FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- Entrance Requirements and Admission
- Residential Associates at the Student Center
- Academic Courses in the National Security Studies Program
ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS AND ADMISSION
Should I apply to both the National Security Studies Program (NSSP) and to the Residential Associates program?
The NSSP involves both internships as well as academic courses, and students enrolled in this program are our top priority. Our goal is to have a full enrollment for the NSSP with all of the students living at the Student Center. It is possible to do an internship without enrolling in the courses, and it is possible to enroll in one or more of the courses without doing an internship. If you are accepted into the NSSP you are automatically entitled to participate in the Residential Associates program.
If there is still space available after these academic programs have been filled, students who have internships can still live at the Student Center even if they are not part of the NSSP academic credit program. These slots are limited and they are provided to students on a first come, first served basis.
Is the NSSP right for me?
The program is best suited for students with a career or keen personal interest in foreign policy, national security, trade or the promotion of democracy and human rights. You should determine if the internship will match your interests. You should also determine if the academic credit is transferable to your college and university. If you have an international career interest, the NSSP will be right for you.
Is there an application fee?
Is there a GPA requirement?
No. While academic excellence is sought in program applicants, the admissions committee looks for a well-rounded student who demonstrates ambition, academic ability, leadership ability, maturity, and involvement in campus and community activities. Weakness in GPA scores can often be compensated for with a strong resume, good recommendations, and well-written essays.
The admission process is competitive, but students with strong academic and extracurricular records have a good chance of being admitted. Accepted students come from a broad variety of schools, backgrounds, and academic majors. Since the class sizes are fixed, rates of admission are dependent on the size of the applicant pool, which varies from year to year. Students who apply early are given preference in admissions and internship placement.
Sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduate students are the ideal candidates for admission, as they generally have a sufficient academic background to handle the course work. Freshmen can be admitted in exceptional cases, but our concern is that most freshmen do not have a sufficient academic grounding for the courses that are offered. Many seniors no longer need the academic credit being offered, and they are only interested in the internship program.
International students are encouraged to apply, particularly those who have participated in one of our Global Policy Conferences. International student applications must include a TOEFL score. The application deadline for foreign students living outside of the United States is two prior to the standard deadline for all semesters.
Applicants should submit a one-page typed resume that is clean, accurate, and well laid-out. Resumes should summarize your academic experience, your work experience, and your honors, awards and activities. Keep in mind that this resume is used to help secure you an internship, so we may fax it to potential intern sponsors. Please mail your resume or email it in a Word, WordPerfect or pdf format.
Yes, student loans can be used to cover the cost of the academic courses associated with the NSSP as well as housing at the Student Center. Your home school must make loan disbursements, as that is the institution that keeps track of your overall financial aid picture. Your financial aid office may require that a consortium agreement be signed in order for a loan to be processed. We will be willing to sign or prepare consortium agreements for your school, but the program does not offer student loans.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and admissions decisions are generally made within three to five weeks of the receipt of a complete application. Applicants will be notified in writing and by email. Applicants can also check their admission status online. Applications that are missing pieces will not be reviewed, so please make sure that your application is complete.
Complete applications containing all required items are preferred, but application pieces may also be faxed or mailed separately. For example, professors may send a letter of recommendation directly to us, or they may give them to the applicant to submit with his or her application. University registrars may either send a student’s transcript directly to us, or issue it to the student. Applications will not be reviewed until all required items are received.
Admissions and internship decisions are made on a rolling basis as applications are received. Therefore, it is to one’s advantage to apply early. If you miss the early deadline, there is no problem. Your application will be reviewed in the order in which it is received. All applications must be postmarked before the final deadline.
How will I get to Washington?
Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from the Student Center. Three major airports, Metro, an Amtrak station, and a bus station service the area. We can also assist you with shuttle bus service if we know your exact arrival time.
Students are strongly encouraged, but not required, to live at the Student Center. Living at the Center provides convenience and saves time in a very busy schedule. Moreover, living at the Center helps to facilitate interaction among students, which is an important goal of the NSSP program. Weekly lectures, special events, social gatherings and some classes take place at the Center.
