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Chances: Prospective MUP candidate, lack of experience?

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Hi!

I am beginning the application process for the upcoming application process for urban planning programs, to enter in fall of 2020. I'm a little unsure of where I stand, whether I have a good shot at the schools I am applying to or whether I should try applying to less competitive programs. I would really appreciate your help in letting me know your assessment!

Some background about myself:

I attended (on academic scholarship) a mid-tier state school that has about a 55-60% acceptance rate, where I graduated from in 2018 with two BA degrees in non-planning social science fields. My GPA was 3.98, with my in-majors GPA 4.0 and my sophomore/junior/senior GPAs also 4.0.

I haven't yet taken the GRE, but I took a practice test and got about 165 verbal and 157 quantitative.

I have very good relationships with my three recommenders, so I think I'll be getting strong recommendations from them.

During my undergraduate career I had a very competitive non-planning (but international policy focused) internship. I also received a Boren Scholarship to study in a foreign country for one year.

After graduating, I received a Fulbright research award to study in a foreign country-- my research was about urban planning policy in the country I was studying in.

After the Fulbright was over, at the present moment, I work for a non-profit where I organize and host free legal clinics where low-income people who are at risk of losing their homes can meet one-on-one with attorneys to get pro bono legal advice so that they can avoid losing their homes. At this position, I research housing issues and crises which are currently affecting poor folks in my city to then hold the clinics addressing those issues.

I'm a little anxious because while my "stats" are ok, I think I lack experience in urban planning fields-- what do ya'll think?

The schools I am considering applying to are: MIT, UCLA, UC Berkeley, USC, Harvard, Columbia, NYU, Penn, and UNC Chapel Hill (safety?)

Do you think I have a shot at any of these schools? Or do you think I should add in some less competitive programs to ensure that I actually get into a program? 😓

Thank you so much for your help!!

Edited by questionable

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