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  1. Im an alum of the program. The cost of one year tuition only at UChicago is $49,644/year. Their offer of half covers ONLY tuition. It does not cover the $749/quarter in student fees, plus $1000/quarter in health insurance. Then cost of living in Hyde Park. I was in grad housing and paid $837/month in rent, $45 in electric, $100 in cable/internet, and about $300 in food.
  2. I actually am an alum from the MAPSS program and in my experience there are pros and cons. Lets start with the Pros: You can ask for more money. I started with an offer of 1/3 tuition and leveraged it to a full-tuition scholarship with relative ease. Its fast...I mean REALLY fast. I started in September of one year and 8.5 months later I graduated in June. Only about 10% of the cohort will manage to do it that quickly, the rest graduate in August and a few stragglers in December. In this time you take 9 graduate level courses and write a thesis. Your thesis is only an article length work that matches typical length for your field. Mine was about 70 pages long. Uchicago is a big gun, big name school, and in my experience having it on my CV has opened doors academically. You get LOTS of personal attention. All you want. If you don't then it truly is your fault. Preceptors and staff in the program are so helpful its kind of ridiculous. Faculty around the rest of the university however...well its a crapshoot. The program is inter-disciplinary. I see this as a definite pro for several reasons. 1. You are surrounded by your cohort constantly and they all approach problem solving and research differently which helps you learn to think better. 2. You are free to take pretty much any class you want at UChicago regardless of dept. 3. You can find your thesis adviser from literally anywhere on campus as long as they are wiling to work with you. MAPSS gives out lots of free pub nights, alcohol, food, and at the end of the year a super fancy lake cruise with an open bar. Not bad. Finally, and the reason I went, I didn't like the offers I was getting and figured instead of taking a dead year why not super beef up my CV with a really fast MA from a really good school. Now the Cons: First I will speak to their "impressive" PhD placement stats. Yes 93% get fully funded offers....What they avoid telling you are the real stats. Your cohort will be about 130-ish people. Of that 130 fully 80-90% will weaken under the stress of the very accelerated program and decide not to chase the PhD. Of the remaining 10-20% of the class that then decides they still want a PhD they have a 93% offer rate. BUT, they don't tell you that they put extreme pressure on you to apply to TEN (yes 10) schools across a wide array of rankings virtually guaranteeing that someone will give you the offer that you want. Their Career Services was a joke when I was there. They touted it as a headhunter service that would stop at nothing to find you amazing jobs. In reality all he did was lead powerpoint presentations on how to make a resume, and how to network by using linkedin, and the alumni association. He was absolutely worthless, and this is not just me speaking but everyone in my cohort that went to him found him to be less than useful. In the interest of fairness I should point out that he somehow got promoted and his replacement is said to be quite good at her job. No one assists you in any way in finding an adviser. The Preceptors may give some suggestions on who to talk to and ask, but you are really on your own. Since your adviser comes from outside of the MAPSS program and its inter-disciplinary you will find yourself with the overwhelming task of searching the entire university to find someone that you want to work with and more importantly is wiling to work with you. Professors are hit or miss, but one thing is constant. You're at UChicago and everyone there knows what a big deal that is and by proxy what a big deal they are. I actually had a professor once tell me in office hours when I asked for clarification on a point he brought up in class, and I quote, "I spent my entire life learning that, why should I just tell it to you?" The profs that want to work with you, or have any sort of interest in you can be great. My adviser was seriously FANTASTIC, but if you run across one that is full of themselves, and there are plenty, expect a demeaning and humiliating encounter. You will have to take a class called Perspectives in Social Sciences. This class...LOL...is an experience. They will tell you that it will be the toughest class you take at UChicago. I disagreed. It's basic regurgitation. Hyde Park, as mentioned above, is Hyde Park. You're about a mile from the most violent neighborhood in the country (Englewood...aka Chi-raq) and it shows. While I was there, there was a serial mugger who was robbing about 20 people a week at gunpoint, a kidnapping, several shootings, and robberies. If you go to the lake, its pretty, if you can see it through the constant thick cloud of weed smoke that hangs in the air. Drugs are EVERYWHERE. Even walking through Nichols park to go to class I would see drug baggies, used needles...its nasty. Speaking of nasty, graduate housing SUCKS. My apartment, and this is by no means an exaggeration, had: roaches, ants, rats, mice (yep both), centipedes, and my personal favorite...bedbugs..throw in the lack of AC and you have yourself a real party! Except in the winter where it is...COLD. I mean COOOOLD. Layer up...seriously it will save your life. Lastly the social game...Ok, I went to UChicago expecting a much higher level of maturity in my cohort. In reality it was so much like high school it was annoying. Cliques (not just within disciplines), rampant hooking up, gossip, drama, etc.. It was like hanging out with a bunch of 17 year olds. The average age seemed to be about 22, and since I was the oldest in the cohort by about 10 years, I just had no tolerance for it. By the second quarter I ended up withdrawing from socializing with all but about 2 people since I could not stand the drama any longer. Even though none of the drama directly involved me its ALL that was talked about in the lounge...its just annoying. Ultimately the decision is yours. Like I said, I got through it in 8.5 months, it can be done. Less than 9 months for a degree from one of the most prestigious schools in the world isn't bad. There are pros and cons to everything that you do. If given the decision to do it again, honestly, I probably would. I would just do it differently. I would NOT live in grad housing, I would have never attempted to socialize with most of the people I talked to and I would not have listened to the sales pitch from the program director. For me, the decision was easier because I didn't have to pay 50k to go there. So there you have it, my honest assessment of the program...good, bad, or otherwise. What you should do is read these assessments that myself and my fellow alumni have posted, do you research, and figure out if this program is right for you and what you want. If it is, take it, if not...hell use it as leverage to get the offer that you do want.
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