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Decision time: share your dilemma

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This thread is super helpful! 

Coming from: 2.5 years out of undergrad, working in both the nonprofit and local government sectors. I’m broadly interested in social policy and civic engagement. 

Deciding between: 

UC Berkeley Goldman  MPP: Offered full-tuition scholarship plus yearly stipend that would help offset some housing costs (although definitely not all of it) 

Columbia SIPA MPA: Offered 45k/year. This would leave me with about 30k to cover over two years 

UTAustin LBJ MPAff: Oferred full-tuition scholarship plus yearly stipend that would fully cover housing potentially

Duke Sanford MPP: Between the scholarship and graduate assistantship, I would pay about 10k over both years (not including housing)

How I’m Leaning: I’m leaning towards Columbia SIPA or UC Berkeley.

Based on a very basic search, it seems like Columbia offers a greater diversity of courses and I’m somewhat interested in their dual degree options (in which students could complete their second year in a different country and graduate with a second degree). Columbia also has great name recognition of course, although I’m not sure if more so than UC Berkeley?Finally, I’m from NYC and would live with my parents, which means I would avoid moving and housing expenses.

UC Berkeley seems like they have a tighter-knit community and a stronger emphasis on quantitative training (which I like). However, that comes along with less elective options. In grad school I’m hoping to take advantage of taking courses in other professional departments (including MBA programs), so electives are important to me. It has also always been the dream to move to the west coast for a bit, having lived on the east coast all my life. That said, I do plan (at least as of now) to return to NYC after graduation, and I know Goldman alumni mostly work in the Bay Area.

I also want to leave the door open to pursue consulting for social good work after graduation (like Bridgespan) and am not sure which school is better recognized in that regard. 

As for the other two options, I love how close-knit the Duke community seems, and how engaged the faculty seem with the students. It’s also a strong program in terms of their quantitative training. UT Austin is also doing some great work in the realm of social policy and Austin seems like a great place to live (and it’s hard to turn down a completely free ride to grad school). 

Any advice/insights would be greatly appreciated! 

@pubpolgal it seems like we’re debating between the same top two schools, so interested in knowing which way you end up leaning! Are you planning to visit either? 

 

 

 

 

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12 hours ago, Guesswho said:

Welp lets keep going with this exercise I suppose /:

@SketchesOfSpain   Heinz actually has several years of employment data, and from what I can see it looks like they do a pretty good job of placing several + students into local PA/Pitt based government jobs every year. They do particularly well in their very own Allegheny county (or at least I think that is their county). Quite frankly I think all 3 schools would secure you employment in the local government sector just fine, so I think it should boil down to where you want to live + which school prepares you for the type of gov work you want to do. While attending school in one location doesn't restrict you to that area employment wise, you'll have a much easier time securing local gov employment in the area where you attend school. Ithica, Pitt, and Austin are 3 vastly different cities located in 3 very different states, so if one speaks to you far more than the other then I would simply head there. If you don't have a preference location wise then pick the one that you feel will give you the best skillset/training for the specific type of work your looking to do in the government. If you're looking at more administrative oriented work then I would assume assume an MPA is a bit better in that regard. If you're looking at more policy analysis/number crunching oriented work then I would guess that Heinz is a bit better in that regard. But these are just hunches in my end, and I would compare their courses to get a better sense at what each one would prepare you for.

ANNNNNND the hunger is kicking in. I'll get back to this another time. 

 

 

Thanks so much for your help. You're right, I don't think I'll hopelessly regret any choice and it's about clicking with the people there.

It sounds like you've got your mind made up. otherwise I'm sure a lot of people in this thread would be looking to help you out.

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10 hours ago, MoynihanBreakerBurkina said:

My dilemma like many:

take the money or take the prestige

Same. 

