The integrated MIIS masters degree, and thoughts on applications

The Middlebury-Monterey integrated degree program now allows students to get a B.A./B.S. from Middlebury and a masters degree from MIIS in just five years. (There’s a list of the program foci here.) Pretty exciting, huh? I think so!

The brief history. As of July 1, the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS) became, quote, “the official graduate school of Middlebury College.” This doesn’t make Middlebury a big “research university” where attention to undergraduate students is replaced by graduate research and classes being taught by TA’s. That’s not the case at all.

Instead, Middlebury students now have the resources of a well-established and distinguished graduate schools increasingly available to them. For instance, here on our home Vermont campus, a lecture series featuring speakers from MIIS has been planned. On October 14, Pushpa Iyer, an Indian conflict-resolution-activist-turned-professor, gave her lecture in the first installment of the series entitled “Hate, Harmony and Homo sapiens: Zones of Peace (ZoP) amidst War,” and then was available in the Career Services Office to speak with students about futures in conflict resolution work.

What it means for me. As a Russian major and political science minor, the M.A. in International Policy Studies seems perfect for how I want to connect my undergraduate degree to my career goals. Though going “right back” to school after college was never a specific goal of mine, I find myself preparing and submitting an application to do so (and I couldn’t be more excited about it!).

I’m also reminded of what I was doing four years ago: the same thing with college apps. But, I feel like I have a pretty good amount of perspective on it now: four years after graduating high school, a few failed and successful internship applications later, and after a few more months working in the Admissions office, I bring you (drumroll…) “Three insights on applications.”

  1. “Where” you go may be important, but “what” you do is more so. By getting in, or not, to MIIS, I realize it’s totally up to me, and only me, to make my learning worthwhile once I get there if I really want a career in international policy later on.
  2. Preparing applications has a learning curve. It’s not just about how efficient I think I’ve become about editing a resume or filling in boxes on forms. In asking myself, “Why am I applying here? What do I want out of this school or job?” I’ve had to really sort out and define goals – which is super helpful in life.
  3. It’s not all in my hands only. Once I click the final “submit” or “send,” that’s about all I can really do. Admissions counselors and job application reviewers do their jobs for a living – they’re professionals, and they’re the ones who, if my application is the best it can be, are best able to figure out whether or not that opportunity is the best for me.

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