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lunarphase

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    lunarphase got a reaction from cefran in 2019 Results   
    This website really helped me out- leaving my stats here so they can hopefully help a few more in the future :")
    Program/Schools Applied To: Cornell MPA, Penn MSSP, Brown MPA, Pepperdine MPP, Columbia MPA-ESP, Johns Hopkins MS-ESP
    Schools Admitted To: Columbia (12% tuition), Cornell (50% tuition), Pepperdine (40% tuition), Penn, JHU
    Schools Rejected From: None
    Still Waiting: Brown
    Undergrad Institution: Large non-flagship state school, ~200th in USNWR
    Undergrad GPA: 3.64
    Undergrad Major: Political Science
    GRE Quantitative Score: 150
    GRE Verbal Score: 154
    GRE AW Score: 4.5
    Years out of Undergrad: 0, graduating in May
    Years of Work Experience: 2
    Describe Relevant Work Experience: Lengthy internship with state-wide political party, internship with a national environmental organization, internship on Capitol Hill, volunteering with local environmental group.
    Other: Student-athlete, club co-founder, wrote for school newspaper.
    With the exception of SIPA, I know the schools I applied to aren't traditionally thought of as Public Admin/Policy powerhouses, but I am thrilled at how things turned out. Especially given my GRE, undergrad institution, coming straight from UG... so basically everything 😂 I decided to pass up Columbia ($$, family, not a NYC fan), Pepperdine (accepted to better programs), and Brown, pending a funding miracle. I'm leaning toward Cornell, but I still have a few weeks in which things could change.
  2. Like
    lunarphase reacted to Guesswho in Columbia SIPA vs. Cornell CIPA   
    I'm a prospective applicant for both of these schools, but I'm not going for the environmental policy track at either institution so I'll try to break my advice down into several key questions that you should be asking yourself since based off of what you posted, both of these schools seem fairly evenly matched given the relatively small gap in cost of attendance. 
    Employment prospects: I'm sure you've already looked into this yourself, but you should be asking yourself whether or not there's any noticeable difference in the employment outcomes as it pertains to environmental policy/management at these schools. If I recall correctly Columbia has quite the extensive archive of the employment prospects of all of their programs broken down by specialty/concentration that goes back several years. CIPA's info in that regard isn't nearly as extensive but they do mention some of the titles and positions that students in their program have gotten in the form of both full-time work and internships here (https://www.human.cornell.edu/cipa/academics/curriculum/concentrations/environmental). They also have a list of their internship and employment placements, but it's harder to tell which concentrations snagged which jobs from those two pages, so I would highly recommend calling their career services office, and seeing if they can give you more details as to where their environmental policy students both in terms of the job itself + the location. If they can't do that much, then see if they can refer you to any current students or graduates who took or are currently taking classes as part of the environmental policy track. You could do all of this with SIPA's career services as well, but honestly their employment information is so comprehensive that I don't think it's entirely necessary. 
    Where do you want to work: If you want to/expect to end up in NY/DC then I don't think going to Cornell puts you at a major disadvantage since they have plenty of grads in both of those areas, even if Columbia has more grads in each area. If you're looking beyond those areas for employment however, then Columbia provides you with a more substantial advantage since it's safe to assume that their network is considerably deeper once you leave the NY/DC area. 
    How confident (or not) are you in your work experience and skill set: You mentioned that Columbia's program is one year versus the two year program at CIPA. At the end of the day, whether or not it would be smart of you to go with the one year mpa depends on how confident you are in your prior work experience and current skill set, since I would imagine that a one year mpa would rely more on the students prior knowledge and experience. If you aren't feeling super great about your prior knowledge and experience then that's one substantial advantage that Cornell's two year program gives you in the form of an extra year to develop your overall skill set + an additional year to network and pick up work experience. If you're unsure about how or whether or not you can accurately evaluate your current expertise and work experience then this is where getting in touch with a grad from one or both of these programs is crucial since they'll be more likely to be completely honest with you in terms of evaluating your chances in a 1 year vs 2 year program. 
    That's pretty much all I have to add in terms of key questions off the top of my head, but I'll certainly come back to this if I can think of something else. At least from my perspective, taking on an extra 13k to attend one schools is justifiable (although you'll get a wide variety of opinions on this from person to person). An extra 13k has considerably different meaning attached to it depending on how debt averse you are. Knowing the average salary of the fields you are interested in should help you answer how debt averse you should be in this case. So yeah I didn't really give you an answer or recommendation for either program, but it's tough for me to give one without knowing the answer to the questions that I gave above. Answering these questions for yourself however should help considerably in making the decision easier for you. Either way I would say that you have two good options on the table so you shouldn't lose too much sleep either way regardless of which decision you make. 
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