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

competitiveness gpa gre requirements experience profile application

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#481 thevillagersid

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 04:38 AM

Hi Yuanyang--GPA can be a deal breaker, but raising your GRE scores (quant esp.) and doing an MS could help show you have what it takes for a PhD. Solid research experience and good recs are definitely a plus, but you should probably ask in another forum for advice on those--this is government affairs.  ;)


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Admit: Syracuse Maxwell (MPA) ($$$) | Yale Jackson (MA) | Chicago Harris (MPP) ($) | UPenn Fels (MPA) ($) | Columbia SIPA (MIA)  

Waitlist: Berkeley GSPP (MPP) | HKS (MPP)

Stats: GRE Q/V/A - 170/165/4.5 | B.A. - 3.2 | M.A. - 4.0 (international uni.) 


#482 Pichichi

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 01:51 AM

Hi everybody,

I will be applying to IR programs this fall (or next, depending on my satisfaction with my GRE scores) and would appreciate any words of wisdom regarding my chances or any advice on how to make myself more competitive. 

 

 

Programs Considering: SIS, GW Elliot, University of Maryland, Korbel, LBJ, Fletcher, Pitt, LBJ

 

Undergraduate Institution: Top 5 Regional Public University in the South

 

Undergraduate Major:  International Affairs; Minors: Spanish and Economics

 

Undergraduate GPA: 3.35 (less than stellar freshman year)

 

Study Abroad: 4 months in Spain

 

GRE: Taking it later this Fall

 

Work Experience:  

Just completed one year as an English teaching assistant in Spain and will begin my second year this fall.

2 Summers interning at a relatively small US regulatory agency

 

Languages: Spanish (essentially fluent); Russian (very basic level) 

 

LORs: Already assured by 2 professors (Econ dept and Poli Sci dept)

 

Coursework:  micro, macro, IR, comparative politics, international finance, economics of natural resources, political geography, politics of the EU, political development, economic development, US foreign policy, statistics, cross-national research skills and more...

 

Concerns:  C in my Macro class, which is slightly unsettling and perhaps a lack of more formal work experience (I'm not sure how most of these schools look at teaching English abroad).


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#483 emd89

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 01:41 AM

I'll be applying for MPA/MPP/MAIS concurrent programs for Fall of 2015. My geographic area is constrained by my desire to build a west coast network and my husband's choice of MBA program (he's narrowed down to Berkeley, Stanford, or UW). I am most concerned about my lack of math prowess, and I won't be able to take a math class between now and my application cycle. 

 

For career goals, I'd love to end up in the Foreign Service in 5 or so years but realize the chances are miniscule. I'd be happy working in an environment where I spent a lot of time in the field, developed my language skills, and was able to travel. I'm looking at large non-profits with a strong presence overseas. 

 

I would love the community's opinion on how to address my math deficiencies, what other programs come to mind when you see my profile, and any red flags you see. Thank you so much!

 

 

School requirements:
I'm applying to UW's concurrent MPA/MAIS program, so a combo of the Evans School and the Jackson School, and Berkeley's Goldman MPP. I'm a west coast girl who wants a west coast network. 

GPA:
3.63, with a 3.85 in-major (English) which I don't think they'll care about. 

GRE score:
152Q/165V/4.5 AWA

Work experience:
One year of alumni program administration at a large research university. Two years of running a pilot government education program in Seoul, South Korea. Internships in Germany (youth development) and stateside (non-profit homeownership foundation). 

Language skills:
Spanish: I could argue fluency, but I've tapered off my study in the last few years. 

German: Elementary

Korean: High comprehension, reading, and writing, but my speaking is kindergarten-level.

Quantitative requirements:
NONE and this is what I'd like advice on - I have two math classes on my transcript. One is the only C I've ever received, and the other is the only class I've withdrawn from. My GRE Quant score isn't bad, but I am terrible at math and my transcript shows it. How should I address this? I work with budgets and other numbers in my job (and my previous jobs) with no problem, but in a math classroom I'm a sad idiot. 

Overseas experience (work, study and teaching):
Yes, I've travelled extensively in Europe and Asia, worked in Korea for 2 years, and interned in Germany for 4 months.