Students are discouraged from bringing their cars. However, parking is provided for a few cars and the monthly fee is $20. Parking spaces are distributed on a first come, first served basis.
The nation’s capital is world-famous for its handsome architecture, stunning vistas and colorful landscape, as well as its world-class cultural attractions. Besides numerous monuments and landmarks, Washington is home to more than 90 museums and public galleries, including the Smithsonian Institution (http://www.si.edu), the world’s largest museum complex.
The Smithsonian comprises 16 museums, art galleries, and the National Zoo (
), all of which are free to the public. With its vibrant theater and music scene, Washington is second only to New York in number of public performances of the arts. For more information about the city, visit http://www.washingtonian.com, http://www.washdc.org, or http://www.dcpages.com. The District also has an exciting night life for young people.
How will I get around without a car?
Please see the separate section on Transportation. The entire Washington area is served by Metro, one of the most efficient, clean and safe transportation systems in the world (see http://www.wmata.com for more information). If you plan to take the metro, (which most students will have to do to get to their internships and special events) you should budget approximately $20-$30 per week for commuting costs.
Students are encouraged to bring laptop or personal computers. The computer center can be used to access email, the web, and various software packages.
You must provide your own sheets, towels and pillows, and all bath amenities including toilet paper. You will be encouraged to join the meal plan and pots and pans are available in the separate community kitchen, but it is a good idea to bring your own. You must also bring a telephone. You are strongly encouraged to bring a desk lamp and a small wastebasket. You may bring a microwave, computer, television or stereo if you desire.
Laundry facilities are located in the basement of the building. You may wish to bring posters or other decorative items to brighten up the rooms. You should also bring cleaning supplies, as maid service is not provided.
In packing clothes, be prepared for weather that can be very hot and humid, during the summer and very cold in the winter. The average high temperature is 85 degrees (29 Celsius) in June, and 89 degrees (31 Celsius) in July, and the average low temperature is 25 degrees in December. An umbrella or raincoat is also necessary. In class you may dress casually, but at internships and NSSP functions, professional dress is required. While dress codes vary from office to office, typically men wear coats and ties, while women wear dresses, skirts, or dressy slacks.
Please see the separate section on the Meal Plan. There are also grocery stores and restaurants within walking distance of the Center, and cooking facilities are available.
Will I have telephone service?
Local phone service is provided in the student rooms. Long distance calls can be made through prepaid calling cards sold at the front desk or through your own calling card. You need to bring your own telephone. There are phone and computer jacks in each bedroom, as well as in other areas of the Center. At our old facility, the Congressional Conference Center, we provided phones in every room. Unfortunately, far too many of them disappeared at the end of each semester.
Flat mail will be placed under your door. Packages sent via UPS, FedEx, or other special carriers will be left for you at the Front Desk.
Who will my roommates be?
You will be matched with your roommates by our staff based on compatibility information you provide in your application. We will notify you of your roommates’ contact information prior to your arrival.
ACADEMIC COURSES IN THE NATIONAL SECURITY STUDIES PROGRAM
Do I have to take the classes?
Our top priority is the students enrolled in the National Security Studies Program which includes academic courses and an internship. If extra space is available we will allow student housing for those not enrolled in the courses, but priority slots will be given to those accepting internship assignments.
Will I receive credit for the classes?
Most universities accept transfer credit, however students are encouraged to check with their registrar or dean about the credit transfer policy. The NSSP classes will often satisfy a requirement within one’s major, but may also be used as electives. Students may take the classes for a grade or for pass/fail credit, or they may audit the courses. It depends on the requirements of your university. Grade reports will be sent to all students, and transcripts will be provided.
Professional attire is required for internships, site briefings, and guest lectures, but the dress code for class is casual.
