PPIA Program

“Diversity & Leadership in Public Service”

FAQ

Questions about the PPIA Junior Summer Institute Fellowship Program

  1. What is involved in a PPIA Fellowship and what is its purpose?
  2. What is expected of PPIA Fellows?
  3. Is there any major difference between the different PPIA Junior Summer Institutes?
  4. What are the dates for the 2017 Junior Summer Institutes?
  5. What kind of careers does the PPIA Fellowship Program prepare you for?
  6. Is PPIA designed for aspiring medical doctors and lawyers?
  7. What do you look for when selecting PPIA Fellows?
  8. I still have some time before I’m eligible to apply for PPIA, what can I do until then to strengthen my chances of becoming a PPIA Fellow?
  9. Can you send me additional information about PPIA or add my name to a mailing list?
  10. What schools are in the PPIA Graduate School Consortium?
  11. Are there different levels of JSI coursework available?
  12. How is the GRE portion of the institute incorporated?
  13. Is the PPIA Law Fellow Program a portion of the JSI undergraduate program?

Questions about the PPIA Junior Summer Institute Fellowship Application

  1. What is the deadline to submit my application?
  2. When will I know if I have been selected?
  3. Is there a waitlist for the Junior Summer Institutes?
  4. Can I apply to more than one Junior Summer Institute?
  5. Do the selection committees look at how you ranked their program when making their decision?
  6. Where should I talk about internship experience in my application?
  7. Who should I ask for a letter of recommendation?
  8. Can letters of recommendation be resubmitted or changed before the application deadline?
  9. If you recently transferred, would letters of recommendation from someone at your Junior College or the institution you transferred to be better?
  10. Is it required to send both of the recommendation requests at the same time or can they be sent at separate times?
  11. Can we have a family member or close friend provide a letter of recommendation?
  12. Can we provide more than two letters of recommendation?
  13. What if I need to change one of my recommenders?
  14. If I have a grade on my transcript that I would like to explain, where can I include that?
  15. Can I submit a print version of the application, even if I do not have Internet access?
  16. Can I make any corrections or changes to my application after I submit it; even if it’s only to change my order of JSI preferences?
  17. If I am receiving need-based financial aid, what documents must I provide in my PPIA application?
  18. What year do my financial aid documents need to be from?
  19. I am not receiving need based financial aid but I am receiving merit award scholarships, where should I include information on these scholarships?
  20. If I studied abroad do I need to list that university and provide a transcript?
  21. Can I submit grades in December for courses I am currently enrolled in?
  22. How many applications do you get each year?
  23. What financial documents should students who have not filed FAFSA provide?
  24. Is there a page limit/expected length for the resume?
  25. Should essays be written in 12-point font?
  26. If I attended a different university for the summer and that grade appears on my official university’s transcript, will I still need to include an academic transcript for that school?

Questions about Eligibility and Benefits

  1. If I am accepted, will I have to pay anything?
  2. What will we receive to prove that we completed this fellowship?
  3. I am a college senior or already graduated from college. Is there any way to apply for a PPIA Fellowship or another component of the program?
  4. Why do you only accept college juniors?
  5. How do students know if they are eligible if their status as a college “junior” is unclear or defined differently by their school?
  6. Can I receive credit at my undergraduate institution if I complete a JSI?
  7. Is there a minimum GPA requirement to apply for a PPIA Fellowship?
  8. Economic need is listed as part of the eligibility to apply. Are wealthy families ineligible?
  9. I am not considered to be part of a historically underrepresented community. Does that make me ineligible or otherwise affect my application?
  10. Will I be guaranteed admission into a PPIA Consortium school if I complete a JSI?
  11. If I participate in the Junior Summer Institute Fellowship program do I have to go straight to graduate school after finishing my undergrad?
  12. Are students still eligible to apply if they are not currently enrolled in classes?
  13. Do applicants have to attend a university in the United States?
  14. Is there any prerequisite statistics or economics coursework required to participate?
  15. Is there any prerequisite coursework required for the pre-law fellowship at Berkley? Is there internship or work experience required to participate?
  16. Would my chances of being selected diminish if I do not have much experience in public service?

