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  1. The first question is unanswerable. I found a good website for the second though: http://bit.ly/ZwLr5P
  2. Very little. They are prestigious enough where they can get a high yield percentage without offering aid, i.e. lots of people are willing to pay 100k+ for a SAIS education. Ditto for Georgetown.
  3. For this post, I'm assuming we're talking about general merit scholarships, not diversity or service veteran ones. I think the most important thing is the strength of your profile relative to other admits. My general impression from talking to admissions people is that you need to be one of the very top applicants to get a merit scholarship. Although there are a lot of variables that go into determining what a "top" applicant is, it is fair to assume that undergrad GPA, GRE scores, foreign language proficiency, work experience, etc. all play a big role. Given that, you can maximize your chances of getting money by applying to schools where your profile is stronger (by the aforementioned metrics) than most other applicants. That might mean applying to lower ranked schools, since even if you get accepted at a top ranked school you have a lower chance of getting money. If you have a 3.8 GPA and 1400 GRE, you stand a much higher chance at getting aid at a school where the median is a 3.3 and 1250 than at one where your 3.8 and 1400 are average. For a personal example, my aid experiences followed this trend. I got rejected at Yale + Georgetown + WWS, given moderate aid (15-20k) at Tufts and SAIS, full ride at Pitt GSPIA, and full ride + stipend at GW-Elliott. The GW part throws it off a bit, since its just as good as Tufts or SAIS, but in general my finaid was correlated with the ranking of the school. You can look at my stats if you want, but I don't think they by themselves matter - it's all about your competitiveness relative to other applicants at a particular school.
  4. My morale is on the floor? My country is on the verge of internal disaster? Glad to see you've given up on even pretending to have something productive to say.
  5. Don't take me too seriously. My opinion means nothing - the only opinion that does matter is the adcoms, and they might think completely differently. If money isn't a problem, you have nothing to lose by applying. That said, I think you would be an awesome candidate with a little bit of IR work experience and a class or two to show academic improvement. Any interesting organizations in your area you could volunteer for? Colleges with affordable night classes?
  6. I hate to do this because it makes it look like I'm beating up on the OP (who would be a great candidate after getting some WE and taking some classes to show academic improvement), but this is just too stupid to let pass. You are arguing that an IR adcom trying to assess OP's ability to thrive in an professional graduate program isn't going to factor in his previous experience in a professional graduate program? That they will ignore or look kindly upon a downward trend in academic performance from undergrad to grad school? Both of those make no sense and go against common admission practices. Talk to any ad rep and they will tell you all post high-school academic experience is fair game, and that showing a positive progression is extremely important. Reading comprehension fail. Look at my post again. I said no one is going to get admitted at an elite school with "BOTH a sub 3.0 GPA and no IR work experience." Your anecdote about your friend is irrelevant - he clearly has great international work experience that compensates for his low grades. Similarly, there are plenty of kids fresh out of college with amazing grades but little professional experience getting elite admits. I stressed the both part because you absolutely can make up for weakness in one area with strength in another. But no one is getting into an elite school with poor grades and zero IR-relevant work experience, which is OP's situation. This is just funny. I know AUB, and it is a good school for people looking to study in the Middle East. But you are talking about it like it's some insane global powerhouse, which it isn't. Even if it was, there is no school so prestigious that it overcomes bad grades, negative progression, and a total lack of applicable work experience. You could Borg meld all the Ivy Leagues into a shining paragon of academe, and it still wouldn't. Nevermind, I forgot my opinion is invalid because I wasn't "their" in 2006.
  7. Probably best to call individual schools and ask. That said, I think you have nothing to worry about and have great WE for an aspiring ID person. Keep in mind work experience doesn't necessarily have to be actual IR to be IR-relevant. What do I mean? If you want to work in international development, doing essentially that kind of work but within US borders (which I assume your Americorps and Red Cross stuff was) is definitely pertinent to your application, and should be a bonus. It's development, just not international. As long as you can clearly and convincingly show in your SOP how a particular work experience will help build your IR-career, it's relevant. Also, a 3 month gap is nothing. If it was 3 years, maybe you would have a reason to worry.
  8. 1) I challenge you to find any people, whether on this forum or otherwise, admitted to a top-tier school (Georgetown, SAIS, Elliott, SIPA) with BOTH a sub 3.0 GPA and no IR work experience. I'd bet an internet nickel you don't find a single one. And the admission statistics these schools publish back me up. 2) It is irresponsible and unhelpful to misrepresent OP's admission chances at the mentioned schools. Falsely act as though those are realistic targets --> OP wastes time and money applying, and most likely goes o-fer. Be a "Debbie Downer" (I would say realist) --> OP can either apply to less selective schools* where they would have a much better shot, or improve their profile (get more work experience, take some classes, etc.) and work their way into a top-tier admit a few years down the road. I think the second one is a lot more productive and helpful than blowing sunshine at people. *OP, look at Institute of World Politics and Maryland - both are in the DC area and are decent IR programs you would be much more competitive at.
