Friday, October 5, 2018

2019 Admissions Guideline: How to prepare for the application season

The fall academic school year is always a busy time for prospective students researching and gathering documents to apply for different graduate programs. We understand how overwhelming this could be, so we've created a list of some tips on how you can start preparing for the application season.

Tip #1: Relax

Trust me, we know how overwhelming the information overload could be. Most of us have been in your shoes at one point and we know this could be a stressful time of figuring things out, but my biggest tip for you is to relax, have a positive attitude, and take this opportunity to grow.

Tip #2: Visit the campus


If you're in the area or find an opportunity to travel to DC, Nanjing, or Bologna, come visit us. Stop by the Admissions Office to meet with an admissions representative, go on a campus tour, speak with current students, and best of all, attend a class to get a taste of the academic life at SAIS. Visiting the campus is a great way to know if a program is a good fit for you, and the insights gained by visiting the campus will help you craft your Statement of Purpose later on.

To RSVP for a class visitation in Washington, DC, click here. To visit a class in Bologna, contact the Admissions Office at

Tip #3: Attend recruiting events


If you haven't already done so, we highly encourage you to attend one of our many recruiting events throughout the school year. Every week, the Admissions Office hosts several types of information sessions on-campus, online, and at fairs located all over the world.

Click here to get a detailed look at all our events on the recruiting calendar.

Tip #4: Prepare for an interview

An interview is a unique opportunity to put your best foot forward. Applicants to the MA program in Washington, DC, have the chance to do an optional interview with a current student as part of their application. These interviews are evaluative in nature and offer candidates an opportunity to add another dimension to their application. Slots for these interviews fill up quickly, so we highly encourage you to check the calendar and pick a date as soon as the calendar goes live.

Applicants to all programs at SAIS Europe are interviewed by a member of the Admissions Committee as part of the admission process. If you applied to SAIS Europe, after the deadline for application, the Admissions Office will contact you to set up an interview. Members of the Admissions Committee travel to several cities in Europe as well as to New York City and Washington, DC, to conduct interviews. However, as our applicants often live far from the locations the Committee members travel to, most interviews are conducted over Skype or, if the internet connection is not very strong, the telephone. The interviews are a way for us to get to know you, to hear your motivations first hand and an opportunity for you to ask us any questions. Whether in person or on Skype or the phone, interviews are conducted in the same way.

Tip #5: Schedule your standardized tests


Depending on which degree program you will be applying to and which campus, you may be required to submit GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, and/or IELTS scores. English language competency tests are required of all non-native English speakers, unless they completed a full undergraduate degree taught in English in a country where English is an official language, regardless of the campus or program they are applying for.

Applicants to the MA, PhD, and MIEF in Washington, DC, are required to take the GRE or GMAT. Applicants to any of the programs offered at SAIS Europe (MA, MAIA, MAGR, MIPP or Diploma) are not required to take the GRE or the GMAT, but they are strongly encouraged to do so. If you are not familiar with US standardized testing practices, you may want to begin researching them this month because you will need to register in advance and pay a testing fee. It should be noted that applicants can take standardized tests multiple times without hurting their application. The earlier you take the exams, the more time you have to retake them if you are unhappy with your scores.

Tip #6: Plan ahead for requesting letters of recommendation 

Thinking about who you want to ask for recommendation letters is a good way to prepare for the application season. If possible, it's always best to request a letter in person from someone who you know will have good things to say about you; however, if that is not an option, make sure you send your email request early to give the person adequate time to prepare a well thought out letter.

Tip #7: Research graduate school funding opportunities


Johns Hopkins SAIS offers a number of fellowships that students can use to fund their studies. Do your research early to make sure you meet the requirements and stay up to date on deadlines. Find out more about different fellowship opportunities here.

About the Staff Blogger:                                                                                           
Rebecca Chun 
Rebecca Chun is one of the Admissions Coordinator at the Washington, DC Admissions Office. She is a California native who decided to transition over to the east coast after living abroad in Asia for the past 4 years to pursue a career in higher education. If you have any questions, you can always reach her by email at