Statement of Purpose:
I love writing and feel confident about this section. 


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#484 RP15

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 05:18 PM

srry. didn't realize this was a government affairs section.. ignore 


Edited by Ricardo_Peterson, 29 July 2014 - 05:24 PM.

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#485 Gov2School

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 11:25 PM

I'll be applying for MPA/MPP/MAIS concurrent programs for Fall of 2015. My geographic area is constrained by my desire to build a west coast network and my husband's choice of MBA program (he's narrowed down to Berkeley, Stanford, or UW). I am most concerned about my lack of math prowess, and I won't be able to take a math class between now and my application cycle. 

 

For career goals, I'd love to end up in the Foreign Service in 5 or so years but realize the chances are miniscule. I'd be happy working in an environment where I spent a lot of time in the field, developed my language skills, and was able to travel. I'm looking at large non-profits with a strong presence overseas. 

 

I would love the community's opinion on how to address my math deficiencies, what other programs come to mind when you see my profile, and any red flags you see. Thank you so much!

 

 

School requirements:
I'm applying to UW's concurrent MPA/MAIS program, so a combo of the Evans School and the Jackson School, and Berkeley's Goldman MPP. I'm a west coast girl who wants a west coast network. 

GPA:
3.63, with a 3.85 in-major (English) which I don't think they'll care about. 

GRE score:
152Q/165V/4.5 AWA

Work experience:
One year of alumni program administration at a large research university. Two years of running a pilot government education program in Seoul, South Korea. Internships in Germany (youth development) and stateside (non-profit homeownership foundation). 

Language skills:
Spanish: I could argue fluency, but I've tapered off my study in the last few years. 

German: Elementary

Korean: High comprehension, reading, and writing, but my speaking is kindergarten-level.

Quantitative requirements:
NONE and this is what I'd like advice on - I have two math classes on my transcript. One is the only C I've ever received, and the other is the only class I've withdrawn from. My GRE Quant score isn't bad, but I am terrible at math and my transcript shows it. How should I address this? I work with budgets and other numbers in my job (and my previous jobs) with no problem, but in a math classroom I'm a sad idiot. 

Overseas experience (work, study and teaching):
Yes, I've travelled extensively in Europe and Asia, worked in Korea for 2 years, and interned in Germany for 4 months.

Statement of Purpose:
I love writing and feel confident about this section. 

 

To state the obvious, it would be helpful if you could take some kind of math course between now and next January.  You should take another look at community college, extension courses, adult education courses, or accredited online courses (not Coursera) in your area.  Keep in mind that you don't have to have completed the course by the time you apply, you can list yourself as enrolled even if you don't have your final grade yet.  Most schools will allow you to submit your grades after the application deadline (since many fall courses don't wrap up until late December), and even those that won't let you turn in a grade after the deadline will at least be able to see that you're applying yourself to filling in obvious skills gaps.  

 

A bigger issue than having no math might be having no economics (you don't say if you've taken econ courses). Intro economics courses in both Micro and Macro are pretty light on math, and I say this as a fellow math allergic person.  So if you only have a chance to do one course, I'd look at either econ or statistics.  

 

My other tip (this worked for me) is just to address your math shortcomings head on in your statement of purpose.  You can be honest about not having a strong quant background, it's one of the skillsets that you can really expand when you're in grad school. After all, it's not about coming in as the perfect student, but coming in with some strengths, some weaknesses, and building on it.  But having at least one additional course under your belt might help convince the committee that you're capable of doing the work they need you to do, even if you don't have a really strong background in it. 


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#486 emd89

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 03:22 AM

Hey, thanks. This is all great info. I'm looking into taking an econ course online - I live in Korea and my Korean is not exactly ready to be deployed in a university classroom - and getting one of my teacher friends to proctor for me. 

 

I did the full IB program in high school, so I took macro, micro, calculus, etc., and did well, but that's going on 8 years ago now.

