Admissions Blog

Advice from a Graduating Student: What I would have done differently with my time At SIPA

By Julia Anderson Crane '23
Posted May 15 2023

At admitted students day on April 4th, I looked around the room during our reception hours and was drawn to all of the excited energy of everyone talking. There were so many great questions going back and forth about the SIPA experience, and it struck me how differently all of the students who were currently enrolled had spent their time over the past two years. 

With graduation quickly approaching, I have been finding myself reflecting on my last two years. I wanted to share the things that I would have changed or done differently (or the same!) if I could rewind time and begin all over. Let the things I would change be your inspiration as you either begin at SIPA, start your second year, or are in the process of applying!

  1. Go to Professors Office Hours: One sentiment I have shared while working for admissions is the difference in the relationship between students and professors in undergraduate school and graduate school. In grad school, Professors become more of your confidant than your teacher. They want to guide you because SIPA students are the ones that will fill the positions that they have worked. Going to office hours is a great resource to get career advice, talk about what classes to take, learn places to apply for internships that you didn’t know about, and discuss paper topics and ideas. I didn’t utilize these opportunities to their full potential. It wasn’t until my last paper of graduate school that I purposefully went to a professor's office hours to talk about my paper topic and it made a huge difference in my writing. 
  2. Take a class Outside of SIPAInternational Affairs is a multidisciplinary field. Taking a class outside of SIPA is a great way to explore how other subjects impact international relations. When you are at SIPA, you are able to cross-register in almost every other professional school. I regret not taking a class outside of SIPA and expanding my network beyond professors and students at SIPA. 
  3. Be a TA/Reader and a Peer Advisor: In addition to working for admissions,  I also was a reader for Macroeconomics. (A reader works fewer hours than a TA and does not hold recitations, but instead does small group tutoring). Even though the time management could be hard, it was 100% worth it because it allowed me to meet many of the first-year students who I wouldn’t have met otherwise. It also was a great way to reconnect with my Seeples who were in my Peer Advising group during orientation. Being a reader helped me realize that I would love to teach in the future!
  4. Be a Campus Groups Regular: Campus Groups is the platform SIPA uses to post all the events going on around campus. This is where you can register to attend panels, happy hours, and lunches with professionals. I wish I had made it a weekly habit to go on Campus Groups to see the events happening around campus. I often heard of an event after, or too late, and all the spots were gone. Going to events is a phenomenal way to meet people outside of your concentration (and get free food!). 
  5. Explore more: It is easy to live in the bubble of Columbia and not leave Morningside Heights, but make it a point to explore a new part of the city each month. Now that I am moving to DC, I feel like I haven’t been able to do as many quintessential New York things as I wanted and I am bummed! Make a list of all the things you want to do while you live in NYC when you move here and try to do one of those things each month! It's easy to get tunnel vision when you are in school, so getting outside of Morningside is a great way to remember there is a whole world out there and school is just a small part of it!

Saying goodbye to SIPA  and New York will be incredibly hard, but I know the relationships I have and the memories made will last well beyond the two years I have spent here.