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Everything posted by lutherblissett

  1. Judging from TLS and other forums, the best way to become a professor in the United States: 1. Go to a T14 school, preferably HYS (if not, then CCN) and get your JD and graduate in the top 10% of the class, if not the top 5% 2. Clerk for a federal judge, shoot your shot at Supreme Court clerkship, perhaps draft a law review article 3. Lateral at biglaw practicing your area of expertise, continue writing law review article 4. Take a couple years off to do a fellowship, again, shoot for Supreme Court fellowship; write and publish during this time 5. Apply for a law school professorship I think you're starting to see how challenging this route can be. Nevertheless, if you're talented then you can definitely achieve it!
  2. I'd like to clarify my position on this and add to what @ExponentialDecay has said: Interning at State is definitely different from being an FSO because the latter requires knowledge of what it's like to be a long-term expatriate. After being an expatriate for 1.5 years, I'm crawling up the wall at the prospect of not being there for my aging parents (I'm an only child), missing out on talking to my friends because I'm 12+ hours ahead of them, and generally missing the network of friends that I've built up over the years. It's really draining and I'm very glad to be applying this cycle to head home to the States. Can someone who hasn't taken the expatriate route intrinsically understand that they would have the same emotional reaction? Of course. But I suspect for most undergrads who are interested in IR policy (like I was, once upon a time) that reality does not sink in because the attractiveness of living and traveling around the world tends to outshine the reality of high divorce rates, third culture children, and not being able to influence policy as they had originally hoped they would. And that is why I agree with everyone who has said that going to a master's degree straight out of undergrad is a pretty bad choice, all things considered.
  3. As someone who has taken the latter route in order to get experience in the country that I hope to specialize in, I have to say that my experience supplements my coursework and research in a practical way. There are people who do take the latter route because they don't know what to do with their lives, and I do agree that's the majority of the people who do expat teaching abroad work, but I would also argue that someone who's never been out of the country doesn't necessarily make the best FSO either.
  4. I did online community college coures through a couple of local community colleges: De Anza College and Foothill College. Foothill College in the springtime is particularly nice because they have certain six-week compacted courses in microeconomics and macroeconomics.
  5. Of course a recruiter's going to tell you that. I recommend asking the recruiter for an alumni job placement briefing sheet or what have you, as well as trawl LinkedIn to see where alumni are currently working.
  6. I got the rule from other forums, it's really largely hearsay. At the end of the day, we can think of debt load like a sliding scale: you take on as much risk as you want and as you are able, and some decisions are more sound than others. I put my risk load at 150% of starting salary, some other people put it at 100% of starting salary. However, the information you gave about Mapping Your Future is really great! I'm looking through this information now. As a pending law school grad doing a joint degree, there is always the option to do high-paying work for a few years to burn through those student loans. So I think my trajectory is moving in a different direction from most of the people in this thread.
  7. You can always take community college courses or courses at your university (maybe through extension?) for academic credit to show you can handle the quantitative rigor. Look for options in your local community!
  8. I hear the admissions rate to Yale Jackson is around 20% whereas WWS has an acceptance rate of around 12%. With any school, nothing is guaranteed but stellar credentials do make it easier.
