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About DogsArePeopleToo

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    Espresso Shot

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    Pale Blue Dot
  • Application Season
    2017 Fall
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  1. Congrats! Looks like it went very well for you. In my case, the questions were more probing than hostile. I have a strong American accent owing to growing up on CNN and a living a few years as an undergraduate in the US. Their fear was whether I spoke my native language as fluently (I do, I am an occasional TV pundit) and whether I would be accepted back in my country given how "American" I appeared to them (I am already here and feel pretty accepted). They stuck around this them for a bit, but I thought I deflected them fine. I have heard from a former Fulbright program manager that some applicants appear overbearing/haughty in an effort to show the panel how accomplished they are. Some appear thankless by not showing enough gratitude for the opportunity or by acting like they're entitled to Columbia or Stanford, appearing to refuse to entertain "lesser" schools during the interview. The program manager told me these people are seen as one's who can be brilliant applicants, but they're not good "diplomats," good cultural representatives. That's the cardinal sin. Most other interview hiccups are pardonable. You have several panelists anyway, and each will evaluate you differently. About your university choices: they know most students err toward the ambitious on their list. Almost everyone invariably includes one or more of the Ivies or Ivy-like schools, some doing so with justification, others less so. The list doesn't count against you at all because, as you know, at the end of the day, IIE and the relevant embassy make the final submission plan based on your TOEFL and GRE/GMAT scores, which will come later. So, in a nutshell, be glad you're done with the most important oreliminary step. Try to enjoy the wait and the feeling of having something exciting to look forward to. And let us know how it goes!
  2. Looks like an old post, but since nobody has answered it, I'm taking a stab in hopes that it will be useful to someone: NPR has an iPhone and Android app that allows you to listen to its programming. iTunes has fully fledged courses that you could listen to (without doing any of the homework). I finished an entire Yale semester of lectures on the American Revolutionary War and enjoyed it immensely. The professor was an excellent storyteller and each lecture was about an hour long, which is the ideal length for a commute/long walk. TED has an excellent app. I used to binge on these during my walks and metro rides to and from work.
  3. I will likely end up at Georgetown for grad school, and although I have lived in DC many years back, I realize I have very little practical information about living arrangements in the area. I'd appreciate any insights into grad life in the area. Specifically, if you could speak to these questions: • What parts of Georgetown do grad students usually live in? • With Georgetown being so expensive, what's the going rate for a small studio apartment located in close proximity of the university? • What localities outside Georgetown proper are reasonable, price- and commute-wise? Many thanks!
  4. @Ella16 I am not sure I remember exactly how long after, but it was around three weeks, maybe? At any rate, the post-interview period will end faster than you think. Besides, there's a sweetness to having something potentially exciting to look forward to. Best of luck! Let us know how it goes.
  5. Congrats on the acceptance! I'm a prospective Fulbright scholar waiting for my placement for a master's program. Got into all four places IIE shopped me to. Only one was my own preference list. Now waiting to see where I will end up come fall. Good luck to everyone!
  6. Ha, it seems I have just what you might be looking for. I have these notes from 2016 when I did my own interview (I'm a principal candidate about to finalize my placement). ---- 1. Why Fulbright? 2. How would you contribute to [country name] upon return? 3. You're already very familiar with the US, how do you think spending more time stateside can help you contribute more toward cultural exchange in your country? (I had been a US undergrad 7 years back) 4. What is the biggest compliment someone can pay you? 5. How are you going to overcome ethnic prejudices to get a public service job upon return? 6. What would you do if you were placed at a university you hadn't even heard of? 7. What adversity have you overcome and how? 8. You went to [US undergrad school name]? How did you end up there? 9. Do you have relatives in the US? 10. What qualifies you to study public administration? 11. Your English seems perfect. Are you better skilled at your native language or English? 12. You work with XYZ, a respected US organization. What would bring you back after Fulbright when you could continue with XYZ in the States? 13. What universities would you like to go to? 14. Have you applied to the DV Lottery? 15. What countries have you been to? ---- In my case, the panel consisted of five people: two Fulbright administrators from the respective embassy, a State Department official flown in from DC, and a Fulbright alum.
