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SerenityNow!

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About SerenityNow!

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    Espresso Shot

Profile Information

  • Application Season
    2018 Fall
  • Program
    PhD Political Science/Public Policy

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581 profile views
  1. @Chalupa9! I was in your exact shoes a few years ago and chose SPEA for the following reasons: 1) there are good energy faculty like Sean Nicholson Crotty, Sanya Carley, shazeen Attari, and more - they are all super accessible have labs and frequently work on projects with graduate students. You can definitely get some interesting policy experience with them and plan to work with them for your capstone. 2) you’ll still get a good technical training especially if you take the statistics sequence and you will have to take applied math. While this seems technical it will only help you on the job market! 3) funding funding funding!!! MPA jobs, even in the private sector, don’t pay like MBA jobs. You don’t want to be in debt forever, no masters degree (MBA aside) is worth it. SPEA made me an awesome offer, I paid for the entire portion I owned from the money I made during a summer internship and graduated with $0 debt. Not many people can say that! I now have savings, can buy things, paid for a wedding etc... while my friends who took on a bunch are stuck in this weird purgatory where they have a decent salary but so much goes to loans they can hardly do anything. These friends and I have all had about the same job outcomes, if not me having better, so I haven’t paid a price at all for choosing the cheaper school. 4)I know it seems like Duke has an awesome name but I have been working in DC for years and have never had anyone look down on SPEA. People are usually impressed and DC is crawling with SPEA alumni, there are also a ton in Chicago and around the Midwest, less on the west coast but that is the same with Duke. 5) SPEA is fun! I’m sure Duke is as well, I just don’t have a comparison, but I met some of my closest friends there, made amazing connections with professors, and just enjoyed the school traditions. Bloomington is a small down but there is actually a decent amount to do, concerts at the blue bird, tasty resteraunts, hiking, and if you need a bit city Indy has broad ripple for higher end shopping and more big city fun, and if you need even more Chicago is like 3.5hrs away and a great place to go for the weekend. You’ll be pretty busy though with school and friends so you will hardly notice your in a small town in Indiana though! If you have specific questions feel free to PM me! I really enjoyed SPEA even though I really just picked it for the money, by the time I graduated I was so happy with my choice!
  2. SerenityNow!

    Need Decision Advice

    @vikinggrad1 good to know that co-authoring is more the norm there than the exception. Thank you for sharing!
  3. SerenityNow!

    Need Decision Advice

    I'm in a somewhat similar position deciding between A&M and another school plus some waitlists so I appreciate hearing everyone's thoughts on A&M! I was able to speak with my ideal advisor before applying and he sounded like they had a solid track record of co-authoring with their students and while their students didn't get "amazing" placements right out of the gate they did get TT positions at decent schools in geographically desirable locations which is honestly about all I'm looking for and it sounded like their results were about on par with others in their sub-field. I'm coming from a totally different field though so I'm very curious to see what they say during the admitted students day next week.
  4. SerenityNow!

    Public Affairs Party

    Hey! There is a whole government affairs sub-forum filled with people applying to MPA/MPP programs
  5. I’m still waiting to hear back from Duke’s University Program in Environmental Policy - through the Nicholas School. I’ve seen rejections from the program on the results board in early Feb and their website says they will provide decisions by mid-February but I haven’t received anything and there have been no changes made to my portal. I haven’t seen anyone else posting about this program and was hoping to connect with anyone else who applied to I can just know this silence is a soft rejection and move on. Thank you!!
  6. SerenityNow!

    Is Slightly Higher Cost Worth the Name Recognition?

    Two other considerations I would through out there is in a two year program you will be able to do a summer internship, which depending on how much work experience, can be a good way to bolster your resume and potentially get your foot in the door for a job upon graduation. Also DC and NYC are very different in terms of city culture and the immediate job prospects you will have available to you - I think it is worth considering whether you want to work for the federal government and essentially be surrounded by it, have the opportunity to intern there, or at other government adjacent places like federal consulting firms. In NYC you will have a different set of opportunities and people to network with - my guess would be slightly more private sector focused? I think when it comes to the total bill 8K, while it isn't nothing, shouldn't be enough to make you not attend your top choice program. I do think that prestige doesn't matter that much, and its not like you are comparing Columbia with Eastern Illinois, for example I went to a big Midwest state school and regularly work with people who went to Harvard for their MPAs and we get paid the same amount/get promoted at the same rate.
  7. SerenityNow!

    PhD Public Policy Programs 2018

    I applied to their environmental policy PhD program which looks to be on a slightly different timeline that their public policy PhD program.
  8. SerenityNow!