  9. @alb319 Let's do the mathematics to calculate the necessary starting salary for someone with $83k of debt. You can expect to pay compounded APR on any debt that you incur, and that will range from 10-20% of the total amount. Let's go with 20% as a conservative estimate. That means that upon graduation, your total debt will be $99,600. With the 150% rule, that means your starting salary must be approximately 2/3 (or 67%) of your total debt load. That means your starting salary needs to be $66,400 or more. That is the most advice I am comfortable with dispensing without having some concrete numbers such as interest rates or repayment expectancy, but I will say that you do have a lucky break in the form of your parents' willingness to pay off the remaining amount in six years. There are too many variables to sufficiently calculate what amount of the debt load will be remaining. However, the people you should be talking to about your potential arrangement are your parents, not us. @ExponentialDecay I see you all over this forum, and you usually have wise words for everyone! Your comment made me really happy. @Revolutionary There is a difference between striving towards something and worshiping it. Someone who strives for knowledge is humbled by the sheer magnitude of everything that exists in the world and is never ashamed to intrinsically know that there are some experiences that will forever be beyond the purview of the individual. There are entire lives that we do not lead due to circumstance, and there are things that we will never know because we live in different times and places. There are emotions that flay to the bone and feelings that allow the self to soar above tragedy. To strive for knowledge is to seek all of these out in our lives through whatever sensory inputs we have available. We can hope to make sense of it, but our esteem is not broken when we inevitably fail, for even imperfection is better than a total dearth. To worship knowledge is to place one's entire self-worth on that altar, and to believe that people's worth can and should be measured by that function alone. I find this intensely problematic: What about people who are intelligent but lazy, or people of average intelligence who perform superbly through effort? What about people who may not be book-smart but have a wealth of other characteristics that are essential to functioning in society? How do we quantify intelligence - purely through IQ, or are there some forms of intelligence like emotional intelligence that IQ cannot quantify? What about animals, who have sensory inputs and forms of knowledge that are alien to us Homo sapiens as a species? To worship knowledge is uncomfortably like the pre-Darwinian view that people sit atop an illusory pyramid in the world. Hell, even after Darwin started gaining traction, craniology was invented to show that white men had superb intelligence through genetics. The knowledge that Darwin tried to bring to the world to help humanity learn that it was but a single strand of the global ecosystem's eons-old song was then used to divide and measure people by their race. Intelligence and knowledge are neutral things, in my opinion. How you use intelligence matters far more than the presence or lack of it. When doing counterterrorism research, I found that terrorists were often more rational than most people, i.e. they had an "x leads to y, therefore we must eliminate x to achieve our goals" mindset more than the average human. These findings are buttressed by Antonio Damasio's fantastic popular science book: Descartes' Error. It is emotional linkage to the fabric of humanity that allow us to make "human-conscious" decisions like opting to create a political party to advocate for one's political goals instead of bombing a skyscraper. If we were being totally rational human beings who valued knowledge and the scientific method above all else, we'd probably be extinct by now. Instead, we moderate our knowledge with our experiences, and that is what allows us to achieve what we have so far.
  10. This post is poetry about careerism and life. In other words, I love it. I was particularly reminded by one of my favorite speeches: David Foster Wallace's commencement speech to Kenyon College Class of 2005 aka "This is Water." He says: In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of God or spiritual-type thing to worship ... is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things - if they are where you tap real meaning in life - then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. ... Worship power - you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart - you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on.
  11. From what I read of your original post, it seemed that you wanted to live abroad and have a graduate degree more than you want to become a change-maker. I've met people that have tried to vigorously defend their life decisions when no one is questioning their right to make said choices: "You know, I got accepted to Cornell! But I decided to go to SUNY Binghampton because it was cheaper for me." I hadn't even asked her about why she decided to go there, only where Binghampton was because I was from the West Coast. "I could have gone to an elite American university, but I decided to go to a Turkish university for the experience." We were all counselors in a summer camp, and this guy was one of two counselors who had not gone to a brand name American university. No one had made him feel inferior about his university choice or his intelligence. You seem to draw an arbitrary line between yourself and "white collar types" in terms of making a difference. Of course, anyone can make a difference. As Rayzaa pointed out, Malala Yousafzai is now a Nobel Peace Prize winner due to her immense motivation to bring gender equality to Pakistan. Of course, she was only fourteen years old and sans grad degree when she made waves around the world. No one here is trying to belittle you for the choices you are making. And yet, you deny yourself a seat at this table in order to denigrate people, albeit subtly. "Do you people realize that most of these jobs pay shit? You can do better as an honest hardworking plumber." "So in order to save the world (and to be able to afford it) you must be willing to spend two hours commuting per day? That's ten hours per day and 500 hours per year. A significant amount of time that one could be using to actually make a difference..." "I won't be working 50 hours a week at some cubicle job an hour away as I tell everyone how great I am for saving the world." Let me respond to some of your comments, which I found quite thoughtless. "I was recently in Myanmar and was saddened to see that the locals drank straight from the filthy river that they bathed in and god knows what kind of runoff was contained in there. What I'm suggesting is that there's another way to create a fulfilling life for yourself, in which you