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Coming from: Straight from undergrad 

Deciding between: GW, American, SAIS, and Georgetown SSP

GW: $9000 a year 

American $20,000 but only in my second year 

SAIS: $0

Georgetown SSP: $0

How I’m Leaning: I’m leaning towards SAIS or Georgetown 

Being straight from undergrad do you all recommend I take some time off and re-apply in hopes of getting more funding? With no help from my top two schools, I’m not sure whether it makes sense to jump into a pool of debt. I feel like I’m ready to start this Fall, but is graduating in over $80,000 in debt worth it?  Before hearing about funding, my heart was telling me to choose GTown because it involves 0 math, but my mind was telling me to go to SAIS so I can be in a more flexible program. Now, my mind is all over the place. I was so excited last week, but I’m rethinking EVERYTHING.

ADVICE NEEDED!!!! 

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16 minutes ago, Mg522 said:

Coming from: Straight from undergrad 

Deciding between: GW, American, SAIS, and Georgetown SSP

GW: $9000 a year 

American $20,000 but only in my second year 

SAIS: $0

Georgetown SSP: $0

How I’m Leaning: I’m leaning towards SAIS or Georgetown 

Being straight from undergrad do you all recommend I take some time off and re-apply in hopes of getting more funding? With no help from my top two schools, I’m not sure whether it makes sense to jump into a pool of debt. I feel like I’m ready to start this Fall, but is graduating in over $80,000 in debt worth it?  Before hearing about funding, my heart was telling me to choose GTown because it involves 0 math, but my mind was telling me to go to SAIS so I can be in a more flexible program. Now, my mind is all over the place. I was so excited last week, but I’m rethinking EVERYTHING.

ADVICE NEEDED!!!! 

Hi, I would recommend waiting and getting some work experience under your belt. I would look into the employments stats and starting salaries for the alumni from those programs to also inform your decision, and compare that to the debt you’re estimating taking on. 

 I also applied to one program coming straight out of undergrad and was looking at taking out a good amount of loans,  but had a professor that advised me to work first and apply again later on. It was great advice and 2.5 years later my funding offers are a lot stronger. Also, working first helped me narrow down what I’m interested in (and just as importantly, what I’m not interested in). Good luck! 

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7 hours ago, acv123 said:

@pubpolgal it seems like we’re debating between the same top two schools, so interested in knowing which way you end up leaning! Are you planning to visit either? 

I’ll let you know! I’ve been swinging back and forth between each one haha... I plan to go to (half of) SIPA’s admitted students day (gonna take the bus up from DC and back in one day so I won’t be able to make it all) but I won’t be visiting Berkeley, it’s too far :( I’ve been there before though and it’s beautiful! 

Re: your post, I totally feel you on the electives thing at Goldman. I wish you could take more! And SIPA seems to have a great variety. But judging by the sample course sequences on both websites, it looks like you just take fewer classes overall at GSPP? So maybe that leaves more time for working or interning ...?

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Mg522 

I would recommend working for a few years and applying again to possibly get more funding.  Many of the programs say on their website the number of years they recommend having before you apply.  This will also help you with the job market because you will have experience and not just internships under your belt and that says just as much about your ability as a graduate degree.  Many of the job data these schools have will probably be for students with at least a few (or more) years of work experience.  Working will also give you another network when you leave graduate school which is also important.  

 

The policy and non-profit job market can be tricky and doesn’t pay the greatest especially not for entry level.  I recommend taking out the least amount of loans as possible. 

 

Really think about what you want to concentrate on and then start applying for jobs in that area.  If you have a goal and you demonstrate that through your work experience that is important too.  I know working for a few years seems long, but it really isn’t and it may help secure more funding, get into better programs, and better jobs after graduation.  Good luck!  