    Think long and hard about taking on so much debt

    I applied to and attended an MPA program a few years ago and it seems that this conversation hasn’t changed at all in the last 5 years. I just wanted to share a middle ground perspective between “follow your dreams whatever the cost” and “debt is too burdensome - don’t go!” 1) before you even apply think about what kind of debt your willing to take on. For me the answer was minimal so I didn’t apply to any programs in NYC or SF because I knew the COL was really high and would become a huge chunk of my debt while schools like Duke and Michigan were, to me at least, comparable to NYU and Columbia but with way lower COLs. 2) if you can save a little money before attending - anything you can pay up front and reduce your debt by is great because you will never have to pay interest on it. I had about $10k saved and that was immensely helpful. 3) take a paid summer internship, if you have that opportunity available to you. I know lots of summer internships are unpaid in this field but I needed the money and when it came down to it I choose between working at OMB for free and a consulting firm. While OMB was “cooler” to my friends I have no regrets - I made another $10k over the summer while living frugally in DC and therefore didn’t take on additional debt over the summer and was able to use my left over money to pay for things during my 2nd year. I think people put prestige as the driving force behind many things but I think it’s fine to let money play a factor. I also got a job offer at the end of the summer and was able to have a stress free 2nd year which allowed me to pick up an extra job for their reducing my debt burden. 4) this one is a little contravertial but I think gradcafe is a bubble and it is really easy to get caught up in the rankings of schools and the prestige of HKS,SAIS, SIPA etc... on this board. I however, went to a well ranked but less frequently discussed school on gradcafe, SPEA. I graduated with multiple friends who had PMF, most friends had good jobs in fields they wanted that paid well and put them in the city of their choice, usually DC. I enjoyed my time there and while I don’t brag about it the way I might had I gone to HKS I work with plenty of HKS people now and can say our education was comparable and we ended up in the same place with the same salaries. Prestige matters a lot less in public policy than for MBA or PhD programs. while I do want to caveat this by saying I received a very generous financial aid offer from SPEA, I really think if you give some financial consideration on the front end of things you can, as they say “have it all” (follow your dreams and afford it )
  9. SerenityNow!

    PhD Public Policy Programs 2018

    Claiming an acceptance to George Mason on Feb 16th. I am still waiting for Duke which is freaking me out since there are acceptances, rejections, and waitlists posted in the results!
  10. SerenityNow!

    Questions to Ask after Admission

    Thank you, @StrengthandHonor for your thoughtful and encouraging response!
  11. SerenityNow!

    Questions to Ask after Admission

    Is it appropriate to ask current students, if they came with a partner, how difficult it was for their partner to find a job? I've read on other PhD related websites that you should essentially never mention your personal life but at the same time I want to try and pick a school/location that doesn't totally suck for my partner and want to get some boots on the ground intel during my visits.
  12. SerenityNow!

    2017-2018 Application Cycle

    I received an acceptance from Texas A&M on January 30th but it was a personal email from the department chair w/ a letter attached. Nothing in my portal has changed so they might be sending out official notices later? If it makes you feel better I'm still waiting on Duke, which seems to have sent out acceptances, rejections, and waitlists.
  13. SerenityNow!

    2017-2018 Application Cycle

    For me the inactivity is regret - I wish I had applied to more programs. My mentors said it was crazy to apply to more than 5 but nearly everyone on here applied to 8-9+! With that said I got into the program that has the professors who's interests match perfectly with mine (American local government, innovation, and water politics) but at the same time I wish I had applied to more so I could have options to weigh.
  14. SerenityNow!

    PhD Public Policy Programs 2018

    Good reminder! As an I was rejected from USC on 1/25 and Michigan on 2/8 (they accepted 3 people so who knew is was SUCH a crapshoot) but I was accepted to Texas A&M on 1/30. I get the feeling that USC and Michigan set all decisions out, rejections and acceptances, at once while I think Texas A&M is more staggered. I'm still waiting to hear back from Duke and George Mason but there are a bunch of people who posted rejections from Duke's Environmental Policy PhD program around 2/2 which makes me wonder what is going on with that program. My interests and geographic needs really limited where I could apply but my interests are in American local government, water resource management, and the impact of social networks on resource and local government management. I think another reason for the limited data is the significantly smaller cohort sizes like 3 at Michigan, 3-4 at USC, and etc... these are way smaller than most political science departments, which, for example George Washington University accepts about 35-40 students, ! I think this is because most MPA/MPP programs use other masters students as their TAs instead of PhD students thus greatly decreasing their need for TAs whereas political science departments need plenty of TAs and research assistants because their masters programs, if they have them at all, are much too small to fill all their TA needs. That is just an observation from chatting with my professors which is why they recommended I also apply to a few political science programs with public policy focuses, they thought the odds are actually slightly better with some of these programs. I'm just using political science as a comparison because I think it is the closest to public policy but I think similar things could be said of economics PhD programs. However, it is a different training so you have to weigh that in your decision making. If any future applicants stumble across some feel free to PM me as well!
  15. SerenityNow!

    2017-2018 Application Cycle

    @skhann apologies for the inappropriate post! It was absolutely not my intention to increase other's anxiety level or make light of the feelings that have been expressed on this forum.
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