Welcome to the GradCafe

Hello!  Welcome to The GradCafe Forums.You're welcome to look around the forums and view posts.  However, like most online communities you must register before you can create your own posts.  This is a simple, free process that requires minimal information. Benefits of membership:

  • Participate in discussions
  • Subscribe to topics and forums to get automatic updates
  • Search forums
  • Removes some advertisements (including this one!)


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About sturdyelm

  • Rank

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Application Season
    2017 Fall
  • Program
  1. I mailed my deposit yesterday as well, so I'll be heading there this fall. Congrats everyone (no matter where you go)! I know this decision requires alot of debating and thinking.
  2. As promised.... Ultimate Decision & Why: When I first started this whole process, I was unquestionably sure I would end up going to Heller if I got in because I wanted to attend a program that had a super strong Social Policy program with my specific focus (Child & Family Policy). Much to my surprise, there was A LOT of back and forth between Brandeis Heller and Duke Sanford. I easily knocked off the schools that I applied to that weren’t a good fit (for many reasons) and didn’t give me enough funding to afford grad school. I also ended up negotiating a bit more money out of both Heller and Sanford ( I didn't try to with the other schools and took myself out of the running for one school's aid). In the end I decided to go with Sanford because I thought that their program was more out-right quantitatively rigorous than Brandeis (another important aspect for me, which was doable at Brandeis but it seemed that I would have to work for it), they have a diversity of coursework (something I valued more the further along I went in the decision making process) yet I am still able to focus on social policy, it is a bigger program yet still a good size, along with all of the personal life things (such as a my spouse and finances etc). Advice for Future Applicants: Breathe! Take it one step at a time. Allow your mind to change throughout this process. One thing I really cannot stress enough, do your research – both before you apply to a program and after you get in. I started doing my extensive comparison research and outreach as soon as all of my applications were in – and this really helped me narrow down my options and thoughts as admission results came in. In hindsight, I wish I had spent more time researching other programs (and found grad café earlier in the game), and not applying to some schools that weren’t a good fit for all of the things I was looking for (seriously don’t do this. It’s better to have fewer applications than waste time and money on a program you don’t want). When making your decision, be sure to talk to current students/alums/faculty (all three if you can!) and visit the school so that you can sit in on classes. It really changes your perspective on the program’s fit for you. Focus on what you want out of a program, and what is a good fit for you. Take advice from others and learn as much as you can, but in the end, tune everyone out and go with your gut and what works for you. Grad school decisions are a very personal process and everyone is looking to get something a little bit different out of it.
  3. I know this thread is a few years old - but as I am down to a decision-making point, I just wanted to see if anyone had thoughts on Heller's MPP. Once I make my decision, I'll try to post the info that I learned about Heller's MPP since it's not talked about in great detail here.
  4. I was told the same thing re by the end of the day Friday from Jessica. I missed the chat tonight, but was going to ask what people's thoughts/experience are with potentially getting more funding after accepting and the deadline (say if others decline and then more funds become available). I think I am going to accept Sanford, but my other top choice upped my scholarship to where the difference is quite a bit so I'm a bit concerned about the whole financing situation.
  5. For those at Spring Preview this weekend, just a reminder to please give a recap when you get the chance for those who couldn't attend. Thanks!
  6. I unfortunately won't be able to attend the Spring Preview, and not sure how much of an option Ford is for me. However, I did manage to email with the person who called me, and who gave me some tremendous answers. So I wanted to share some of the information (without giving them or myself away) in case others find it helpful: Ford gives away a lot of money. Most people have a job working part-time on campus on initiatives or research programs that coincide with their policy interests. The Ford school hires graduate student instructors, tutors and graders for core classes (although most of these are 2nd year students. A GSI position pays a stipend as well as full tuition scholarship for the semester) and there are programs within Ford that hire students throughout the year for specific policy programs. There are also opportunities to work within other schools at UMich (suggested looking at Rackham and programs specific to your policy interests). If you already have a quant background, you should try to test out of the Calculus, Microeconomics A, and Statistics, this is difficult to do but not impossible. Ford offers a Math Camp during orientation week that you are encouraged to attend. Ford holds alot of workshops and events, which are well-attended and most often worth going to but can be a bit of a time suck (something most people don't think about when considering time management and course load with student groups etc.) It is strongly encouraged to join student groups.There are about 12-14 groups just within Ford that will be looking for new members in the fall and you have the option of how much time you want to give to them. "Once you've said yes to your acceptance letter, you'll begin to get links and info from students and admin about which classes to take (in and out of Ford) and which ones were the most helpful depending on topic. That's one thing I truly love about Ford, we are not competitive with each other and therefore everyone is trying to find ways to help their fellow classmates."
  7. Did anyone actually get the chance to talk to students last night during the calling night? I wasn't able to chat with the person who called me and was hoping people might share any information they got. Thanks in advance!
  8. It's been suggested by a few schools I applied to take a "refresher course" . These aren't courses that you can take if you need a graded course for final admission, but there are lots of options! Potential places: Principles of MicroEconomics, MIT opencourseware (archived course but includes exams & solutions) Principles of Economics, Stanford (archived course) Principles of Economics (MicroEconomics), George Mason University Professors via MRUniversity (video lessons) Statistical Reasoning, Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Lots of Quant courses at your own pace and own level on edX or Coursera (along with a bunch of other courses) Data Analysis/Statistics: https://www.edx.org/course/?availability=Self-Paced&language=English&subject=Data Analysis %26 Statistics https://www.coursera.org/browse/data-science/probability-and-statistics?languages=en Economics/Finance: https://www.edx.org/course/?availability=Self-Paced&language=English&subject=Economics %26 Finance https://www.coursera.org/courses?languages=en&query=economics Math Essentials: https://www.edx.org/course/?availability=Self-Paced&language=English&subject=Math https://www.coursera.org/courses?languages=en&query=math
