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  1. Waiting on decisions and figured I'd use the time to gather more info. Can you help me evaluate the pros & cons of each program as they pertain to my interests? Applied: USC-Price MPA, UT Austin-LBJ MPAff (both DC and Austin programs), NYU-Wagner MPA, UW-Evans MPA, Brandeis-Heller MPP/Social Impact MBA dual degree, Georgetown-McCourt MPP I'm looking for programs with a strong foundation in: nonprofit management, public management, policy & data analysis, program evaluation, policy writing, fundraising, philanthropy. Strong connections to philanthropy and state/local govt in my cities of interest (see below) Experiential learning opportunities: fellowships/internships/research in philanthropy, nonprofit capacity-building, Professors who have social justice & anti-racist values, critiques of structural inequality & imperialism, etc Professional goals: philanthropy, nonprofit capacity-building, state/local government-level grantmaking, policy advocacy, or international development Supplementary interests: community-based participatory research, participatory policymaking, participatory grantmaking and budgeting, philanthropic/nonprofit policy, urban planning, land use, health equity, tax policy, China affairs Cities I'm interested in working in: LA, San Francisco, New York, DC, Chicago, Atlanta, Austin, Seattle (currently residing) About me: 3 years out of undergrad (3.0 GPA in political science at top public university) GRE: 152Q / 157 V / 4.5 AW Work experience --- temped 1 year in diversity recruiting at top STEM company; 2-3 years contracting in public administration at local City government involved in local community foundation, local politics, and grassroots community organizing Thanks for any insights you can provide!
  2. For all those waiting it out
  3. Just starting a thread for HKS waitlist this year! I saw the MPP thread but opening this for other programs.
  4. Hello to the Grad Cafe community! I have been reading through lots of posts here over the past few weeks and decided to write one of my own to get some advice on a slight dilemma I am facing. To provide some background, I have been out of undergrad for about two years serving at a Federal financial regulatory agency. I am committed to the work I do and am hoping to gain some additional experience needed to move into the policymaking aspect of the area I am in, so I applied to several master's programs in public policy for the upcoming semester. After receiving all my decisions, it turns out that my choice of where to pursue my degree may be a bit more challenging than I had anticipated. I do apologize for asking a question on which similar posts have been made in the past, but I was hoping to get some more current feedback from the community for my specific circumstances. In summary, I was lucky enough to be accepted two weeks ago with full-tuition funding to the MPA program at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA), which had been my top choice from the start. Another offer I had in the running was the MAIR program at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) for approximately half-tuition funding, but I felt the cost difference was great enough to make SPIA the clear winner. Last week, however, I was utterly shocked to be accepted with full-tuition funding to the MPP program at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS). Though I had been set on SPIA at that point, I felt I could not simply ignore this new offer. So, that puts me in the fortunate position to be deciding between SPIA and HKS. After weighing the pros and cons of each program, I believe I have boiled down the differences between the two options to the following: Cost - SPIA is offering me full tuition (as they do all students), plus a generous $30k/year living stipend, while Harvard has offered me "only" full tuition with no stipend, which leaves me to cover living costs. While I have been saving aggressively and would likely be able to cover these expenses without taking on debt, a $60k difference over two years remains substantial. Moreover, the cost of living in Princeton is certainly lower than in Cambridge, and SPIA offers additional benefits like guaranteed graduate housing, funding for unpaid internships, and reimbursement for travel to career events, so the total difference would likely be greater. Size - SPIA is a much smaller program than HKS (~70 students for the MPA vs. ~200 for the MPP). On the one hand, this makes SPIA a more intimate learning environment where I will get to know my cohort very well and have many opportunities for interaction with professors and speakers. On the other hand, it means that there are possibly fewer opportunities and choices than at HKS, where there are likely more classes to choose from, more clubs, and more events. The SPIA alumni network is also substantially smaller when considering future networking opportunities, but I did speak to a recent SPIA alumni who said the network is very strong and was able to land him his post-graduation job. Focus - SPIA is a small, focused program geared heavily toward public service and policy. HKS, though also committed to service and the "public good," appears to be broader in scope and caters to a wider range of interests. For example, when looking at recent job placements, HKS graduates ended up in a broader variety of jobs, including many in the private sector. Neither of these are necessarily good or bad, and in fact students in both programs appear to place very well after graduation, but it is something to bear in mind. I am fairly certain I want to end up in a policy-related public sector role after graduation, or I would not have applied to SPIA, but I am also aware of the oft-repeated cliché of going into grad school with one goal and leaving with another. HKS would simply provide me more degrees of freedom if that ends up being the case for me. So, that leaves me to decide whether the size and focus considerations discussed above weigh in HKS's favor or not. If not, then SPIA is the winner. But if they do, then the next question is whether they weigh in its favor by at least $60k+. If not, then SPIA again. Another consideration is that while SPIA is arguably one of the top public affairs schools in the world, I am aware that the Harvard "brand" can be a powerful asset (not to say HKS is not also a top school!). But, I do not believe that brand should be worth $60k by itself, especially in the public policy space, where I would assume that most employers would be equally familiar with SPIA, and where SPIA alumni are abundant. I feel extremely grateful to be presented with such amazing opportunities, and I realize how lucky I am to be facing this "problem." Regardless, I hope some of you may be able to offer some words of wisdom that may help me as I make this decision. Thank you, and good luck to you all in your own graduate school endeavors!
