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About wcw

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  • Application Season
    2015 Fall
  • Program
    Harvard Kennedy School

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  1. I went to a large public university in the south and ended up at HKS. You'll be fine. However, make sure you have some work experience (at least 2 years, preferably 3) before you begin applying to grad school. You'll be much, much more competitive as an applicant and you'll be better suited for jobs once you finish graduate school. I will say, I met very few people at HKS who went to public universities for undergrad. In one of my classes of 60+ people, only 3 of us went to public colleges. I started to notice that there's a high number of people at HKS (and maybe at other policy schools
  2. I had a 6-month gap in my resume when I applied to HKS. I used the optional essay to write a very brief (3 - 4 lines) summary of what I did during that time (traveled and took online classes). I left out any mention of looking for a job and instead focused on how I used that time for my personal development.
  3. I have worked at 4 different development organizations (private foundation, development contractor, consultancy firm, non-profit) and I have never met a single JD. I have met many, many MPPs, MPAs, and MBAs. Don't go to law school because you want to do international development. Go to law school because you want to be a lawyer. If anything, you'll be coming out of your JD with 3 years of debt instead of 2 years, and you'll still be applying for similar roles as if you had gotten an MPP/MPA/MBA.
  4. I'm an HKS alum. I thought the class size was perfect since the cohort model means you get to know a group of 60 people pretty intimately. It's also big enough that you can find other people who share your niche interests.
  5. Without knowing your career goals, I'd pick either SIPA or Georgetown. I lived in the Bay Area for 5 years and IMO it is much harder to live there on a student budget than it is to live in DC or even NY (limited and expensive public transit, few 'cheap' neighborhoods to live in, etc).
  6. You will get so much more out of your graduate school experience if you spend a few years working beforehand. Not only will you have a better chance of getting into a top school (AND receiving scholarship money), but you'll have a much better sense of the coursework you want to take and how it will help your professional goals. Plus, you will be more likely to get hired after you finish an MPP if you have a few years of experience in addition to a degree.
  7. Current HKS student here. I was going through the same issues when I was applying for graduate school. Thankfully, I had no undergrad debt and I was VERY diligent about saving for school while I was working full-time. I saved about $40k total on a $50,000/year salary in a high-cost of living area. It was tough, but doable. I got a partial tuition scholarship at HKS, which ultimately enabled me to go there. I'm currently living with roommates and paying ~$800/month in rent (a steal in Cambridge). I'm working 15 hours a week at two different jobs, which brings in about $1,200 a month. I'm
  8. In my SOPs, I mentioned specific professors with research interests that aligned with mine. I also indicated which classes could best help me realize my professional goals. You don't need to have an existing relationship with the professor in order to tell the admission's committee that you're interested in a course, research group, etc.
  9. I went to New Admit Day at HKS last year, and received $400 to defer the costs (I was flying in from the West Coast). No other program I applied to had offered financial help to visit.
  10. I went to a large, state public university in the South. For anonymity's sake I don't want to say which one, but it's around #30 in the US public school rankings. I'm in my first year of my MPP at HKS now. I wouldn't say that your undergraduate university matters. In my program, we have plenty of people who graduated from so-so schools. What matters is - did you succeed at your undergraduate institution? Did you take advantage of leadership opportunities there? What have you done professionally after leaving school? Do your activities show a strong commitment to public service? At least at HK
  11. I went to New Admit Day at UW, and it sounds like their graduate research assistants receive tuition waivers as long as they're working a certain number of hours per quarter. It also seemed like there are plenty of RA opportunities across the university, which is a big help financially. Additionally, they hosted a panel with current students, and one woman said she had placed deposits down at both American and UW before deciding to go to UW. You could always do this if you need more time to make a decision.
  12. Sure - I took it online through Portland Community College. It ended up costing around $300 (resident rate).
  13. I'm struggling with the idea of taking out big loans to pay for an MPP, but I'm curious about everyone's perspectives.
  14. Were they willing to negotiate your funding offer? I don't think I'll get much funding either . . .
  15. I just called their office and they said they're working on sorting out the issue with the passcode. Hopefully we know more soon . . .
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