 

One thing I hadn't taken into account is the applied math courses I've excelled in, and that I took out-of-major because I was truly interested in the content. There's no math or econ, specifically, but what do you think about these: 

 

ENGR 350H (Sustainable Engineering Honors): A

PS 399H (Principles of Population Honors): A-

MB 230H (Intro to MicroBio Honors): A

 

Thanks again for your help. I will definitely be addressing the issue head-on. 

 

 

To state the obvious, it would be helpful if you could take some kind of math course between now and next January.  You should take another look at community college, extension courses, adult education courses, or accredited online courses (not Coursera) in your area.  Keep in mind that you don't have to have completed the course by the time you apply, you can list yourself as enrolled even if you don't have your final grade yet.  Most schools will allow you to submit your grades after the application deadline (since many fall courses don't wrap up until late December), and even those that won't let you turn in a grade after the deadline will at least be able to see that you're applying yourself to filling in obvious skills gaps.  

 

A bigger issue than having no math might be having no economics (you don't say if you've taken econ courses). Intro economics courses in both Micro and Macro are pretty light on math, and I say this as a fellow math allergic person.  So if you only have a chance to do one course, I'd look at either econ or statistics.  

 

My other tip (this worked for me) is just to address your math shortcomings head on in your statement of purpose.  You can be honest about not having a strong quant background, it's one of the skillsets that you can really expand when you're in grad school. After all, it's not about coming in as the perfect student, but coming in with some strengths, some weaknesses, and building on it.  But having at least one additional course under your belt might help convince the committee that you're capable of doing the work they need you to do, even if you don't have a really strong background in it. 


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#487 DashaKJ

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 10:52 PM

Schools: Georgetown SSP, Hopkins Security Studies, AU (Spring 15) Possibly Princeton WWS, Korbel, Chicago CIR, LBJ, GW

 

Career goals: Ideally foreign service or something with nat'l security

 

Institution: public state university in Florida

 

Major: Political Science

 

Minor: Double in history and international studies

GPA:
3.65, overall from school. Overall (including study abroad, two econ courses) 3.71. Major GPA 3.85

GRE score:
Taking next month, but generally a strong test taker.

Work experience:

Policy intern at a scientific research institute, researched federal and state policy for scientific research (including some bio security issues)

Economic development intern at City West Palm Beach

Economic affairs intern State Department, U.S Embassy Moscow

Language skills:
Moderate Russian, Belarusian (Was born/lived in Belarus)

Quantitative work:
Statistics, macro, micro. A in both econ courses, B in stats

 

Publications:

Op-Ed about national security and Bahrain

 

Overseas experience (work, study and teaching):
Studied abroad in Saint Petersburg, Russia

Statement of Purpose:
Feel pretty confident about my SOP.

 

Letters of Recommendation:

I have a really, really strong LOR from my supervisor at the research centre and another strong LOR from a former Ambassador and Georgetown alum who was my professor. Moderate LOR from another professor.

 

 

I'd really, really love to get into Hopkins or Georgetown. I know the SAIS and MFS programs are really difficult to get into, and I'm not even sure how the security studies programs are as far as competitiveness. But, I just graduated from my undergrad this week, so I figured I might as well see how I stack up. Thanks guys!


Edited by DashaKJ, 03 August 2014 - 10:58 PM.

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#488 jjduval

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 09:18 AM

I'll post and see if anyone can appraise me:

Schools: GW Elliott, AU SIS

Undergrad institution: Southern University, major in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies

GPA: 2.7, yo

GRE: retaking once I return to the US. Am currently in Asia. Gunning for a 170 in Q and V.

Work/International Exp: 1 year on staff for the President's 2012 reëlection bid, 1 year as an English teacher in rural South Korea, and was just offered a Congressional internship. I also spent 2 months in Egypt back in 2010 as a study-abroad student.

Language Skills: Spanish (fluent), Arabic (4 years of Uni study), French (high school study, remember some), Elementary Korean.

Quant Work: classes it's an undergrad. I don't even remember.

SOP/LoR: not an issue.

