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bac

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About bac

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    Caffeinated

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  • Location
    New York, NY
  • Application Season
    2019 Fall
  • Program
    Master of Public Policy

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  1. It's April 15. Simple question, simple answer: where have you committed to? I committed to the Master of Public Affairs program at the LBJ School at the University of Texas - Austin. I may try and do a double degree with the Community & Regional Planning program in the Architecture school after my first year. PS. If you are waiting to the very last second to decide and need advice, here's the thread for you!
  2. bac

    2019 Results

    My final update after they all came in! I've ended up going with the LBJ School at UT-Austin. Program Applied To: (MPA, MPP, IR, etc.) MPP; MPAff.Schools Applied To: Harvard (Kennedy, MPP); UC Berkeley (Goldman, MPP); USC (Price, MPP); UT-Austin (LBJ, MPAff); UCLA (Luskin, MPP); George Washington (Trachtenberg, MPP); The New School (Milano, MPP).Schools Admitted To: USC (with half-tuition); UT-Austin (negotiated half-tuition); The New School (with 75% tuition); UCLA.Schools Rejected From: George Washington (Trachtenberg, MPP); Harvard (Kennedy, MPP); UC Berkeley (Goldman, MPP)Still Waiting: None.Undergraduate institution: The New School.Undergraduate GPA: 3.96Undergraduate Major: Liberal Arts.GRE Quantitative Score: 148GRE Verbal Score: 161GRE AW Score: 4.0Years Out of Undergrad (if applicable): None, I graduate in May.Years of Work Experience: 10Describe Relevant Work Experience: Worked in state and federal politics and government in Australia from 2006-2013; worked in U.S. union movement 2015-2017.Strength of SOP (be honest, describe the process, etc): Very strong, I feel this and my LORs really anchored my applications. Good personal narrative regarding my difficult upbringing which I was able to link to the work I've done professionally and my future policy ambitions. I think being able to articulate how the school your applying to is the missing link in the chain between what you've done and what you want to do is the #1 goal of a SOP, and was my top priority.Strength of LOR's (be honest, describe the process, etc): Very strong. Current Australian member of the House of Representatives and former Attorney-General who I worked closely for as an aide for a few years; two professors who I got As with in graduate level classes when I returned to finish my undergrad.Other: I'm probably not a traditional applicant, which has its advantages and disadvantages. I did poorly when I first went to university back in Australia (Journalism, RMIT) in the mid-2000s, but had a successful career and have crushed my studies since going back to finish my undergrad - mostly doing grad level classes.
  3. Well, given I'm the original poster, I should close the loop I guess! A lot of soul-searching, discussions with my wife, dialogue and negotiations with USC and UT-Austin, working out logistics around our impending green cards/moving/baby on the way - and finally a decision! We're going to move to Texas and I'm going to do the MPAff at the LBJ School. We both liked the idea and costs of living in Austin more than LA, with a growing family and a dog there is more space in the rental market, UT were really responsive and have offered me a lot of flexibility with my complicated situation and possible starting dates (though I'm most likely going to start in Fall), and they came to the party just today with a half-tuition fellowship when before there was none. I feel good, I feel relaxed, I can't wait to press that button over the weekend, and I hope you all feel that kind of peace when you get to the same place. God knows, we've all earned it. And if you're going to be a Longhorn like me, hit me up. The first beer is on me.
  4. bac

    Tips on Negotiating Offers

    OK, so here's my story: Got a 50% tuition offer from USC, a 75% tuition offer from The New School, and offers from UT-Austin and UCLA with no financial incentives. I reached out to all except TNS asking about the possibility of increased funding. UCLA never replied, USC looked into it but said no more than what was offered, and UT just got back to me with a 50% fellowship offer. I did it all by email, was very matter of fact, and UT asked to see the other offers, which I was able to do. 1/3 in negotiations is not bad, and now I'll be able to get my MPAff for around $20k, which is a great result.
  5. I haven't asked them yet. My wife is broaching a possible move with her work which is now our preference, so I'm going to raise deferment with USC and Texas next week. I did reach out to both USC and Texas to negotiate funding, but have not heard back from either yet, so 🤷‍♂️
  6. I would say this about CMU: their work in the urban planning/design space, which has an enormous bearing on what you are considering doing, is absolutely top notch. I would make sure to ask them if you can take classes with the urban design school, or even if a double degree is an option. It's seriously cutting edge stuff.
  7. bac