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Coming from:
Big 4 - Transfer pricing consulting (~4.5 years of experience)

Undergrad - Big 10 state school (Mid-Atlantic)

Deciding between: 
Harris (UChicago) MPP: $15k / year

Heinz (Carnegie Mellon) MSPPM-DA: 65% (~$32k / year)

SIPA (Columbia): $16k / year

Career goals / interests: 

I have lived in the NYC metro area for most of my adult life. As a result, I am somewhat jaded by the NYC lifestyle and, in many ways, looking forward to a change of scenery (which only knocks down SIPA even further). I don't necessarily have a single career track that I'm locked into (as I think that would be somewhat unrealistic to assume). However, I am very interested in applying data science and statistical modeling to *urban* problems, especially as it relates to transportation, housing, crime and data privacy. Some organizations that come to mind are Palantir, Labs41, and Civis Analytics to name a few. In this respect, I am very intrigued by UChicago's Urban Labs as this seems like a natural fit. At the same time, I am conscious that the Data Analytics track at CMU would offer a much wider range of coursework and would likely provide me with a more rigorous training in computer programming and data science skills than the Harris MPP offers (note that I originally applied to CAPP program, but was instead admitted to MPP). Also - let's not forget that the COL for a city like Pittsburgh is going to be demonstrably less than Chicago. Honestly, Columbia only enters the conversation because of its brand (hard not to seriously consider an Ivy League when you went to a state school for undergrad) and its connections to NYC jobs market.

How I'm leaning:
Currently, I am leading towards Harris (over Heinz). I first came across the Harris admissions team at a grad school fair in NYC and I can honestly say that I was very impressed with the level of detail they provided (stats on employment outcomes, job satisfaction, etc.). Additionally, I had a conversation with a soon-to-be former student at the CAPP program who was extremely helpful in terms of providing information and attesting to her high degree of satisfaction with the program in general. She came from a similar corporate background as myself and was interestingly enough pretty dismissive of the Heinz program (recognizing this is only one datapoint but still a datapoint). I am planning on attending both admit days for Harris and Heinz. It works out that I can attend Harris Thurs/Fri and Heinz on Sat. I have a strong suspicion that I am going to walk away from Harris ASD feeling even more inclined to committing. At the end of the day, the data science and computer skills I want to obtain are not limited to any one program. As any data scientist will tell you, with the right amount of hustle these skills can be self-taught. Sure, the Heinz MSPPM is a STEM-designated degree, but I am not looking for an OPT as I am a US citizen so this is less of a pull factor. I am also hesitant of getting a degree that has such an unwieldy name as "MSPPM-DA"; seems like a lot of unnecessary lettering to explain to future employers. Additionally, I see that many Heinz MSPPM-DA grads end up working in government consulting as "data analysts". As someone who's worked in Big 4 consulting, I can tell you that these jobs are not as sexy as they sound. Basically, I am trying to avoid ending up in a job where I'm paid an OK salary to make PowerPoint slide decks all day. Furthermore, I think my decision will be much easier if I receive an additional funding offer from Harris via the reconsideration process that better approximates what Heinz is offering.

I realize now that I've mostly used the above space to convince myself of one option. Consider it a "partial dilemma" then. ;) 

 

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Guest ke7312
7 hours ago, nellolikejello said:

Coming from:
Big 4 - Transfer pricing consulting (~4.5 years of experience)

Undergrad - Big 10 state school (Mid-Atlantic)

Deciding between: 
Harris (UChicago) MPP: $15k / year

Heinz (Carnegie Mellon) MSPPM-DA: 65% (~$32k / year)

SIPA (Columbia): $16k / year

Career goals / interests: 

I have lived in the NYC metro area for most of my adult life. As a result, I am somewhat jaded by the NYC lifestyle and, in many ways, looking forward to a change of scenery (which only knocks down SIPA even further). I don't necessarily have a single career track that I'm locked into (as I think that would be somewhat unrealistic to assume). However, I am very interested in applying data science and statistical modeling to *urban* problems, especially as it relates to transportation, housing, crime and data privacy. Some organizations that come to mind are Palantir, Labs41, and Civis Analytics to name a few. In this respect, I am very intrigued by UChicago's Urban Labs as this seems like a natural fit. At the same time, I am conscious that the Data Analytics track at CMU would offer a much wider range of coursework and would likely provide me with a more rigorous training in computer programming and data science skills than the Harris MPP offers (note that I originally applied to CAPP program, but was instead admitted to MPP). Also - let's not forget that the COL for a city like Pittsburgh is going to be demonstrably less than Chicago. Honestly, Columbia only enters the conversation because of its brand (hard not to seriously consider an Ivy League when you went to a state school for undergrad) and its connections to NYC jobs market.