  5. Hi all, As some of you may know the UPenn Fels program received a complete makeover during the past two years and began admitting new students for fall 2020 after a hiatus last year. I am really looking for those with knowledge to provide insight on how the program has changed and information on how the program is looked upon in the MPA/MPP community. There seems to be very little information about the new program and previous quality insights are from old posts in 2012/2013. Thanks in ahead.
  6. I got conditionally accepted (need to complete a calculus course from any institution) to Columbia SIPA for MPA without any financial aid so far. I got the decision on March 16th and in it they said more information about cost and financial aid would be given in a few weeks. Still waiting! I want to pursue a Policy PhD after this. I am a 36 old Canadian (originally from Bangladesh but now a Canadian citizen), married (my wife is working too), have a 6 year old son, and have a house mortgage to pay. I have an MBA from Canada, do not have any previous student loans and have been working in the non-profit and academic research sectors for the past 7+ years. Is taking on student loan to pursue my dreams worth it at this stage? I am passionate about public policy and really want to join the academia. Thoughts? By the way, I got waitlisted for Georgetown MPP and rejected by Harvard for MPA2. Still waiting for a decision from Cornell CIPA for MPA.
  7. Hello, Has anyone applied to HKS many times and got dinged? What should I do? I was admitted to MPA/MPP at other Ivies and other programs at Harvard (GSD and GSE). Since HKS is my dream school, I decided not to attend any program. Any advice would be appreciated!
  8. Hello! I was recently accepted to both American and GWU and am having a hard time choosing between the two schools. I am starting my MPA this fall with the hopes of pursuing a career in the nonprofit sector. Does anyone have any advice on the two schools/programs? I know that GWU is ranked a bit more highly than AU, but in terms of the MPA programs, the two schools seem pretty even. I also know that GWU is right in the heart of DC whereas AU is more in the suburbs, but that isn't a huge factor to me. If anyone has any input or advice, it would be greatly appreciated!
  9. Hi all, I recently got accepted to a few programs and wanted to hear any thoughts folks might have. I got accepted to NYU's 1-year MSPP, Carnegie Mellon's 2-year MSPPM-Data Analytics track, and Indiana University's 2-year MPA program. Currently, NYU is most expensive (only got 15% funding), CM is less expensive (got 50% funding), and Indiana is the cheapest (I got 40% funding but the program is very cheap). I'd like a career in public policy analysis and want to invest in data analytics skills that I've been working on in my professional experiences since graduating college. My thought is that Carnegie Mellon makes the most sense, not being too expensive but still being very rigorous. But, the NYU program only comes out to $25k more than the Carnegie Mellon program, and the NYU program is a year shorter, so I would theoretically have an extra year to work, and if I get a job that pays above $25k/yr (with a master's, I hope I would!!), then NYU would make more sense financially. This all feels weird and maybe I should just go to the cheapest program and not have to worry about finding the best possible job afterwords. IU seems a little less rigorous re: policy/data analysis. The NYU program is by far my favorite, but it feels risky going to the most expensive program on the off chance I can't find good employment afterwords. Anyone else have thoughts about balancing cost with the career outcomes of your program? Or the fact that one program might be shorter?
