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Hi everyone. 

Applying to IR/ Security program for Fall 2019.  I have been very active at the schools I am applying to and gotten great feedback in informationals/ campus visits but looking for opinions as well. 

 

My profile is as follows 

Programs I'm applying to: 

Georgetown SSP MA

Johns Hopkins SAIS MA 

American University MS Terrorism & Homeland Security 

George Washington Elliott School MA Security Studies 

School: Women's Undergraduate University, fairly competitive but very small. 

Undergrad major: Political Science 

GPA: 3.4 due to very apparent struggles my freshman year/ before political science was my major- I reflect on this in additional documentation ( I only went to college because I lost the chance at a professional sports career in an accident, came to college with no idea what I wanted to do). 3.8 sophomore- senior year and 3.8 for political science courses. 

Experience: 6 related political internships (7 at time application will be submitted) House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, Senate Homeland Security Committee, a political internship, DOD internship, think tank internships. Additionally, I am the teaching assistant for my university's Revolution and Terrorism seminar. 

Experience Abroad: Study abroad in Jordan and major travel in Israel/ Palestine. 

LOR: Confirmed- I have really great letters from the chair of the political science dept (my advisor), a previous boss who is a special envoy for the President in the coalition against ISIL, and in the case of Georgetown a well respected alum who is now the VP of the think tank I work at (he remarks that every student he's written a letter for has gotten in- for all that's worth). 

Language: 4 semesters of Arabic, 2 of which taken abroad in Jordan. 

Test Scores: I take the GRE in less than 2 weeks but I don't imagine I'll rock the boat.

SOP: I have written all 4 and had them edited by my co-worker (professional editor, valedictorian of a security MA program in DC) I focus on my international experience/ internship experience (specific examples of working with foreign emissaries on defense cooperation) and my desire to continue studying predictive factors for terrorist organizations and non-kinetic solutions. I'm also very specific as to why I chose each program. 

 

Thank you in advance. 

Edited by politicalprincess

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I figured I would just ask here instead of starting a whole new thread.

I will be applying for Fall 2020 and I'll be applying to at least SIPA, SAIS, GU, GWU, and AU for ID programs. 

My problem is that I am truly, 100% terrible at quantitative courses. I hate them. I haven't taken a math class since my senior year of high school. In college I only took microeconomics (got a C+, so no good) and a game theory class. I took a logic class to get out of the quantitative requirement for my major. How imperative is it that I retake/take micro/macroeconomics before applying? I haven't taken the GRE yet and I'm currently a Peace Corps volunteer, so I don't have access to my local CC. I had a contract position as an analyst after graduation but it only lasted 3 months, so it's not any sort of impressive analyst work that would make up for a lack of quantitative courses in college.

Edited by InMySwordITrust

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4 hours ago, InMySwordITrust said:

I figured I would just ask here instead of starting a whole new thread.

I will be applying for Fall 2020 and I'll be applying to at least SIPA, SAIS, GU, GWU, and AU for ID programs. 

My problem is that I am truly, 100% terrible at quantitative courses. I hate them. I haven't taken a math class since my senior year of high school. In college I only took microeconomics (got a C+, so no good) and a game theory class. I took a logic class to get out of the quantitative requirement for my major. How imperative is it that I retake/take micro/macroeconomics before applying? I haven't taken the GRE yet and I'm currently a Peace Corps volunteer, so I don't have access to my local CC. I had a contract position as an analyst after graduation but it only lasted 3 months, so it's not any sort of impressive analyst work that would make up for a lack of quantitative courses in college.

Well, SIPA, SAIS, and Georgetown require intro economics courses for matriculation so... imperative? Also, you will struggle in an ID degree if you are this resistant to math. These schools also require you to take some intermediate economics courses with a B- or above in order to graduate. Frankly, the math in either the intro or intermediate courses is middle school level - if you belong to the human species, you can learn it. You just have to sit down and make an effort.

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Hi everyone!