How I'm leaning:
Currently, I am leading towards Harris (over Heinz). I first came across the Harris admissions team at a grad school fair in NYC and I can honestly say that I was very impressed with the level of detail they provided (stats on employment outcomes, job satisfaction, etc.). Additionally, I had a conversation with a soon-to-be former student at the CAPP program who was extremely helpful in terms of providing information and attesting to her high degree of satisfaction with the program in general. She came from a similar corporate background as myself and was interestingly enough pretty dismissive of the Heinz program (recognizing this is only one datapoint but still a datapoint). I am planning on attending both admit days for Harris and Heinz. It works out that I can attend Harris Thurs/Fri and Heinz on Sat. I have a strong suspicion that I am going to walk away from Harris ASD feeling even more inclined to committing. At the end of the day, the data science and computer skills I want to obtain are not limited to any one program. As any data scientist will tell you, with the right amount of hustle these skills can be self-taught. Sure, the Heinz MSPPM is a STEM-designated degree, but I am not looking for an OPT as I am a US citizen so this is less of a pull factor. I am also hesitant of getting a degree that has such an unwieldy name as "MSPPM-DA"; seems like a lot of unnecessary lettering to explain to future employers. Additionally, I see that many Heinz MSPPM-DA grads end up working in government consulting as "data analysts". As someone who's worked in Big 4 consulting, I can tell you that these jobs are not as sexy as they sound. Basically, I am trying to avoid ending up in a job where I'm paid an OK salary to make PowerPoint slide decks all day. Furthermore, I think my decision will be much easier if I receive an additional funding offer from Harris via the reconsideration process that better approximates what Heinz is offering.

I realize now that I've mostly used the above space to convince myself of one option. Consider it a "partial dilemma" then. ;) 

 

Sounds like we have...very similar dilemmas (coming from a B10, deciding between expensive Harris and less expensive Heinz, like Harris' program better, etc.—although La Follette is also in the mix for me, and i'm coming straight from undergrad.) I agree with you about the Heinz-consulting connection, which also puts me off a bit.

Obviously, cost is a huge factor. But I also think you should think about the type of city you'd like to have as both a home and as a sort of policy laboratory. Chicago, with its status as an established megalopolis and its extreme racial and economic segregation, is probably ground zero for a lot of the American debate on racial justice, the growing income gap, corruption, and criminal justice reform; Pittsburgh is ground zero for the debate about rust belt urban renewal, the effects of the information economy on the working class, and the growing urban-rural political divide (since it's a blue city very close to some deep red areas). It sort of depends which of those issues you'd like to study. Additionally, Chicago is bigger and more representative of a 'global' city, while Pittsburgh is smaller and more representative of the glut of shrinking mid-sized cities across America. Both cities have good quality of life—I can vouch for Chicago from (suburban) experience, and Pittsburgh seems to lead a lot of livability rankings, though I've never been there.

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On 3/18/2019 at 6:43 PM, invisibleswim said:

Longtime lurker on the forum and have been following along intently. Finally created an account...

Coming from: California with a mix of professional experiences in nonprofit and government

Deciding between:  MPA programs

  • USC: Price School- (50% tuition)
  • Texas A&M: Bush School- (full tuition)
  • University of Washington: Evans (~60% tuition)
  • George Washington: Trachtenberg (~50% tuition)

Other factors: Interested in a career in local government. Looking to specialize in public management/leadership related concentrations This decision has been made more difficult because I am currently in a full-time job that I enjoy that is tangentially related to government/public affairs but is not directly related to local government.  I am not as interested in quant-heavy programs but recognize this as an area of growth. Not being in too much debt is important to me. 

