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Hi all, I’ve been lucky enough to be accepted to my top two programs, the Master of Public Administration at Cornell and the MPA- Environmental Science and Policy at Columbia. I am kind of torn as to what to do, as both programs have strengths that seem equally important for me, so I was hoping I could get some advice from a forum I have religiously stalked this entire process ? With the funding I have received, what I have saved, and living expenses factored in, Cornell is about 13k cheaper, but I would be alright paying a little more for the program from Columbia if that was a better opportunity. So while finances are important, they’re not a huge factor at this point in my decision. I’m planning on entering the field of environmental policy/management (in the public or nonprofit sector), and because Columbia’s program actually includes some environmental science I thought this might be beneficial. However, Cornell’s program seems to be more well-rounded in all aspects you’d typically expect to find in an MPA/MPP program. Columbia’s program is also only a year long, which is great for the financial aspect of things but does condense the material into a much shorter span of time, and I worry will not be as in-depth. On the flip side of the coin, I think Columbia’s degree is (obviously) more geared toward the environmental side of things and could be a good opportunity to really specialize, and the degree seems very marketable as such. As far as location of the program, I am really not a huge NYC fan- I know, it might not have seemed like the smartest decision to apply to Columbia then, but the MPA-ESP program seemed absolutely worth it to me. The only other school with this option is Harris, and that seemed was way too expensive for me. I could be ok with NYC for a year, but honestly that’s it. I visited both campuses and found Cornell and the Ithaca area to be very comfortable and much more of my ideal grad school experience, however I don’t know how much weight this should hold on my decision. Finally, although I feel like this is very superficial detail, I’m a little worried about the benefits each degree would hold to employers. By all means Columbia is traditionally a more prestigious school, but at this level is it important? Would it hold weight between these two schools? I went to a big commuter school that was somewhere from 200-300 in the rankings, and although I think I made up for it with work experience, I don’t know if this would be worthwhile grounds to choose a more prestigious school, even amongst Ivies. I really don’t think it is, but again I’m not an expert and wanted a second opinion. I don’t have that long to make my final decision, so I would really appreciate any input you guys have on either of these schools or this decision. Thank you so much in advance!
The silence almost drives me nuts!!!!