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About bktz

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    2013 Fall
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  1. Previous Schools (Name, type, or tier): Top 10 Previous Degrees and GPAs: Economics BS, 3.6 GRE Scores (Verbal/Quantitative/Analytical Writing): 170 / 165 / 5.5 Previous Work Experience (Years, Type): 4 years - two domestic in the private sector, two abroad with an NGO Math/Econ Background: Significant - intermediate-level micro and macro, stats, econometrics, advanced econometrics, multivariable calculus, linear algebra Foreign Language Background (if applicable to your program): Intermediate-level French, survival-level local language abroad Intended Field of Study in Grad School: Public Policy/International Relations Long Term Professional Goals: International relations field, US-based (e.g. State Department, etc.) Schools Applied to & Results: Princeton Woodrow Wilson School (Accepted, full tuition + stipend), Harvard Kennedy School (Accepted, $0), Johns Hopkins SAIS (Accepted, $20k/yr) Ultimate Decision & Why: WWS. It came down to HKS vs WWS, and I went with WWS not just for the money, but for what it represents - it seems the school is much more heavily invested in each of its students than at HKS. My impression is there's a ton of individual attention, career support, etc., and though I initially saw the smaller cohort size as a downside, I realized along the way that if the 60-70 people in your class are awesome (and they all seem to be), then it's actually a benefit to be able to get to know them all really well. Advice for Future Applicants: Work first!! I've seen other advice on here that says "you CAN go to grad school straight out of undergrad," and that's true, but unless you really, really know what you want to do, it's probably not a good idea. And even if you do know what you want to do (what I thought I wanted to do at 22 is still pretty close to what I'm planning now), I'd suggest going and doing it for a while, even if it's at a lower level, and then going back to school because you'll bring more to the table and be able to put your classroom experiences into the context of the working world you've seen.
  2. I should clarify in the above: this only applies to US federal direct loans (e.g. GradPLUS, Stafford, etc.). Private loans, which I know many international students have to use, unfortunately are ineligible.
  3. Sklorange, send you a PM with more detailed thoughts, but a few things to add to the thread that might be useful to others: -For anyone looking at taking on debt for grad school who is pretty confident they want to work in public service afterwards, it's worth looking into the federal income-based repayment and public service loan forgiveness programs. If you have eligible (direct federal) loans and sign up for IBR, you pay back your loans based on a % of your income. The downside of this is that if this amount is lower than what you'd pay under a standard repayment plan, it can take longer (perhaps much longer) to repay and you'll end up paying a lot more total in interest. However, this is where the loan forgiveness part comes in: if you make 120 payments under IBR while working in a public service job (government or nonprofit registered in the US), under the public service loan forgiveness plan you can have any remaining debt forgiven. There are a lot of details here I'm glossing over, such as what 120 payments means, what loans are eligible, and what kind of organization you have to work for, so I'd highly recommend doing further research on your own. -Right now, there is no cap on the amount of debt that can be forgiven at the 10-year mark. HOWEVER, there is a proposal in the President's budget plan from last month to cap the total amount of possible forgiveness at around $58,000. (Remember, this is forgiveness on any remaining loans after you've made 10 years of payments.) -My take: Thanks to the IBR system, you don't have to worry as much about going broke due to your monthly loan payments, and if you're sure you want to work in public service then the PSLF combined with IBR could be a really great option. BUT this does NOT mean you should take on an unlimited amount of debt. Even though there doesn't yet exist a cap on forgiveness, I'd bet a lot that in the 12-ish years until those on this thread are eligible for forgiveness, a cap will be set. So you shouldn't take out $200K in debt counting on paying off $40K of it slowly over 10 years under IBR and having $160K forgiven - I doubt that will happen. But if you're considering whether to take on moderate five-figure debt, and don't mind 10-15% of your discretionary income (again, do some research on the government sites to see what that means) going towards loan repayments for 10 years or so, this seems like a great option to make a bit of grad school debt more manageable. Resources: IBR - http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/plans/income-based PSLF - http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/charts/public-service
  4. bktz

    HKS vs WWS

    Sklorange, sent you a PM. Thanks for the input everyone... the decision is just a little more complicated than I've described, but I think the general consensus here is right. Once I've committed I'll update with stats, etc. on the Decisions thread.
  5. Anyone else having a tough time with this decision? Specifically looking at the MPP at HKS (I know other threads have discussed the differences for people looking at the MPA/ID.)
  6. I'm in the same boat - super exciting to be admitted, but no fellowship funding makes it seem just a little crazy to go, especially when I've got good fellowship offers elsewhere. I've had a tough time deciding though, because it does seem like a great program.
  7. That's really interesting... so it's true then that ETS reports your full score for the day, but you just get "NS" next to any sections you decided to skip? Any idea how schools view seeing NS on certain sections? (I'm not considering this strategy myself, I'm over and done with the GRE and apps - just genuinely curious how this works.)
  8. I am pretty sure this is NOT true. You have the option of sending schools your scores from a test you took one day and not another time (meaning there's no disadvantage to retaking the test), but you send them the scores from one single day, not section-by-section.
  9. So I know HKS said that financial aid decisions would come out the first week of April, but I am insanely curious - has anyone heard anything yet?
  10. Yep, stipend that ought to cover living expenses, if I live frugally...
  11. Has anyone who's been accepted heard anything about timing of financial aid? Or gotten contacted about interviews for the CPL fellowships?
  12. "Discuss an issue of national or international importance and its concern to you. This essay should be no more than 600 words." Does anyone have any insight on this essay beyond the prompt? Are they looking for solutions to the international issue (like the WWS policy memo) or simply why a certain issue matters to you? Should you tie it to your future career goals, or save that for the personal statement? How heavy should it be on discussing/analyzing the issue vs. describing why it matters to you?
  13. One other question on this: Should we be writing it as ourselves (e.g. "To: POTUS From: MY NAME") or should we take on a different persona, such as "To: POTUS From: US State Department Bureau of African Affairs"?
  14. Hi all - I'm working on the WWS application and I have what is probably a very silly question. Where do you put in your GRE scores? Am I missing something obvious? I've been through it front to back a few times and I can't figure out where that's hiding...
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