How I'm leaning:

Fairly undecided at this point. Throughout the process I tried not to get set on a favorite in case funding did not pan out. In retrospect this may have backfired in making this an easy choice. I did not make what I consider the best decision when choosing my undergrad institution so I have some anxiety that I am not going to make a good decision or let some factor overwhelm my decision making. Going to USC would allow me to continue my current job, at least for now. Living in D.C has been a long term goal of mine but I am not sure if it is the best place to focus on local government. Texas A&M is very appealing with the cost and student support. I am planning to visit a few of the remaining programs to make my decision. I don't quite have impostor syndrome but I am worried about chickening out and convincing myself not to go to grad school. Trying to keep the eye on the prize and to remain as motivated as when I wrote my applications. I am not sure if anyone feels the same way. It has been reassuring to see the thought processes of others on this thread.

Hi there! I'm also an MPA applicant and among your programs, was also admitted to UW Evans and GW Trachtenberg (my others are American SPA, UMD MPP, NYU Wagner, and Harvard GSE in Ed Policy & Management). I've lived in the DC area my whole life and have been working in DC for the past couple years, so I'm ready for something new for grad school, knowing that I can return to DC eventually. I'm leaning towards Evans, partially because they gave me good funding, and mostly because the faculty, staff, and students have been absolutely fantastic throughout the entire process - very engaging, enthusiastic, and helpful, and the student community seems very strong, unlike what I felt at American or GW. However, I'm waiting until after I attend several Admitted Students Days to make my final decision. I'm interested in nonprofit management, but I have heard that UW Evans has a great focus on local government - GW, as you guessed, will tend to focus on federal.

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Recap of my visits...

Harris: I went when it was super cold, so I fought a predisposition to not like it. Chicago = big city, great energy. School is smaller than expected, but I had a really solid conversation with a current student, who made the place seem to be econ central, and that’s sort of OK. Beautiful Ivy League-ish campus. Student body seemed pretty cohesive. Might be my choice, but no $$$.
 
SAIS: I’ve lived in D.C. before, and this would be my choice if I was totally confident about staying in international affairs. I didn’t know about 25% of graduates go into banking, from one person who spoke. Definitely felt like the most prestigious campus of my visits. Near Dupont Circle, somewhat north of downtown. I would be doing 2 years in D.C. Faculty are super impressive. Heavy econ and strategic studies focus. Various options for tracks. Might still do SAIS.

LBJ: Austin is amazing. SXSW, athletic lifestyle. More crowded/traffic than expected. Students seemed to love LBJ. Talk to students if you go D.C. route, it sounds like a brand new program. The research heavy 2-year degree (2-semester research project is mandatory, plus optional thesis) have a choice of specialized tracks. Seemed to be lots of TA-ships, nearly every person I spoke with had one. Big campus atmosphere. Presidential library right next door. LBJ building itself fresh and new inside. Partial $$.

WWS: Visited, not accepted. Smaller university town atmosphere. 2 hours to NYC by train. Obviously Ivy League.

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On 3/22/2019 at 10:17 AM, nellolikejello said:

Deciding between: 
Harris (UChicago) MPP: $15k / year

Heinz (Carnegie Mellon) MSPPM-DA: 65% (~$32k / year)

I don't necessarily have a single career track that I'm locked into (as I think that would be somewhat unrealistic to assume). However, I am very interested in applying data science and statistical modeling to *urban* problems, especially as it relates to transportation, housing, crime and data privacy. Some organizations that come to mind are Palantir, Labs41, and Civis Analytics to name a few. In this respect, I am very intrigued by UChicago's Urban Labs as this seems like a natural fit. At the same time, I am conscious that the Data Analytics track at CMU would offer a much wider range of coursework and would likely provide me with a more rigorous training in computer programming and data science skills than the Harris MPP offers (note that I originally applied to CAPP program, but was instead admitted to MPP). Also - let's not forget that the COL for a city like Pittsburgh is going to be demonstrably less than Chicago. Honestly, Columbia only enters the conversation because of its brand (hard not to seriously consider an Ivy League when you went to a state school for undergrad) and its connections to NYC jobs market.

