee
IR General, Global Theory & History, Canadian Studies

Starr Lee
Japan Studies

Alexander Evans
Korean Studies

Seo Ho Lee
Language Studies

Jacqueline Manuel
Latin American Studies

John McGeoch
Middle East Studies

Allison Janos
South Asia Studies

Isata Munu
Southeast Asia Studies

Isata Munu
Strategic Studies

Thayer McKell

Rebecca Chun
Admissions Coordinator