I just took the GRE this week and I feel like a weight's been lifted off my shoulders. I'm happy to put the GRE prep aside to focus 100% on my applications. I'm looking at applying to Environmental Policy/Management programs for the Fall 2019 cycle. I have unconventional work experience, which is why I'm interested in what people think my chances are at the top programs. It's worth noting that for all the MPP/MPA/MGP/MALD programs, I'm looking at focusing on climate change/environmental/energy policy. I'm an American citizen, raised and living in Malaysia.

Schools I am Considering: Yale F&ES (MEM), UCSB Bren (MESM), Duke Nicholas (MEM), Columbia SIPA (MPA), JHU SAIS (MA), American SIS (MA), GWU Trachtenberg (MA), Boston U Pardee (MGP), UCSD GPS (MPP), Tufts Fletcher (MALD), Syracuse Maxwell (MPA), Cornell CIPA (MPA)

Interests: Energy, climate change policy. Both local and international.

Undergrad Institution: Low-ranked West coast State school

Undergraduate GPA: 3.18

Years since Undergrad: 5 years

Undergraduate Major: Environmental Studies with a concentration in Earth System Science

GRE: 159V, 163Q

Quantitative Courses:

Mostly C's for:

  • Statistics
  • Calculus
  • Introductory Microeconomics
  • Introductory Macroeconomics

Mostly A's for:

  • Physical Processes in the Atmosphere and Oceans
  • Remote Sensing
  • Earth’s Climate System
  • Bioclimatology

Age: 28

Languages: English, Malay, Basic Chinese (Cantonese).

Awards, Publications, Etc: 

  • Op-Eds on climate change and sustainability published in major national newspapers in Malaysia and regional Asia-Pacific environmental publications.
  • No other academic publications.

Work Experience:  

This is the biggest concern I have for my applications. While I majored in Environmental Studies, and intend to pursue a career in Environmental Policy, I've spent the last five years in an entirely irrelevant industry. I have no paid experience with environmental science or policy. However, I have a solid 1.5 years of volunteer experience with a youth climate change policy NGO, with 1 year of leadership experience and traveling to two major UN climate change conferences.

  • 5 years working at a major, global Public Relations agency. 1 year of leadership experience, as a PR Manager.
  • 1.5 years of volunteer experience with a youth climate change policy NGO, with 1 year of leadership experience and traveling to two major UN climate change conferences.

LORs: 

  1. Strongest LOR will be from my current boss, the Managing Director of the PR agency I work for. We have a good relationship and he will write a strong letter about my character and strengths in a professional setting.
  2. Relatively strong LOR from the founder and advisor of the youth climate change policy NGO I currently volunteer at. He will be able to write about my work and dedication to the NGO over the past two years.
  3. My weakest LOR will unfortunately be from my climatology professor. I did well in two of his classes (A's in both) and briefly assisted in a research project of his. I've emailed him and he's mentioned he's happy to write a LOR, but I'm unsure of how strong it will be. It's been more than five years since I last spoke to him.

SOPs: I've begun on a framework for my SOP, with focus on my experience with the youth climate change NGO that I currently lead, weaving in a narrative of how my five years of experience at a PR agency has primed me for grad school and how I can integrate my communications know-how into climate change policy.

Concerns: I'm concerned about 3 parts right now:

  1. My irrelevant work experience. Several factors led me to take a job in Public Relations five years ago, and I've just been stuck there ever since. I'm hoping that while irrelevant, I'm able to highlight how it's prepped me for grad school. I'll also be banking on my NGO volunteer experience to balance it out.
  2. My LORs. I'm concerned about 2. the founder and advisor of the youth climate change policy NGO and 3. my climatology professor. #2 has asked me to draft pointers for him to write the LOR, which is very disconcerting, and #3 is someone I've lost touch with, only recently emailed.
  3. My GRE scores. Unsure if 159V, 163Q is competitive enough for the schools I'm looking at.

 

Thank you to anyone who's read the entirety of this. Going to grad school has been on my mind for a very long time, and now is the time for me. I'd like to give myself the best chance possible to get into a school I like. Please let me know if I'm aiming too high with the selection of schools. I know 12 is a lot, but it's been difficult to shortlist, considering how I've researched all the programs and have found things I like in all of them. If you have any advice on narrowing the number of schools to apply to (I'm thinking 6-10 schools), please let me know.