I would say this about CMU: their work in the urban planning/design space, which has an enormous bearing on what you are considering doing, is absolutely top notch. I would make sure to ask them if you can take classes with the urban design school, or even if a double degree is an option. It's seriously cutting edge stuff.

Edited by bac

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16 hours ago, A.T. said:
Recap of my visits...

Harris: I went when it was super cold, so I fought a predisposition to not like it. Chicago = big city, great energy. School is smaller than expected, but I had a really solid conversation with a current student, who made the place seem to be econ central, and that’s sort of OK. Beautiful Ivy League-ish campus. Student body seemed pretty cohesive. Might be my choice, but no $$$.
 
SAIS: I’ve lived in D.C. before, and this would be my choice if I was totally confident about staying in international affairs. I didn’t know about 25% of graduates go into banking, from one person who spoke. Definitely felt like the most prestigious campus of my visits. Near Dupont Circle, somewhat north of downtown. I would be doing 2 years in D.C. Faculty are super impressive. Heavy econ and strategic studies focus. Various options for tracks. Might still do SAIS.

LBJ: Austin is amazing. SXSW, athletic lifestyle. More crowded/traffic than expected. Students seemed to love LBJ. Talk to students if you go D.C. route, it sounds like a brand new program. The research heavy 2-year degree (2-semester research project is mandatory, plus optional thesis) have a choice of specialized tracks. Seemed to be lots of TA-ships, nearly every person I spoke with had one. Big campus atmosphere. Presidential library right next door. LBJ building itself fresh and new inside. Partial $$.

WWS: Visited, not accepted. Smaller university town atmosphere. 2 hours to NYC by train. Obviously Ivy League.

Is SAIS giving you some funding like UT is doing ?

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9 hours ago, bness2002 said:

Is SAIS giving you some funding like UT is doing ?

No money from SAIS. I’m reevaluating my options, planning to ask all three to re-review me on financial aid. Has anyone had any luck with this? I guess it gets easier to get a revised aid offer, the closer we get to deadline?

The LBJ decisions went out really early. Does anyone know the range of their grants/waiver/stipend financial aid? Do they go up to just full tuition (including out of state waiver) or do they have tuition+?

I’m also creatively thinking about faculty at Harris and SAIS I may want to work with. Sometimes they have pots of money, but usually for research assistants. It could help make the decision for me, especially if I really connect with a professor.

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10 hours ago, A.T. said:

No money from SAIS. I’m reevaluating my options, planning to ask all three to re-review me on financial aid. Has anyone had any luck with this? I guess it gets easier to get a revised aid offer, the closer we get to deadline?

FWIW I tried to negotiate with SAIS and they said I could fill out a form for reconsideration but they wouldn't be able to offer additional funding until after the April 22 deadline to put down a deposit - but I think the deadline for people who haven't gotten funding offers is later, so you might have more luck getting a decision in time than I did! (But if you aren't willing to go unless you get funding, you may have to put down a deposit at another school in case they aren't able to offer you anything)

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1 hour ago, somewhatslightlydazed said:

FWIW I tried to negotiate with SAIS and they said I could fill out a form for reconsideration but they wouldn't be able to offer additional funding until after the April 22 deadline to put down a deposit - but I think the deadline for people who haven't gotten funding offers is later, so you might have more luck getting a decision in time than I did! (But if you aren't willing to go unless you get funding, you may have to put down a deposit at another school in case they aren't able to offer you anything)

I suppose this is all another opportunity to use applied probabilities and statistics...

