Jump to content

Am I Competitive Enough to Apply for An MPP Anywhere?


Recommended Posts

Hi Everyone,

This is my first time posting. I am currently in the middle of researching/ applying to Master of Public Policy Programs and possibly a couple of Master of Public Affairs programs. As I am doing my research, I am beginning to realize I might not be competitive enough to apply. I understand I will not be getting into a top program, but will I be able to get into any program? I would appreciate anyone's honest advice. My GPA and GRE scores are average at best. I graduated with a 3.4 GPA from the University of California, Davis with a Political Science degree and my GRE scores are V:155 Q:152 AWA:6. I know, not great at all. I should mention I did experience several health issues my first year of college that affected my overall GPA. I had to leave the university that I was originally enrolled in part way through my freshman year and return home to attend to community college due to health reasons (I was still able to graduate within 4 years). I was hoping to include this in my apps somewhere, as I did in my transfer applications, but not entirely sure where. There is a clear trend in my transcripts depicting mainly B's and some C's my freshman year to an improvement to A's and B's (also 3 C's) the rest of my duration in college that I think help show my freshman year grades were not a reflection of the student I am.

I should also mention that while I was in undergraduate college, I did not think I would be applying for an MPP one day, and therefore, was not as concerned about not doing well in related classes to this program. I took Introduction to Statistics my freshman year and received a C which I know is horrible. This past January, I took a course titled Introduction to Statistics, Using R at the University of California, San Diego and received an A in the class. I am hoping that helps make up a bit for the C I received in statistics my freshman year. The grade I am most concerned about however, is the microeconomics course I took in undergrad. I received a C in this course and I know most MPP programs heavily value this coursework. 

With that being said. I am focusing on my personal statement and letters of recommendations.  I know I can write a great personal statement. In terms of my letters of recommendation, I have 2 very strong letters that I know will depict my passion and competence in my field (the third will likely be from a former Political Science professor or my current boss, depending on program requirements).  Both of these recommenders have nothing but outstanding things to say about me and the related work I have done in this field. One person writing my rec will be a Policy Director who is a Stanford Law graduate and very well regarded in her field who I worked with and know on an personal and professional basis very well. Another person writing my rec is an elected official who I have worked with for a couple years and also know very well both personally and professionally. 


I also wanted to note my work history since graduating from undergrad. It's somewhat related to this field but definitely not as strong as it should be. Following college while I was studying for the GRE and looking for a full-time job, I interned in the State Capitol for 6 months. I then went on to work as a Policy Assistant for a major non-profit organization for a year and a half. For the past 2 years, I have worked as an Executive Assistant at a major nationally regarded university's Executive Vice Chancellor's Office. While working there, I have done my best to keep up with volunteer work related to public policy. I worked on a local campaign for a year and a half as a Policy Advisor and Outreach Coordinator. I have done research volunteer work as a Policy Researcher for a local youth-oriented/leadership non-profit for the past 6 months. Additionally, this past summer I completed a policy fellowship for a Housing Policy Academy ran by a housing consulting firm. 


Once again, I know I am not the strongest or most competitive applicant. I understand I won't get into a top program. However, I am beginning to worry that I won't get into any MPP program at all given my low GRE and GPA. Can anyone share there thoughts with me in regards to me applying still? I'd also appreciate any thoughts on attending a lower ranked MPP program and if its realistically worth the time/cost if it is not considered that great of a program. I would greatly greatly appreciate any advice anyone has to offer! I would be so grateful for any input at all. Only having a mini anxiety attack wondering if I should even bother applying at all.....

Edited by aek16
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. See our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use