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Can't Pick a Username

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    United Kingdom
  • Application Season
    2019 Fall
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  1. Sure, I think your list is accurate for places like HKS and maybe Goldman but I would argue that @excxn doesn't have terrible grades. They have one bad grade, which they've mitigated through extensive data analysis and research experience post college. They even have publications, which is impressive. The other thing to note is that Harris has a summer math program for people with weaker quant backgrounds so they're not expecting everyone to be a star right off the bat. If the original poster is simply trying to get accepted (and not necessarily score a full scholarship), they've done enough to at least apply. If they bump up their GRE score, I believe they may even have a decent shot at Harris. (FYI: I fell into your Category B when applying and got a full scholarship at Harris. I think if I'd applied a year or two earlier, I could've still gotten in but without the scholarship.) To your last question on the Covid dip, I don't have an answer. I'd have to see the data on that. For instance, what % of folks in their incoming class were initially waitlisted, and how far apart were they in terms of qualifications than the rest of the class? How do they perform vs their peers in the first semester of school? Etc. We'll probably never get this data. From my purely anecdotal experience (acknowledging that I'm also a sample size of 1), I met several people without any quant backgrounds get in to Harris (including English majors). My friend got in with a 158 GRE Q score and a 50% scholarship. Her GPA was only slightly higher than @excxn. Basically my point is that while there are schools that may always be out of reach for someone like the poster because there are just way too many unicorns out there in the world (think Princeton), I don't think Harris is one of them.
  2. @excxn I'd strongly suggest you still apply to Harris. I had similar work experience (education research & data analysis) but MUCH worse grades than you and still got into Harris with a very large scholarship. The fact that you know Stata means you probably know more data analysis than most incoming students. Whenever I've talked to Harris students and members of the admissions team, I've gotten the sense that they're not looking for quant gurus. They're just looking for people with strong enough quant skills who can be trained further. I think you've done enough to mitigate your one bad Calc grade. Of course, getting a higher GRE quant score doesn't hurt especially if you're looking for funding.
  3. I created an account just to respond to this! @swiggles, you remind me of me from seven years ago . I graduated from a tiny (not super well-known) LAC with a 3.0ish GPA in IR. Like you, I had a slew of painfully bad grades, including several Cs, Ds, and Fs in primarily my math and quant-heavy econ classes. Unfortunately, I had no one to blame but myself. I just slacked off too much, prioritized the wrong things (like partying and drinking), etc. While I finally got things together by the end of college, I only barely managed to get my GPA above a 3.0. Needless to say, it was really demotivating. I didn't think I had a chance of getting into ANY graduate school, so I decided to pour my heart into my career and learning from past mistakes. For the next six years, I worked really hard to address my weaker points (like quants). I re-took Macro and Micro at a local community college (received As in both). I took a ton of data analysis classes over a period of 3 years and eventually became so strong in Excel and R that I was asked to conduct trainings on both at work. I volunteered to take on research projects at work that exercised these skills until I was comfortable enough to lead in these areas. I also took a giant risk at the end of 2015 and moved to a country I'd never been to in Sub-Saharan Africa to help lead a major RCT research project for a small health NGO. And finally, I moved to the UK in 2017 to work closely with a professor (himself a Rhodes Scholar) at a well-known institution (think Oxbridge) to conduct research for his project portfolio. When I finally decided I was ready and strong enough to apply for graduate school last year, I worked hard to crush the GRE (eventually got a 334, with a 170Q & 164V). I asked my recommenders (the professor I worked with and my two previous bosses) to highlight my strength in research and quants, which I think may have helped alleviate concerns that AdComms would have had upon seeing my college transcript. I also spent countless hours positioning myself as the "quant person" through my essays and made sure that I had 3 close friends and family members review them until we all felt that they conveyed this successfully. Last year, I applied to: - UChicago Harris MPP - Tufts Fletcher MALD - Duke Sanford MPP - HKS MPP - Columbia SIPA MPA - WWS MPA I got into every school except for WWS where I was waitlisted. I got into Harris, Fletcher, Sanford, and SIPA with substantial scholarships as well (including some full scholarships). HKS didn't offer much money but if you told me seven years ago that I could get into Harvard, I would have laughed in your face. I'll be honest with you- it won't be easy. You're going to have to work really, really hard but if you're up for it and truly intent on learning from your past mistakes and becoming a stronger version of yourself, then you CAN do it. I'm proof that schools truly are holistic in their review process. Good luck! Feel free to message if you have any questions.
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