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SketchesOfSpain

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  1. I was hoping someone would start this thread. Carnegie Mellon impressions in a nut shell: The dangerously overworked reputation is just undergrads, students were honest in the difficulty of workload (especially the first semester) but there is collaboration among the cohort. I wasn't impressed with career services. Campus was beautiful but I would've liked to see more discussion about quality of life things i.e. sports clubs. Cornell impressions in a nut shell: Cohort camaraderie was incredible, and even camaraderie with staff and professors. Someone in my group said, "You can't all be lying" because the idea of a CIPA family was parroted so often, even without staff present. Career services was going to go the extra mile for you. Ithaca is really small, and very remote. I'll elaborate or answer specific questions if anyone is interested.
  2. I applied to 10 (in my defense, I needed to have online options) and I would definitely apply to less next time. You need to be honest and ask yourself, "Will I really attend if I get in?" I could've applied to 5-6 and been in the exact spot I'm at right now. Plus 4-5 less essays to tweak means more time researching and throwing in tidbits for schools you actually care about. In short 1-2 reach, 2-3 middle and 1-2 safety you'll be fine.
  3. I will be there, flying out Thursday afternoon
  4. I say this as someone who got accepted to Brown but is hesitant considering the lack of information available and did not research Georgetown. 1. If you're trying to get rich, debt load should be at the forefront of your mind. 2. Brown might be more famous in China but the skills you would learn at Georgetown will probably serve you better, also note being in D.C. puts you in a better position for international organization internships and jobs. That's what I've got shooting from the hip
  5. Unless your family is uber wealthy, there's no world where an Ivy League MPA is worth another $120,000 in debt over Syracuse (and that's before you factor in the living expenses of NYC vs. Syracuse). If name is that big of a deal to you (and I get that), look deeper into CMU but for whatever little it's worth Syracuse is the #1 ranked Public Affairs program and #1 specifically in Public Finance
  6. @3dender has the correct take here. Overall, UDub is probably the highest thought of school in the NW by the average person and there's no public sector job up there that would look down on a UW degree. U Chicago is going to have much better name prestige nationwide. Now, if your career path is D.C. think tank or bust, Harris will probably help you out a bit more but you're not losing in either direction. You're in a great spot to be debating whether you want to go to UDub or Harris and no matter what you do, there'll be moments you regret the decision, but that's life and every decision we make.
  7. I'm in at Heinz and it's on my short list vs some non-quant schools as well, so I feel your pain. If your goal is to get a Ph.D, and I'll admit, I have limited knowledge, both schools will help you. Heinz will teach you hard data analysis skill which I'd imagine will benefit your research. Syracuse will give you experience, and most importantly a reference when you apply next time. I think that is more important than the programming skills, so this non-Ph.D noob says Syracuse
  8. Thanks so much for your help. You're right, I don't think I'll hopelessly regret any choice and it's about clicking with the people there. It sounds like you've got your mind made up. otherwise I'm sure a lot of people in this thread would be looking to help you out.