  10. Hi all, I just received an email from Penn's College of Liberal and Professional Studies about an hour ago that says the following: "Subject: Penn LPS – Transcript Policy Reminder Dear [my name], Congratulations again on your acceptance to the Fels Institute, Master of Public Administration, MPA Full-time Program. Our records indicate that we have not yet received all of your official transcripts. Per our transcript policy, you must submit final official transcripts of all previous academic work. For students who have been accepted to an LPS Post-Baccalaureate or Graduate program, official transcripts must include degree conferral. Please check your transcript status by logging into your Admissions Portal and reviewing the checklist. Further information regarding what constitutes an official transcript can be found HERE. If the option is available, please request your final official transcripts be sent electronically to lps-admissions@sas.upenn.edu. Electronic submission of transcripts improves tracking and reduces processing time. Please feel free to contact our office should you have any questions or if you feel you have received this message in error: lps-admissions@sas.upenn.edu or 215-746-6906. We will be happy to assist you. Best regards, College of Liberal and Professional Studies University of Pennsylvania www.sas.upenn.edu/lps" I am curious if anyone else received this email today and if they also believe it may be a mistake? My Admissions Portal still says that my app is "under review" and I was never originally notified of an admission decision at all prior to receiving this email (hence why I am skeptical about the "Congratulations *again*" part). I have emailed admissions about this as the instructions said to do in the email, but it looks like they will not be open until next week. Any thoughts or ideas in the meantime?? Thanks in advance!
  11. Anyone heard back yet?
  12. Has anyone heard anything from NYU Wagner? MPA fall 2021 applicant here. I assume they’re going to stick to their March 1st deadline.
  13. If I got a job offer ($55K+) in my field of interest (philanthropy) before hearing back from any/all the programs I applied to, do you think I should take the job offer instead and decline/defer grad school to apply again in future, decline the job offer and go to grad school, or try to do the grad program part-time while working? I am in the interview process for 3 organizations that I'm decently excited about. And mindful that the avg salary upon graduating from many of the programs I applied for is $50-70K anyways.. Getting paid for FT work experience -- VS. ---- Paying for classes, exposure to professors & new network, capstone & short-term experience for my resume Applied (haven't heard back from any yet): USC-Price MPA, UT Austin-LBJ MPAff (both DC and Austin programs), NYU-Wagner MPA, UW-Evans MPA, Brandeis-Heller MPP/Social Impact MBA dual degree, Georgetown-McCourt MPP I sought out programs with a strong foundation in: nonprofit management, public management, policy & data analysis, program evaluation, policy writing, fundraising, philanthropy. Strong connections to philanthropy and state/local govt in my cities of interest (see below) Experiential learning opportunities: fellowships/internships/research in philanthropy, nonprofit capacity-building, Professors who have social justice & anti-racist values, critiques of structural inequality & imperialism, etc Professional goals: philanthropy, nonprofit capacity-building, state/local government-level grantmaking, policy advocacy, or international development Supplementary interests: community-based participatory research, participatory policymaking, participatory grantmaking and budgeting, philanthropic/nonprofit policy, urban planning, land use, health equity, tax policy, China affairs Cities I'm interested in working in: LA, San Francisco, New York, DC, Chicago, Atlanta, Austin, Seattle (currently residing) About me: 3 years out of undergrad (3.0 GPA in political science at top public university) GRE: 152Q / 157 V / 4.5 AW Work experience --- temped 1 year in diversity recruiting at top STEM company; 2-3 years contracting in public administration at local City government. Technically only 1 year of full-time work experience. involved in local community foundation, local politics, and grassroots community organizing Thanks for any insights you can provide!
