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Hi folks: for people who got in to UCSD or UCD, would you mind sharing what sort of research experience, LORs, GPAs and GRE scores you had? I am going for a reapplication next cycle and want to strengthen my app. Thanks!
Dear Gradcafe community, As an international student, I can not afford to study at the US on my own funds. So I looked towards other means of funding and I have secured the Fulright award in a second tier policy program for 2018. HOWEVER, there is a big downside to Fulbright - grantees have (and I've made it bold to show that staying in the US is simply not an option legally) to return immediately to their home country right after the program ends. This means the US job market is off for me. Because of this (I really, really want to gain professional work experience in the US), I was considering applying to graduate policy programs that are known to give aid, for 2018, and then compare them as alternative options to my Fulbright. The most well known of these, of course, is Princeton's WWS and the fully funded program if offers, the MPA. Now, what I want to know is what kind of people WWS admits, and whether I have a shot at it or not, no matter how small. You see, if you look at the MPA statistics on the WWS "Graduate Admissions Viewbook", you see some pretty intimidating numbers. Like, really, off the chart numbers, on a whole different league compared to other programs. 65% of applicants have 4 or greater years of work experience. Only 15% have less than 3 years of work experience. 76% have GPA above 3.7, and the highest percentiles on the GRE are also pretty average for the WWS MPA applicant. Now, what would really help me out is if someone already enrolled in the WWS MPA program or a graduate of the program could tell me about the class profiles at WWS. Of course, I would also appreciate advice from the rest of the Gradcafe community. If the WWS seems like a bit too competitive for my profile, what would you guys recommend I do? Take the Fulbright and just do the second-tier program and then return to my home country, squashing my dream of working in the US (and keep in mind that there is not much use of my MPA degree in my home country)? Or forfeit the award this year and try my luck next year by improving my profile for WWS? Please keep in mind that I just can not afford self-financed programs and am certainly not going to take debt for any unless they are solid return-on-investment options (which are those by the way? HKS? SAIS? Or do none exist - its a gamble with all of them?) And of course, also keep in mind the H1B visa issue - is it true that even if one is a top profile candidate, a WWS MPA graduate or HKS MPP graduate with a job or two already secured, the H1B lottery and simply send him home despite all his achievements? In other words, is studying the US to look for work afterwards in the country just not possible anymore? Especially after a policy degree? Thanks, Fulbright award grantee who wants to spend some years working in the US PS One last thing, what programs other than WWS MPA are know to give substantial amounts of aid?
I've been researching/gathering data from this forum and elsewhere on what exactly makes for a successful writing sample, since most agree that if there is a single most important part of the application, it is the writing sample. I'd like to give my thoughts and see what others think, especially from people who have been through the process, and especially especially from those who have had success. They are in no particular order and are far from exhaustive. First observation, it seems to me many of the "successful samples" interact in some way with a unique, modern philosophical issue. Many of the less successful examples do not have this quality. That isn't to say that one can't write on Hume or Aristotle and be successful (quite the contrary), but it seems that those who do also relate their work to something with contemporary relevance. Secondly, successful samples are by and large decidedly analytic. Many unsuccessful samples are musing, setting up vague (but maybe still plausible) premises and meandering their way through different possibilities to a conclusion. None of it is exactly clearly the case. That is to say, its hard to make any pronouncements one way or another about the validity of the arguments within, since they are perhaps plausibly true but not clearly true. Sorry continental friends, but to be fair, I am not continental myself and am not looking at many samples from schools with continental specialties. Though I don't think this is simply related to the analytic-continental distinction; many papers, even from the "analytic tradition," suffer from vague ruminations about esoteric topics. Thirdly, and related to the last point, successful samples are by and large negative. That is to say, they argue against rather than for. I think this is simply due to how much easier it is to prove something is false than prove it is true. Lastly, and this is definitely subjective, but successful samples are interesting. And by interesting, I do not mean novel, unorthodox, or about popular topics. I mean they grip the reader by making them invested in the arguments success, which presupposes that the reader thinks the argument even can be successful (or that there is an argument at all, don't take this for granted). So I suppose my main take away is that common denominators of successful papers are that they clearly set out realistic goals, are hyper focused, and make arguments that can easily be shown to be objectively (not empirically, obviously) true or false given their validity. If true, it seems helpful, because it gives us good advice that, without the preceding background information, is not immediately obvious. For example, it seems one would be more likely to succeed with a paper (and don't read too much into these examples, I certainly haven't put enough thought into them to be worth it) critiquing reductionism with Kripke than a paper trying to synthesize Aristotle's and Leibniz's ideas about a First Cause. The main exception to this would be departmental fit/specialty, but I'm simply trying to be as general as possible. Thoughts?