Wednesday, 16 March 2011


I'd like to extend a warm welcome to the U.S. candidates who have been admitted to the Bologna Center for the next academic year. It's been a pleasure following your candidacies, and I look forward to welcoming you in person for what -- judging from the experience of 6,500 of your predecessors-- will be a momentous year for you in Bologna.

Some of you may be wondering, "Candidates have been admitted? I haven't heard anything!"

A word of explanation. U.S. citizens and permanent residents who want to attend SAIS Bologna apply through the Admissions Office in Washington. The admissions procedure and timeline are a bit different. Candidates were notified earlier this week.

Non-U.S. citizens who want to go to the Bologna Center apply through SAIS Bologna. The Bologna Admissions Committee will be meeting at the end of this month, and decisions will be communicated to candidates in early April.

So this post is aimed at those of you who learned earlier this week that you have been accepted to SAIS with the possibility of studying at the Bologna Center starting in the fall.

(I actually don't remember the day I learned I had been admitted to SAIS Bologna. That does not mean it was not an important moment for me. It's simply buried in the mists of time. In hindsight I can say the SAIS experience changed my life. Some of our readers will already know that SAIS was the springboard for my career as a foreign correspondent. The first stop on that career was covering international finance in Washington. Without my two years at SAIS, could I have made a serious stab at that job? No way.)

Enough personal stuff. Those of you who have been admitted -- congratulations and here's to your future.

A couple of housekeeping matters:
  • Admitted candidates, whether they passed through the DC or Bologna offices, will have many questions. Before turning to email or the phone, please read your admissions packet carefully. If you don't find your answer there, do feel free to contact the appropriate office.
  • There will be an Open House for admitted candidates on Wednesday, April 13, at SAIS Washington. Information on this is in the admissions packet.
  • On Thursday, April 14, there will be a reception at SAIS Washington for Bologna Center alumni. Those of you who have been admitted to SAIS Bologna will be invited to the reception. Not everyone lives near DC. But if you've been admitted and are nearby, come meet SAIS Director Kenneth Keller, alumni and fellow admitted candidates at the reception. (I'll be there too ...)
  • On May 5 & 6 in Bologna, we will be holding an Open House for admitted students. Again, not all admitted candidates live near Bologna. But if you can make it, we'd love to have you here. More information will be made available later.
I can't help thinking about those candidates who were not offered admission. I could say a lot of trite things: It happens. Don't take it personally. Keep a stiff upper lip.

But I won't. I do intend, however, to offer a post soon on rejection -- and how to get the most out of it. I know a thing or two about rejection. I'm almost an expert. So I hope my thoughts will be helpful to those who took the trouble to apply, whose desire to attend may be every bit as strong as those who were admitted, but who fell short. Let's make the most out of it.

Nelson Graves