can devote your career to helping these people and solving these issues." Well, the reality is that someone else is making positive change for people in Myanmar, not you. They may not even have a grad degree or student debt. The first sentence of this comment is equivalent to "praying for help" posts on Facebook that I dislike. Being saddened about this is not the equivalent to taking action on this issue. "Why not get more real world work experience and reapply when ad-coms feel that you'll have so much to offer that they are willing to educate you for free?" If you look at Harvard Kennedy School's fellowship application, most of them require you to have demonstrated leadership skills and dedication to public service. I'm not sure that being a plumber for 20+ years is the best way to go about that. "A significant amount of time that one could be using to actually make a difference..." The amount of commute time spent on the DC metro during my two internships was indeed great, but I used it to read several books on current news and hot-button topics in society. It was productive time. Furthermore, you can reframe this as a sacrifice or price paid in order to have the dream career that Rayzaa and others want. There are higher pursuits than that of money. "I won't be working 50 hours a week at some cubicle job an hour away as I tell everyone how great I am for saving the world." I found this truly insulting because my parents worked overtime and extra hours at their jobs in order to afford me debt-free university. It wasn't a necessity for them but rather a choice born out of love. There are reasons other than student debt that a person might opt to work extra hours. That extra ten hours of work per week could be helping people around the world. Furthermore, if you end up working for a non-profit, you might very well be that same person working fifty hours a week because the project is due in a week and people's lives depend on it being done. Also, given that you previously said that you wanted to work in a Southeast Asian nation, perhaps you'd still want your children to be educated in the States rather than, let's say, Thailand if you don't want to send them to an American-style school for children of diplomats until they absorb the language of the host country. That's an expensive proposition there. "(and sucking up to phony DC types at happy hours)" There are definitely phony types everywhere you go. They're not limited to DC, and you might even find some in Southeast Asia. Dealing with phonies is something that happens in life, much to Holden Caulfield's disdain. But I am amused that you think that this is an intrinsic facet of people who work in DC. Stereotype much? "Bragging about how great your school is ... That joy quickly wears off" I don't doubt that some people apply to and hope to be accepted to these schools for the name brand and prestige, but others will attend them because that school and its connections are what will allow them to quickly scale into a job and career that they desire. The people who go into these top programs are not children showing off flashy toys. You belittle everyone who is in the latter category by saying this. For potential students who are very concerned about student debt, if you are a high-achieving student, look into Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School program for a school that funds all its students. As in: every MPA graduate exits that school with zero student debt. Yale Jackson Institute has a generous endowment from what I hear (and at least for this 2017-18 application cycle, they waived the application fee if you applied before December 1). If you're an exceptional student then Harvard Kennedy School has a number of merit scholarships you have to apply for. There are also excellent external funding sources that you can retrieve from Harvard Kennedy School's Student Financial Service database, and it is publicly accessible. You might have to hustle for money, but the worthwhile things in life are the ones we have to work for. Overall, I find this post to be attempting to justify a certain life path and payoff matrix to people who have already chosen a different path and have different payoff matrices. Your note on student debt is sound, and I will add to that by saying that student debt should not exceed 150% of starting salary. People should do research before they enter possible debt and student loans. However, to say that all people who have made this choice are "not thinking clearly" insults hundreds of students and graduates who have already opted to do so because they have different values than you. It is kind of you to suggest a different career path, but in the future, I recommend that you carefully consider how you come across as a person. Condescension isn't a good look on anyone.
  12. Yale Jackson's student bios have a lot of international development-focused students, from what I can tell. The benefit is that you can take courses across different disciplines all across Yale because the Jackson Institute doesn't have many required classes attached to the degree itself. Since the Institute is new, it will take time for it to grow a course catalog that rivals that of the Kennedy School. As for Princeton WWS, I think it's a great program and confers possibly the most elite public policy degree in the United States, but the admissions process is highly competitive (~10% admissions rate). You would need stellar credentials to get in, so if you're not sure about your ability to get SIPA (about a 30-40% acceptance rate, from what I hear) then WWS is definitely out of bounds for you.
  13. I'd recommend filling out HKS' interest form. They went to lengths to find someone who matched my profile to email me. It was a pleasant correspondence!
  14. I think that your GRE and GPA qualify you for the top programs that have the most cachet in the United States and abroad (e.g. Harvard, Stanford, Yale). The GPA might be "under the medians" so to speak but you have a wealth of international experience, which will really help you. I understand that you want to focus on security issues, but seeing as policy analysis is increasingly a data-driven field, it might be more financially worthwhile to get a public policy or foreign affairs degree with a security concentration/focus evident in your coursework. That way you can have your security degree without pigeonholing yourself. The most important thing about the statement of purpose is to craft a compelling narrative about who you are, what impact you hope to make, and how this drive to create change has led you to apply to this school. I would never write a statement of purpose like a cover letter - your resume can and should do that for you. Your career objectives and academic interests should be made clear from the statement of purpose in a "show, not tell" sort of way, for this is a professional degree. Both objectives should be intertwined, after all.
