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I've been accepted to Chicago CIR, NYU (MA in Politics - IR), GWU Elliott, and BU. I was just recently rejected by my top two choices - SAIS and Fletcher.

*I'm still waiting to hear from American, but probably won't consider it if I'm in unless they provide a good deal of funding (since I'm already in at GW).

*Not really considering BU, since I'm in at these other schools.

I was wondering what people's thoughts are comparing the relative quality and intellectual environment of CIR, NYU, and Elliott. I'm Wellesley grad, enjoy a rigorous academic environment, have spent a good deal of time abroad, and am considering careers in either policy think tanks or international consulting.

Is CIR worth it (being a 1-year program far from policy centers)? What is GWU's quality in comparison to SAIS and Georgetown (from the perspective of DC-area employers)? How is NYU viewed in policy circles? How are these programs viewed in the private sector?

Any advice would be appreciated.

*Chicago is providing 1/2 tuition, so financially this is definitely a deal.

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What is GWU's quality in comparison to SAIS and Georgetown (from the perspective of DC-area employers)?

I think most, if not all, of the applicants including me, would say that MSFS and SAIS is far better programs than Elliott. This is mainly due to the class size. About 100 students eventually enroll in MSFS ~160 in SAIS, both DC and Bologna campuses -if I'm not mistaken. Elliott, on the other hand, has 10 MA programs and two special masters program, probably totalling to around 370 enrollments annually. That makes Elliott 3 to 4 times less competitive than SAIS or MSFS. On the other hand, numerous reports from future employers indicate that all three programs are generally regarded equal and what counts is what you make of them. Elliott has a tremendous career services, and the professional skills courses seems to be unmatched by any other school. But the rankings...

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I am in almost the exact same situation, accepted to CIR, NYU, and GWU (and also MGIMO-University in Moscow). From what I've gathered online, NYU and CIR seem to be regarded as more heavily academic, while GWU is a training ground for future public sector professionals looking for a terminal M.A. I'm having a really tough time deciding as well (especially with the MGIMO wild card thrown in there), and a funding offer from Elliott would definitely make the decision easier.

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