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The 'Am I competitive' thread - READ ME BEFORE POSTING

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#401 Jufarius87

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 10:04 PM

Those are some interesting numbers admm.noops!

If you had applied to only a few schools, I would be more concerned, but seeing as you are an international student (they have more realistic expectations for you on the verbal/writing since English is not your native language) and sent out a reasonably large number of applications I believe you will get at least 2 or 3 admissions offers.

Pros: Your GPA would be high even for a standard social sciences major, but mechanical engineering is probably one of the most rigorous things a public policy admissions officer will see. It certainly vouches for your academic ability. Your quant score is also obviously excellent.

I think it is really going to come down to your essays / writing samples / SOP. If these are well written they will prove the GRE wrong in regards to your low verbal/writing scores and demonstrate direction in terms of moving from oil to government/public sector work.  


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Accepted: Cornell-CIPA MPA (15k$), Columbia-SIPA MPA (10k$)
Waitlisted:
Rejected: Harvard-Kennedy MPP, Princeton-WWS MPA 


#402 Northernlightgradcafe

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 02:42 AM

Programs & Schools: HKS (MPP); Princeton WWS (MPA); SAIS (China); Gtown (Security Studies); Tufts Fletcher (MALD); LSE (MSc); MIT (MA); Yale Jackson (MA); GWash Elliot (Security Policy Studies); Columbia SIPA (MA-Intl Sec)

 

Notified so far by: Tufts Fletcher (admitted)

 

Undergraduate Institution: non-ivy ranked around no. 30 in US news

 

Undergraduate Major:  PolSci+Classics

 

Undergraduate GPA: 3.64 overall, 3.76(PolSci)

 

GRE: took it twice sent both scores. VR: 162, 160 ; QR: 158, 163 ; AW 4.0, 4.0

 

Years of Work Experience: none, but interned at U.S. Senate and CSIS, ran a major undergrad IR journal as president for one year

 

Relevant Course Work: advanced IR theory(grad level), national security, foreign policy, a lot of history classes, comparative politics, intro level micro and macro econ, Calculus(AP converted, didn't take courses during undergrad), AP Stats, AP Chem...

 

Language: Chinese (native proficiency), Spanish (just a little bit), Latin (intermediate I guess)

 

SOP: talked about future career goals, in some of the longer SOPs, talked in detail about lessons learnt about public service, in other SOPs that asked about school's relevance, talked about how certain faculties' research field are helpful to me in detail

 

LORs:  Three stellar recs I think, 1 from thesis advisor who is well known in the IR theory field, 1 from a professor who is well known in the china field, 1 from a CSIS senior advisor and program chair.

 

I'm not sure about my chances for HKS, Yale Jackson or Princeton WWS, I really do not have much relevant work experience in public administration apart from my internships. My GPA I feel does not give me advantage either. Personally I am into security studies and feel I have a greater chance in those programs.

 

Any comment is much appreciated! Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Accepted: Fletcher (MALD); LSE MSc in IR; SAIS no$; GW (Security Studies), SIPA (International Security, $10k Dean's Service Award for 2nd Year)

Rejected: HKS (MPP), Princeton (MPA), Yale (M.A.IA), MIT (M.S. in IR) 

Waiting: Gtown (SSP)


#403 Northernlightgradcafe

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 02:45 AM

sorry I meant I received offer from Fletcher MALD, haven't decided whether I want to go yet


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Accepted: Fletcher (MALD); LSE MSc in IR; SAIS no$; GW (Security Studies), SIPA (International Security, $10k Dean's Service Award for 2nd Year)

Rejected: HKS (MPP), Princeton (MPA), Yale (M.A.IA), MIT (M.S. in IR) 

Waiting: Gtown (SSP)


#404 MPAallday

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 04:37 PM

Programs & Schools: HKS (MPP); Princeton WWS (MPA); SAIS (China); Gtown (Security Studies); Tufts Fletcher (MALD); LSE (MSc); MIT (MA); Yale Jackson (MA); GWash Elliot (Security Policy Studies); Columbia SIPA (MA-Intl Sec)

 

Notified so far by: Tufts Fletcher (admitted)

 

Undergraduate Institution: non-ivy ranked around no. 30 in US news

 

Undergraduate Major:  PolSci+Classics

 

Undergraduate GPA: 3.64 overall, 3.76(PolSci)

 

GRE: took it twice sent both scores. VR: 162, 160 ; QR: 158, 163 ; AW 4.0, 4.0

 

Years of Work Experience: none, but interned at U.S. Senate and CSIS, ran a major undergrad IR journal as president for one year

 

Relevant Course Work: advanced IR theory(grad level), national security, foreign policy, a lot of history classes, comparative politics, intro level micro and macro econ, Calculus(AP converted, didn't take courses during undergrad), AP Stats, AP Chem...