 

Thanks so much!

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Schools Applying To: JHU SAIS, Georgetown MSFS, Tufts MALD, Columbia SIPA, Penn Lauder JD/MA

Interests: Lobbying/strategy consulting/buy-side

Undergrad Institution: a UC not named UCLA or Berkeley

Undergraduate GPA: 3.54

Years since Undergrad: 1

Undergraduate Major: International Studies

GRE:  V 170 / Q 163 / AW 5.0

Quantitative Courses: Macro/micro econ, did pretty garbage but had a pretty major virus thing that took out 4 weeks of a quarter that I'm not sure whether is worth talking about

Age: 22

Languages: English, Mandarin

Work Experience:  Currently full time at an investment bank doing equity research.

Past summer internships during undergrad:

  1. International Law in Taipei
  2. Investment bank in HK
  3. PE shop in Taipei

LORs: Professor for my senior capstone in my major. Not sure how good it'll be but it got me into LBS MiM last year with a 30k GBP scholarship; MD at my current job. Should be a good one, he understand what I want to do with my life and what value I bring to the table. 

SOPs: Struggling with this right now. Not sure how much to include from my past. I have a decent personal statement that I can draw inspiration from that talked about working through a speech impediment and how it contributed to my passion for the subject, but I think that's too far in the past. More recently, I worked nearly full time through college and couch surfed for a year to save money and I want to be able to express that in a productive manner. I have a pretty good applicable experience from my current position that really links up finance and IR pretty practically that I will talk about as well. 

Concerns: Too soon out of undergrad. Ho-hum GPA, bad in econ courses. Work experiences don't really demonstrate desire for an IR degree. Also SFS wants 3 LORs and I don't have a third that I'm comfortable with. 

Edited by aishibai

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Hi guys, 
 

I'm applying to WWS (MPA), HKS (MPA I/D) and Yale (IDE).
I don't have any formal coursework in microecon or macroecon. However, my quant background is pretty solid. Given my profile, what do you think my chances are at these programs? Also, how should I explain why I will be able to cope with econ coursework without any formal background in it.


Basics: 27 year old male from India, GRE Qunat 168/170 and Verbal 169/170 (equivalent to 780 GMAT) Engineering undergrad at top 7 college (non-IIT but recognized brand name, 0.5% out of 100,000 applicants get into the college). My GPA though is average at best.

Work experience (all in India): 1 year as an analyst at boutique management consulting firm specializing in pharma (offices in 22 countries)
1 year at a selective liberal arts and leadership fellowship 1 year at a large national NGO - living and working in village in a remote part of India as a grassroots activist and development worker; working with women farmers on gender issues and financial literacy
2.5 years as a research associate at J-PAL South Asia. Work mostly comprised of managing research operations (teams of up 100 surveys working across the state); pitching to and managing high level government partners/clients, acting as a technical consultant to government on issues of digital payments and the use of data for management, economic analysis.

Recommenders:
1. Senior government official who heads the department for the state (State has population of 112 million)
2. 3 Professors of economics (all from Harvard) who now teach at top 15 econ universities in USA One of the professors also founded one of the hottest and most written about charities in Kenya
3. Vanilla recommendation from the Chancellor of the liberal arts fellowship

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I am applying to HKS, WWS, SIPA, and SFS. Harvard Kennedy School is my dream school, and I wanted to know what you guys think my chances are:

GRE: 164 Verbal, 163 Quant, 4.5 AWA

Education: NYU Stern School of business, Major: Business (concentration was Marketing). GPA: 3.4

Work Experience: Currently work as a policy research analyst for the NYC Department of Transportation (8 months), worked at Unilever’s Future Leaders program for a year and a half prior this role

Non-Profit Experience: Director of a non-profit I joined my freshman year, organization was small but I arranged a meeting with the Prime Minister of India and so popularity skyrocketed – also proposed a highly-impactful program within the organization that highly scaled impact. Part of two other large Indian non-profits currently, on the leadership board of one for their young professionals chapter.