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Are there any issues with putting down a deposit at multiple schools? Or is it standard practice to do so?

Because alongside putting down the deposit its kind of like signing a contract in a way, no? I remember that when applying to college you could only apply Early Decision to one school and backing out I'm pretty sure would caused some kind of repercussions. Just wondering if this situation is at all comparable.

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Coming from:
Miami, Florida

Deciding between: 

GWU - Trachtenberg MPP

Georgetown - McCourt MPP

Other factors:
GWU has given me 40% tuition for both years, and Georgetown has given me $7500 for the first two semesters. 

How I'm leaning:
GWU obviously because of the money and the admitted students day was fantastic. It seems like an amazing program. 

 

Can anyone give funding advice? What are the chances of my funding going up for Georgetown? There’s no way I can pay that much and I’ve already emailed! The $7500 seems like the result of my email. 

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On 3/16/2019 at 12:55 PM, sdb12014 said:

Thank you for starting this thread! I appreciate how interactive this place is so maybe some can give insights into our dilemmas of decisions.

 

Coming from: 1 year out of undergrad with a lot of research experience in East Asia, currently doing a research grant sponsored by the US government in South Korea. I want to work for the federal government and thanks to the grant I have noncompetitive eligibility to hopefully make that a little more possible. 

 

Deciding between: SIPA-International Security Studies ($0), SAIS- Korean Studies ($$), ESIA- International Affairs ($), SIS- Comparative and Regional Studies (TBD) ; waitlisted at MSFS 

 

I definitely dont want to be in debt after I graduate from grad school but I’m contemplating trying my luck at negotiating money from SIPA because of my offers at SAIS and ESIA. I think I’m leaning toward going to a DC school just for the opportunity to have access to government internships, networking opportunities, etc. But I of course would really appreciate all of your insights into what may be a good fit considering my background.

 

As of now I’m leaning towards Hopkins just because money, its great name, and location in DC. Looking forward to your thoughts!

 

Edited by sdb12014
wish to delete

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Coming From: DC, Federal Government work for 3 years.

Deciding Between: 

  • The University of Washington, Evans (MPA) - $0k 
  • Tufts Fletcher (MIB) - $10k per year
  • Columbia SIPA (MPA - Econ/Political Development) - $0k 

Career Goals: I want to use my degree to pivot to development consulting (Dalberg/Big4 Consulting), CSR in a private company, or State Dept/USAID Innovation Lab - utilizing my federal tenure status.

Other Factors: Significant other will be attending Columbia starting this fall

Sentiment: I am very fortunate to be able to have gained admission into these top schools and am super grateful! I am also fortunate in that I will be able to afford each of these degrees regardless of scholarship size/amount.

How I'm Leaning: I am so very torn as I have numerous friends who have gone to Fletcher and rave about it. However, I did my undergrad degree at a small school in Massachusetts and am intrigued by NYC. Both schools seem to have good career outcomes for their students, the question is which will have better inroads into the businesses I am interested in. 

Any advice?

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On 3/25/2019 at 1:14 AM, Lily9011 said:

Coming from:
Miami, Florida

Deciding between: 

GWU - Trachtenberg MPP

Georgetown - McCourt MPP

Other factors:
GWU has given me 40% tuition for both years, and Georgetown has given me $7500 for the first two semesters. 

How I'm leaning:
GWU obviously because of the money and the admitted students day was fantastic. It seems like an amazing program. 

 

Can anyone give funding advice? What are the chances of my funding going up for Georgetown? There’s no way I can pay that much and I’ve already emailed! The $7500 seems like the result of my email. 

I received a funding offer from Georgetown as well. I believe in the funding letter it states that the funding is for the first two semesters but other people have posted in this forum / the McCourt forum that the offer is renewable. Unless you've been specifically told that it's only for the first year you should confirm with McCourt that you'll have the opportunity to renew your funding offer the 2nd year. 