 

Language: Chinese (native proficiency), Spanish (just a little bit), Latin (intermediate I guess)

 

SOP: talked about future career goals, in some of the longer SOPs, talked in detail about lessons learnt about public service, in other SOPs that asked about school's relevance, talked about how certain faculties' research field are helpful to me in detail

 

LORs:  Three stellar recs I think, 1 from thesis advisor who is well known in the IR theory field, 1 from a professor who is well known in the china field, 1 from a CSIS senior advisor and program chair.

 

I'm not sure about my chances for HKS, Yale Jackson or Princeton WWS, I really do not have much relevant work experience in public administration apart from my internships. My GPA I feel does not give me advantage either. Personally I am into security studies and feel I have a greater chance in those programs.

 

Any comment is much appreciated! Thanks!

Your undergraduate GPA is great -- I'm not sure why you think it's bad. Your GRE scores are stellar, generally above average or on-par with the programs you're applying to. You have a slight dearth of work experience (as with many applicants who apply straight out of undergrad), but don't worry, your other assets cover that up.

 

Overall, I'd say you have a good chance of getting accepted into most of the programs you applied to!


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Applying to: Indiana (), Maryland ()Texas A&M (), UNC (), UT Austin (), UTSA (), Virginia ()

Rejected fromMaryland

Accepted at: Texas A&M ($$), Indiana ($0), Virginia ($?), UT Austin ($?)


#405 Henson

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 10:41 AM

Hello everyone, 

 

I'm an Austrian law student wondering whether it is possible for me to get into a top international affairs programme in the US, namely:

Georgetown MSFS, Fletcher School MALD, John Hopkins SAIS

Undergraduate degree: 4- year Law Degree (not divided into graduate and undergraduate in Austria)
GPA: I haven't graduated yet but if everything goes as planned, I will be in among the top 5-10% of my class. I can't tell you the exact GPA though. (the Austrian grading system is a bit different) 

 

Languages: 

German
English
French

 

Work Experience and Experience abroad: 

- Studied abroad: University of Geneva, got a "Certificate in Transnational Law"
- Internship at the Austrian Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva, Switzerland
- Internship at the Austrian Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel
- Fall School on Foreign Policy in the Middle East, Teheran, Iran
- Assistant to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Strasbourg/Vienna
 

GRE:

not taken yet

Relevant Coursework:
- Theory of IR
- countless classes in International Law
- several classes on politcal systems and comparative politics 
- took classes in macroeconomics and introduction to economics for fun (didn't get good grades) 

 

Other experience:

- Vice Chairman of the Academic Forum for Foreign Affairs (very active student association in the field of foreign policy)
- was Junior Ambassador to the Munich Security Conference
- was Youth Participant at several high level UN fora (i.e. the Global Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations) 
- got eleceted as member of the federal student union
- leader of a student chapter of an international NGO dealing with disarmament 
 

 

My main concern is, that my class rank and GPA won't be high enough? what do you think? 


Edited by Henson, 09 February 2014 - 11:23 AM.

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#406 Swedishcoffee

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 02:45 PM

 

Hello everyone, 

 

I'm an Austrian law student wondering whether it is possible for me to get into a top international affairs programme in the US, namely:

Georgetown MSFS, Fletcher School MALD, John Hopkins SAIS

Undergraduate degree: 4- year Law Degree (not divided into graduate and undergraduate in Austria)
GPA: I haven't graduated yet but if everything goes as planned, I will be in among the top 5-10% of my class. I can't tell you the exact GPA though. (the Austrian grading system is a bit different) 

 

Languages: 

German
English
French

 

Work Experience and Experience abroad: 

- Studied abroad: University of Geneva, got a "Certificate in Transnational Law"
- Internship at the Austrian Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva, Switzerland
- Internship at the Austrian Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel
- Fall School on Foreign Policy in the Middle East, Teheran, Iran
- Assistant to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Strasbourg/Vienna
 

GRE:

not taken yet

Relevant Coursework:
- Theory of IR
- countless classes in International Law
- several classes on politcal systems and comparative politics 
- took classes in macroeconomics and introduction to economics for fun (didn't get good grades) 

 

Other experience:

- Vice Chairman of the Academic Forum for Foreign Affairs (very active student association in the field of foreign policy)
- was Junior Ambassador to the Munich Security Conference
- was Youth Participant at several high level UN fora (i.e. the Global Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations) 
- got eleceted as member of the federal student union
- leader of a student chapter of an international NGO dealing with disarmament 
 

 

My main concern is, that my class rank and GPA won't be high enough? what do you think? 