  14. Program Applied To (MPA, MPP, IR, etc.): MPP, MPA, MSES Schools Applied To: GW, IU Bloomington, Duke, UMich, Georgetown Schools Admitted To: n/a Schools Rejected From: n/a Still Waiting: all Undergraduate Institution: Liberal Arts College Undergraduate GPA: 3.73 Undergraduate Major: Biology and Environmental Studies Double GRE Quantitative/Verbal/AW Scores: Years Out of Undergrad (if applicable): 2 Years of Work Experience: 2.5 Describe Relevant Work Experience: 1 yr AmeriCorp, 1 yr Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality Strength of SOP (be honest, describe the process, etc): really not sure. Strength of LOR's (be honest, describe the process, etc): 2.5 years of undergrad research and a thesis that will be published. Other: This is the thread style I've seen on other posts. Feel free to copy/edit.
  15. If I got a job offer ($55K+) in my field of interest (philanthropy) before hearing back from any/all the programs I applied to, do you think I should take the job offer instead and decline/defer grad school to apply again in future, decline the job offer and go to grad school, or try to do the grad program part-time while working? I am in the interview process for 3 organizations that I'm decently excited about. And mindful that the avg salary upon graduating from many of the programs I applied for is $50-70K anyways.. Paying for classes, exposure to professors & new network, capstone & short-term ... VS... Getting paid for FT work experience Applied (haven't heard back from any yet): USC-Price MPA, UT Austin-LBJ MPAff (both DC and Austin programs), NYU-Wagner MPA, UW-Evans MPA, Brandeis-Heller MPP/Social Impact MBA dual degree, Georgetown-McCourt MPP I sought out programs with a strong foundation in: nonprofit management, public management, policy & data analysis, program evaluation, policy writing, fundraising, philanthropy. Strong connections to philanthropy and state/local govt in my cities of interest (see below) Experiential learning opportunities: fellowships/internships/research in philanthropy, nonprofit capacity-building, Professors who have social justice & anti-racist values, critiques of structural inequality & imperialism, etc Professional goals: philanthropy, nonprofit capacity-building, state/local government-level grantmaking, policy advocacy, or international development Supplementary interests: community-based participatory research, participatory policymaking, participatory grantmaking and budgeting, philanthropic/nonprofit policy, urban planning, land use, health equity, tax policy, China affairs Cities I'm interested in working in: LA, San Francisco, New York, DC, Chicago, Atlanta, Austin, Seattle (currently residing) About me: 3 years out of undergrad (3.0 GPA in political science at top public university) GRE: 152Q / 157 V / 4.5 AW Work experience --- temped 1 year in diversity recruiting at top STEM company; 2-3 years contracting in public administration at local City government. Technically only 1 year of full-time work experience. involved in local community foundation, local politics, and grassroots community organizing Thanks for any insights you can provide!
  16. Hi, So, I am seriously considering applying for an MPA in the fall of 2022, but I want to know how realistic my aspirations are. As some background on me, I graduated with dual Honor's degrees in Political Science and Anthropology in 2019 as Summa Cum Laude (top 1% of class) from my state school. I also was awarded the undergraduate research scholar for my thesis and working in my Honor college's think tank. I also was awarded many merit scholarships. Before graduating, I was in an array of very competitive law mentorship programs, but I had a change of heart in my senior year and went to the nonprofit world. I have only taken a cold practice GRE, but I got a 159 verbal and 155 quant (I plan to raise these both to the 160s). I now work for a nonprofit that serves about 7,000 at-risk kids annually and has a $5m budget. I have increased the fundraising section I am in by over 65%, and my funds account for about 70% of the annual budget now. I also did some specialized campaigns during COVID to fundraise for lost revenue, so no one was laid off or furloughed. Anyhow, it looks like I may be getting a small promotion and begin engaging in all of our government relations within the next six months. I am also going to coauthor a manuscript for publication with a professor I know. I want to go to HKS because of its fantastic array of courses and incredible research centers. My state is sort of isolated and would benefit so profoundly from these ideas. I want to restructure advocacy work in my state to empower members of my community and create lasting change. All that being said, I genuinely cannot figure out how competitive the acceptance rate is for the MPA at HKS and other schools. I worry my lack of a prestigious alma matter, other advanced degrees, and only four years of work experience will work against me. I would appreciate your thoughts so much.
  17. Hey everyone, Who else has applied/is applying to public policy programs in Canada for this fall? So far, I've applied to just the MPPA program at Carleton since I'm based in Ottawa. If I don't get in, I can always work for a year and then apply again. I also have the public policy programs at Dalhousie and maybe UOttawa as backup options. I considered applying to Queen's though I've decided against it for now. That's where I went for my undergrad and I'd like to go somewhere new.