I'm gunning hard for GW Elliott. I have obvious deficiencies, but, with my background and a high GRE score, what am I looking like? I'm also looking for full-time work relevant to my field of interest.
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Applying to: GW Elliott, AU SIS

Accepted To:

Rejected From: GW Elliott, AU SIS


#489 KenBesonders

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 04:25 PM

I'll post and see if anyone can appraise me:

Schools: GW Elliott, AU SIS

Undergrad institution: Southern University, major in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies

GPA: 2.7, yo

GRE: retaking once I return to the US. Am currently in Asia. Gunning for a 170 in Q and V.

Work/International Exp: 1 year on staff for the President's 2012 reëlection bid, 1 year as an English teacher in rural South Korea, and was just offered a Congressional internship. I also spent 2 months in Egypt back in 2010 as a study-abroad student.

Language Skills: Spanish (fluent), Arabic (4 years of Uni study), French (high school study, remember some), Elementary Korean.

Quant Work: classes it's an undergrad. I don't even remember.

SOP/LoR: not an issue.

I'm gunning hard for GW Elliott. I have obvious deficiencies, but, with my background and a high GRE score, what am I looking like? I'm also looking for full-time work relevant to my field of interest.

 

You and me both are on a similar boat. I won't apply for another two years to build up work experience, but in the mean time I think I will take some macro and micro economics courses. From what I have seen on acceptance and funding on this forum, micro and macro classes play a fairly weighted role.


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#490 jjduval

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 05:23 AM

You and me both are on a similar boat. I won't apply for another two years to build up work experience, but in the mean time I think I will take some macro and micro economics courses. From what I have seen on acceptance and funding on this forum, micro and macro classes play a fairly weighted role.


I think I'll be taking Statistics or another economics course this fall to help offset my GPA deficiency. Do you have work experience, too?
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Applying to: GW Elliott, AU SIS

Accepted To:

Rejected From: GW Elliott, AU SIS


#491 KenBesonders

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 02:20 PM

I think I'll be taking Statistics or another economics course this fall to help offset my GPA deficiency. Do you have work experience, too?

I am currently seeking it and have come close. Still staying persistent. My target right now is local government or a company that works internationally. I live in a Midwest state and unfortunately cannot move out to DC until graduate school comes around.


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#492 DavidFeng

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 08:35 AM

Hi guys, I am an international student from China. I'm applying for 2015 Fall and I'd like to know if anybody can kindly offer me some suggestions.

 

School requirements:
I would try my best for HKS MPP, Georgetown MPP, Chicago Harris MPP, Duke Sanford Mpp, Cornell CIPA MPA, and Johns Hopkins MIA.

GPA:
3.91/4.0, major in English Language and Literature and minor in International relations (concentrating on energy&climate change)

 

I'm applying straight from undergrad, and my institution is among the top in my country (with several alumni previously admitted to HKS MPP, most of them were straight from undergrad).


GRE score:
166Q/162V/4.5 AWA

Work experience:
I've taken a gap year between my junior and senior years, during which I 

-worked as a full-time interpreter for a national government body on climate change and clean energy (2 months)

-interned at a United Nations agency on water-energy nexus in Bangkok, Thailand (5 months)

-have been full-time campaigning for Greenpeace East Asia in my home country (I signed a one-year freelance contract so it would last until I graduate in June 2015)

 

Other experiences included 

-research assistant positions at two influential media (one blowed the whistle on Edward Snowden and the other was the oldest broadcast medium in China) on environment and technology news (each lasted around 3 months and got my bylines)

-internship at a big European consulting firm (Chinese branch) helping a leading energy company transform its market strategy toward's China's emerging new energy vehicle market (2 months)

Language skills:

Chinese(mandarin): Native

English: Fluent, scored 118 in Toefl iBT

French: Upper intermediate, scored B2 in TCF test

Latin: reading literacy (I guess they wouldn't care about this,ha)

 


Quantitative requirements:

Course work in Micro/Macro Econ, Statistics, Probability and Statistics, Liner Algebra, Calculus (grades averaged to around 90/100, which is roughly A- in the U.S. standard, I suppose)

Overseas experience (work, study and teaching):
Yes, 5 months in Thailand, and two short-term exchange programs to Japan and Philippines

Statement of Purpose:
Still doing research on the official websites and brainstorming. But I'm confident on this section with feedback and revisions.