  15. I recently revisited that thread on top-law-schools.com, and suffice to say that I remembered the GRE score incorrectly: it was a 170V and 165Q, meaning a 335 combined score. I hope this (mildly) alleviates your anxiety. I'm applying with a 168V + 162Q, 330 combined score, but since my letters of recommendation and LSAC report just sailed out yesterday, I have no idea if/when I'll be called to interview. I will let you know if/when that happens though, fingers crossed! Most of what I've heard about this GRE pilot fall into two categories: People with low GPAs and high LSATs are worried that they're going to be pushed out in favor of applicants with high GREs and high GPAs and are going positively neurotic about the application experience Some international students are wondering if they should hail Mary an application because they want to get a shot at the famed Harvard Law School I would argue that this is the best year to submit the GRE application to Harvard, ever. This is because there is no precedent. Starting from next year (if they continue this pilot program) there will always be a previous class of GRE applicants and their HLS performance to base future admissions decisions off of. However, this year is quite unique in the sense that since they're flying blind and taking a chance on this entire program, having an interesting and compelling application might very well help. Of course, the reverse logic is that since this is the pilot program, the adcomm might be particularly stringent in not letting unqualified applicants in, if their scores might adversely impact Harvard's rankings. However, this is the school where Dean Minow eliminated the traditional grading scheme and much has been done to increase non-traditional applicants (esp. from STEM fields) in recent years, so not taking risks goes against the school's recent ethos. Harvard is playing with its rankings by even letting this GRE pilot program kick off, so we might as well see where it goes together. As for me, since I went to the school where Legally Blonde was actually filmed (shout out to Kerckhoff Hall!), at least I get to say that I've already been to "Harvard Law." Making stupid jokes like this helps me ride out this anxiety-inducing waiting process.
  16. The best place to consider what it takes to get into law school would be on top-law-schools.com in their forums. However, as I'm someone applying to the exact same schools but not as a deferral student, I'd say that this year might very well be the best year to apply with the GRE seeing as how no one knows what the results will be like. Apparently someone on r/lawschooladmissions got a Harvard Law interview with a 340 combined score, so it's best that you consider that your ballpark. With that being said, the GRE pilot program is intended for nontraditional candidates. I'm fairly sure that's why the LSAT-only policy is being substituted across the T14. What matters is that you can conceivably write a stellar narrative as to why you want to do a JD on top of your existing master's degree. You have to convince an adcom that yes, you can succeed in law school, that yes, you do want to do law work (ABA-required disclosures do not advantage graduates who do not select bar-required or JD advantage work), and that yes, you can be a useful graduate that will contribute to the legacy and reputation of the school (esp. in the T14).
  17. Sorry for the late reply, but I had originally thought of doing more research-oriented work and possibly earning a PhD. Then I talked to friends who are in the process of getting a PhD and a number of mentors, who all are in academia themselves. I realized that I wanted to do more advocacy work in the public sector rather than research. Hence, the two research-oriented internships. With that being said, I contended adding an internship with Senator Feinstein to my academic year workload, but with Model UN and my part-time job at a law office (for three years) that proved to be quite impossible without sacrificing my GPA. I am confident that I'll be able to get a government-side internship while in graduate school.
  18. I hope that you're still looking at this thread. At any rate, fellow Bruin, your GPA is really good. It's enough to qualify you for top-tier MPP programs that have a lot of curricular flexibility should you wish. I think that you should work the GRE score up and take a few quant courses, and you could have a good shot at HKS/WWS etc. Of course, if you can write all of your experiences into a compelling narrative, I'd be interested in seeing where this application goes.
