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NYU Wagner vs. Columbia SIPA

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Hi all,

I've narrowed down my options to MPAs at Wagner and SIPA but am now struggling to make a choice between the two. I haven't received funding from either. I'm looking to enter the world of education policy, most likely through work at an NGO in NYC post-grad. I know Wagner's MPA is ranked MUCH higher on U.S. News & World Report, which is probably a BS ranking system, but this is of course is still haunting me in light of Columbia's reputation as a more elite school for undergrad. I also know that Wagner's program has stronger placement rates in the field I'm interested in, but again, it's hard to turn down a Columbia program.


Edited by PolicyHopeful2018
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Hey there! I was also deciding between Wagner and SIPA (and chose SIPA, for a whole bunch of reasons pretty specific to my situation/interests). Would you go to NYU full-time? NYU is a little less expensive than SIPA but the prospect of working while in school to at least cover cost of living- so you don't have to take out loans for it- was very enticing for me. 

If we're talking american education policy, my gut reaction is that NYU is the better deal. I've talked to alums there and they all agree that NYU is THE place to go if you're committed to working in the nonprofit world and/or municipal government locally, or at the very least domestically. From my understanding, the rankings are accrued by asking professors at public administration schools what they think of other schools, so not necessarily an objective metric. 

I totally understand the allure of going to an ivy because it's an ivy and you got into an ivy holy shit, but brand value for schools doesn't mean a ton in this field. The biggest factor should be fit for you- in terms of money, your interests, etc.

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Hi @yellina122! Is it your impression that Wagner has better results than SIPA in placing grads in NYC government positions and NYC- based nonprofits in general? Or just those related to education policy?

I just submitted my deposit for SIPA, by the way, so just asking out of curiosity :)  Thanks again for the previous advice!!

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@Tk2356 Congrats, man!! I'll see you at the end of August, then. 

My impression (from talking to alums/perusing career sources) is more that a greater number NYU grads want to go into municipal government than those at SIPA, therefore a greater proportion achieve that goal. SIPA has many many more folks going into international work or the private sector, neither of which NYU is especially strong in- at least compared to Columbia. It also seems like the sectors of municipal govt grads go into vary significantly between the schools. NYU has a little bit of everyone everywhere, largely starting as policy analysts; but SIPA has a really strong presence at the OMB, at management levels, and in the Mayor's offices (since de Blasio is an alum).

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