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kyeulsa

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About kyeulsa

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  • Location
    Washington, DC
  • Program
    MPP

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  1. Hey RWest, I'm a current Sanford MPP, and I turned down many of the same schools as you (but not Berkeley). There are definitely students here who chose Sanford over Berkeley, however. Here are a couple thoughts for you: 1. The rankings are not rigorous and pretty useless. I'd say the policy analysis rankings are more or less reflective of who is in the top tier, but don't expect anyone to think of them like law or business rankings. As someone who worked as a policy analyst in DC before coming to school, most people will just look at your university name and Duke and Berkeley both have very strong names. 2. Durham is cheap to live in. I'd say most students spend $300-$400 a month on rent, and most other costs are low. My partner and I splurged on a $1300 house with three bedrooms and a huge yard (cheap!!) Also, the weather here is great, and we have really beautiful, defined seasons (and warm winters). I've lived in the Bay Area and I wouldn't put it ahead of NC. Plus warmer beaches! 3. Sanford is really strong in DC. I think at least half our alumni go there, and we are a quick 4.5 hour drive (or 6 hour train ride) if you want to go up for interviews. I do think it's easier to go to DC from Sanford than GSPP. I do have the impression that it's harder to come from Berkeley to DC. My honest assessment is that you will get a higher ROI on your lower tuition at Sanford than paying more at Berkeley. I had to make similar decisions last year. Ultimately, the schools are not the far apart on most indicators, so the huge tuition difference is worth making central to your decision. That said, Berkeley is great, too, and I don't know if I could have turned it down, either. Good luck on your decision, and feel free to message me with any questions.
  2. Hi Undecided, Sure, happy to talk about my decision. 1. Why did you pick Duke over GPPI? Were any of those reasons NOT related to your specific focus? I'm interested in international policy (though not totally decided on that focus yet) and they both seem really strong in that area. I think you're right that they're both strong in the international area. I picked Duke over GPPI because I think it's a better skills program, and that was my priority, too. I think GPPI is great if you want to try to do internships and stuff, but I think the academics take a back seat to internships and networking. I think Sanford offers a good blend of practical skill development without being overly quant-y, so you come out with hard skills that are in demand. In the policy world, Sanford definitely has a better reputation - but people in DC will think just as highly of GPPI. What I tried to do was really think about the outcome from going to the schools I was choosing between - do you think GPPI and Sanford will get you some place different? If so, is the difference you perceive worth the extra tuition? 2. Is the Duke alumni network as strong as they claim? If I want a job in DC when I graduate, will I be able to get one? Obviously this is largely contingent on my own initiative, but I'm asking the question relative to the fact that Georgetown is literally IN DC and capable of getting me a job fairly quickly as part of my education. Yeah, the alumni network is great. The majority of the alumni go there straight from school, so most of the Sanford grads are in the area. The school coordinates a couple of trips to DC to network with alumni there, and I've found them to be valuable contacts (and very responsive to Duke grads). At least half of my year, it seems, has locked down internships for DC this summer (everyone who wants to be there, I think) so I don't view it as a disadvantage to be 4.5 hours away. And, to be honest, some internships prefer people not from the DC schools since they get so many apps from those places. I wouldn't have moved from DC to live here for a couple years if I thought it would be a disadvantage. At least a quarter of my class moved here from DC, so I don't think I'm alone in thinking that. 3. I'll be 24 in September when I start. I figure I'm on the younger end of things... Would that be an issue for any reason? No, I don't think so. Our year has a couple folks fresh out of undergrad, and a lot of people in their early 20s. I'd say average age is a couple years older than that, but once you're in school age doesn't seem as important. 4. Do Duke students work part-time at all while they're at school? Debt is scary, and any opportunities to mitigate that would be welcome. I don't know many students working part-time, but there are a few. Everyone gets offered the TA/RA/GA position for two semesters, and most get it second year spring, too. So that's $4000 for the semester. I don't think people work at GPPI, either - they might have internships, but I bet a lot are unpaid. One plus, though, is that Durham is super cheap. You can live in a really nice house close to campus and downtown for 1/4 what it would cost in DC. Hope that helps! Let me know if you have other questions.
  3. I'm a first year MPP at Sanford, and I'm happy to answer any questions you might have about the school. I chose Sanford over Ford, Harris, GPPI and others, and I have been happy with my decision. I'm in the energy/enviro policy area, but I'll try to answer any questions you have about other policy areas, the school or Durham (which I think is great). I was out of school 5 years before coming back, including 3 years as a policy analyst in DC.
