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ajl

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About ajl

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    Seattle
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    MA/MS/MPA (IR)

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  1. Seriously, I feel that. But you managed to get into some killer programs, the best of the best, so take advantage. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness option (which, as far as I know, will apply to ANY gov't or NGO position) will really make life pretty livable. And it might get much better: http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/student-loan-ranger/2012/03/21/learn-what-the-student-loan-forgiveness-act-could-mean-for-you The numbers are giving me an ulcer, too, but enough people in my life (some who had taken out 200k for law school or over 100k just for undergrad) assure me that it's doable. You're just not filthy, stinking rich until after your hair has begun prematurely graying. Let's not worry ourselves out of what could be one of the best opportunities we'll ever get. Probably.
  2. My thoughts exactly. Quality of the program is not really in question. We do need to figure out if living in DC is actually going to be worth the premium. Current students have been offering some useful insights, but the most practical thing in the next few weeks would probably be to get in touch with alums who are at least a few years out. At least, that's my plan. Let us know if you guys get some good info!
  3. Same here. It really makes the choice tougher, doesn't it? Plenty of people have shared their opinions on large (enormous) debt burdens, but something keeps telling me that being part of such a tiny class from such a great school might make it all worth it...
  4. I'm very torn between three programs I really like, so if anyone has thoughts that I wouldn't see in the marketing blurbs, please chime in. Everyone seems to have opinions on the relative "cachet" of each name, the closeness of each community, the opportunities of the metro areas, etc. I'll be concentrating on international trade policy, seeking employment in gov't or business. Regions of interest :Latin America, East/Southeast Asia. I've been admitted for the MALD, ElSIA MA, and MSFS--just booked a ticket to visit each open house and get a feel, for whatever that's worth. Here are my personal considerations: Georgetown: unbeatable brand name, amazing network in government, tiny classes! And, apparently, SFS-SSP paintball battles. HUGE debt, like six figures. GW: gave me some money, cheaper tuition anyway, larger network, mid-semester internships. larger classes, less valuable brand name (...?) Tufts: gave me more money, cross-register w/HKS and MIT (can take advantage of their networks?? or is this just for bragging rights?), close-knit. thesis, not DC/NY (does this really matter during the semester?) Thanks for any help!
  5. Same. You mentioned elsewhere that you're interested in chasing the FSO dream, which I'm sure many of us are. I'd also love to hear if anyone has information on the best school to prepare for that. Sure, Georgetown produces the greatest number, but is that because it's a self-selecting pool of people planning on that career, or do they have some secret sauce that no one else is privy to? Either way, we've got to consider backups; even for people with our interests, credentials, etc., it seems like a real long shot...
  6. Making financial spreadsheets can be good therapy, and yours does make it a little easier to be pragmatic about what can be a pretty emotional decision. I did the same thing, but with a different approach--assumed the worst, that I'll be doing unpaid internships, going to the most expensive school, and taking $120,000 in loans. Here is my breakdown of repayment options, either a standard 10-year amortized, a couple of income-based repayment options, and just getting it paid ASAP. Feel free to paste the formulas into your own, hopefully using much smaller numbers!
  7. ITIP does look pretty good as a program. The large class size outside of that was certainly a con. As far as student life and "best fit," I could certainly have a great time at any of these, and learn everything I need to launch a career. Re GW, I'm more concerned about job placement outside of DC--just in case. It's hard to find actual employment outcome statistics (though GW's document is the best I've seen). The prospect of going to school and borrowing more money than I'll ever make in a year, only to find myself jobless after graduation in one of America's most expensive cities... it's terrifying.
  8. There's one thing that I've found disturbing but none of the schools' marketing language has addressed. I'm dying to know what the story is with all of these "unemployed or not seeking employment" grads you see in the employment outcome statistics. It's a distinct category from "pursuing further education." Are these people not seeking employment because they're all waiting on security clearances? How many of them are just unable to get a decent job after one of these elite degrees?
  9. Has anyone gotten aid from Georgetown at all? I'm not surprised that I didn't, but it seems like someone on here would have... Fletcher w/$15k/year vs. Georgetown w/$0--decision seems obvious, but in a way it's hard to be an adult about this.
  10. For those of us with this specific set of options, this would be a great place to lay out the pros and cons of these three institutions. Everyone seems to have opinions on the relative "cachet" of each name, the closeness of each community, the opportunities of the metro areas, etc., but it's safe to say they're all great schools, and I'd feel lucky to study at any of them. I'll be concentrating on international trade policy, seeking employment in gov't or business. Regions of interest : Latin America, East/Southeast Asia. I've been admitted for the MALD, ElSIA MA, and MSFS--just booked a ticket to visit each open house and get a feel, for whatever that's worth. Here are my personal considerations: Georgetown: unbeatable brand name, amazing network in government, tiny classes! And, apparently, SFS-SSP paintball battles. HUGE debt, like six figures. GW: gave me some money, cheaper tuition anyway, larger network, mid-semester internships. larger classes, less valuable brand name (...?) Tufts: gave me more money, cross-register w/HKS and MIT (can take advantage of their networks?? or is this just for bragging rights?), close-knit. thesis, not DC/NY (does this really matter during the semester?) I know that in our collective freak-out we've all been weighing the possibilities for months. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts, especially anyone who has good reason to opine. Many of us seem to be repeating what we've been told by the brochures (which, granted, could be entirely valid), so it would be GREAT to get a different perspective. Thanks y'all. And again, CONGRATU-effing-LATIONS to everyone who got into their choice(s), and good luck to the rest!
  11. IN. This is nuts. I'm having a "Rudy" moment to myself. I'm assuming we'll all unwittingly meet each other at the various open houses? We can discuss our Grad Cafe obsession over tea with Dr. Albright?
  12. Fletcher apparently has quite a presence in State, at least: http://english.donga.com/srv/service.php3?biid=2009093067978 The Dong-A Ilbo isn't exactly the NYTimes (even in SK), but it's food for thought. So far I've only heard about "mafias" at Georgetown and Fletcher. If the tighter alumni base is not just brochure material, then it's really worth mulling over. As a federal pro in DC, I'm interested in your take on just how important location is. I mean, are people at the best schools really running around with internships during the semester, or is it more normal to focus on great summer gigs?
  13. IN with $15k! Looks like at least some spots will be opening up. Good luck!
  14. Holy crap! In at Fletcher with $15k/year! Waitlisted at SAIS--possibly because I refused Italy/China, more likely because I wasn't a great fit. Still, happy for that much validation! Tough choices loom.
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