MIIS: The Application Process

I received my acceptance letter to the Monterey Institute of International Studies on December 21, 2011. It was one of the best Christmas presents I have and will ever receive. I remember opening my inbox that morning at 9:30, only a few brief minutes before I had to leave my dorm room to catch the bus to another campus for my International Law class. The email subject was “Admissions Letter” and it took everything I had to stop myself from squealing too loudly as to wake my next door neighbor. Now that I’ve been through (and survived) the application process, here is a brief walk-through for those who are interested and some tips on how to get ready to pursue a T&I degree at MIIS.


The Application Process

There are several application deadlines for the fall semester: December 1, February 1, March 1, May 1.
I suggest getting started on your application early and preferably making the December 1st deadline. Getting your application in early is always a good sign. If you are applying for the Chinese T&I program, there are a limited number of spots. So although MIIS says it has a rolling admissions policy, spots in the Chinese programs fill up fast.


  1. Undergraduate transcripts
  2. 2 Recommendation Letters
  3. Statement of Purpose
  4. Resume
  6. GRE (optional)
  7. Early Diagnostic Test (EDT)
  • The first four requirements are pretty self-explanatory.
  • If you are a non-native English speaker, MIIS requires you to show your level of English. In other words, if you are not an American citizen or if you did not go to undergrad in the US, you will need to show your level of English proficiency.
  • Taking or submitting your GRE scores is optional. MIIS encourages you to submit your scores if your undergraduate GPA isn’t up to par. But if you are thinking about taking the GREs, be prepared to spend some time studying. It ain’t messing around. I took the GREs the summer before I applied and I didn’t do too hot of a job. Hence, I ended up not submitting my scores.

The Early Diagnostic Test

I personally think this is the part of the application process Admissions looks at the most. It is a self-administered and timed test that is sent to you once you request the EDT package from admissions. On the test, they require you to declare your A (most comfortable) language and B (2nd most comfortable) language. The T&I program at MIIS requires that English must be your A or B language.
The EDT has:

  • Writing section
  1. Essays – you are required to write an original essay in both languages
  2. Translations – you are required to complete translations from both languages
  3. Abstracts – you are required to summarize an English article
  • Oral section
  1. Pronunciation skills – you are required to read segments in both languages
  2. Thinking skills – you are requried to speak about a current event
  3. Self-assessment – you are required to speak about your language skills

The oral section is to be self-recorded and submitted along with your writing sections. There are very specific and clear directions on how the EDT is supposed to be completed (timed and without outside help.)

For more detailed instructions on the entire process and requirements, visit the MIIS admissions site here.


Tips on Preparing for the T&I Program

  1. Language skills: Your language skills will never be good enough, regardless if you are native, fluent, whatever. Continue to work on acquiring new terms, phrases, usages, etc. If you have the time, do some writing, preferably the analytic sort.
  2. Background knowledge: Once you get to MIIS, you, will find you lack knowledge in almost all areas. We cover a large amount of topics here, ranging from the mortgage crisis, to the financial tsunami, to AIDS, to smallpox, to public health, to fashion. You name it, we translate/interpret it. So, READ! while you still have the time.
  3. Computer/tech skills: You have to be good with computers. Microsoft Office is always a given but you will also come in contact with various translation memory tools. If you are looking to branch out into other areas of language services, you will also need to know some Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. There is an excellent Desktop Publishing for Linguists class that I am currently taking that will cover these requirements. But in general, you just have to be tech savvy and know your way around these devices and tools.

Here is list of ten ways you can prepare for complied by MIIS.


I hope this helps! Feel free to let me know if you have any questions about the application process.



18 thoughts on “MIIS: The Application Process

  1. Queena says:

    Hello! First I must thank you for writing such a detailed post about admissions as well as blogging about your experiences as a T&I student 😀 Information such as these are so incredibly rare, that I had to leave a comment! I’m a current undergrad aspiring to be a conference interpreter, so I found your blog truly insightful. Thanks so much again and all the best! ^^

  2. naomi says:

    Hello hun! I don’t know if you would be able to see my comment, but I came across this post while searching information about the EDT. I found this really helpful as there is next to no information about the test other than the fact that it consists of oral and written parts. So, thank you! I was wondering if you could answer a few questions. 1) I am curious how time is measured. Is it like IBT TOEFL where a clock would appear on the screen and tell you how much time is left and moves on to the next question automatically once the time limit has passed? Or do they just expect you to be honest and write down how much it took or something? 2) Is it possible to use a dictionary or any other sources to help during the test? 3) Lastly, how difficult is it? lol I know it is subjective but I just do not know what to expect.. Anyways, Thank you in advance and I see you already graduated! Congratulations and wish you have a wonderful year ahead of you!