 

Letters of Recommendation:

Confirmed with my supervisors and professors who know me very well.  I would communicate with them frequently to make sure they understand the references would fit in well with the whole package of materials. 

 

My concerns:

 

1) working experience. 

I understand it's usually a disadvantage to apply without working for a couple of years, but I think I know what industry and positions I would aim for in future. Plus, at least for several employers I worked for, advanced degrees abroad indeed give candidates an advantage on entry-level positions, even if a domestic student has one or two more years of working experience. I guess this is probably why so many Chinese students are rushing abroad to graduate schools even without any work experience. 

 

So, if possible, I just want to know to what extent this lack of work experience would hamstring my application. 

 

2) GRE scores.

I suppose this score is just "Okay" for top schools. I'm currently studying for another shot in September and based on mock test results, I'm pretty confident to see  at least a 5-score increase in total and keep my AWA scores between 4.5 and 5.0. 

 

Any ideas and suggestions would be useful, thanks so much:)


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#493 MJA87

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 07:14 PM

You and me both are on a similar boat. I won't apply for another two years to build up work experience, but in the mean time I think I will take some macro and micro economics courses. From what I have seen on acceptance and funding on this forum, micro and macro classes play a fairly weighted role.

 

Could you elaborate on this? I recently finished my micro and macro classes and did well in them but didn't really know how much they would help me in terms of applying. I know schools look at the whole package, but what have you seen regarding the importance of these classes?


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#494 KenBesonders

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 08:40 PM

Could you elaborate on this? I recently finished my micro and macro classes and did well in them but didn't really know how much they would help me in terms of applying. I know schools look at the whole package, but what have you seen regarding the importance of these classes?

Okay, allow me to elaborate. Doing well in these classes by no means gives you a automatic bid for funding. However, as you said, many programs holistically look at the whole package that is the student. GWU, Georgetown, Tufts, SAIS and others all have previous econ classes as a preferred prerequisite for applying. Most people I see getting accepted and funding usually meet the criteria.

 

I am rather saying don't overlook the importance of having it. If you do, good, shoot for GRE scores, work experience and other ways to enhance your application. My original point is that some applicants, especially in those seeking for security programs, often overlook the importance of having econ classes on the transcripts. You can still get into these schools and maybe get funding, but net meeting the prerequisite criteria reduces your chances.


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#495 RCtheSS

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 07:15 PM

I'm not sure if I'll be applying for Fall 2016 or 2017 admission. I want at least 2 years of work experience so if I apply for 2016 I'll end up with 2 years worth once it's actually time for me to move and enroll. I know this is may be early for me, but I'd appreciate any feedback and advice in the meantime!

Programs: MPP/MPA with a concentration in Social Policy. My list: UMichigan, UChicago, Columbia, UCal-Berkeley, UCLA, UTexas-Austin, UMinnesota and USC for their joint/dual degree options with a MSW. Also considering MPP programs at Brandeis and Duke.

Undergraduate Institution: University of Florida. Studied abroad for one semester at a top-ranked liberal arts university in the Netherlands.
Undergraduate Degree: BA Economics, BA Sociology. Minor in Family, Youth, Community Sciences; Certificate in Public Affairs
Undergraduate GPA: 3.61/4.00. Graduated summa cum laude.

GRE: 158V, 158 Q, 4.5 AW
Years out of Undergrad: Currently, 3 months!
Years of Work Experience: At least 2 years full-time at time of enrollment.
-Currently a research assistant at a non-profit social policy research organization in Washington, D.C.
-Since I recently relocated I would like to get involved in local volunteer work in either early education or social services.
-Other relevant experience: PPIA Fellowship at UMich in 2013. Hurray for fee waivers!

Languages: English. Always talk about refreshing my Spanish skills to conversational levels.

Quantitative: Multiple upper-level statistics and economics courses. Experience with data collection and analysis using Excel, SPSS and Stata. I plan to take a series of calculus courses at a community college since I haven't seen calc since high school.

SOP: Haven't worked on it yet, figured I'd wait to settle into my job and have more to discuss.

