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Showing content with the highest reputation on 06/22/2010 in all areas

  1. 2 points
    I'm a Kennedy MPP (07). I loved my experience and think the MPP is a great degree. I'll say your resume is pretty impressive, and you should do well in admissions; definitely don't rule out Kennedy. That said: do you have a compelling reason to go right into grad school? And by compelling, I mean, do you have no other choice because you're on a student visa or something like that? If not, I would strongly recommend that you work for a year or two before applying for grad school. There are a few reasons for this: - An MPP is a professional program and the Kennedy School, at least, uses a lot of real-world cases as the basis for teaching and class discussion. You simply will not get as much out of this education if you don't have real-world work experience to draw from. I saw this time and time again with friends who came in straight out of undergrad. They were extremely smart and hard-working, but they still did not get as much out of the program. - If you've been in school your whole life, it's really easy and tempting to just keep going to school. Which is why it's a good idea to do something different for a while. You will be surprised at how much you change in the first couple of years out of school. For instance, I thought about applying to grad school right out of undergrad. I was going to apply to history PhD programs (my UG major). This would have been a disastrous mistake for me. It wasn't until I was out, and working, that I found what ended up being my professional passion. This isn't to say your interests will definitely change, but it would not be surprising if they did. - My friends who went right in from undergrad had a much harder time finding jobs afterward. And many of them found that they still had to take entry-level jobs when they did get into the workforce. It depends on what you want to do, of course, but unfortunately a lot of public sector employers don't value MPPs as much as we'd like! Also, I really think there's a sort of "grounded" confidence that comes from having had a career before grad school - I knew my degree would only take so far, and I also knew that even if my degree didn't carry me, I had skills that would get me a job. A lot of the straight-from-undergrad kids I saw came in with a lot of confidence but it was very fragile and they were really, really worried about the future. Finally, I wonder why you're interested in a joint JD/MPP. Do you want to practice public interest law or work as a lawyer for the federal government? What interests you about that field? And what do you think you'll get from a MPP that you wouldn't get just from a JD? And if you don't want to practice law, then there's really no reason to get a JD. Also, a joint JD/MPP from private schools will put you $250K in debt. That is a really, really big debt load to start your career with and will make it difficult to do public sector work. I have some regrets about my MPP debt and I really don't know what I'd do if I had twice the debt. Neither MPP or JD programs are good about grants or scholarships. Sorry if I seem overly gloomy or discouraging, I just feel really strongly that it's in most students' best interest to wait.
  2. 1 point

    Self-ranking policy programs

    I did a little ranking exercise for myself recently and I thought I would share my 'methodology' and results with everyone here, as I think it may prove to be useful to others who are having some trouble choosing a best fit program for themselves. I took the top 8 schools that I have been considering (for PhD someday, maybe) and put them into a matrix and marked each school on a point basis with various criteria that I felt were important. Here's my 'data': As you can see, I took each category and rated it on a 1-5 scale (5 being best). It's a cumbersome measure, and extremely subjective (and not always well informed, I'll admit), but it has at least helped me get a better picture of what I'm looking for. Just to clarify, the categories are (in order): Rigor - qualitative but especially quantitative rigor; livability - as I see it, based on climate, urban area, etc; career - how much will that program help me get a good job that I like; fam/fri - do I have friends or family nearby?; admission - how likely am I to get in, relatively speaking? (higher is better); prestige - in relative terms, how prestigious are each school's programs? Taking the quantum for each school, the results were surprising: 1. Sanford (24) ---Heinz (24) 3. Harris (23) ---UMD-CP (23) 5. UNC (22) ---WWS (22) 7. Rand (21) ---KSG (21) I arranged the rankings according to their score and, in the case of ties, according to whichever one I had a better 'feeling' about. What I really liked about this exercise was that I had begun thinking that my 'first' choices were the usual: KSG, WWS, and Harris. The others were programs that I had seen as good (ok, VERY good) alternatives. But now, I'm actually really thinking that Duke or CMU may be much better options (assuming they don't laugh at my yet-to-be submitted application) than a place like Harvard, even if I could get in. I was surprised at how low Rand ranked on this list, because I was recently starting to see it as one of my preferred choices, but I'm reassessing that right now. A few qualifiers. Obviously, this is not much more than a back-of-the-envelope methodology (which means it's only slightly better than US News, haha!) and there are many problems. First, as I noted, it's very subjective. I have scored schools here in ways that many others may disagree with (many people, for example, would much rather be in Boston than the Triad region). Also, and I think more importantly, there are areas which I think are more important than others. I'm thinking about updating my methodology to include: 1) more specific categories, like quantitative rigor vs qualitative rigor, climate, key faculty, and maybe a cross tabulation with the US News rankings (for the hell of it); and 2) to weight categories - I think I might make some categories a 0-10 range while keeping others 0-5, etc. Obviously, this is hardly perfect, but I think it's a neat way for anyone trying to rationally categorize their preferences and sort out their decisions to possibly clarify things a bit. You shouldn't use it as your guiding star, but I think it can help. Welcome any thoughts, ideas, and feedback.
  3. 1 point
    That's pretty much it. Person A gets all, but the last 10 questions correct. Person B gets all, but the first 10 questions correct. Person A will receive a higher score.
  4. 1 point
    Work experience is desired, but definitely not essential. Don't count out Kennedy just yet. A lot of people get into Kennedy and Harris straight from undergrad. Definitely mention your JD/MPP aspirations when you apply to Kennedy (from what I hear, it loves its joint degree grads). If you can construct a convincing argument that would justify to the respective committees that you would benefit from a policy degree without prior experience, then I think you have a good chance at any of the above schools. Your GPA might be a bit low for the top programs, so ace the GREs and you'll be fine. Remember, it's essential that you demonstrate (in your SOP) what you want to do with the MPP. Best of luck on your GRE!
  5. -1 points
    I couldn't agree with matcha more. There is so much you can gain by not going to grad school right away and 1) working full time, 2) being on your own and 3) just taking your time off textbooks instead. I also think that MPP/MPA programs (joint degree options especially) are such a huge investment (of your time, money and efforts) that you really should take some time to make the decision. It makes sense to get some experience before to figure out that this is exactly what you want to do with your life. It also makes sense to move on with your personal life before commiting to school for so long (in case of the join degree option). Given the debt you might have after finishing the program (a joint degree especially), I think it is very unlikely that you will want to go back to school again (perhaps PH.D). Of course, there are some lucky individuals who get full funding and/or are sponsored by various institutions/parents etc. I still think that for the vast majority, graduate school is a serious investment. None of this, however, means you can't get into a great program with no experience. After all, you do have some impressive work experience (though not full time post graduation employment). I know that some people (especially those with Public Service fellowshis) go straight from undergrad. But even they usually complete their internships in the summer between they senior year and the first year of grad school. Good luck with the decision.

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