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fenderpete posted a topic in Government AffairsThere seem to be a lot of threads asking the same thing popping up lately and I figured it might make sense to make an overall guide thread and then those who feel their answers still haven’t been adequately answered can post below for an idea of what their chances are. Here is a brief rundown of factors affecting your likelihood of getting into top-tier and well respected programs. If you fall below par in any one of these factors you can bump it up by being stellar in one of the others. I'll add to this if others point out other things I've left out. School requirements: Your first stop should be the school admissions website – this will tell you what prerequisites you need, give you an idea of GRE and GPA requirements and what work experience is expected (if any) GPA: From what I’ve seen/read over the years any GPA over 3.4 and you should be competitive. That’s not to say if your GPA is lower than 3.4 you’ll have no chance, but if you have a GPA above 3.4 you should be in good shape. GRE score: GRE scores seem to be most important for schools with demanding quantitative programs and for securing the top financial aid. Most schools will state the average GRE scores for their incoming classes on their website – use these to see how competitive you are. By and large you should be competitive if you score over 650 on verbal and quantitative and over 4.0 on the AWA. For the top schools over 700 seems to be closer to the mark. Work experience: For most programs it will be expected that you have at least 1-2 years of relevant experience in your field. This can be lowered a little if you have other pseudo-relevant work experience (management in the for-profit sector etc.) but you should have shown some level of professional interest in the area you hope to study at grad school. Applicants coming straight out of undergrad may find it very hard to get into the programs aimed more at junior/mid-career professionals such as Johns Hopkins SAIS and Princeton’s WWS. Language skills: For a lot of programs being able to speak a second language is a must, while for others it is just a very good selling point. If you can show experience working in a foreign language this will show adaptability and will endear schools looking to enrol a diverse group of applicants. Quantitative requirements: A lot of schools will want you to show experience in micro/macroeconomics and some maths/statistics courses. You can fullfil these through undergrad classes or by taking courses at a community college/diploma program. Overseas experience (work, study and teaching): Work overseas and study abroad are also viewed extremely favourably by admissions committees and if you have taught English abroad, worked in the Peace Corps or otherwise gained experience living in a developing country this will really strengthen your application. It also shows you to be a go-getter, and that you can bring this outside experience to grad school study. Statement of Purpose: This is where it all comes together. This is your chance to impress the admission committee and show how your personal 'arc' has brought you to this point - being the perfect addition to their grad school. This more than any other part of your application will determine how admit committees view you as an applicant and it's also one of the only application variables that's completely under your control. Having a cohesive narrative that brings together life experience, past academic history and professional experience is a must. It also gives you a great chance to showcase your writing style - so make sure no grammar/spelling mistakes make it into your final revision. Great list of SOP pitfalls If your profile matches at least 3 or 4 of the criteria listed above then you are competitive to apply to an MPA/MPP/IR program. What is most important about any grad school application is showing fit – that is how your profile matches the speciality of that school and its program. If you can’t articulate compelling reasons why you are a good match for them and vice versa, question whether you should be applying to that program. A note on applying to top schools: It is worth noting that nobody here can tell you what your chances of getting into a top program (Harvard, Princeton, Georgetown etc.) because getting into a top program requires a certain amount of luck as well as a great profile. Some people get offers from Harvard with a 2.9 GPA, but also happen to have singlehandedly retaken an allied command post in the Korengal valley. It’s down to who reads your application and what they happen to be looking for with the current application cycle. Spend time improving the elements of your application that you can (GRE, work experience, languages) and don’t waste time freaking out about the things you can’t change (GPA). If you’ve read all of the above and really still can’t tell if your application is competitive, post your profile below.