What is involved in a PPIA Junior Summer Institute Fellowship and what is its purpose?
The PPIA Fellowship is a series of educational and developmental programs that span from the end of a student’s junior year in college to the completion of a Master’s degree in public policy, public administration and/or international affairs. The program was started to address the lack of diversity across the spectrum of professional public service, including government, nonprofits, public policy institutions and international organizations.
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What is expected of PPIA Fellows?
There are three basic expectations:
(1) Successfully complete a PPIA Junior Summer Institute;
(2) Attain a graduate degree from a PPIA consortium school with a degree in public policy, public administration and/or international affairs; and
(3) Pursue a public service related career.
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Is there any major difference between the different PPIA Junior Summer Institutes?
All JSIs share a basic core curriculum designed to prepare students for graduate studies in public and international affairs. However, you should review the JSI profile pages on the PPIA website to learn more about each of them.
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What are the dates for the 2018 Junior Summer Institutes?
The dates for the 2018 Junior Summer Institutes have not been finalized but they will be similar to the dates in 2017. This means that UC Berekely, University of Minnesota and University of Michigan will run from early-June to late July, while Princeton and Carnegie Mellon will run from mid-June to early August.
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What kind of careers does the PPIA Fellowship Program prepare you for?
PPIA prepares its fellows for public service oriented jobs in the government, nonprofit, and private sectors.
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Is PPIA designed for aspiring medical doctors and lawyers?
With respect to students interested in becoming a doctor or lawyer, PPIA provides alternative possibilities. For example, many PPIA Fellows are involved with addressing health care public policy or work with health care related organizations. However, the program is not designed to promote the medical or legal professions and does not support admission into any school of medicine or law.
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What do you look for when selecting PPIA Fellows?
There are a variety of factors that come into play during the selection process. Selected students embody PPIA’s diversity goals, demonstrate a commitment to public service and possess the ability to succeed in graduate school. Our students will be impressive academically, and more importantly, they will be culturally aware, socially sensitive, committed to public service, and share a common vision about making the world a better place.
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I still have some time before I’m eligible to apply for PPIA, what can I do until then to strengthen my chances of becoming a PPIA Fellow?
PPIA recommends that you volunteer and get involved in the community; be active in activities that develop your leadership skills and take challenging classes in college while maintaining reasonably good grades.
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Can you send me additional information about PPIA or add my name to a mailing list?
All information related to PPIA is posted on the website and you can request additional information through our online contact form. You can also sign up for our quarterly newsletter by clicking the “Newsletter” link on the homepage.
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What schools are in the PPIA Graduate School Consortium?
Please click here to access the current list of consortium schools.
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Are there different levels of JSI coursework available?
Some of the programs offer varying levels of economics and statistics courses, but not all do. Please refer to the individual JSI pages for more information about their programming next summer.
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How is the GRE portion of the institute incorporated?
The GRE component is incorporated differently at each host university; please refer to the individual JSI pages for more information about their programming for next summer.
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Is the PPIA Law Fellow Program a portion of the JSI undergraduate program?
Yes. Students accepted to the PPIA Law Fellow Program take the same courses as other JSI students. Law Fellows take an additional course on law and policy and interact with Law School staff to better understand the application process and program in addition to the standard JSI curriculum.
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What is the deadline to submit my application?
All application materials, including letters of recommendation, are due by 11:59 p.m. EST on November 1, 2016. No late materials will be accepted.
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When will I know if I have been selected?
Applicants will be notified of their selection status the first week in February. If you are placed on the waitlist, you will know if you will be accepted within a month.
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Is there a waitlist for the Junior Summer Institutes?