    UCLA Luskin

    I suspect they're doing it like GWU did: good news first, bad news later. It's fairly insane that they haven't got them all out yet when I think pretty much every other school has by now. I've basically crossed them off my list for consideration now unless they offer me a free ride.
  8. I think Goldman is a slam dunk for what you want to do. Columbia's bread and butter is health or international affairs policy, whereas Berkeley's reputation is more along the lines of your background/future. Like me you have comms experience, but you're not going to grad school to do journalism (otherwise you would be!), so don't get sucked in by the prospect of some journalism electives to teach you a subject you already know a bit about.
  9. Good question. I am going to approach both schools this week to ask about the process and mechanisms, and what it would mean for USC re: funding.
  10. Forgot to mention, of your offers I visited three last year: GWU, UT and USC. All three went up in my estimation after visiting, and all three were programs I ended up applying to. GWU: - Very central in DC, a city I used to live in and love - Doesn't feel very campus-y, if that makes sense. Feels more like the NYC colleges in lower Manhattan which blend in with the rest of the city, as opposed to USC and UT which are very much their own environment - Their big advantage is proximity and ties to the DC institutions. Internships and job opportunities in federal or DC government both during the program and after would be on offer, and also all of the issues-based groups, unions and non-profits have either their HQ or an office in the city - Modern feel, many new buildings and classrooms, does not feel run down in the least - May not be a factor for you, but not much in the way of college sports or identity compared to some of the other schools. They have a mediocre basketball team, but at least you're in a city with five pro teams so if that's your bag, you'll be fine - Hope you like cold winters and humid as hell summers UT: - Huge campus, dominates both the northern end of the city geographically, but really dominates the psyche of Austin as a whole. The Longhorns culture is real - The LBJ School is very modern inside, probably outside of Harvard KS has the best facilities I visited - Will be cheaper to live in than LA, DC and probably Pittsburgh - Being in a state capital, has a lot of opportunities for internship and work, and the city has a stronger than expected community/non-profit group sector - I like the school, loved the city. But that's a very personal thing - Hot weather USC: - The most beautiful campus I visited, Berkeley included. Man, it's stunning - For LA, it's very accessible. Has a rail stop, is easily accessible by car, and is very central to downtown while maintaining a true campus feel (reminds me of most Australian universities in that way) - I was impressed by their links to power in California, they're right amongst it with the political set - Modern facilities and feel, the buildings look old and beautiful, but the inside is new and shiny - I think the faculty was, outside of Harvard and Berkeley, the most impressive of the schools that I applied to - Has the strong combo of college and pro sports - LA weather - Felt the most professional and easiest to deal with administratively, both when I was visiting last year and since the offer was made If you have any other specific questions about my visits to the three, hit me up privately.
  11. Hey! Seems like we had a lot of target programs/offers that were similar. I'd say this about timing/funding: your offers aren't going to be better in the future, and if you're using a grad program to advance your career and presumably earn more money down the line, the earlier you make that investment, the better. The odds of getting a full ride anywhere in the calibre of schools you've applied to is low, and you did well to get the financial offers you did - I'd take it. In terms of your offers, approach it from a process of elimination. Narrowing the field is going to make it easier to make a final call. If you're looking at going back to the Bay Area after you've finished your masters, then there is little point going to GWU - their whole advantage is setting you up to stay in DC after graduation. I wouldn't knock out LBJ because they didn't offer you any money; the cost of LBJ at full sticker price is actually a few thousand dollars cheaper than USC Price at half price. But if you think USC is a better school, then that would knock LBJ out. On the surface, Price would seem like a logical option for you. They have strong ties to Sacramento and you can do some of your program there, which is more likely to set you up with relevant networks for post-graduation if you return to the Bay Area. Plus you're a hour and $100 bucks flight away, doing the LA-SF run is simpler than ay of your other options. That's my two cents. And hell, maybe I'll see you there at USC if that's the way I lean.
  12. Like many around here, I've got some tough decisions to make over the next month, so now almost all of the acceptances/rejections have come out (*shakes fist at UCLA Luskin*) I thought I'd start a thread where folks can post what schools they are deciding between and what circumstances they are considering, as well as any other factors that are being considered. I'll lead off: Coming from: New York, NY Deciding between: USC (Price School), MPP - 50% tuition UT-Austin (LBJ School), MPAff - No $$ The New School (Milano School), MPUP - 75% tuition Other factors: We just found out my wife is pregnant, so moving to the other side of the country and probably giving up her top-of-the-line healthcare and the country's most generous maternity leave is not necessarily appealing. She may be able to do her job from LA or Austin, but we don't know yet. Deferment for a year is a real possibility if they'd grant it for this reason. How I'm leaning: I'm very much leaning towards USC or UT - it might just take another year. I probably have USC's program marginally ahead of UT's, but I reckon living in Austin would be better, particularly with a dog and a baby on the way. The financial offer from USC brings USC to around the same cost over two years as UT with no funding. Both also have the option of doing a double degree with urban/community planning, which appeals, though USC's is within the same school so might be easier to organize. I really don't know how to split them, and I can't get back out to LA and Austin for their respective admitted student days.
  13. bac

    Berkeley GSPP 2019

    Got knocked back. Well done to those who got offers!
  14. bac

    Berkeley GSPP 2019

  15. bac

    HKS 2019

    I think there are fewer posts because many of us read last year’s thread and so we know the timing and aren’t as anxious because we’re not playing as much of a guessing game - which is good!
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