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Decisions: American SPA, Evans, Maxwell, or LBJ


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Hi all: help needed. I've been accepted to a few schools and, unfortunately, have not received any merit aid worth mentioning. Considering that I would like to work in International Development, does anyone have any advice for pros and cons of each school? I'm leaning towards Maxwell, but am honestly very conflicted. 

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I don't know too much about Maxwell or Evans, but the upside of American is that being in DC truly is a huge advantage. So many international development orgs are housed there that I am sure you can make it worth your $$$ by getting a relevant internship part-time or over the summer, or at least going out there and meeting a ton of people working in your field.

LBJ is a good choice financially (I believe it is cheaper than the others you are mentioning) and while the international dev sphere there might not be huge, it is definitely there, and the faculty seem dedicated and are really generous to students with their time. All the folks I know who went/go to LBJ are focused on international development.

From what I remember, Evans is more focused on domestic policy. Since Seattle is expensive and I imagine that Evans is as well without merit aid, I would lean towards crossing that off your list.

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22 hours ago, gelatinskeleton said:

I don't know too much about Maxwell or Evans, but the upside of American is that being in DC truly is a huge advantage. So many international development orgs are housed there that I am sure you can make it worth your $$$ by getting a relevant internship part-time or over the summer, or at least going out there and meeting a ton of people working in your field.

LBJ is a good choice financially (I believe it is cheaper than the others you are mentioning) and while the international dev sphere there might not be huge, it is definitely there, and the faculty seem dedicated and are really generous to students with their time. All the folks I know who went/go to LBJ are focused on international development.

From what I remember, Evans is more focused on domestic policy. Since Seattle is expensive and I imagine that Evans is as well without merit aid, I would lean towards crossing that off your list.

I really appreciate the input - I was actually waffling on LBJ due to the lack of emphasis on the international sphere, so this is super useful feedback. It is definitely much cheaper, so unless some last minute aid comes through it's a top option. 

As far as Evans, I do think they're working to really increase their international scope but for a state school in particular, it is insanely expensive and my impression is that the state has been cutting funding and making it even more difficult for them to offer as much financial assistance as they would like.

Random question: does anyone here have any experience with online MPA options? I generally would stay away from those, but financially it actually seems to make a lot of sense if the degree I'm getting is the exact same. Most top MPA programs seem to offer online degrees with the exact same curriculum as their on campus track.  

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