 

 

If you will be in the top 5-10% of your class, you should be fine for some of the top public policy programs. Most of those applying to these programs from U.S. schools are also in the top 5% or 10% of their classes in the U.S., so you're fine there.

 

What will be important for you is getting a GRE score in a good range. Somewhere in the 160s are normally great for these programs. Upper 150s are good if the rest of your application is strong. Lower 150s and below are where you start to really need to have a stellar application to make up for the scores if you want to get into a top five or top ten program. Take your GRE and see where you fall, because that will be another big determinant for you.

 

Schools also tend to like postgraduate work experience. If you're able, try to work a year or two after graduation. As it is now, though, you have an awesome amount of internships, which I think could help make up for you not having full-time postgrad work experience.


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#407 Henson

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 09:26 PM

If you will be in the top 5-10% of your class, you should be fine for some of the top public policy programs. Most of those applying to these programs from U.S. schools are also in the top 5% or 10% of their classes in the U.S., so you're fine there.

 

What will be important for you is getting a GRE score in a good range. Somewhere in the 160s are normally great for these programs. Upper 150s are good if the rest of your application is strong. Lower 150s and below are where you start to really need to have a stellar application to make up for the scores if you want to get into a top five or top ten program. Take your GRE and see where you fall, because that will be another big determinant for you.

 

Schools also tend to like postgraduate work experience. If you're able, try to work a year or two after graduation. As it is now, though, you have an awesome amount of internships, which I think could help make up for you not having full-time postgrad work experience.


Thank you for your valuable input! As far as I am informed, foreign students don't have to submit GRE scores for Georgetown MSFS, only the TOEFL. But for John Hopkins and Fletcher it will indeed matter.
 


Edited by Henson, 09 February 2014 - 09:26 PM.

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#408 MPPgal

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 11:54 AM

You do not need to submit GREs for SAIS Bologna either if you are a foreigner. I submittted anyways as I did well on them and helped me but they skype interview all foreign applicants instead.


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Applied B): 9
In :D: LBJ (Full tuition+14k per yr), SPEA(0$), SAIS (10k€), GPPI(17.5 k per year), Harris (0$), Erasmus Mundus ($)
Out :(: LSE, Harvard, Princeton
Attending: UT Austin's LBJ!

#409 Dabode

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 05:44 AM

I’m from Denmark and I want to apply for a MPP/MPA at SIPA, HKS, WWS, CIPA, Wagner, Goldman, LSE, Oxford next year. I have some questions to you guys regarding the application (listed below)
 

My profile

Undergraduate institution: A Danish univsersity
Undergraduate GPA: Top 10 % (top 5 % in Micro- and Macroeconomics)
Undergraduate Major: Political Science and Government (broad program, cover courses like: International Relations, Micro- and Macroeconomics, Law, Statistics etc.)
Study Abroad: The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Summer School, Undergraduate), LSE (Summer School, Undergraduate), Sciences Po (Exchange Program one semester, ERASMUS, Graduate – GPA: 14,5/20 – equivalent to an A-)
Work Experience: 1) Translator for a Law Firm abroad (1/2 year, fulltime) 2) Junior Consultant/Student Assistant for a big Scandinavian Consultancy (1 ½ year, part time beside my undergraduate studies) 3) Voluntary Student Assistant for a large Danish NGO (1 year, – 5 hours per week beside my undergraduate studies), 4) Founder & President of a student-driven NGO (30+ voluntary students, endorsements and support from Danish CEOs, Ministers etc.) (1 year part time, besides my undergraduate studies), 5) Intern at Ministry of Foreign Affairs (the Danish Embassy in Beijing, China) (1/2 year, fulltime) 6) Elected board member for the Academic Council at my University (1 year)
GRE: to be taken
Languages:  Danish (native), English (fluent), German (very competent/fluent – I have lived and worked in Germany for a year ), French (beginner - language classes for ½ year), Chinese (beginner – language classes for 2 months)
Publications: I have a few articles published on online magazines.

 

My questions:

  1. This summer I finish my current internship and I want to spend a year working and gain more work experience. I’m thinking about applying for Student Positions at The Ministry of Finance (Denmark), The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Denmark), TA position at my university (teaching Public Policy/Administration) or Internships in IOs like EU/UN. What would be the best with my profile and my goals in a US/UK perspective?
  2. I don’t have a lot of fulltime work experience, simply because you can’t get a fulltime position in Denmark unless you have a Master-degree. Instead I have gained work experience beside my studies (which is common here in Denmark) and I’ll gain further work experience the next year. Do I still have a chance? I would appreciate if you would comment on my profile and chances.
  3. Should I mention in my SOP that my lack of fulltime work experience is due to the Danish “system” or should I ask one of my professors to mention this in his Letter of Recommendation?
  4. GRE scores: what should I aim for? Is it accepted that non-native applicants get a lower verbal/AWA-score?