  7. As others have said, DC and New York are great without a car. In fact, in some cases, New York is better without a car. I lived in New York for five-six month stretches over several years. On more than one occasion, I took a cab thinking I would get to a meeting more quickly but ended up getting there in the same time as the subway would or even slightly later. I've lived in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn, all of which are very easy to get around with the subway or the bus. The subway is 24/7, which is great. I lived in DC for two years and never felt like I needed a car. There are buses and the metro. The metro doesn't operate around the clock, but once you know the hours, you will be fine. I lived in Columbia Heights, Friendship Heights and Alexandria (VA) and did fine without a car. Reagan National is a subway rude away, and even Dulles in VA is doable with a bus-metro combo.
  8. I got into a couple of MPP programs reputed to be quant-heavy with my GRE quant score in the 150s. I had, however, taken calculus in high school (2003-2004) and intermediate econ in college (2009-2010). I also had about seven years of professional experience in the US and overseas. Most MPP programs only require that you take some economics and math in college. Many people with this qualification and good GRE quant scores do get into top programs. Unless you absolutely love to, there's no need to do a costly 2-year econ master's to prepare for HKS MPP (although that would give you a definite edge). Your second option of taking independent courses in econ and math (stats and some calculus) would be fine as long as you have good grades in them. Another option is to take a mock GRE test to see where you stand on the quant section. A five-point increase is doable with effort. People with strong work ethic and adequate time have jumped 10 points. Exceptional people have jumped 15 points from their trial score. It is possible that with a good undergrad GPA and strong GRE quant, you could get into a top school.
  9. Ha, looks like we're on the same boat!
  10. These are very helpful responses, so thank you all for taking the time to share your thoughts. With respect to the above, I've heard from a few people who say the DC advantage is significant but say they've done OK without it. Am I missing anything in this summary? Someone who graduated from McCourt about a decade ago told me that he believes the faculty doesn't include many practitioners. You seem to think to the contrary, @nahuja32, is that correct? I agree with the rest of what you've written - very helpful!
  11. Hello everyone, I am finally hearing back from the places I applied to. I have been offered admissions to Cornell CIPA, Duke Sanford and Georgetown McCourt (we expect Maryland - College Park to come through as well). This is all great, but now is decision time. And that's why I turn to you, the supportive and insightful community at The Grad Cafe. Because I will be attending through the Fulbright program, I'm in the fortunate place where cost is not the top factor. I'd appreciate your perspectives on a few other issues: How would one know which is a better school? I live overseas, so I can't tour the campus. Name recognition and ranking: Cornell is an Ivy League school but CIPA is not in the top 20 for MPA/MPP. How much does that matter in terms of the student experience and future success? (i.e., does the Cornell name count positively or does CIPA's ranking count negatively?) How much does Georgetown's DC advantage really matter? And how much of a disadvantage is Duke's and Cornell's location? Anything else you wished you knew and considered before deciding? Many thanks in advance.
  12. Hello everyone, I'm an international Fulbright finalist starting my master's degree in the US this fall, hopefully. I was wondering if any of you have received your final placements yet. In the case of our cohorts, we just received our "submission plans" but no information on where we might end up.
  13. English is my second, maybe third, language (started learning two languages roughly at the same time). I am not a PhD student, but I am expected to write at a level that is clear, comprehensible and avoids mistakes that interfere with meaning. Some profeasors have nitpicked on the small stuff such as a missing comma, others have even bothered to inject their own stylistic preferences in their grading (the Oxford comma, dashes instead of a pair of commas, etc.). Depending on your professor, small mistakes can be excusable in the draft process (forgetting to use an article, using the incorrect preposition, getting tag questions wrong, using who and which interchangeably, etc.). But students are expected to seek composition and proofreading help from the university's writing center or similar service to turn in a polished document. I do think, though, that some people feel more at ease providing unsolicited feedback to non-native speakers, which can come across as an act of policing, judging the person and holding them to a standard even during regular conversation where small mistakes don't matter. Not a happy place to be in.
  14. Glad it was helpful. Best of luck in whatever you choose to do!
  15. Unless you have a particularly strong reason to do your PhD soon and start this year, I would hold off for a bit. Simply because you might enjoy this school to me doesn't sound like it is all that compelling - it's not your first-choice school, it's far from home, the city isn't that great, etc., and you know you could avoid your application cycle mistakes from this year and possibly end up in the school of your dreams. You can get a job, gain some "real world" experience, make some money, possibly travel, etc. before embarking on four or five years of grueling PhD work. Some young PhD candidates tell me that the PhD years come with the opportunity cost of missing out on work experience, which is a feeling some of them get when they see their non-doctoral peers go from job to job as they toil away on their thesis. So, in sum, I wouldn't rush it.