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.
- Undergraduate transcripts
- 2 Recommendation Letters
- Statement of Purpose
- GRE (optional)
- 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
- Essays – you are required to write an original essay in both languages
- Translations – you are required to complete translations from both languages
- Abstracts – you are required to summarize an English article
- Oral section
- Pronunciation skills – you are required to read segments in both languages
- Thinking skills – you are requried to speak about a current event
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.