  19. Program: MPP/MSFS - public policy with international/national security focus; JD joint/concurrent degree Schools Applying To: Harvard Kennedy School (MPP), Harvard Law School (JD), Georgetown SFS (MSFS), Georgetown University Law Center (JD), Yale Jackson Institute (MA), Stanford IPS (MA), Princeton WWS (MPA) Interests: Sino-American politics, East Asian geopolitics, counterterrorism (esp. counter-radicalization), Chinese law, public international law, Chinese cybersecurity and military thought Undergrad Institution: UCLA Undergraduate GPA: 3.877 Undergraduate Major: Political science with concentration in international relations, minor in classical civilization GRE: 168V/162Q/5.5W (slightly bungled my Q score, but it's neither here nor there) Age: 23 (24 before matriculation) Work Experience: two DC think tank internships (one non-published research project for reasons out of my control, and an opinion editorial in a national newspaper), administrative assistant for three years part-time during undergrad, two years' experience working in education sector in China by matriculation Other Experience: a lot of Model United Nations, including a number of awards topped with a Best Delegate gavel, Model UN summer camp counselor, traveling to New York during the school year to serve on MUN conference secretariats, helping out with the Model UN team at the school I teach at (you can see what my entire life since high school has consisted of), advisor to two extracurricular clubs at the school I teach at, volunteering for my alma mater here in China Honors & Awards: Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude, prize for outstanding work as a classical civilization minor (internal nomination process among faculty, top two students selected annually), prize for outstanding political theory work as undergraduate (internal nomination process from professor, top three out of ~200 students), outstanding research poster award at my school's annual undergraduate research extravaganza, another research award from one of my professors & recommendation letter writers Publications: three refereed articles in undergraduate journals, aforementioned opinion editorial Languages: English (native), Mandarin Chinese (essentially fluent, but working on building academic vocabulary) Quantitative Background: Introduction to Data Analysis (B+), Introduction to Statistics (A), Microeconomics (A), Macroeconomics (A) Also, this technically doesn't count but I took AP Calculus BC in senior year of high school and received a 4 on it (AB subscore was a 5, so we all know what I should have done instead) (I can make a good case for being out with a serious bout of the flu in freshman year of university as to why that B+ exists) LORs: two from professors (between the two of them, I've got three research projects and one refereed publication and another under review), one from current employer (who is also a professor that I TA for) SOPs: written already, got a lot of "very solid" comments from family/friends/coworkers/"it's complicated" relationship status friends (Only one was on Model UN, I'm so proud) Concerns: I know my numbers are very solid, but I literally freaked out after two months of continued pressure and application submission. From the list above, only Princeton WWS remains on my to-do list (still haven't written that policy memo, though I'm very sure as to what I'm going to write it on). However, SAIS (MA-HNC) was originally on that list and in a fit of pique I decided that I don't know if I want to go to that school. I currently live in Nanjing (the site of their China campus) and I have friends currently attending that school. However, I'm really not sure whether I want to go to that school because I have such a good knowledge of it and it's striking me as "meh" now. As others have said, it has a very "undergraduate" sort of feel to it and I'm not sure whether this is the kind of environment I want to spend a year in. I think that their Bologna campus looks interesting, but I'm not sure whether I'm saying that because I want to spend a year in Italy, which would not advance my career interests. Any thoughts as to whether I should continue my application? If so, I have to take the STAMP exam and finish writing my essay on a "topic of national or international importance." My goals are to further my statistical and quantitative reasoning skills as well as combine my policy expertise with a legal understanding. My goal is to work in the Office of the Legal Advisor in the Department of State. I am thinking that I'll apply to the accepts-the-GRE schools this cycle and take the LSAT in June if no acceptances come my way. That will also help me set up an application for Yale Law or Stanford Law should I not get into Harvard Kennedy/Harvard Law, which is my top choice right now. Also, any thoughts on Columbia SIPA as a school and whether it fits into this mess? After all, Columbia Law is accepting the GRE next year as well.
  20. From what little I can see of your intents, it seems like you lack focus. How did I arrive at this conclusion? 1. You mentioned that you were accepted into other programs of similar study, which indicates that you do have some background in public policy or some vested idea of what you want to do. In other words, your application's not completely out of left field. 2. Your acceptance to the Graduate School of Education as well as the Graduate School of Design indicate that you're not sure where to go, but you want to go to Harvard. In other words, you sound like you seek the external validation that Harvard Kennedy School can provide. HKS values two things: impact and focus. You need to tell them, very specifically, what it is that you want to do and how you plan on doing that.
  21. You need to take introductory micro- and macroeconomics courses before enrollment. At any rate, you might as well do it at a community college when you have the time and ability. It depends what policy area you want to focus on, but generally I'd say that statistics is more useful than calculus at the introductory policy analytical level.
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