 

I would really appreciate if anyone would comment on my questions. 


Edited by Dabode, 15 February 2014 - 05:47 AM.

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#410 Swedishcoffee

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 04:13 PM

I’m from Denmark and I want to apply for a MPP/MPA at SIPA, HKS, WWS, CIPA, Wagner, Goldman, LSE, Oxford next year. I have some questions to you guys regarding the application (listed below)
 

My profile

Undergraduate institution: A Danish univsersity
Undergraduate GPA: Top 10 % (top 5 % in Micro- and Macroeconomics)
Undergraduate Major: Political Science and Government (broad program, cover courses like: International Relations, Micro- and Macroeconomics, Law, Statistics etc.)
Study Abroad: The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Summer School, Undergraduate), LSE (Summer School, Undergraduate), Sciences Po (Exchange Program one semester, ERASMUS, Graduate – GPA: 14,5/20 – equivalent to an A-)
Work Experience: 1) Translator for a Law Firm abroad (1/2 year, fulltime) 2) Junior Consultant/Student Assistant for a big Scandinavian Consultancy (1 ½ year, part time beside my undergraduate studies) 3) Voluntary Student Assistant for a large Danish NGO (1 year, – 5 hours per week beside my undergraduate studies), 4) Founder & President of a student-driven NGO (30+ voluntary students, endorsements and support from Danish CEOs, Ministers etc.) (1 year part time, besides my undergraduate studies), 5) Intern at Ministry of Foreign Affairs (the Danish Embassy in Beijing, China) (1/2 year, fulltime) 6) Elected board member for the Academic Council at my University (1 year)
GRE: to be taken
Languages:  Danish (native), English (fluent), German (very competent/fluent – I have lived and worked in Germany for a year ), French (beginner - language classes for ½ year), Chinese (beginner – language classes for 2 months)
Publications: I have a few articles published on online magazines.

 

My questions:

  1. This summer I finish my current internship and I want to spend a year working and gain more work experience. I’m thinking about applying for Student Positions at The Ministry of Finance (Denmark), The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Denmark), TA position at my university (teaching Public Policy/Administration) or Internships in IOs like EU/UN. What would be the best with my profile and my goals in a US/UK perspective?
  2. I don’t have a lot of fulltime work experience, simply because you can’t get a fulltime position in Denmark unless you have a Master-degree. Instead I have gained work experience beside my studies (which is common here in Denmark) and I’ll gain further work experience the next year. Do I still have a chance? I would appreciate if you would comment on my profile and chances.
  3. Should I mention in my SOP that my lack of fulltime work experience is due to the Danish “system” or should I ask one of my professors to mention this in his Letter of Recommendation?
  4. GRE scores: what should I aim for? Is it accepted that non-native applicants get a lower verbal/AWA-score?

 

I would really appreciate if anyone would comment on my questions. 

 

For your first question, you ask what experience would be good for your goals, but it all depends on what your goals are. What will help you most is what will help you craft a convincing, coherent statement of purpose. If your long-term goals are in international finance, trade, or economics, the Ministry of Finance would be best. If your long-term goal is to work at a multilateral org, shoot for the EU or UN jobs. Choose whatever will boost your case for what you will write that your long-term goals are in your statement of purpose.

 

I imagine most schools are well aware of the European system requiring the masters degree, but I would have your recommenders mention it just to back you up. These schools have plenty of European applicants every year, so I would be surprised if the applications committees are not familiar with the situation.

 

For GREs, shoot for 160s to be in a good range for the top schools. Upper 150s are acceptable, but the rest of your application needs to be especially great. You'll probably get some leeway on the verbal section because you're a non-native speaker, but I'd still try to shoot for upper 150s or 160s on verbal if I were you. Danes probably will be held to a higher standard than, say, a guy from rural Bangladesh. 

 

I think your application will be good, though. Hope this helps!


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#411 agh423

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 08:32 PM

Years ago, I used this forum to gauge my chances of getting into an MPP program. I got into all 3 that I applied to and graduate in August 2012 from GWU's TSPPPA. Loved the school and thought it was a great program.

 

I am now considering a PhD because I like the research aspect of my current job. I want to get more in depth with it, and transition to a think tank or academia. To that extent, I was hoping I could get help gauging my competitiveness in a PhD program in public policy/administration.