  4. I am a current first year MPP at Duke Sanford. I was also accepted at Harris, Ford, GPPI and some others but chose Sanford over them ... happy to answer questions from any of you about the program or once you're trying to decide on a program! I really agonized over it last year so I am happy to help!
  5. Previous Schools (Name, type, or tier): Top 25 liberal arts college Previous Degrees and GPA's: Public Policy Analysis, 3.4-ish GRE Scores (Verbal/Quantitative/Analytical Writing): V: 770, Q: 720 Previous Work Experience (Years, Type): Three years at a DC non-profit, previously Fulbright Scholar (5 years out of college). Math/Econ Background: Did econ in college but no math other than stats (Did calc in high school) Foreign Language Background: Advanced Mandarin Chinese and French Intended Field of Study in Grad School: MPP with a focus on international energy/environmental policy Long Term Professional Goals: Public sector, work at an international organization like the World Bank in the environment area - applied sustainable development Schools Applied to & Results: Accepted: Duke Sanford ($), GPPI ($), UMichigan Ford ($), UChicago Harris, USC (full tuition). Rejected: HKS, Berkeley (the dream). Ultimate Decision & Why: Duke Sanford. Every option was great but none was perfect. I wanted to get back to an academic setting and really focus on being a student for a while, and Sanford offered what I was looking for: small classes with a lot of camaraderie, strength in my field (Nicholas is well-known in enviro communities), well-balanced curriculum, and a totally liveable environment. Any advice to Future Applicants? Turns out the hardest part of the whole process can be making the decision. I wish I had sat down in the beginning of the process and written down what it was I wanted to achieve by going back to grad school (specific skills? just checking the box on the resume? internships?) so that I could refer back to that. Also, perhaps, writing down your thoughts about the specific schools. I also got too hung up on rankings when I couldn't make my decision - I think, though, that there are really just the good schools and the less good schools, and that's the only difference worth paying attention to. Beyond that, if you're looking at the top tier programs, focus on what you want to get out of it. It can be really hard to maintain perspective, but really, this is just 18 months of your life. The grad degree paves the way for the first job after you graduate, but it's not going to make or break your career, so relax!
  6. We are coming down to the decision-making wire, and I've found one of my big concerns about Harris is the administration. I'm sure some other students feel the same ... the admissions process was quite painful, and compared to all other admitted programs I've received very little communication from the school (I have about 3 emails from Ford for every 1 from Harris). That said, I do really like other aspects of the program - but I do feel that support from student services, career services, etc are very important to students' success. I was also far more impressed with the Ford career services presentation. Do the current students who are responding on this board feel like they've got a strong administration that is there to help them? Another question I have is about camaraderie. Do current students feel like they are close to their cohort? Is there a lot of collaboration? I got the feeling like it's a bit competitive between students (vs. Ford which seemed very friendly). I'm not sure if that's accurate just the feeling I got - would love to hear from current students about that.
  7. Thanks a lot! Is the IEDP open to all students who are interested in participating?
  8. I visited Ford on Saturday only, since I was at Harris on Friday. I am really struggling with the decision between Harris, Ford and Georgetown. Ford concern: Obviously those in the policy field know that Ford is an excellent program ... but I think the prestige of UMichigan overall is lower than UChicago or even Georgetown. So, would a hiring manager who wasn't an MPP know that UMichigan was one of the best? What about peers and colleagues? I would like this not to be an issue, but I guess I'm just thinking about how the "brand" looks on the resume. Ford question: Do students who are interested in the international side have sufficient coursework and opportunities to engage? I'd say Gtown's big strength (other than location) is the international programs. Does Ford have good intl coursework and are students in that field able to find relevant work after graduation? Thanks any and all for thoughts ... I am basically three-way split right now and going in endless circular arguments with myself
  9. Anyone else still waiting?
  10. So has anyone heard today (Saturday) or should those of us still waiting give up til Monday?
  11. I just got a call notifying me that I would be accepted and they were sending out packets, not sure if they are planning on calling everyone.
  12. Haha, my thoughts exactly! I wish we could all get a post-admissions play by play of their decision-making process. Congrats on Sanford and the funding!
  13. Waitlisted! This process is really ups and downs, isn't it ... I just got funding from Gtown today but then waitlisted at Duke.
  14. Thanks! Given the post below me hope they are notifying today!
  15. Was really hoping to hear back on scholarships (my email said the week of the 28th). Has anyone who had that date on their acceptance letter heard back yet?
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