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Transnational Crime, Insurgency, Drug Policy and the right PhD Program


Subsonic Bass

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Hey everyone. I really want to get a sense of where I fall within the grad school competitive spectrum. As much as I would like to apply to 10 or 12 programs like I have seen people doing, I do not have the financial means to do this myself. So I want to narrow down my list of potential schools so I don't bankrupt myself. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I graduated from a respected state LAC with a 3.68 GPA with a major in Political Science. My GRE scores are 650 verbal, 720 quant, and 6.0 on the writing section. My areas of interest include transnational organized crime, insurgency, and drug policy with an emphasis on the current drug war that is raging in Mexico. I have been the student president of my campus' Students for Sensible Drug Policy chapter, a intern for the Drug Policy Alliance, and a campaign organizer for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies' campaign to ease the government restrictions on marijuana research. While I feel like I have relevant work experience for the field I wish to study, I am worried that these controversial organizations might hold back my application.

I am thinking of applying to UCSD, UCLA, UC Irvine, UT Austin, and NYU. I have already ruled out Berkeley as an impossibility. UCSD and UCLA are reaches, UT Austin and NYU are targets, and UC Irvine is (hopefully) a safety. Any feedback on my chances to get into these school will make my day. Also, could someone give me further input as to which schools have a specialty in this field.

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I don't think NYU is a great fit for your interests (though there may be some folks there I can't think of) - I would look at adding to your list Will Reno at Northwestern (where there are also some great Latin Americanists) and Texas if I were you.

Hey everyone. I really want to get a sense of where I fall within the grad school competitive spectrum. As much as I would like to apply to 10 or 12 programs like I have seen people doing, I do not have the financial means to do this myself. So I want to narrow down my list of potential schools so I don't bankrupt myself. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I graduated from a respected state LAC with a 3.68 GPA with a major in Political Science. My GRE scores are 650 verbal, 720 quant, and 6.0 on the writing section. My areas of interest include transnational organized crime, insurgency, and drug policy with an emphasis on the current drug war that is raging in Mexico. I have been the student president of my campus' Students for Sensible Drug Policy chapter, a intern for the Drug Policy Alliance, and a campaign organizer for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies' campaign to ease the government restrictions on marijuana research. While I feel like I have relevant work experience for the field I wish to study, I am worried that these controversial organizations might hold back my application.

I am thinking of applying to UCSD, UCLA, UC Irvine, UT Austin, and NYU. I have already ruled out Berkeley as an impossibility. UCSD and UCLA are reaches, UT Austin and NYU are targets, and UC Irvine is (hopefully) a safety. Any feedback on my chances to get into these school will make my day. Also, could someone give me further input as to which schools have a specialty in this field.

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My area of interest is similar to yours, although I don't have a regional focus. In addition to (some of) the schools you list, I've flagged Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, MIT and Duke as interesting enough to warrant an application.

Don't worry so much about the money. I was very poor during undergrad and law school. I know from law school, my friends there and the dozen current and recently graduated PhD/MD students in my wider social circle that applying to 10-15 schools is worth it. I did not regret it and I was selling blood plasma every week to make rent (which is one thing I actually don't recommend, although it's an interesting experience). You can earn or save the money in the next few months and I can virtually guarantee that on graduation day you won't be saying to yourself "if only I'd not spent that money on application fees".

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