  9. Slim to none. Your grades are bad and you have no IR work history. You might be able to squeeze into a lower tier school off of GRE scores and a great statement of purpose + recommendations, but you just named 4 of the top 5 IR schools in the country.
  10. Most good MPP schools (Georgetown, GW, HKS, WWS, SAIS) all have 1-2 year masters degrees for mid-career professionals. But, you already have a masters, so I'm not sure how much good it would do you, whereas a PHD would be a step up. And as far as the PHD goes, I'll reiterate: In the US, program duration less than 3 years, academically reputable. Pick 2 out of 3.
  11. Try thinking of it this way: you can either a. get a more practical degree (MPA, MPP, MBA, etc.) that gives you a professional skill-set valued by many employers, but doesn't give you a predefined European specialty. Develop said European specialty through work experience; take your fancy new degree and get a job at the European section of the World Bank, State Department, Booz Allen Hamilton, etc. b. get an area studies degree that certifies you as knowledgeable about a region, but doesn't train you for practical professional skills: balance a budget, analyze a policy issue, manage an organization. Try to find and land a job at aforementioned institutions: at the World Bank with no economics training, at a national security think tank with no federal budgetary process training, etc. As is obvious, I think you will have a hard time with the second. Detailed knowledge of a region is not professionally valued in isolation - it is always contingent on trying to get something done, whether it be banking or education policy or espionage. If you don't bring some sort of practical skill to the table to complement your European knowledge, it will be rough sledding. Basically, there are no organizations (outside the ivory tower) that exist solely for intellectual pleasure of studying Europe. There are lots of organizations that sell things in Europe, work with European governments, provide military defense for Europe, and so on. Get whatever professional skill you find the most interesting/marketable, and carve out a European specialty through work experience. It will be a lot easier than doing the opposite.
  12. I don't know the structure of Indian academia, but at the vast majority of American universities it is simply not possible to get a (reputable) PHD in 2-3 years. When you say RAND is much shorter, are you factoring in how long it will take to do your dissertation? Because that is the single largest time investment of a graduate program, and the most variable. It is very common to get through your core classes in a few years, and then spend just as much time over again (or longer) grappling with the dissertation. This can be even more prolonged if you are making a shift from the "real world" into the peculiar mix of heavy research+backroom politics that is the American Ivory Tower (which will presumably be new territory, and could take a period of adjustment). The fact that the CHYMPS schools you mentioned, and indeed virtually all International Relations PHD programs in the US, typically have a 5+ year commitment, should give you an idea that that is the norm. And RAND is a rare exception. So you may need to develop some flexibility in your plans: either by looking into non-US PHDs (which are often shorter), or setting aside more time for graduate study (if possible). Taken from the other thread you posted, but relevant: The reason RAND is a 3 year program is that it's not an academic-focused program. What do I mean? Typically, PHD programs in the US are geared towards producing alumni capable of conducting research and teaching at the university level, i.e. professional academics. RAND has a decidedly more professional / practitioner focus. It is designed to produce people who can do a variety of jobs requiring policy analysis: consultant, think tank researcher, etc. But it is not really geared towards academia, at least not as much as traditional PHD programs. So, I would characterize it as less "academically rigorous", for lack of a better term; you're not going to see many alumni in university teaching and research positions. This might be a problem, because... ...you mentioned getting a teaching job as one of the main goals of your PHD. I have no idea about how university hiring, tenure-track, etc. works in India, so I will refrain from commenting on whether a traditional "long" PHD is necessary to teach at an Indian university (it definitely is in America). Just bringing it to your attention.
  13. Georgetown is quite stingy as well.
  14. As far as general perception of Security Studies programs go, Korbel is a solid second-tier choice. Problem is you are paying elite money for it, and the location isn't great. TAMU Bush is 3rd or 4th tier. Some other security programs, figure out if any fit your goals and personal situation: Georgetown (Security Studies) GW Elliott (Security Policy Studies) Johns Hopkins SAIS (Strategic Studies) Pittsburgh GSPIA (Security + Intelligence Studies) Monterey (non proliferation program is excellent) Missouri State (don't laugh, they have a Department of Defense and Strategic Studies located in Fairfax, VA.) Maryland (Security + Intelligence Program) Syracuse Maxwell, Cal State San Bernadino, University of New Mexico (the 3 federally sponsored National Security Studies [NSS] programs) Word of caution, some of these programs are designed more as finishing schools for people already in the national security pipeline (i.e. military/DoD/IC person who just needs a masters degree to become eligible for a raise under the federal wage system), as opposed to people going to school to try to get a start in the community.
  15. For anyone looking for more information on how the security clearance process works, and how you can best prepare for it: this is a professionally written guide put out by ClearanceJobs (a large job search service for cleared professionals). It covers most anything you, as an applicant, need to know. On their website they have a wealth of additional information. Hope this helps.
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