International experience: Travelled to 35 countries over the past four years, volunteered abroad in Tanzania and Bali, upon returning I fundraised to expand the school I worked at in Tanzania from primary to secondary school (experience featured in an article on usblastingnews). Travel photographer with 10K followers on Instagram (handle @travelwithkrishna)

Analytical experience: A’s in all statistics courses (freshman statistics, Time Series Regression, Multivariate regression and analysis), A in calculus, B+ in macroeconomics and B in microeconomics; current job and job at Unilever involved a lot of statistical analysis

LORs: One from a professor, one from CEO of non-profit, one from Manager at unilever. Should all be solid.

Concerns: My undergrad GPA is low as I developed a severe skin condition my sophomore year, and was very sick and depressed. I took a semester off my junior fall and my condition healed, but it severely impacted my grades both sophomore year and junior spring (transitioning back was very hard.) I explained this in the optional portion of my application – but do you think it is far too low to be excused?

 

Thanks so much for your help ?

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On 10/14/2018 at 6:52 PM, hammyc said:

Hi everyone!

I just took the GRE this week and I feel like a weight's been lifted off my shoulders. I'm happy to put the GRE prep aside to focus 100% on my applications. I'm looking at applying to Environmental Policy/Management programs for the Fall 2019 cycle. I have unconventional work experience, which is why I'm interested in what people think my chances are at the top programs. It's worth noting that for all the MPP/MPA/MGP/MALD programs, I'm looking at focusing on climate change/environmental/energy policy. I'm an American citizen, raised and living in Malaysia.

Schools I am Considering: Yale F&ES (MEM), UCSB Bren (MESM), Duke Nicholas (MEM), Columbia SIPA (MPA), JHU SAIS (MA), American SIS (MA), GWU Trachtenberg (MA), Boston U Pardee (MGP), UCSD GPS (MPP), Tufts Fletcher (MALD), Syracuse Maxwell (MPA), Cornell CIPA (MPA)

Interests: Energy, climate change policy. Both local and international.

Undergrad Institution: Low-ranked West coast State school

Undergraduate GPA: 3.18

Years since Undergrad: 5 years

Undergraduate Major: Environmental Studies with a concentration in Earth System Science

GRE: 159V, 163Q

Quantitative Courses:

Mostly C's for:

  • Statistics
  • Calculus
  • Introductory Microeconomics
  • Introductory Macroeconomics

Mostly A's for:

  • Physical Processes in the Atmosphere and Oceans
  • Remote Sensing
  • Earth’s Climate System
  • Bioclimatology

Age: 28

Languages: English, Malay, Basic Chinese (Cantonese).

Awards, Publications, Etc: 

  • Op-Eds on climate change and sustainability published in major national newspapers in Malaysia and regional Asia-Pacific environmental publications.
  • No other academic publications.

Work Experience:  

This is the biggest concern I have for my applications. While I majored in Environmental Studies, and intend to pursue a career in Environmental Policy, I've spent the last five years in an entirely irrelevant industry. I have no paid experience with environmental science or policy. However, I have a solid 1.5 years of volunteer experience with a youth climate change policy NGO, with 1 year of leadership experience and traveling to two major UN climate change conferences.

  • 5 years working at a major, global Public Relations agency. 1 year of leadership experience, as a PR Manager.
  • 1.5 years of volunteer experience with a youth climate change policy NGO, with 1 year of leadership experience and traveling to two major UN climate change conferences.

LORs: 

  1. Strongest LOR will be from my current boss, the Managing Director of the PR agency I work for. We have a good relationship and he will write a strong letter about my character and strengths in a professional setting.
  2. Relatively strong LOR from the founder and advisor of the youth climate change policy NGO I currently volunteer at. He will be able to write about my work and dedication to the NGO over the past two years.
  3. My weakest LOR will unfortunately be from my climatology professor. I did well in two of his classes (A's in both) and briefly assisted in a research project of his. I've emailed him and he's mentioned he's happy to write a LOR, but I'm unsure of how strong it will be. It's been more than five years since I last spoke to him.