  18. Hi guys, I am hoping that I can use the wisdom in this forum to bust myths about some programs and decide which schools to apply to. I would love to hear your, especially alum’s, thoughts on the programs mentioned, whether I have incorrect assumptions about them, what I failed to consider, and, if possible, program recommendations (not limited to the those mentioned here.) Also, I'll be almost 30 year-old when submitting applications. Will being older negatively impact my chances of getting in? I’ve been working as a diplomat for a small Asian country for the past five years and am hoping to apply for graduate programs such as MPP, MPA, MIA, etc. next year. I’m almost sure that I’ll return to foreign service after graduation. I am looking for a reputable program offering solid education, specifically in development studies, and a strong alumni network. (Not sure if it matters, but a bit info on my academic background: a BSc degree on quantitative economics with a GPA around 3.7 from a top state school in the US. Got a 750 on the GMAT.) The following are some points I come up with a few programs that I’m interested in (regardless of the chance of getting in): American schools like HKS and Columbia SIPA: Pro- reputation is strong worldwide. As I’ll be coming back to Asia for sure, it might help. Pro- wide range of courses. For example, I took a look at SIPA’s audit list and instantly saw many courses that fit my interests and career goal. Pro (not so sure)- strong alumni network (?) Con- expensive. Have to spend near 20k for two years; my employer will not sponsor my studies, so it is almost a deal-breaker for me. Also, I’m not sure how generous these programs are in terms of grants and how competitive my profile is in grant applications... European schools like Science po PSIA and IHEID: Pro- chance to polish my French. It’s my goal to be verse in a second foreign language since it will help with career advancement. Pro- will probably leave the campus with much less debt. Not so sure- alumni networks seem to focus on Europe. Not so sure- They are certainly very competitive and reputable programs, reputation is limited outside of Europe. Many thanks to those who read my long post and take time to reply.
  19. I was wondering if it would be feasible to and would worth doing a MIA (Master of International Affairs) after a PhD in Contemporary History. A year ago I asked advice about a second PhD in Pol Sci (Chinese FP). Since then I have made some progress studying the language (now studying B1-HSK3 level) and I plan to take two Algebra and Stats online courses at an Extension school. As a second PhD is still part of my plan, given the difficulty of being admitted at a top program and being employed by a Uni after several years of studying I would like to have some advice on doing a MIA, at Columbia or UCSD for example, specializing in Chinese foreign policy. What would the employment prospects be, mostly regarding IOs in the US or Europe? Would it be realistic to look for a second PhD at a top program (top 20) after that, if I still want to? Last question; I did some research and 3-5 years of professional experience are required in order to be admitted. I have a year-long internship at my national Ministry of Foreign Affairs and my 7 years of master's and doctoral research in several countries, funded by more than two prestigious institutions. My research has led to presentations at international conferences and publications (one of which as a chapter in a collective volume by a prestigious publisher). Would this be enough? Thank you in advance.
  20. Hi everyone! I'm currently working on my application to be admitted to an MPA program, more specifically the program at the University of Central Florida. I'd really appreciate any feedback on my SoP! I can PM the link to it Many thanks!!
  21. I’m applying to grad school in the near future and have been contemplating either getting a MPP, MPA, or an IR degree. I’m leaning towards an MPP but want to make sure my choice moves my career towards a foreign policy role at a think tank. From my research, it seems like IR delves into the theoretical side of foreign policy, MPP into the practical side of policy formulation and MPA into the practical side policy implementation and review. Is this a fair assessment? Thanks!!
