Wednesday, 6 April 2011

A reply to a comment

We received a comment from "Anonymous" after publishing yesterday's post, "Striving for excellence".

Here is the comment: "I think that's very helpful, but it would also be good to see some standard indicators e.g. number of applicants to places, median gre, etc"

I tried to post a comment, but it did not load, probably due to space limitations. Here it is:

I’ll do my best to address this question. First, keep in mind that we are discussing applicants to the Bologna Admissions Office, so non-Americans. We do not publish the admissions rate (the percentage of applicants who are admitted). That is not because we like to keep secrets. Like many statistics, it paints a very limited picture. It does not capture the quality of the applicant pool, something that is very important for a small and focused program such as ours. We are very satisfied with the quality of the applicants. As applications were up sharply to our office this year, we have had to turn down more candidates than at any time in the past eight years and so have had to be even more selective. I know – I am reading emails from disappointed candidates every day.

You mention GREs. GREs are required of U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents who apply through our Washington office, but we do not require them of non-U.S. citizens who apply to SAIS Bologna through our office. That is in part because the GRE is not widely used outside the United States. Although our applicants’ transcripts usually capture their GPAs, we do not compile an average GPA because of the wide variety of universities that our candidates attend. Keep in mind that we had applications from 72 countries -- with transcripts from many more universities -- this year. Finally, while we do require English proficiency tests of non-native English speakers, they are used to measure whether a candidate can handle the challenge of studying entirely in English, not as an overall predictor of performance. Publishing average language proficiency scores would not be very meaningful.

I’m not sure this answer will satisfy "Anonymous". How about this: have a look at the profiles of some of our students. Read again the profiles of some of our top admitted candidates in yesterday's post. Take a look at the accomplishments of SAIS alumni.

Do you measure up?