LORs: Two undergrad lecturers--one in the poli-sci department, one in sociology (who was my thesis faculty advisor). Third letter will be from my supervisor, a senior policy analyst.

Questions:
1. Should I bother retaking the GRE? I took it in my senior year and felt satisfied with my scores after looking up the schools' averages. I've seen much better scores reported in this thread and now I'm not too sure about my chances, or if it'll even make a drastic difference with the rest of my application.
2. Would Calculus I and II be enough for these programs, or should I also include a course in multivariate calc? This may end up deciding the 2016/2017 question for me!

Edited by RCtheSS, 15 August 2014 - 07:27 PM.

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#496 gradjm

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 09:40 PM

Hey all, 

 

hoping to apply to Harvard's JD/MPP. Already accepted in the JD program and entering this fall (we can apply for the dual degree at the end of our first year. So wondering about my competitiveness for HKS' MPP. 

 

GPA:
UG GPA 3.90 at top 5 public university (with well-known merit scholarship).

GRE score:
No GRE to date. Can apply with LSAT score (166, 93rd percentile) but I know that my LSAT score was very on the low side for HLS, so I'm wondering if it's worth taking the GRE this summer. 

 

Work experience:
1 year out of undergrad. Spent that year working with human rights rights in Latin America (my region of interest). Solid WE in undergrad -- different internship every summer abroad in my area of interest (human rights, generally speaking); internships during the year in that area, pretty significant leadership in campus organizations. Several publications, but not peer-review. Undergrad thesis in area/region of interest. Currently a summer research assistant in area of interest. 

Language skills:
English (native); Spanish (professional fluency); French (~B2 on common European scale); Arabic (low-intermediate MSA); Portuguese (beginner). 

 

Quantitative requirements:
Applying for the MPP, which has no specific quantitative requirements that I know of. My qualitative courses in UG were pretty limited (1 course in ECON -- covers micro and macro but at a more superficial level -- and one course in STAT). Will this hurt me? 

Overseas experience (work, study and teaching):
Multi-national, 1 year working abroad post-grad, 3 internships abroad in UG, 1 semester study abroad, 2 month-long study abroad fellowships post-grad; extensive travel experience. 

Any thoughts re: taking the GRE? 

Also, is funding ever a possibility for someone with as limited post-grad experience as me? (i.e. only one year when most people have more than that).

 

Are you a URM? Congrats. I am in a somewhat similar position as you even though with much longer work ex. My LSAT is 165 and i was aiming for HLS but thought that it was too low.

As far as I know from other forums specifically targeted for Law/JD, something above LSAT 25%/median (170/173) is needed for good chances at HLS.

 

Can you say if anything other than your work-ex was the reason for HLS acceptance? I didn't apply because I thought my LSAT was too low for HLS. I also feel i may not be able to significantly improve my LSAT. I posted here during last year's admission cycle with my profile but did not apply due to my score.


Edited by gradjm, 16 August 2014 - 09:41 PM.

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#497 Magnolia2

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 02:04 AM

Hi there. I would really appreciate it if you helped me with your opinion on my application. Thank you so much,

 

Programs: MPA SIPA, MPP HKS, MPP Chicago Harris, MPP Berkeley, MPA LSE, IPS Stanford, MIB Tufts, MPA NYU

Undergraduate Institution: Top 3 university in my country (in South America)
Undergraduate Degree: Industrial Engineering, concentration in Information Technologies

Undergraduate GPA: 3.6 

GRE: 158V, 165Q, 4 AW

Toefl: 112

 

Years out of Undergrad: I graduated on december 2012, so 1 year and 8 months

Years of Work Experience: 1,5 years full-time, + 1 year part time while I finished my undergrad

Relevant Work Experience: 

1 year internship while I was finishing my undergrad, I worked at a technology multinational company as a sales consultant. Two of the projects I worked on where with the government of my country.

1,5 years working on the core business of a major airline as a commercial analyst, private sector again :(

5 years (and counting) volunteering on a nursing home in my country + 1 month volunteering for a nursing home in India

Languages: English (advanced), Spanish (native), portuguese (basic for business)
Quantitative: Advanced calculus and algebra, basic economy. 

