Admissions Officers get asked all the time – “How do I get into your program/school?” The short answer is we are looking for candidates who demonstrate a commitment to public service and an ability to learn what we teach. Your application should showcase your professional and volunteer experiences, leadership, academic preparation, accomplishments, and strengths -- as they relate to a professional career in public service.
Therefore, we will assess a number of attributes, which include some of the following:
- professional work experience - The more relevant work experience in the field of public service, the better; 2-5 years is preferable.
- leadership – Provide examples of how your leadership resulted in a positive result
- your passion - Describe what you are most passionate about and why, and how that passion ties into your career aspirations
- academic preparation – Most policy & IR graduate programs are seeking candidates with strong writing skills and undergraduate course work in math, economics, and statistics, because most have a quantitative core curriculum in the first semester of their programs.
- strengths and weaknesses - Be candid about why you are applying to graduate school – highlight your strengths relevant to the degree program you are applying to, be aware of the skills you want to/need to strengthen (and why those skills are relevant to a career in public service)
- strong letters of recommendations – Most programs require three letters of reference – Make sure the person writing the letter really knows you, has a good sense of your skills and strengths, why you are pursuing a graduate degree, some sense of your career goals, and why they feel you would be a good fit for the program