What are my chances in getting accepted to GW's Elliot School's MA in International Affairs?


I am preparing an application for GW’s Elliot School’s MA in International Affairs. I think I have a decent application, but I am still nervous because it is my top choice. I would appreciate any thoughts on my chances!

Major: International Studies
Minors: Business Administration and Mandarin Chinese (with a study abroad at Tsinghua University in Beijing)
GPA: 3.5 mid-size Southern private school
GRE: The program is GRE optional so I’m hoping to avoid having to take the GRE.
Professional Experience: I currently have two jobs. I was hired out of college to work in business for a Fortune 500 company and have been there for couple years. I am also an Officer in the military (reserve unit).
Statement of Purpose: My statement of purpose has some unique elements in it including international development experience abroad done with my family (my family has been doing humanitarian work in the region for decades). I clearly state my goals and how GW’s MA in IA is an essential in achieving them. I also use my development experience to explain my desire to add a concentration in international development.
Language: Intermediate proficiency in Mandarin and Spanish
LOR’s: I’ve been out of school for a couple years and haven’t keep up with my professors. I can receive strong letters from my current employers and some decent letters from professors.

I appreciate any insight anyone can give me! I am a bit worried about my GPA and how no GRE will affect my application. Thank you for everyones time!

I’m sorry you haven’t receive any feedback on your request, yet. I don’t think there are many people in the forum with grad school experience in the Elliott School. In my limited experience, all I can offer is what you probably already know. Your background (work experience and military experience) and language proficiency really help you. I’m not sure how GW ranks your undergrad school, which will ultimately determine how your 3.5 GPA will be viewed (I don’t want to assume.) Your guess is as good as mine at this point, but I wish you luck!

No direct experience with Elliott, but a fair amount with grad school admissions in a different field and collegekid has just finished the MA admissions cycle in an overlapping field. Some thoughts:

Students don’t always realize how normal it is for profs to get requests from LoRs at around this stage after college, and writing those LoRs is one of the many (under-appreciated) things they do for students.

You start with an email to the prof, reminding them of the class(es) they know you from (X class/es in term/year). Then- extremely briefly you lay out what you have been doing and that you are now applying to grad school. Link something that you got from that class to why you are asking that prof for a rec (ie, something from work you did in that class links to your field of study, or the analytical skills that the class developed, etc). Close with “do you think you would be able to write a strong recommendation for me” and some form of offer to follow up by phone or email. If you get a “sorry, I’m too busy” move on to another prof. If you get a “sure- send me what you need” have ready: CV, list of programs for which you want LoRs, and a bullet point list of things they can draw on to write the LoR. That can include things that reinforce elements in your essays, specific things from their class that they can mention, what your goals are, etc, deadlines, etc. Remember: BREVITY counts! make it easy for them to write the LoR. If they say yes, thank them at the time / when the LoR gets in. And for every single person who writes you an LoR write an outcome email! Writing letters for students and never hearing what happened is rude: somebody has put appreciable effort (and professional reputation) into advocating for you- as a courtesy. Not knowing how it worked out is also real let down on a personal level.

Put your back into your academic LOR- at any of the programs that I know well, the academic LoR is weighted much more heavily than one from an employer, because they want to know how you are in an academic setting.

Be careful not to go too far over the top with this point. It is true that in IA an MA is a key career hurdle - but even the most loyal of faculty know that 1) no particular MA is “essential” to achieving your goals and 2) there is next to no chance that theirs is the only program you are applying to. Instead, emphasize the fit between what you have & need and what they offer- and benefit from: what you bring to the course is relevant also. One of the single best things about a good grad program is what you learn from your cohort- from their experiences, perspectives, ideas.

I am adding to this thread hoping someone might have some experience with the admissions to this program. It says online that they require 4 completed semesters of a foreign language to even apply to the program. I would have that completed before the program began in the Fall, but this would still be in progress at the time of application. Does anyone know if this is acceptable or if the courses need to be complete to submit an application?