  9. Woops looks like you did give away the school....But great to know about Sanford! I don't have much insight between the two programs as I didn't apply to Goldman - but I also suggest you pose these questions in each of this year's respective threads (and read through last years if they exist) if you haven't already. I know there are current students from both programs who are some-what active on here so they could help answer some of your questions.
  10. You might get some more help if you post this in the Government Affairs section. My thoughts: If you're planning to work in K-12 public education policy areas after graduation, you really need to heavily consider the debt aspect when combined with a program that can support your interests and needs. Ideally you want to be able to balance both, without sacrificing one for the other. However, I probably wouldn't go anywhere that doesn't offer at least 50% funding based off your current offers because you (or anyone else planning to work in the public interest sector) are going to have a more difficult time paying off the debt. All of these are well-respected programs, but if I were you, based off your current funding situation and career path, I would say Duke is the best option. Though CMU gave you the most money, I don't know how well known they are for education policy as compared to Duke, UChicago or Michigan, but then again I don't know that much about CMU anyways (so take that as you will, and definitely ask around on that!). If CMU is well-respected on the educational/social side of things, then that is a no-brainer to me, and you should go to CMU. If you could get a decent amount more out of UChicago or UMichigan, they could also be very strong contenders. I hope this is helpful.
  11. I applied for their master's of public policy, but I am pretty sure that some people (okay well 2) have already heard back on the PhD side in February around the same time as the Master's decisions came out. According to the results section on here anyways. And they apparently already had an admitted student's day on March 6th and another one coming up on March 20th. Might be worth it to call the admissions office...
  12. Debt is definitely a major factor, especially if you want to be an ED of a non-profit and have a decent amount of undergrad debt. So, in agreement with @fallmpp2017I think if you limit it to that, your decision is between LBJ and Heinz. I think one of the major questions you should be asking of each school is about the feasibility to take courses outside the program (including other schools in the area) and/or customize your program to your needs and interests. Fit is also a really important factor for graduate school so I can see why this is such a hard decision (and one I am struggling with myself when trying to compare to funding!). If you believe Michigan is the perfect curricular fit, consider why Michigan seems like the perfect curricular fit for you and see if it's possible to make that happen at the other schools that have offered lower debt funding options. Also if you're worried about the course level at Heinz, they wouldn't have admitted you if they didn't think you could handle it! Sorry I don't offer much help - but I think just continue to ask questions and definitely visit the schools if you can, as you get a perspective shift when you do.
  13. I’ve heard back from all my programs so figured I would share. Once I make I decision, I’ll repost this with my decision-making process and advice for future applicants that seemed to be missing from last years results thread, as I am finding those the most helpful right now! Program/Schools Applied To: MPP - Brandeis Heller, Duke Sanford, Georgetown McCourt, UMichigan Ford, UMass Amherst SPP (MPPA), Northeastern SPPUA Schools Admitted: All! (I can’t believe it!) Heller (60% $), Sanford (~50% $), McCourt (20% $), Ford, UMass ($ TBD), Northeastern (25% $) Undergraduate: Top 15 Liberal Arts College, 3.43 GPA, 3.61 last two years, Government Major GRE: 161 Verbal/157 Quant/4.5 Analytical Math/Econ Background: Intro MicroEcon, Intermediate Econ, Intro Statistics & Probability, Quantitative Methods Years Out of Undergrad (if applicable): will be 2 by start Years of Work Experience: soon to be 2 years at legal education non-profit. 6 months’ contract position in my last semester of undergrad (too lengthy to explain). 2 internships in undergrad: one related to policy, one general nonprofit work. Paid customer service work in undergrad. Strength of SOP (be honest, describe the process, etc: This was probably the strength of my entire application. I wrote and re-wrote my base (which I then modified for each school) many many times over 10 weeks. I had a few family members and close friends (who attended grad school) review throughout the process. I crafted a strong essay to show my path towards pursuing the MPP with a focus on child & family policy. 2/3 covered my personal background, why child & family policy, undergrad academics and extracurricular activities, and my current position. I didn’t go into a lot of it in detail (as they are all on my resume/cv) but instead focused on the intangibles that weren’t visible on my CV. 1/3 covered why an MPP, and why specifically this schools’ program. Strength of LOR's (be honest, describe the process, etc): Very strong LORs. 1 professional – my current supervisor at the non-profit; 2 professors – one of them was my informal mentor and knows me very well, the other I didn’t know as long but I took on a leadership role in her class and brought together a panel to address a gap in the syllabus (which has thus been corrected for each class afterwards!). Other: I believe another key factor for my admissions was my extracurricular/volunteer work. I had ALOT of relevant extracurricular work relating to my passion of child and family policy, as well as to low-income and diversity. It made up for my slightly lower undergrad GPA because I showed that I have not only the academic interests, but actual interests visible through a variety of consistent work with student organizations and non-profits, both while in undergrad and post. I probably could have gotten more funding if my GRE was a tad bit higher. Concerned about being able to afford this anyways and still hoping for some later funding for Michigan but definitely can’t afford it out of state without any aid. I’ve already declined Georgetown and Northeastern, and it looks like my decision at the moment is between Heller and Sanford. Heller isn’t talked about much in terms of the MPP, but does anyone have thoughts between the two? My focus is on Child & Family Policy.
  14. Got in, but with no funding. Disappointed, but I guess that helps narrow my decision. Best of luck to all who got in!
  15. Thank you for calling and checking for those of us who haven't heard anything yet. At least we'll know today at some point (hopefully).