    • Joan Wang says:

      Hi Naomi! Thank you for the comment. The EDT is self-timed. They do not have require you to write down how much time it took you to complete the test, but it does ask you to complete the test within the allotted time. I believe it is possible to use a dictionary during the test, but please seek clarification from the Admission’s Office. The test is not extremely difficult. It does require you to be very good at your A language and have near fluency in your B language. The T&I program at MIIS is extremely rigorous. If you think the EDT is extremely difficult, maybe the program is not the best option for you right now. Bu once again, every person is different. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Admission’s Office and they can put you in touch with a faculty member with your language combination and they will be able to offer you more concrete advice. Hope this helps!

  3. CatherineRose says:

    Hi Joan, I’ve just found your blog and I’m stalking all your posts about MIIS and translation and interpretation like crazy! It’s really interesting to read about your experience. I’m planning to apply to the translation and localization program this year or the following year after four years in France, but I am definitely intimidated because I know the bar is set very high! The EDT test has been freaking me out because even though I have an excellent level of French, I’m not perfect, and I wasn’t sure what to expect or how to prepare. The information you shared is really helpful. Thank you!

    • Mammad Tawfik says:

      Hi Catherine
      I am interested to apply to Miis this summer and I come across your post.You express your intention to applying to Middlebury institute to the the translation and localization program the same as me. I am looking for feedback if you could give more insights about the components of the EDT test and what is included in it and possible the time required for completing the test.
      thank you so much and look forward to your prompt answer.

      • The Fun Sized Asian says:

        Hi Mammad,

        I think it would be best to directly email the admissions office and ask them. It has been several years since I took the admissions test and I think it may have changed since then. The contents of the EDT also vary according to your language combo. What I described is limited to the Chinese program only. Hope this helps!

  4. thisisrids says:

    Hi there! Thank you for the informative post! I was wondering if you could provide some more information about the current event that they ask you to speak about when it comes to critical thinking. Does it have to be off the top of your head? Can you choose what current event to talk about?

    Is the summarization of the English article to be summarize in English or do you provide a summary in your B language?

    How long were the translations you had to do?

    Thank you very much for your assistance!!

    • The Fun Sized Asian says:


      From what I remember, they just ask you to pick a current event. So I chose to talk about the South China Seas conflict that was going on at that time. I remembered I did some light research beforehand but when I actually recorded the segment, it was extemporaneous.

      I believe the summary was only required in English. The translations weren’t very long; 250-300 source words or so.

      But please keep in mind that I applied in the fall of 2011, so this information is outdated. Please check with the admissions office to be sure.

  5. El Sa says:

    Thank you for your information! I was wondering if it matters which language you select as your A and which as your B language. How did you do it? If I pick English as my A language, will most questions be in English? Or rather in my B language to test it? Or does it not matter because they are tested equally?

    • The Fun Sized Asian says:

      As far as I know, the A and B languages you choose will affect which classes you have to take and how you are graded. Professors will have stricter standards when you are interpreting/translating into A and be slightly laxer when you are going into your B. As for the EDT, there won’t be that much difference. You will have to be tested in both directions. You have the opportunity to change your A/B languages once you are enrolled though, if you wish. Hope this helps!

  6. Ann Liu says:

    Hello Joan,
    Thank you so much for writing such detailed and clear explanation on the application process of MIIS! I am sincerely grateful of how much it helps! I am an English major student from Taiwan and I have been preparing for applying for MIIS Translation and Interpretation- Chinese program too. I am wondering if it’s possible to ask you some questions?:)
    I’ve seen on MIIS website for application deadline, there is one priority deadline of October 5th, the other is the December 1st deadline. I’m wondering which one would you recommend to follow? Would the latter one have lower possibility of getting accepted? Thank you so much!
    Also, I am wondering if there is any recommendation of specific ways to prepare for EDT? And if it’s possible to practice several times and upload the most satisfactory one?
    Thank you so much for the help and taking time to read my message! It is really kind of you to help us who plan to apply:) Thanks again!
    Sincerely Yours,

    • Josh Goldberger says:

      Hi Ann,

      Did everything go well for your application? If you have any questions about the program or Monterey I’d be happy to help as well. I’m a second year student in the CI program so feel free to contact me any time if you have questions.



  7. Sheng-Ann says:

    Hello Joan,
    Thank you so much for your information:) I find it highly helpful for the application to MIIS! And thank you for reading my comment several years after this post. I have submitted all application documents and EDT by the December 1st deadline this year, and I was wondering approximately how long will it take for MIIS to contact us regarding the admission decision? Thank you so much! And I am sincerely sorry for any inconvenience caused.

    Sincerely Yours,

  8. LC says:

    Hi Joan,

    Thank you for sharing those helpful info, it gives me a better picture on what to expect. I do have a question on GPA requirement for the TI problem, you mentioned you took GRE to boost your application, are you able to share what kind of GPA will be considered too low or “zero chance” to get it? In a case if I did great on the EDT? Thank you

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