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UChicago Harris MSCAPP VS Columbia SIPA MPA


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Hi all! I've been accepted to both programs early round (MSCAPP with 15k per year, SIPA has not yet released decisions on aid/scholarship). I have a very hard time deciding which program to choose because I have no clue of what I want to do in the future. I am currently a senior in Economics and my school has a pretty rigorous curriculum. My previous internships were in banking (didn't like it, would never return to it) and academic research (RA position). 

I am interested in civic tech for now but have not had the chance to intern/work at a civic tech company/organization yet. I am also open to careers in the private sector that I haven't explored yet (e.g. management/econ consulting). I cannot defer my enrollment because the Harris scholarship requires immediate enrollment, while SIPA only offered me a place for Fall 2022.

I have heard mixed feedback about the SIPA MPA program--a lot of dissatisfaction regarding the admin, but valued for its location and diverse internship opportunities. In contrast, the Harris admin is super active and encouraging--I'm just concerned that their alumni network would only be concentrated in the public sector, leaving limited options for career plans. Also, just curious, would it be possible to intern during the school year (for both programs)? I hope to find a nice balance between coursework and job search. 

Finally (and perhaps crucially), the cost of living is sooo much cheaper in Hyde Park compared to Manhattan. 

Thanks! Would love to hear your thoughts.

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