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why do I need to fill in which other schools I'm applying?


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Just a quick question I found while I was applying for IR schools such as SIPA, UCSD etc. They all require to give the list of other schools that I'm applying to. Does anyone have any idea on the purpose of this question? Would it be more beneficial for me to write this down?


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I believe it can be helpful for financial aid purposes. If you're a strong candidate, and the school knows you're applying to several other peer institutions, that may influence how much scholarship aid they offer you.  However, that can be both for bad and good: they might offer you a better aid package to try to convince you to choose your school, or they might think you're likely to be accepted to and pick a more prestigious school on your list, so they might offer you a smaller package and save the money for someone who they think will definitely choose their school.


I think it doesn't hurt to fill it out, it could work in your favor (see above about a better offer), and if nothing else it gives the school's a sense of what universe of schools you're looking at.  I got a really big scholarship offer from SIPA, and I think it was at least partially because they saw I was applying to WWS and wanted to make me an offer that would be at lease competitive with what WWS gives every student (free tuition plus a stipend).  I did end up going for WWS, but the SIPA offer was incredibly tempting and made me think about them more seriously than I otherwise thought I would (I assumed I would have to discount SIPA even if I got accepted because of the cost).   But again, this is all really just speculation.  I got no money from Harvard Kennedy, so either they thought I wasn't likely to pick them over my other schools (true) or they just didn't make me an offer for some and completely unrelated reason. 

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