 

Undergrad: 3.7 GPA, B.S.B.A. - Econmics

Grad: 3.7 GPA, MPP - State and Local Budget and Tax Policy

GRE: (old scores) 770Q, 580V (both in the 90th percentile); can't remember writing score

Work Experience:

  • Research assistant with George Washington Institute of Public Policy
  • Research assistant/intern with Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
  • Research work with Pew Center on the States
  • Program Management Analyst for the National Science Foundation
  • Fiscal Analyst at Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee
  • Policy and Research Analyst at Arizona Association of Counties

The schools I am considering are: ASU (I live in Phoenix, so could get in state and keep my job/benefits); UC-Denver; American U; Georgetown; GWU; UI-Chicago; UMD - College Park; NYU or Columbia (maybe a stretch?); Pitt; George Mason; UVA

 

Are these schools too far a reach? Or are other schools not listed a better idea?

 

Any feedback is much appreciated


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#412 MPAallday

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 07:39 PM

Years ago, I used this forum to gauge my chances of getting into an MPP program. I got into all 3 that I applied to and graduate in August 2012 from GWU's TSPPPA. Loved the school and thought it was a great program.

 

I am now considering a PhD because I like the research aspect of my current job. I want to get more in depth with it, and transition to a think tank or academia. To that extent, I was hoping I could get help gauging my competitiveness in a PhD program in public policy/administration.

 

Undergrad: 3.7 GPA, B.S.B.A. - Econmics

Grad: 3.7 GPA, MPP - State and Local Budget and Tax Policy

GRE: (old scores) 770Q, 580V (both in the 90th percentile); can't remember writing score

Work Experience:

  • Research assistant with George Washington Institute of Public Policy
  • Research assistant/intern with Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
  • Research work with Pew Center on the States
  • Program Management Analyst for the National Science Foundation
  • Fiscal Analyst at Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee
  • Policy and Research Analyst at Arizona Association of Counties

The schools I am considering are: ASU (I live in Phoenix, so could get in state and keep my job/benefits); UC-Denver; American U; Georgetown; GWU; UI-Chicago; UMD - College Park; NYU or Columbia (maybe a stretch?); Pitt; George Mason; UVA

 

Are these schools too far a reach? Or are other schools not listed a better idea?

 

Any feedback is much appreciated

 

I am generally reluctant to gauge PhD applications -- as it is much less of a quantitative approach to admissions as compared with master's and professional programs. That being said, you look very competitive. I would venture to say that you will get accepted into some of those schools at the least.


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Applying to: Indiana (), Maryland ()Texas A&M (), UNC (), UT Austin (), UTSA (), Virginia ()

Rejected fromMaryland

Accepted at: Texas A&M ($$), Indiana ($0), Virginia ($?), UT Austin ($?)


#413 Northernlightgradcafe

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 12:53 AM

Programs & Schools: HKS (MPP); Princeton WWS (MPA); SAIS (China); Gtown (Security Studies); Tufts Fletcher (MALD); LSE (MSc); MIT (MA); Yale Jackson (MA); GWash Elliot (Security Policy Studies); Columbia SIPA (MA-Intl Sec)

 

Notified so far by: Tufts Fletcher (admitted)

 

Undergraduate Institution: non-ivy ranked around no. 30 in US news

 

Undergraduate Major:  PolSci+Classics

 

Undergraduate GPA: 3.64 overall, 3.76(PolSci)

 

GRE: took it twice sent both scores. VR: 162, 160 ; QR: 158, 163 ; AW 4.0, 4.0

 

Years of Work Experience: none, but interned at U.S. Senate and CSIS, ran a major undergrad IR journal as president for one year

 

Relevant Course Work: advanced IR theory(grad level), national security, foreign policy, a lot of history classes, comparative politics, intro level micro and macro econ, Calculus(AP converted, didn't take courses during undergrad), AP Stats, AP Chem...

 

Language: Chinese (native proficiency), Spanish (just a little bit), Latin (intermediate I guess)

 

SOP: talked about future career goals, in some of the longer SOPs, talked in detail about lessons learnt about public service, in other SOPs that asked about school's relevance, talked about how certain faculties' research field are helpful to me in detail

 

LORs:  Three stellar recs I think, 1 from thesis advisor who is well known in the IR theory field, 1 from a professor who is well known in the china field, 1 from a CSIS senior advisor and program chair.

 

I'm not sure about my chances for HKS, Yale Jackson or Princeton WWS, I really do not have much relevant work experience in public administration apart from my internships. My GPA I feel does not give me advantage either. Personally I am into security studies and feel I have a greater chance in those programs.

 

Any comment is much appreciated! Thanks!

Just an update, I received offers from Fletcher and LSE, still waiting on the other schools. 