SOP: 

Focus on how volunteering made me take the decision of leave the private business and turn to public sector.

Contrast my current job (which is very rewarding) with what I want to do after my MPP (program evaluation/policy design on my country's government)

Special mention of the work I did with my country's government while I was on my internship

Special mention to a scholarship I had during undergrad that is very service-oriented.

LORs: Letters from two of my bosses in my current job, one letter from my scholarship advisor during my college undergrad.

Questions: 

1. I am worried that my work experience is not "public" enough, that the fact that I only have professional experience in private sector will make my application poor

2. I'm worried I have very little work experience, just 1,5 years (to date) of full-time professional experience

3. I am worried I'm aiming to high on my school preferences

4. I don't have a LOR from a professor because I didn't get to know deeply any one during my undergrad (100+ students per class), I really regret that


Edited by Magnolia2, 20 August 2014 - 02:04 AM.

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#498 smt_tej

smt_tej

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 10:12 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. 

Hi, this might be a little late, but I'm also considering applying to the Erasmus Mundus School of Economics this year for entry in Fall 2015, and wanted to ask you about your experiences with this application.

 

Did you get admitted to this programme?

Are you currently studying it - what has been your experience?


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#499 oshkosh72

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Posted Yesterday, 09:24 PM

Hello everyone,

I'm considering applying for graduate school either for spring or fall of 2015. I've taken a look at a few IR programs, but I'm really not sure what my chances are for any of them. I'm currently leaning towards an MA in International Affairs/Politics. I graduated in 2009 with a double major in political science and French. As far as relevant work experience goes I think could only truly count on my time as a visa officer at the French Consulate in Boston back in the summer of 2010, so my main concern is that I may not have enough work experience. Given my profile, what types of programs would I be competitive for and what would I need to do to improve my chances at more highly regarded institutions?



Undergraduate institution: Large public school
Undergraduate GPA: 3.49
Undergraduate Majors: Political Science, French
Study Abroad: semester in France


GRE Quantitative Score: 152 (49%)
GRE Verbal Score: 165 (96%)
GRE AW Score: 4.0 (54%)

Took it about a month ago (for the second time since 2009)

Age: 27
Years Out of Undergrad (if applicable): 5
Years of Work Experience:

Overseas experience (work, study and teaching): Studied in a French university for 5 months in 2007 and taught English in a French high school from October 2013-April 2014

Describe Relevant Work Experience:

I'm just going to list everything since graduating since I'm not sure how relevant certain jobs I've had would be:

-Sales Associate at Lowe's from January 2009 to May 2010

-Poli Sci tutor at my university during the summer of 2009

-Visa Officer at French Consulate in Boston during the summer of 2010

-Volunteered for US Senate campaign during the fall of 2012

-Academic intern at local non-profit for about six months in 2013

-Languague assistant in French high school from October 2013 to April 2014

-Sales consultant at currency exchange business from March 2011 to September 2013, then from June 2014 to present

Languages: Spanish [native], French [advanced/almost native level], German [beginner, started learning earlier this year]

 

Poli Sci Coursework:  micro, macro, IR, American politics, comparative politics, politics of the EU, political theory, US foreign policy, Cold War politics, politics and the media, and obviously many French courses

Quant: Precalculus in UG, micro and macroeconomics. Took AP Stats way back in high school (so I'm familiar with it) but don't have college credit since I didn't take the exam.

Strength of SOP: It seems that my lack of relevant work experience may make things difficult for me here.

Strength of LOR: Pretty much any of my French professors would be very good; I'd have a tougher time with my poli sci professors since it's been a few years and I haven't really kept in touch. I could likely also get a good LOR from one of the teachers I worked with while in France.


That's everything for me. I'm not too sure about my competitiveness despite having a recent MA grad friend urging me to consider getting my master's. He recommended I try applying somewhere in DC due to the networking possibilities there but I'm certainly open to other places (Boston, NYC, etc.).
So what are my chances? Should I try applying as I am?

Thanks in advance.


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