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My Applicant Profile For IR


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Hi everyone, I've been reading through this forum and found very helpful comments. I, like many other people in this particular thread, am concerned about my chances of getting into a IR program. I feel that I have a really average profile and that I will not stand out as a applicant (SAIS is my dream school). I would like your opinions.

Undergraduate: Cornell University

Major: China & Asia-Pacific Studies (Basically IR with focus on China with a semester in D.C. and Beijing, small class of only 14 this year, 20 max)

Cumulative GPA: 3.55

Major GPA: 3.62

GRE: TBA but I'm not a great test taker, from what I've studied so farthe GRE is similar to SAT. For the SAT I received Math: 670, Reading: 670, Writing:660

Academic Positives:

-Spent a semester in D.C. fall of junior year doing a internship, thesis and classes. I received top marks for my thesis on "Economic development and social stability in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Inner Mongolia" looking into Chinese government's use of economic development to legitimize its rule.

-Will be spending a semester in Beijing coming semester with a internship, classes, and research (this time for my senior thesis).

Academic Negatives:

-C in intermediate microeconomics (I assumed AP micro/macro in HS was enough to prepare me for Cornell's economic classes, obviously I was wrong).

-Spotty language record: A,A-,B+,B,A- due to being placed in the heritage track because I am ethnically Chinese despite not speaking mandarin or cantonese at home (Cornell splits Chinese into those that do not have any knowledge of the language and those that speak it at home; how does being a Chinese-American concentrating on U.S.-China Relations play out for IR programs?)

Work Experience:

-In D.C., interned for a agribusiness consulting firm and did projects on international food security, grain crisis and food safety.

-A non-residential internship with Hudson Institute working on various projects (ongoing)

-Hopefully a internship with Brookings Institute or Lincoln Institute in Beijing


-Part of a student organization that promotes education and development on the Tibetan Plateau that hosts regular fundraising events for our projects abroad (penpal, school building, scholarships)

-Spent a summer in Chengdu, China and on Tibetan Plateau with a NGO as a teacher (english and science) for underprivileged Tibetan children (pilot summer program completely developed by 10 on-site volunteers that summer)

-Spent 5 summers since high school teaching sports, creative and academic classes to children. Also taught ESL to recently immigrated Chinese children in the program.

-A finalist but not awardee of the Pickering Fellowship. I was waitlisted but of course no one declined. =( I will apply again for the graduate fellowship.

Edited by KJ90
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