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Accepted: Fletcher (MALD); LSE MSc in IR; SAIS no$; GW (Security Studies), SIPA (International Security, $10k Dean's Service Award for 2nd Year)

Rejected: HKS (MPP), Princeton (MPA), Yale (M.A.IA), MIT (M.S. in IR) 

Waiting: Gtown (SSP)


#414 kath.nasielski

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 07:51 PM

Hi all,

I am intending to apply to IR programs for next cycle and would love your thoughts on whether my expectations are realistic, or if there's anything I should be working on in advance of my application.

 

Programs: SAIS, Georgetown, GW Elliot, SIPA, HKS, Fletcher

Undergraduate institution: Northwestern University
Undergraduate GPA: 3.6
Undergraduate Major: Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies
Study Abroad: Hebrew University in Jerusalem, 6 months with an internship
Work Experience: Graduated from NU with a competitive fellowship as a Legislative Assistant at a Jewish public policy org, where I stayed for 2.5 years. I now work at the Israeli Embassy in Public Diplomacy. I will have worked there for a year and a half at the time I submit my application
GRE: 164 (v) 161 (q) 5.5 (writing)
Languages: English (native), elementary Spanish and Hebrew
Undergraduate Leadership: Director of largest student-run human rights conference in the US, global engagement leader, Jewish community leader

LORs: A few strong recs lined up from well-respected public figures who have directly supervised me

 

Concerns: No fluency in language (working on it), no real economics background (taking SAIS's online course), GPA. 

 

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!


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#415 MPAallday

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Posted 28 February 2014 - 07:10 PM

 

Hi all,

I am intending to apply to IR programs for next cycle and would love your thoughts on whether my expectations are realistic, or if there's anything I should be working on in advance of my application.

 

Programs: SAIS, Georgetown, GW Elliot, SIPA, HKS, Fletcher

Undergraduate institution: Northwestern University
Undergraduate GPA: 3.6
Undergraduate Major: Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies
Study Abroad: Hebrew University in Jerusalem, 6 months with an internship
Work Experience: Graduated from NU with a competitive fellowship as a Legislative Assistant at a Jewish public policy org, where I stayed for 2.5 years. I now work at the Israeli Embassy in Public Diplomacy. I will have worked there for a year and a half at the time I submit my application
GRE: 164 (v) 161 (q) 5.5 (writing)
Languages: English (native), elementary Spanish and Hebrew
Undergraduate Leadership: Director of largest student-run human rights conference in the US, global engagement leader, Jewish community leader

LORs: A few strong recs lined up from well-respected public figures who have directly supervised me

 

Concerns: No fluency in language (working on it), no real economics background (taking SAIS's online course), GPA. 

 

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

 

Your concerns highlight areas where your application is a bit mediocre, but far from weak. I would say that, overall, your qualifications are quite strong. Your GPA, although not perfect, is great -- indicating an A-B average (leaning towards A). A lack of fluency in a language could show that you do not know what exactly you want to do with an IR degree (e.g. which country will be your primary target); however, I'm more than certain many qualified applicants are admitted to similar programs every cycle without the advantage of fluency in another language.

 

Your GRE is stellar, and should erase any concerns the admissions committees might have about your GPA. Unless you're going into policy analysis, I wouldn't worry that much about your economics background (or lack thereof). Overall -- you look pretty good!


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Applying to: Indiana (), Maryland ()Texas A&M (), UNC (), UT Austin (), UTSA (), Virginia ()

Rejected fromMaryland

Accepted at: Texas A&M ($$), Indiana ($0), Virginia ($?), UT Austin ($?)


#416 parcemetu

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 01:35 AM

Hi all! 

I know that we are deep into the admissions cycle for this year, but I'm feeling restless and would also enjoy contributing to the information collected on this thread. I've benefitted a lot from the perspectives offered over specific candidate profiles, so maybe my example will also help someone make decisions about their grad school endeavors. 

Institution Small, nationally ranked (but not especially prestigious) liberal arts college
Majors International Relations, Classical Studies
GPA 3.93
GRE V: 169 Q: 159 AW: 5.5

Languages: Spanish (intermediate), Latin (intermediate)
Relevant Coursework: Lots of politics and IR; a few specialized econ classes focusing on Development (3.7) and International Political Economy (4.0), Macroeconomics (AP credit), Statistical Methods (4.0), Calculus (AP credit)
Work Experience: not much, unfortunately; a leadership position in the Obama for America campaign and a few months of a full-time internship with an NGO in DC related to my academic field. I also work for my college as a content tutor and writing consultant. 