Yes, students may be placed on a waitlist.
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Can I apply to more than one Junior Summer Institute?
Yes, we strongly encourage you to apply to and rank all of the Junior Summer Institutes.
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Do the selection committees look at how you ranked their program when making their decision?
The committees can see your rankings but it is not a determining factor when accepting qualified applicants.
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Where should I talk about internship experience in my application?
Generally, we advise students to put anything that contributed to your professional development under your employment history and anything community service related under volunteer experience. Research or other academic work that you are doing around an area of public policy belongs under work experience because it is contributing to your professional development.
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Who should I ask for a letter of recommendation?
You must submit TWO letters of recommendation. One letter should be from an academic source, like an advisor or professor who can address your academic potential. The second letter may come from anyone who can speak to your commitment to public service, like a supervisor or mentor. The letters of recommendation provide JSIs with a more complete picture of your academic and extracurricular interests and capabilities, so it is best to incorporate a variety of recommenders.
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Can letters of recommendation be resubmitted or changed before the application deadline?
No. Recommenders will only have one chance to submit a letter of recommendation and will not be able to edit submitted documents once they are uploaded. Once they submit the documents, their access link will no longer be active. Recommenders can contact the PPIA National Director at ppia.office@ppiaprogram.org if they need to alter submitted documents.
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If you recently transferred, would letters of recommendation from someone at your Junior College or the institution you transferred to be better?
We encourage students to think about people who can speak authentically about them. If you have a good relationship with a professor from your Junior College that might be better than trying to find someone at your new school who may not know you as well. Use your best judgement about who you think will provide a solid letter of recommendation.
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Is it required to send both of the recommendation requests at the same time or can they be sent at separate times?
You can send requests separately. We recommend reaching out to each recommender as soon as possible, but it’s okay to contact one earlier than another.
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Can we have a family member or close friend provide a letter of recommendation?
We encourage students to think about people who can speak authentically about them. If you have a good relationship with a professor from your University or College that might be better than trying to find someone at your school who may not know you as well. Use your best judgement about who you think will provide a solid letter of recommendation.
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Can we provide more than two letters of recommendation?
No, you are only permitted to provide two letters of recommendation.
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What if I need to change one of my recommenders?
If one of your recommenders becomes unable to submit a letter on your behalf, there is a process for selecting a different person. This only works if the letter has not yet been submitted. You CANNOT change your recommenders once they have loaded their letter to the PPIA website. Please be sure to follow up with the individuals you select to ensure they have completed the process and monitor your Application Dashboard to check that all application components are complete.
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If I have a grade on my transcript that I would like to explain, where can I include that?
You can include an explanation for an element of your transcript that you think does not reflect your true academic abilities by uploading a statement in the same section as your transcript. Please do not use this to upload an additional personal statement.
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Can I submit a print version of the PPIA application if I do not have Internet access?
PPIA will only accept online applications. If you are unable to get internet access please call (877) 774-2001.
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Can I make any corrections or changes to my application after I submit it; even if it’s only to change my order of JSI preferences?
You will only be able to submit your initial online form once. However, you will be able to save and return to the application form on your Applicant Dashboard as many times as you need to before the deadline. Please review your answers carefully.
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If I am receiving need-based financial aid, what documents must I provide in my PPIA application?
For students receiving aid based on financial need, PPIA requires that the following two documents be included with the application:

