The Woodrow Wilson School’s website tells you: “This document is submitted as a form that is built into the online application. It is a list of mathematics, economics and politics courses you have completed or are in progress. You should include courses taken as an undergraduate or in postgraduate study, including evening classes. Applicants should provide the course number, name, principal textbook and author, and a brief description of the course content.” The Course List application component is one that is “easy” in theory, but could actually take a very long time depending on what information you have on hand and how much digging you have to do to locate textbook information. I know for me, this would have taken forever. (I didn’t apply to the WWS, but if I had, my advice to myself would have been to start with at least a month’s lead time to make sure I had time to track down old professors or classmates who could think with me about what textbook we used. I was also a math major so I took a lot of math classes. If you studied economics, math, or political science, it’s another reason to start this early.) Do not leave this until the last minute. I repeat, do not leave this until the last minute. The instructions tell us this is built into the online application, this means you can’t complete the rest of the application and submit without filling in this part. You need to submit transcripts anyway, so make sure you order them early enough to have them in front of you to complete the course list section. (Consider whether you are getting your transcripts in the mail or not. You level of stress hinges on these little details.) Start by making sure you have accurate information on course number, title, and textbook (i.e. the pieces that potentially rely on others to give you information). Once you’re set, start on the course descriptions. This is where those of you who either horde/meticulously file past course packs will have an advantage over those of us who are constantly purging ourselves of clutter. If you have old coursepacks, this should be easy. If not, it may take more online research. Try to find the descriptions for the same or similar courses at your school. even if they’ve evolved a bit in the time since you attended, the description is likely to be similar. The readers are doing this to make sure what you write makes sense and doesn’t misrepresent what knowledge you gained from the courses, and don’t care as much to whether the things you list in the description are comprehensive. They’re asking for this to get a sense of what you’re capable of in the listed categories; they want to know that you know about the things in the courses. They want to know you can complete graduate level work adequately in these areas.
Here is your framework for making this SUPER easy on yourself:
- Don’t do it at the last minute.
- Start with accurate information.
- Make sense of the information. Show the AdCom you are capable.