I went through the hugely popular 'Am I competitive'? Thread in Government Affairs and was wondering if it made sense to create an overall thread in this forum as well. I only noticed three very specific threads on here (linking the one I found to be slightly more general). Hopefully, I get answers and others who are asking themselves the same/similar questions get on here and find answers as well! Program: PhD in Sociology Schools Applying To: Columbia University, University of Chicago, Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania, National University of Singapore, University of California - Berkeley, London School of Economics, Sciences Po Long-listed Schools: Harvard University, University of California - Los Angeles, Yale University, Princeton University, University of Wisconsin - Madison, University of Amsterdam, New York University, Cornell University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of North Carolina, University of Texas -Austin, Brown University, Duke University, Boston University, John's Hopkins University, Northwestern University, University of California - Irvine, University of California - San Diego, University of Maryland Interests: Urban sociology - Qualitative Transportation, Identities, Spatiality, Heritage ; Comparative Sociology; Applied Sociology; International Development; South Asia; Public Policy Expectations from Programmes: Program: Interdisciplinary, Allowing students to choose courses across departments, emphasis/known for applied approach Resources: Ongoing projects with vibrant research space, Access to funding, Encouraging collaborations, Good enough brand to ensure employment on completion of programme, preferably located in an urban area to aid fieldwork. Graduate Institution: Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India Graduate Major/Degree: MA in Development Studies (Integrated Course, no undergraduate degree granted separately) Graduate GPA: 7.99/10 Undergraduate Minor: Operations Research GRE: V 168/ Q 156 / AW 4.5 TOEFL: 113 (iBT) Age: 25 Languages: English & Tamil - Fluent ; German - A2 completed, B1 in progress ; Hindi - Working Knowledge Work Experience: (2 years research experience currently, 3 years professional experience by Fall 2019) > 1.4 years at Indian Center of International policy think-tank : Spearheaded research project on on-going urban policy scheme in India > Currently freelancing as urban research consultant for local organization apart from volunteering with organizations dealing in gender and mental health advocacy > Multiple research internships as student > Policy report & newspaper OpEds published > Presented in multiple International conferences since undergraduate days SoP: Not begun yet, but will focus on specific research I hope to do (along lines of a proposal) LORs: 1 from Masters supervisor (senior Indian Urbanist and extremely well known internationally for seminal work on Urban informality) ; 1 from Professor during Masters degree (rising Anthropologist in India, knows me well personally) Can obtain 1 from previous boss (Head of Research at International policy think-tank, Member of PM's Economic Advisory Council in India) - however, would be one year since I quit the job. Concerns: 1. Low Graduate GPA 2. No academic/journal publications yet 3. Applied to Northwestern, NYU, U.Penn & U.Minnesota for Sociology PhD for Fall 2018 and got rejected by 3. U.Minn placed me on the Waitlist, but did not convert to an admit Would really love feedback if I am competitive for the range of schools I plan to apply to. I am posting early only to gain an understanding of what I can fix for the next round of applications.
Hello, I have been awarded the Fulbright Student Award (up to $35k for first year of Master's in the US) and at the end of the week I have to send the list of universities I prefer applying to. My problem is that I don't know how competitive I am and thus how high I should aim in selecting universities. Qualifications I have obtained a BS in Computer Science from one of (if not the) best universities in my country (Romania): University of Bucharest. I have about 1.5 of work experience as a Data Scientist (at Adobe Romania, then at Bitdefender). Unfortunately I have no pure research experience, let alone publications. My stats: GPA: 3.85 (converted from 9.6/10) undergrad GRE*: ~160Q, 167+V, 5.0A (estimated from latest practice tests) TOEFL: ~110 (estimated from latest practice tests) Personal Statement Study Objectives CV / Resume Letters of Recommendation: I can provide them if someone is really interested in reading them *I haven't taken the GRE yet because at the end, I should provide the list of schools I want to my scores sent to and that is precisely why I am here — I haven't settled on the schools yet. School Selection I want to pursue a research-oriented Master's of Science program in Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning / Data Science. I do not have a requirement for a sub-field (NLP / CV / DM / IR). Interdisciplinary opportunities (HCI / Data Visualization / Social Computing) would be a great bonus. University preferences, in this order: CMU UW Stanford Cornell Georgia Tech These preferences are based almost exclusively on the high university rankings (taken mostly from here) and the presence of strong ML faculty. I do not want to fool myself into thinking I can get into even one of these top schools. I would be very grateful if I could get some advice / evaluation on where I stand, what my chances are and what is the approximate range of schools I am competitive for — what I should realistically aim for. Also any advice on what I am lacking / I can improve is greatly appreciated. Notes: because my application process will be partly handled by the Institute of International Education, I cannot customize my essays for each university. Also I am limited to five schools to send my application to. The scholarship is offered for pursuing a Master's Degree only. Thank you!
Dear all, My specialism is political thought and intellectual history. At top US institutions like Princeton and Harvard, would I have a greater chance of admission if I apply for PhD programs in history, or in political science? Which field is less competitive in top research universities? Thanks, Dem