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MA Security Studies// Global Security programs

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Sorry in advance if this is posted in the wrong spot.

I'm a first gen college student and I'm having trouble determining if I'm good enough to get into the schools, or if it's just a waste of money to apply to all of these right away. How did you all go about determining whether or not you have a chance to get in or not? I've talked my choices over with my former professors and they said I have a pretty good chance of getting in to most of these, but I'm not sure if they were just being nice. 

Is there a formula you all followed to determined which schools were reasonable for you?

If you applied to any of these programs and have some insight into admissions requirements, do you think I should add more safety schools or should I be okay?

For context: 

I'm applying for spring start at the following institutions: 

  • Georgetown (MA Security Studies)
  • GWU (MA Security Policy) 
  • American University (MA US Foreign Policy and National Security) 
  • Johns Hopkins (MA Global Security Studies) 
  • Northeastern University (MS Global Studies and International Relations)
  • Tufts (MA Global Affairs) 

More about me:

  • My undergrad GPA was a 3.79
  • I had a fellowship with a political org that turned into a leadership role 
  • I volunteered regularly throughout undergrad 
  • I was a teaching assistant for a year 
  • Have three strong LORs (one from the prof I TA'd for, one from a professor who had me help with her research, and another from a prof that helped me submit work to a symposium)
  • I'm taking my GRE tomorrow and scored between 305-310 on all of my recent practice exams
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  • 6 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...

There's no formula. I’m a professional working in DC, and SSP part-time student. My route was a bit different. You might want to build relationships with the admissions office and listen carefully to the goals of the program. Research the curriculums thoroughly. For schools like Georgetown, they are looking for students that want to commit, so persistence and eagerness goes a long way.

I do know cases where applicants from Harvard and Oxford got rejected from SSP because they failed to understand the goals of the program.

If you are still an undergrad, I would gain some work experience. If the ongoing crisis in Ukraine persists, there could be a spike in applications. It happened at SFS after the 2020 election/insurrection. Think about your goals, and start working towards them if you haven't done so. But I would start with building relationships with the admissions office and move from there. 

Edited by dchang11
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