SOPs: I've begun on a framework for my SOP, with focus on my experience with the youth climate change NGO that I currently lead, weaving in a narrative of how my five years of experience at a PR agency has primed me for grad school and how I can integrate my communications know-how into climate change policy.

Concerns: I'm concerned about 3 parts right now:

  1. My irrelevant work experience. Several factors led me to take a job in Public Relations five years ago, and I've just been stuck there ever since. I'm hoping that while irrelevant, I'm able to highlight how it's prepped me for grad school. I'll also be banking on my NGO volunteer experience to balance it out.
  2. My LORs. I'm concerned about 2. the founder and advisor of the youth climate change policy NGO and 3. my climatology professor. #2 has asked me to draft pointers for him to write the LOR, which is very disconcerting, and #3 is someone I've lost touch with, only recently emailed.
  3. My GRE scores. Unsure if 159V, 163Q is competitive enough for the schools I'm looking at.

 

Thank you to anyone who's read the entirety of this. Going to grad school has been on my mind for a very long time, and now is the time for me. I'd like to give myself the best chance possible to get into a school I like. Please let me know if I'm aiming too high with the selection of schools. I know 12 is a lot, but it's been difficult to shortlist, considering how I've researched all the programs and have found things I like in all of them. If you have any advice on narrowing the number of schools to apply to (I'm thinking 6-10 schools), please let me know.

 

Thanks so much!

I'm hoping to see if anyone has any input on my chances?

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On 10/9/2018 at 5:43 PM, politicalprincess said:

Hi everyone. 

Applying to IR/ Security program for Fall 2019.  I have been very active at the schools I am applying to and gotten great feedback in informationals/ campus visits but looking for opinions as well. 

 

My profile is as follows 

Programs I'm applying to: 

Georgetown SSP MA

Johns Hopkins SAIS MA 

American University MS Terrorism & Homeland Security 

George Washington Elliott School MA Security Studies 

School: Women's Undergraduate University, fairly competitive but very small. 

Undergrad major: Political Science 

GPA: 3.4 due to very apparent struggles my freshman year/ before political science was my major- I reflect on this in additional documentation ( I only went to college because I lost the chance at a professional sports career in an accident, came to college with no idea what I wanted to do). 3.8 sophomore- senior year and 3.8 for political science courses. 

Experience: 6 related political internships (7 at time application will be submitted) House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, Senate Homeland Security Committee, a political internship, DOD internship, think tank internships. Additionally, I am the teaching assistant for my university's Revolution and Terrorism seminar. 

Experience Abroad: Study abroad in Jordan and major travel in Israel/ Palestine. 

LOR: Confirmed- I have really great letters from the chair of the political science dept (my advisor), a previous boss who is a special envoy for the President in the coalition against ISIL, and in the case of Georgetown a well respected alum who is now the VP of the think tank I work at (he remarks that every student he's written a letter for has gotten in- for all that's worth). 

Language: 4 semesters of Arabic, 2 of which taken abroad in Jordan. 

Test Scores: I take the GRE in less than 2 weeks but I don't imagine I'll rock the boat.

SOP: I have written all 4 and had them edited by my co-worker (professional editor, valedictorian of a security MA program in DC) I focus on my international experience/ internship experience (specific examples of working with foreign emissaries on defense cooperation) and my desire to continue studying predictive factors for terrorist organizations and non-kinetic solutions. I'm also very specific as to why I chose each program. 

 

Thank you in advance. 

Updated: 

 

My profile is as follows 

Programs I'm applying to: 

Georgetown SSP MA Terrorism and Substate Violence 

Johns Hopkins SAIS MA Strategic Studies 

American University MS Terrorism & Homeland Security 

George Washington Elliott School MA Security Studies 

School: Women's Undergraduate University, fairly competitive but very small. 