  • Student Aid Report (SAR): This is a five page (and sometimes longer) report of the personal financial data supplied to the U.S. Department of Education through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students should have a login account with the U.S. Department of Education (Click here for more information). Some students may also have access to the same information through their university’s financial aid website.
  • Financial Aid Letter: This is the document provided by the university’s financial aid office specifying the grants, scholarships and other need-based awards given to the student for the current academic year. This document may have been mailed on paper, emailed as an attachment, or accessed online through the university’s financial aid website. PPIA will accept any version of this document provided it clearly indicates the current need-based awards and comes from an official source. PPIA cannot accept a summary written by the applicant.

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What year does my financial aid information need to be from?
Most financial aid information, including the breakdown of how costs are being covered, should be for the 2017-2018 academic year. If you are required to submit your parent’s financial information then that should be for the most recent tax year (2016).
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I am not receiving need based financial aid but I am receiving merit award scholarships, where should I include information on these scholarships?
You should upload documentation of your merit award scholarships to the same section on your dashboard where you upload your transcript. It is okay to have multiple documents per section.
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If I studied abroad do I need to list that university on the initial online form?
If your study abroad courses are listed on your transcript from your main campus you do not need to include that information as a separate university on the initial online form.
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Can I submit grades in December for courses I am currently enrolled in?
No, current semester grades cannot be submitted.
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How many applications do you get each year?
We receive around 500 applications each year.
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What financial documents should students who have not filed FAFSA provide?
Students receiving any financial aid from their universities should submit their university aid letter and parent tax information.
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Is there a page limit/expected length for the resume?
The typical undergraduate resume is one page. We recommend a maximum length of two pages due to the high volume of applicants. Applicants will not be penalized for a longer resume, but concise and direct resumes are recommended.
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Should essays be written in 12-point font?
The application system will clear any outside formatting when text is entered, but using 12-point font in Microsoft Word is a good indicator of the length of the essays before you copy and paste them into your application.
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If I attended a different university for the summer and that grade appears on my official university’s transcript, will I still need to include an academic transcript for that school?
The transcript(s) you submit should clearly present all courses you have taken and grades you received at all colleges and universities you have attended.
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If I am accepted, will I have to pay anything?
No, if you are accepted to attend a Junior Summer Institute the host university will help you pay for travel expenses, cover the cost of tuition, provide housing and meals, supply all books and materials you need for your courses, and give you a stipend for the summer.
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What will we receive to prove that we completed this fellowship?
PPIA Fellows receive a certificate of participation at the end of their program that confirms their successful completion of the program.
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I am a college senior or already graduated from college. Is there any way to apply for a PPIA Fellowship or another component of the program?
Currently PPIA does not offer fellowship opportunities besides the Junior Summer Institutes. However, PPIA has generated a list of other public service/social justice fellowship programs in our Resource Center webpage.
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Why do you only accept college juniors?
This requirement is designed to allow PPIA Fellows time after completion of the JSI to take classes during their senior year to improve, if necessary, in a particular area of study or to register for classes that are more relevant for admission into graduate programs in public and international affairs.
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How do students know if they are eligible if their status as a college “junior” is unclear or defined differently by their school?
Sometimes it is difficult to determine a student’s classification as a junior because some schools operate differently or there are unique student circumstances regarding credit hours and anticipated date of graduation. PPIA requires at least one full semester or two quarters of coursework after completion of a PPIA Junior Summer Institute. This generally means a minimum of 4 full time semester classes or the equivalent. PPIA reserves the right to make a final determination on eligibility.
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Can I receive credit at my undergraduate institution if I complete a JSI?
Generally, PPIA Fellows do not receive college credits. However, it is up to an individual school whether they will give any credit for JSI participation. Students should check with their schools in advance of attending a JSI for any potential college credits. PPIA does not get involved in such decisions.
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Is there a minimum GPA requirement to apply for a PPIA Fellowship?
There is no GPA minimum to apply for the PPIA Fellowship program. However, your transcript and application should demonstrate an ability to succeed at the graduate school level. GPA is considered as well as other factors including the type of classes you take, the difficulty of your coursework and academic progress.
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Economic need is listed as part of the eligibility to apply. Are wealthy families ineligible?
All other factors being equal, a student from an economically disadvantaged background will receive extra consideration. However, students are not disqualified based on wealth and there is typically some degree of socioeconomic diversity among PPIA Fellows.
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I am not considered to be part of a historically underrepresented community. Does that make me ineligible or otherwise affect my application?
All individuals are welcome to apply. If you can demonstrate involvement with diverse communities or convey how your cross-cultural experiences enable you to contribute to PPIA’s goal of building a diverse and more representative generation of leaders then your application will tend to be considered more favorably.
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Will I be guaranteed admission into a PPIA Consortium school if I complete a JSI?
Although PPIA Fellows are aggressively recruited by many of the top graduate programs in the nation, all Fellows must still submit a strong application and compete for limited admission slots. We encourage you to use the Contact Cart through our website to get more information from the graduate programs you are interested in to help you strengthen your application.
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If I participate in the Junior Summer Institute Fellowship program do I have to go straight to graduate school after finishing my undergrad?
PPIA Fellows are encouraged to gain work experience before applying to graduate school. Our Graduate School Consortium members guarantee benefits for at least five years after fellows complete their undergraduate degree.
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Are students still eligible to apply if they are not currently enrolled in classes?
All students who meet the eligibility criteria, including planning to graduate with their first undergraduate degree between December 2017 and August 2018 qualify to apply.
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Do applicants have to attend a university in the United States?
Applicants are not required to attend a U.S. institution if they are U.S. citizens or legal residents. All international applicants must be attending a U.S. institution.
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Is there any prerequisite statistics or economics coursework required to participate?
There are no required courses in statistics or economics, but some basic mathematics courses are recommended to demonstrate your potential to handle quantitative coursework.
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Is there any prerequisite coursework required for the pre-law fellowship at UC Berkley? Is there internship or work experience required to participate?
There is no pre-requisite coursework, internship, or work experience required to participate in the UC Berkeley Law Fellows Program.
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Would my chances of being selected diminish if I do not have much experience in public service?
JSIs look for quality over quantity when it comes to experience in public service. Even if you have only had a few experiences in public service that led to personal benefit and enrichment, it is important to discuss these experiences in your essays.
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