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Anteaters

Should I go to CSU Fresno for IR???

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I applied to UCSB, UCSD, and CSU Fresno for IR. I only got into CSU Fresno due to my relatively poor academic record (2.8 GPA). My question is whether it's worth it to get an MA in IR at a school like CSU Fresno since prestige matters in this field. Also, what would my job prospects be like if I graduated with an MA in IR from CSU Fresno? Thanks in advance.

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Given your undergrad GPA, it's probably your best shot. You'll need to do so incredibly well in the M.A. (3.9+) that a) your M.A. faculty will write very strong letters when you apply again to Ph.D. programs, and B) the grad GPA will give search committees a reason to downplay your undergrad grades. If your GREs are strong, an equally strong showing with the M.A. should make you competitive down the road for Ph.D. programs.

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I applied to UCSB, UCSD, and CSU Fresno for IR. I only got into CSU Fresno due to my relatively poor academic record (2.8 GPA). My question is whether it's worth it to get an MA in IR at a school like CSU Fresno since prestige matters in this field. Also, what would my job prospects be like if I graduated with an MA in IR from CSU Fresno? Thanks in advance.

Anteaters, I'm assuming you're coming from UC Irvine? :) Also, is there a reason you're limited to Southern California programs?

As far as graduate school goes, going for the MA at Fresno State seems like the right play. Assuming you're paying in-state tuition, the debt you'll take on for the MA is not that significant in the long run.

For your job prospects, the MA should make you more employable for white-collar work in general, but I think you will also need some relevant work experience in public policy or a similar area to be competitive for that type of work.

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Anteaters, I'm assuming you're coming from UC Irvine? :) Also, is there a reason you're limited to Southern California programs?

As far as graduate school goes, going for the MA at Fresno State seems like the right play. Assuming you're paying in-state tuition, the debt you'll take on for the MA is not that significant in the long run.

For your job prospects, the MA should make you more employable for white-collar work in general, but I think you will also need some relevant work experience in public policy or a similar area to be competitive for that type of work.

Hey there. Yup, I went to UCI. I want to stay close to home so I'm only applying to schools around the Socal area. Also, going out of state is out of the question for me due to my financial situation. I'm not planning to get a PHD so that's why I was wondering if I could get a good job with an MA in IR from CSU Fresno since I will have to compete with graduates from the top schools. Thanks for the response.

Edited by Anteaters

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1) You should go to the boards at collegeconfidential.com. Their polisci/IR board is much more focused on grad school for practitioners, so you are more likely to get a varied response from people that share (or are living) your goals. We are more academically focused, so the density of applicable advice is not as high.

2) There are kids from Columbia and Johns Hopkins graduating right into jobs at Starbucks. IR is very competitive and its not clear that ANYONE gets a job without knowing someone, but if those people exist, they at SFS and SIPA.

You will not be able to trade on the name of your school. You will only be able to trade on your own.

The first question you need to ask is: "What am I willing and able to do to stick my face-parts in front of every poor soul who might ever have a job opening in my field?". Once you have answered that question honestly and completely, then ask what Fresno can do to help get you there. If the combination of those two answers doesn't spell out "j-o-b" ... walk away.* Never look back.

I will be attending a not-super-prestigious MA program myself this fall. I don't know if I will continue to a PhD or enter the workforce, but I can tell you this: Every single week I will be in the offices of the faculty currently teaching my courses, the professor I RA for and the faculty I have established good relationships with. I will discuss my research and my future. I will ask them how I can do better and how they can help me.

Halfway through my second year, God help me, I will have spoken with every single person these faculty members know that might be valuable to network. Every. Single. Person. And I will milk those introductions for more introductions. Etc. On graduation day I am going to bust out the doors like a motherfucking steamroller or a starving bear-shark or an adolescent girl whose mom just took away her iPhone. Something really angry and focused, one way or the other.

My point in telling you this? Others are going to be hungry to succeed. You know your school's name puts you at a disadvantage. If you go in thinking of yourself like a grad student, you're going to get run over. You need to go in feeling like an NFL linebacker. Then get in there and sack the shit out of that handsome Johnny Quarterback. Or however that analogy should end.

Good luck fierce Anteater, and godspeed.

*Unless you're on a great scholarship and have nothing better to do with your time. In that case, crack that tall boy and enjoy yourself some stalling.

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