SOP Luckily, my work experience and extracurricular activities have been closely related to my academic focus. I was also able to highlight some research in my field of choice that I will be presenting at a large political science conference next month. Overall, I feel comfortable about the narrative of my SOP and my ability to connect it to the program in question and specific research and career goals.
LOR Two professors who have worked closely with me in both of my majors and one professional recommendation. I am confident that each represented myself at the very best that I have to offer (and were probably more kind in their assessments than anyone could deserve). 

Applied for WWS (MPA), HKS (MPP), Oxford (MPhil in IR), SAIS, GWU, AU (all International Affairs variants). 
Acceptances AU (full tuition + 12k)
Rejections None yet

Thrilled to have one offer, which definitely eases the anxiety of waiting for decisions. My dream is WWS -- there is a professor there that I have worked with in the past who expressed interest in doing research with me, a phenomenal opportunity -- but obviously my less intensive work experience and less rigorous quant background will be obstacles. I believe that I have other strengths to offer, but time will tell if that approaches any kind of sufficiency. 

Does anyone have some insight for me? Thanks!


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#417 huntingbears

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 08:36 PM

Programs & School (All MPA or MPP): Evans (UDubb), NYU Wagner, SciencesPo, Hertie, Humphrey (UofM), LBJ, maybe others 

 

Undergraduate Institution: 25-ish ranked public university-- nothing special

 

Undergraduate Major:  PoliSci and Interdisciplinary French Studies

 

Undergraduate GPA: 3.56 overall; 3.63 Poli Sci, 3.62 French

 

GRE: 158 V, 152 Q, 3.5 AW

 

Years of Work Experience: 2.5 at time of application. Working for U.S Senate and re-election campaign. Worked directly with the Senator as "body person." Traveled, staffed, briefed, etc. while Senator was in home-state, at all events. 

 

Language: French, proficient. Basic Spanish

 

SOP: I hope they will like it...

 

LORs:  1 directly from the Senator (I hope this can carry some weight. The Senator knows me very well, and we've worked very closely), 1 from Chief of Staff, 2 from professors with whom I have great relationships with. 

 

Concerns: Obviously pretty bad GRE scores. I write press releases, copy edit, etc. I consider, and have been told, writing is a strong suit of mine. I'm one of two people that make edits and approve event briefings for the Senator... So, I was a little taken back by the AW. Not too surprised about quantitative; I haven't taken math since HS. I am, however, taking an online micro course to demonstrate some ability to handle that. 

 

I really hope my work experience will boost my chances. I've attended and staffed 100's of meeting in home-state with the Senator. Studied countless briefs on pretty much any policy you could imagine. I've seen the effect policies have on everyday people, which is why I'm applying. 

 

So, my hopes are my work experience, pretty solid GPA, and LORs will offset poor GRE showing and average university. 

 

Input would be greatly appreciated!!!

 

 


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#418 MPAallday

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 02:44 AM

 

Programs & School (All MPA or MPP): Evans (UDubb), NYU Wagner, SciencesPo, Hertie, Humphrey (UofM), LBJ, maybe others 

 

Undergraduate Institution: 25-ish ranked public university-- nothing special

 

Undergraduate Major:  PoliSci and Interdisciplinary French Studies

 

Undergraduate GPA: 3.56 overall; 3.63 Poli Sci, 3.62 French

 

GRE: 158 V, 152 Q, 3.5 AW

 

Years of Work Experience: 2.5 at time of application. Working for U.S Senate and re-election campaign. Worked directly with the Senator as "body person." Traveled, staffed, briefed, etc. while Senator was in home-state, at all events. 

 

Language: French, proficient. Basic Spanish

 

SOP: I hope they will like it...

 

LORs:  1 directly from the Senator (I hope this can carry some weight. The Senator knows me very well, and we've worked very closely), 1 from Chief of Staff, 2 from professors with whom I have great relationships with. 

 

Concerns: Obviously pretty bad GRE scores. I write press releases, copy edit, etc. I consider, and have been told, writing is a strong suit of mine. I'm one of two people that make edits and approve event briefings for the Senator... So, I was a little taken back by the AW. Not too surprised about quantitative; I haven't taken math since HS. I am, however, taking an online micro course to demonstrate some ability to handle that. 

 

I really hope my work experience will boost my chances. I've attended and staffed 100's of meeting in home-state with the Senator. Studied countless briefs on pretty much any policy you could imagine. I've seen the effect policies have on everyday people, which is why I'm applying. 

 

So, my hopes are my work experience, pretty solid GPA, and LORs will offset poor GRE showing and average university. 

 

Input would be greatly appreciated!!!

 

Well luckily for you policy and public affairs schools eat up work experience!