We fully expect each student to attend every class, complete all reading assignments, participate actively in class discussions, and show respect and consideration to fellow participants, faculty, and guest lecturers. Students are also expected to adhere to scheduled internship hours and complete all internship assignments. Extra-curricular sessions and activities are not mandatory.
The schedule is rigorous and gives students a rich immersion in education, politics, and government — the true Washington experience of a lifetime. Days are long, lasting up to ten hours with internships and classes. Free time is limited mostly to the late evenings and weekends. During the program you will have an intense internship, course, and lecture schedule, so be prepared to be busy. Because of the intensive schedule, we discourage long distance travel by participants or visits from friends or relatives during the week.
Many colleges and universities grant independent study credit for internships. Please check with your dean or advisor to determine if such an arrangement is possible at your school.
Internships for the most part are not paid. Since thousands of interns come to DC, substantial intern positions are very competitive and in high demand. Your reward is the contacts, experience, and knowledge you will gain. Students who are accepted into the LBJ Internship Program in the U.S. Congress receive a $700/month stipend.
What will I do as an intern?
Intern responsibilities vary, but our program focuses on substantive work, such as conducting research, coordinating events, covering congressional hearings, and writing for newsletters of other publications. Students should expect some minor clerical duties such as filing, answering phones, or photocopying.
Washington is a conservative city, so you should expect to dress professionally. While dress codes vary from office to office, typically men wear coats and ties, while women wear pantsuits, dresses, skirts, or dressy slacks. Once your internship is confirmed, check with your internship supervisor for information on the office dress code.
RULES FOR RESIDENTIAL ASSOCIATES AT THE STUDENT CENTER
The following rules were first adopted for the NSSP in 1965. The original rules were focused on separating the sexes, and this was a time when smoking was still widely accepted. Our strong insistence on civil rights and equal opportunities was considered pioneering in those days.
Today, there are no longer curfews or bed-checks. We continue to strive for a balanced coeducational environment, but this is often difficult because we receive far more applications from young men than women. Smoking is no longer permitted in the Student Center. Fortunately civil rights guarantees are now mandated by law. The residential rules were last revised on January 5, 2001.
# Students must comply with and respect all federal and Washington, D.C. laws, rules and regulations. We are grateful to the taxpayers of the District of Columbia and we will not tolerate any violation of their regulations.
# Interns having visitors must accompany all guests at all times. No guests are to spend time unattended. Overnight visitors are not permitted without the advance approval of the Academic Dean. Parents and relatives are encouraged to visit at any time, and a reasonably priced Holiday Inn and a Marriott Hotel are both located within a half mile of the Center.
# Quiet hours are from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. Interns are young adults and there are no curfews or bed-checks. It is important to respect the privacy of other interns. We realize the importance of music to student life, but a complaint about loud noise will be considered a serious infraction of the rules.
# In compliance with our insurance coverage, smoking is not permitted.
# Evidence of illegal drug use, including marijuana or “club drugs” such as ecstacy or speed, will be grounds for immediate termination from the NSSP. Moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages is permitted in accordance with the laws of the District of Columbia. Inebriation is also a cause for immediate dismissal. Guns are not permitted, even for hunting purposes.
# Some students will be allowed to bring their own cars, and this is a decision of the Academic Dean which will be made upon admission. We usually grant parking privileges to students who expresses a willingness to provide transportation to other Residential Associates. Please provide us with evidence of insurance coverage.
# We do not provide maid service. Every associate is expected to clean up after him or herself. Faculty members often visit at meal times, and occasionally our guests include lawmakers and distinguished statesmen.
# The student accepts responsibility for all of his/her own property brought onto the premises. We are neither responsible nor liable for the loss, theft, or damage to any student property. Please do not leave valuables unattended.
# The doors must be locked at all times.
# We ask students to avoid purchasing glass bottles.
# Students are expected to abide by the rules specified in this document, as well as standards of civility and good behavior, and all other rules and policies as explained to him/her at the time of occupancy.
# Students will be expected to sign a copy of the Rules as well as the Residential Agreement.