Admissions Blog

SIPA Students Give Their Application Tips

By Ciara Comerford '23
Posted Feb 01 2023

We know that this is a stressful time for applicants, with the deadline of February 5th looming. With that in mind, I have asked some current SIPA students to share their pieces of advice for applicants who are still working on their applications! 

I have a few pieces of advice:

  • Don't stress, you still have plenty of time (unless you still haven't taken a required test - in that case, come back next year!). You can accomplish a lot between now and 11:59pm EST on 2/5/23.
  • Take a piece of paper and make a list of all the things you'd like to include in your essays, then allocate them across all the different essays based on what they’re asking for. 
  • Don't worry too much - there are many spots, and you have a zero percent chance of getting in if you never submit, so you can do it! 
  • Try to think of memorable experiences you want to share and don't be afraid to use every bit of identity that you have in you throughout your application.

I talked to some of my fellow Seeples about what advice they have for candidates:

"Make sure to read through the instructions before you attempt the video essay. It isn’t too hard, but you do only get one chance to do it!"

"It’s a good idea to anchor your application in current events and show how the events you chose are personal to you. Then, show how you wish to make an impact on these circumstances, but also why you need SIPA to help you do this. I would also recommend reading through all the SIPA websites and statements to notice the language used and the vision of the school, and try to align your application with it - don’t copy/paste, but do show compatibility."


"What helped me the most was writing my other applications first, especially those with longer essays. From there, I was able to refine my "story" into something more coherent and tailored to SIPA, which resulted in my acceptance! Also, allow enough lead time to communicate clearly with your recommenders about your reasons for applying to the program, what you have to offer, and what you hope to gain from it. This will enable them to provide far more meaningful and personalized recommendations."

"Before applying, it’s a good idea to make a checklist of opportunities (i.e., classes, student organizations, research positions) that are unique to SIPA, and reference them in your application."


"Don’t stress too much about it! While SIPA is competitive, your chances of getting in are not impossible and the admissions committee does take a well-rounded look at your application - you don’t even have to take the GRE!*"

*unless you're applying for MPA-EPM, the GRE/GMAT is required! 


I know that this is a stressful time, but we’re all rooting for you. I hope something in here helped you write your best possible application. There are tons of resources all over this blog, and you can sign up for office hours with an admissions officer here if you have any remaining questions. Most important of all is to remember that you can do this, and that you are your own best advocate. Good luck!