 

Your GRE scores aren't really bad, they're decent (the AW is poor but -- IMO -- it's compensated for by experience copy editing and the rest of your resume). Schools are aware that GRE scores are more reflective of test-taking ability (and sometimes pure luck) than they are of actual intellectual capabilities.

 

Your GPA is good, and would probably hover around the average for most of those schools. Also, speaking another language fluently gives you a big plus in the process.

 

I wouldn't worry too much, your stats look relatively competitive for where you applied.


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Applying to: Indiana (), Maryland ()Texas A&M (), UNC (), UT Austin (), UTSA (), Virginia ()

Rejected fromMaryland

Accepted at: Texas A&M ($$), Indiana ($0), Virginia ($?), UT Austin ($?)


#419 Buffalofan4255

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 07:12 PM

Hi all,

I'm David and I'll be applying to HKS, Columbia, Berkeley, NYU, Brandeis, BU, University of Edinburgh, Oxford, and a few others for M.P.P. for the fall of 2015 (only a junior here).

 

Can someone tell me if I have a shot?

 

School: State University of New York at Buffalo - UB (a flagship of SUNY)

Majors: Economics and International Trade

GPA: 3.30 Economics GPA: 3.30 International Trade GPA: 3.79

 

Research Experience: 3 years as an Economic Research Assistant in an award-winning lab working under a $3.96 million grant from the USDA to connect farm viability with food access in the United States (currently working on my own paper focusing on food venue choice theory)

Teaching Experience: Undergraduate TA for ECO 407 Macroeconomic Theory

Work Experience: Have interned for Senator Chuck Schumer, Congressman Joe Kennedy III, a State Rep in the Massachusetts State House (where I'm creating my own legislation to create a farmers' market grant program), and doing Marketing for UB's Campus Dining and Services

Extra-Curriculars: President and Founder of the Undergraduate Geography Association, Treasurer of the largest club on campus handling a budget of $13,000, member of Delta Sigma Pi (professional business/economics Fraternity), College Ambassador of the College of Arts and Sciences (Liaison to the Dean), International General Board of United Synagogue Youth, Treasurer of Model European Union, have participated in 2 political simulations (one in Brussels, Belgium for model EU and another in Toronto, Canada for Model UN)

Scholarships and Awards: J. Scott Fleming Scholarship (awarded for leadership on campus), Pillars of Leadership Medal

LOR's: The head of our research lab who's a nationally award winning professor and researcher (particularly in urban and regional planning), State Representative of Massachusetts, and possibly Senator Schumer but that would be weak.

Language: A little bit of spanish and hebrew but pretty much nothing

Relavent Coursework: Macroeconomic Theory, Microeconomic Theory, Econometrics I, Econometric Applications, Dynamics of International Business, Geography of Development, Mathematical Analysis for Management, Calculus and Its Applications 2, Topics of International Economics, Public Sector Economics, Undergraduate Teaching in English, Bases of World Commerce, Earth Systems Science 1 + 2, Geography of Economic Systems, Urban Economics, Money and Banking

 

My weak point is obviously my GPA. Will that hurt me tremendously?


Edited by Buffalofan4255, 27 March 2014 - 07:13 PM.

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#420 TimB

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 07:47 PM

 

 

My weak point is obviously my GPA. Will that hurt me tremendously?

 

That and lack of work experience. Most of these schools like to see 2-6 years. Internships with reps sound good to outsiders but everyone on an adcom will know it's unpaid work in an extremely expensive city, which limits the competition for those positions quite a bit and thus kind of undercuts their value. Research experience seems to be a big factor in getting offers and aid, maybe try to get on some in your last year?

 

Really, I'd say you have to wait for GRE scores to know you chances. If they're stellar, that will help offset the lower GPA. I don't think you'll be all that competitive for HKS unless you get some work experience, simply because it just seems like lots of people with similar educational backgrounds, more work experience, and better GPAs still don't get in (doesn't hurt to try though). Columbia maybe but I'd be worried about aid (full cost of attendance is $140,000 by their estimates, which at the 7.5% interest you're going to pay on loans > $20,500 a year is nuts ). The problem with the NYC and DC schools is that you need to get 50%+ COA in aid to make attending reasonable. 

 

You'll almost certainly get into NYU Wagner as long as your GREs are decent. I would worry about funding though, I rarely see people getting much aid from them.

 

I imagine that if you cast a wide net you'll get in somewhere good, especially with good GRE scores. Keep in mind though that having no work experience is going to make it tough to land a job and you'll have both undergrad and grad debt piling up interest while you work. I'd advise at least a year of work. 


Edited by TimB, 27 March 2014 - 07:57 PM.

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