Additionally, if you're deciding between these two schools it's helpful to remember that GWU, McCourt, & American all allow you to take courses at each other's policy schools. Obviously, you would only want to do this 1-2x and should be so excited about where you're going that you only want to take classes there... but if there is one class or specialty that one school has that you don't want to miss out on this is an option! 

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Hi everyone! Hoping someone might have some wise words for me as this decision seems to get more difficult the longer I contemplate it.

I’m deciding between two different paths. 1) I received a full tuition scholarship from USC, which is incredibly exciting as expense is an important factor for me and USC has a great program, but it’s also not my top choice. 2) I was accepted to other great schools like McCourt and Harris that I think might be a better fit for me, but with much less money (approx. $20K each). So whats a gal to do?

One of my biggest concerns is that I want to work on the east coast, so I’m not sure if going to school in California will be a hindrance to that.

If anyone has any experience or opinions I’d love to hear them! Thanks!

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On 3/17/2019 at 2:48 PM, homesicksub said:

Coming from:
Massachusetts

Deciding between: 
Johns Hopkins, SAIS (Hopkins-Nanjing certificate + SAIS MA) $
Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service (M.A. Asian Studies) $$

Other factors:
I'll be deferring my studies to 2020, as I will be pursuing a Fulbright grant during the 2019-2020 academic year. This kind of throws a wrench in some funding offers, but the Fulbright is priceless for a career in international affairs. Plus, maybe I'll get a better offer from whichever program I defer once I have a Fulbright under my belt.

 

After about of a week's worth of deep thought, I'm still deciding between SAIS' MA and Georgetown SFS' Asian Studies program. I'm quite torn – while the MA program at SAIS is their flagship program and would carry a lot of weight in the post-graduate job search, Georgetown's faculty in the field of East Asian affairs is impossible to top, in my opinion. The two programs' curricula are also different in nature: whereas SAIS is heavier on the economics and its offerings on Asia are relatively thin, Georgetown's program is more directly focused on East Asian policy, history, and current affairs. The Asian Studies program is an interdisciplinary program that allows students to take courses in the Foreign Service and Security Studies programs, as well as courses beyond the SFS. I intend to pursue a career in U.S.-East Asian policy in the public sector, but I'm still not sure exactly which type of curriculum is more appropriate for such a path.

My question for anyone willing to answer is this: is pursuing a lesser-known, regional studies program in the Georgetown School of Foreign Service going to put me at a noticeable disadvantage when compared to the better-known MA program at SAIS? 

Edited by homesicksub

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Coming from: Atlanta, B.S. engineering from Georgia Tech and 4 years in software/logistics consulting.

Deciding between:  

  • Columbia's SIPA - (0% tuition)
  • Johns Hopkins' SAIS - (75% tuition)
  • Georgetown's SSP - (0% tuition, financial aid waitlist)

Career Goals: I want to leverage a STEM background to solve IR and security problems. This could be STEM-weapons analysis for federal 3-letter agencies, political and supply chain risk management for private companies, or strategy consulting focused on defense.

Other factors

  • Simultaneously received an offer to work as an intelligence officer in the USAF. Certainly many pros (experience, security clearance) but also cons (little control over type of job and location, 6 yr commitment, GI Bill doesn't help much with private school tuition).
  • I have family/friends in DC, and overall like the city more than NYC.

How I'm leaning: Currently thinking grad schools in general offer more  diverse career opportunities, better network, and flexibility. I want the practical, hands-on approach over theory, which means SIPA's 2nd year practicum sounds perfect for me. However, Columbia is too expensive, and unless I hear my financial aid appeal has been granted in April, I have to consider SAIS my top choice. 

 

Does anyone know if SAIS or SSP have 2nd year projects/capstones? How quant-heavy can I go in SAIS vs. SIPA? Is the Ivy League brand worth it financially?

Thanks!

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