  9. I probably wouldn't attach them in the first email broaching the subject, but they are going to ask for them in a follow up email
  10. Coming from: A good local government job in Houston, TX Deciding between: CMU (Heinz), MSPPM (Pittsburgh) - 65% or $34,230 total tuition UT-Austin (LBJ School), MPAff - No $$ or $23,120 total tuition Cornell (CIPA), MPA - 50% or $35,736 total tuition Other factors: I want to get into local government or local government consulting. I feel like Cornell helps on the local government side, but CMU is better on the consulting side. I'm also afraid of losing my CMU scholarship if I can't handle the data analysis stuff, I took one SPSS class in undergrad and got an A, but I don't think it was half as challenging. How I'm leaning: It feels like a two horse race between CMU and Cornell. UT is a great option, but I think I'm ready to leave Texas, won't really need loans for any program and don't really have a desire to go to D.C. I went to Cornell's open house and was amazed by how great staff/faculty was and the camaraderie between the cohort, I'll be going to CMU on April 5th. I feel like it's going to come down to head vs. heart. Head being between CMU and UT, heart being with Cornell
  11. I feel bad that you started a great thread and I didn't notice anyone dug into your question. Off top, congrats on your future child. It might be best for you to defer to next year, and even reapply if they don't let you, take advantage of great healthcare through the pregnancy and get the sleepless nights out of the way before starting grad school. I know nothing about the New School so I'll leave that be. If planning really appeals to you then you should lean USC, they have one of the best planning programs in the entire country. I'm biased being from Texas but, I'd rather live in Austin for the cost of living, lack of smog, etc. but if it's just for two years then neither is a bad decision. A lot of people on this board are pretty DC focused and I think UT goes a little farther there. Both schools have powerhouse alumni networks, USC's is maybe a bit stronger overall. TL/DR: Wait till next year. Next year decide how much you care about urban planning and where you want to work afterwards. If you really want to do planning, USC, if you want to live in the South, Midwest, or D.C., USC. Realistically you're not going to lose with either option
  12. Now that all decisions are back and this was a helpful tool for me Program Applied To: (MPA, MPP, IR, etc.) MPA and MSPPM (Heinz) Schools Applied To: Princeton WWS, Washington Evans, CMU Heinz (Pittsburgh), Cornell CIPA, UT LBJ, A&M Bush, Brown Watson, UNC (Online), Penn State (Online), Northwestern (Online) Schools Admitted To: Evans ($$$), Heinz ($$$), CIPA ($$), LBJ (In-state), Watson ($) , UNC ($), Penn State, Northwestern Schools Rejected From: WWS, A&M (I declined an interview) Still Waiting: Undergraduate institution: Middle of the road state flagship Undergraduate GPA: 3.4ish Last 60 hours of Undergraduate GPA (if applicable): 3.8 (Almost entirely in major classes because of a sophomore year switch) Undergraduate Major: Public Administration GRE Quantitative Score: 159 (Thank you Magoosh) GRE Verbal Score: 164 GRE AW Score: 5.0 (It is all about laying out a skeleton of your essay in your intro and sticking to it, even if you feel like you're hitting the grader over the head with such obvious transitions) Years Out of Undergrad (if applicable): 4+ Years of Work Experience: 3.5 Describe Relevant Work Experience: Went from entry level local government job to head of a department with about a $4 million budget in 2ish years Strength of SOP (be honest, describe the process, etc): Really strong in describing my motivations to go into local government, probably not as strong in describing what the school can do for me, but I did a good job sprinkling in little things the school wanted to hear. I put some research into schools and finding buzzwords scattered through the main web page and the program's web page, then incorporating those into my essay. Strength of LOR's (be honest, describe the process, etc): I picked writers who were going to put some real thought and work into the essay over just the biggest title I could find. I was too far out of school to get professors, which was detrimental but a fact of life. I got my City Manager (CEO of a city), a department head in my City, and the VP with a local economic development group. I didn't give them much direction (I applied to too many schools to say, "Tell X school Y") but it certainly took a little prodding at the end. Other: Start with a list of schools/programs that interest you, then narrow it and narrow it. When you get your final list of places you'll apply really ask yourself, "If I get into this school, will I really go here?" Also note, you're probably going to get into to most of the schools you apply to, it's a lot less competitive than undergrad, especially for MPA's and MPP's. I had this huge list because I had so many safety schools (two online safety schools???). It's wasted money, but more importantly time, time for that could be spent on schools you care about and your LOR writer's time.
  13. Now my experience is all of one school, but I would imagine your only real lever is your offers from superior or equal schools as far as rankings. Your email can be something along the lines of, "Thank you for your generous offer, but the scholarship isn't enough to make the cost feasible for me. Especially when I have an offer of X% from school X and Y% from school Y, bringing my total cost to about Z. Is there any way I can get my offer reevaluated to get closer to Z? If so, what are the next steps? If not, I completely understand." Then they'll ask from the offer letters from school X and Y and see what they can do
  14. Got in. Really wish I could make accepted students day, but they just had to put it on April 5th
  15. I plan on being there. Unfortunately CMU and U Washington are on the same day, but I need to get a better feel for CMU
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