  22. Hi everyone! I graduated from UCF Dec 2017 with a bachelors in legal studies and minor in criminal justice. I had hopes of becoming a lawyer but after working at a law firm and interning for a judge, I realized it just wasn't for me. I then decided to switch directions and started working towards getting a doctorate in physical therapy (I was originally a biomed major when I started college and wanted to go to med school but was also super interested in law). After much thought and having tried my hand at having hands on medical experience working as a tech in a trauma unit at a hospital, I realized the medical field wasn't really for me and I still longed for a path similar to my undergrad degree. I did some research and became really interested in a master in public administration (MPA). I want to further my education with UCF since I had a great undergrad experience and the MPA is offered online which is great because I really don't want to move back to Orlando. UCF also offers a dual MPA and master in criminal justice. I want to apply to that program but I'm worried because I don't have much relevant work experience. Since 2018 I've worked for a medically-integrated fitness facility (fancy way of saying gym that is owned/operated by a hospital) because I tried to get into the medical field it was a great foot in the door. Now that I want to get an MPA/MSCJ I'm worried I won't be seen as a great candidate since I am lacking recent relevant work experience. I had a 4.0 in my major and worked at a law firm throughout my last year in school. After graduating I interned for a criminal court judge for a few months before moving back to my hometown and I helped the judge conduct research on a capital punishment case. I now work at a gym that is owned by a well-known not-for-profit hospital. I started as a front desk employee before moving up to exercise specialist/personal trainer. I do volunteer (at least I did before COVID) for various organizations including Habitat for Humanity, Children First, and others. I really don't want to leave the job I'm at because it pays GREAT and has amazing benefits but I do worry that admissions committee won't see it as a positive. Basically, I'm worried about my lack of recent relevant work experience affecting my chance at being accepted. Anyone have any insight into getting admitted without too much (relevant) work experience? TL;DR Graduated in 2017 with plans of being a lawyer, changed my mind and worked towards becoming a physical therapist. Started working at a gym that's owned by a hospital so it's not a typical gym get my foot into healthcare, changed my mind again and want to get my MPA/MSCJ but worry that my lack of relevant lack experience will hurt my application.
  23. Hello Everyone, I'm a 20 year undergrad kid who is pursuing bachelor's in political science(last year) and after doing so i am wishing to apply for MPA program in either of NYU WAGNER/SIPA/PACE UNIVERSITY/CUNY. For backup I've kept CSU, UCLA, GWU etc etc... Although as I've no background in maths I'm not thinking to give GRE and as mostly all these Uni's don't require it for this program am really confused about what exactly would the admission office be looking at i.e what would be the basis of assessment an international student like myself and how do i make sure to land myself in an institution? P.s if y'll wondering why i haven't kept any other prestigious Universities in the list, well NYC has been my dream and therefore i prefer it over other Uni's based in different cities duh..
  24. Hi All, Posting here to see if anyone else can relate to my conundrum..basically, choosing between either Columbia SIPA or Baruch MPA. I am a mid-level federal employee who is obtaining a higher education degree to transition into a managerial position. I have heard great things about both Columbia and Baruch, but the obvious comes down to cost. My employer is NOT paying for schooling and I did not receive any scholarships. If I attend Baruch, I'd pay in full without loans, if I go to Columbia, I'd take out loans. Has anyone been in a similar situation where the prestigious school helped you get a leg up in your career further down the line? I attended a public school for my undergrad due to costs and always hoped to attend a "better brand" school for grad. However, looking at the tuition costs is really making me unsure. I hear that the "better brand" is the obvious choice for those who have yet to start their careers, but I am not in that position. At the same time, I am worried that I'd be in the running for a more public position way down the line and the education would be a large factor. In terms of location, Baruch is more convenient and I have a long commute, so I feel that is very relevant. I would also like to be involved in school activities and networking, so I feel Columbia would offer that -- but that is more for self fulfillment than anything else. Would you say the debt is worth it for Columbia in my position? Though I know Baruch is well-known locally, how is Baruch's credibility otherwise? Thank you.
  25. Hey y'all, I am ecstatic after receiving acceptances from both of these schools. After evacuating from the Peace Corps, I worried that I would miss the application deadlines and be stuck in limbo but both schools really worked with me to submit a completed application before the deadline. Nonetheless, now I face a tough decision. Ideally, following graduate school, I aspire for a career in international conflict mediation specifically in the Middle East or Southeast Asia. As of right now, it would be only slightly more to attend Seton Hall and the proximity to NYC bolsters the overall attractiveness of attending Seton Hall. That being said, it seems that Maxwell is overall more connected throughout DC and in the international affairs world, so I am at an impasse. Any feedback on these schools would be greatly appreciated!
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