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Hey guys. I really need your help with my choice towards MPP programs.

I have admitted by Harris MPP program and Ford MPP program. My interest is in social policy and poverty. Harris(#3, #4) and Ford(#1, #1)'s rankings are similar in public policy and social policy. Thus it is really a tough choice for me to make.

UChicago has a better ranking on the best universities list and Chicago is the third biggest city in the USA which probably means more collaborations with private sectors and non-profit organizations. However, Harris seems to release too many offers this year, at least 200, and I am really worried about the teaching quality nowadays. Besides, what about the students' diversity? I think that's an important factor to weigh when studying public policy.

When talking about Ford school, my gut always tells me that Ford School students would have lots of passion for public policy, and I am really impressed by UMich's culture and the sense of belonging. Ford School accepts at most 100 students, much less than Harris. So am I right that, in this situation, Ford's students would have more chances to communicate with professors and hold more seminars? But the point is neither Ann Arbor nor Detroit is like a metropolis like Chicago. So Does it mean that Ford's students have some disadvantages on network, ie. when looking for an internship or a job?

My future plan is to work at a non-profit organization tacking with poverty globally or purchase a Ph.D. in political science before I work at a non-profit. So which school is a better choice for me? Please give me some advice.

Ps. I am an international student and this is my first time studying in the U.S. Please give me more detailed information.


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I think for the sake of non-profit work you won't be at a major disadvantage in a smaller community like Ann Arbor. I would think that both Harris and Ford are great options for one seeking work int he non-profit sector, so I would recommend going with the one that is cheaper is one program is substantially cheaper than the other. If the costs are similar then I would say it's a matter of what you think is more important. If you think being in a bigger city is imperative to the work that you want to do then go with Harris. If you think having better connections to your professors via smaller class sizes is more important then go with Ford. That being said if you want to keep the door open for a potential Phd then I suppose having a better shot at substantial research opportunities at Ford would be a nice fallback in case you decide to pursue a Phd before working. This isn't to say that you couldn't pursue research at Harris, but as you were implying in your post, I would also agree that getting access to professors and by extension research would be easier at Michigan. So the TLDR would be to pick the program that is substantially cheaper, but if they're similar in cost then nitpick over what you value more between easier access to professors in research vs being in a large city. I would recommend emailing/calling Ford and asking them if they could get you in touch with alumni that are in the non-profit sector. That way you can see whether or not they had any significant trouble securing work in that sector and how difficult (or not) it is to secure that kind of work out of Ann Arbor, although my guess is that it would be perfectly doable.

Edited by Guesswho
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I agree with the above post re contacting Ford to speak with current students that are focused on social policy, as well as alumni who are working for non profit organizations. I’d also add on that you should do the same for Chicago as well. You can learn a lot from interacting with current students and alumni. Your discussions / correspondence may help illuminate which program is right for you.

one thing to note — Harris is not in the heart of downtown Chicago. Depending on which organization you intern / work for, your commute could be equal to that of Ann Arbor to Detroit. Just something to keep in mind!

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