Undergrad major: Political Science 

GPA: 3.4 due to very apparent struggles my freshman year/ before political science was my major- I reflect on this in additional documentation ( I only went to college because I lost the chance at a professional sports career in an accident, came to college with no idea what I wanted to do). 3.8 sophomore- senior year and 3.8 for political science courses. 

Experience: 7 internships-  House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, Senate Homeland Security Committee, a political internship, DOD internship, think tank internship, intelligence analysis internship. Additionally, I am the teaching assistant for my university's Revolution and Terrorism seminar. 

Experience Abroad: Study abroad in Jordan and major travel in Israel/ Palestine. 

LOR: Confirmed- I have really great letters from the chair of the political science dept (my advisor), a previous boss who is a special envoy for the President in the coalition against ISIL, and in the case of Georgetown a well respected alum who is now the VP of the think tank I work at (he remarks that every student he's written a letter for has gotten in- for all that's worth). 

Language: 4 semesters of Arabic, 2 of which taken abroad in Jordan. 

Test Scores:

Quant 155

Verbal 156

Writing 4.5 

SOP: I have written all 4 and had them edited by my co-worker (professional editor, valedictorian of a security MA program in DC) I focus on my international experience/ internship experience (specific examples of working with foreign emissaries on defense cooperation) and my desire to continue studying predictive factors for terrorist organizations and non-kinetic solutions. I'm also very specific as to why I chose each program and how going directly into graduate school specifically factors into my future plans. 

Publications:  Op- eds on related topics published in major news organizations. 

Thank you in advance. 

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On 10/21/2018 at 4:45 AM, aishibai said:

Schools Applying To: JHU SAIS, Georgetown MSFS, Tufts MALD, Columbia SIPA, Penn Lauder JD/MA

Interests: Lobbying/strategy consulting/buy-side

Undergrad Institution: a UC not named UCLA or Berkeley

Undergraduate GPA: 3.54

 Years since Undergrad: 1

Undergraduate Major: International Studies

GRE:  V 170 / Q 163 / AW 5.0

Quantitative Courses: Macro/micro econ, did pretty garbage but had a pretty major virus thing that took out 4 weeks of a quarter that I'm not sure whether is worth talking about

Age: 22

Languages: English, Mandarin

Work Experience:  Currently full time at an investment bank doing equity research.

Past summer internships during undergrad:

  1. International Law in Taipei
  2. Investment bank in HK
  3. PE shop in Taipei

 LORs: Professor for my senior capstone in my major. Not sure how good it'll be but it got me into LBS MiM last year with a 30k GBP scholarship; MD at my current job. Should be a good one, he understand what I want to do with my life and what value I bring to the table. 

SOPs: Struggling with this right now. Not sure how much to include from my past. I have a decent personal statement that I can draw inspiration from that talked about working through a speech impediment and how it contributed to my passion for the subject, but I think that's too far in the past. More recently, I worked nearly full time through college and couch surfed for a year to save money and I want to be able to express that in a productive manner. I have a pretty good applicable experience from my current position that really links up finance and IR pretty practically that I will talk about as well. 

 Concerns: Too soon out of undergrad. Ho-hum GPA, bad in econ courses. Work experiences don't really demonstrate desire for an IR degree. Also SFS wants 3 LORs and I don't have a third that I'm comfortable with. 

Too soon out of undergrad is what's going to kill your financial aid package, not necessarily your admission. But it is a concern. Your GPA is also a bit low, though it's somewhat mitigated by your high GRE scores.

I would say you're slightly below average for SAIS, SFS, and SIPA and average at Tufts and UPenn. 

That isn't to say they're out of your league, since you're competitive at all of them. But I would say your application doesn't stand out enough for me to say you're a shoo-in.

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On 11/6/2018 at 4:59 PM, politicalprincess said:

Updated: 

 

My profile is as follows 

Programs I'm applying to: 

Georgetown SSP MA Terrorism and Substate Violence 

Johns Hopkins SAIS MA Strategic Studies 

American University MS Terrorism & Homeland Security 

George Washington Elliott School MA Security Studies 

School: Women's Undergraduate University, fairly competitive but very small. 

Undergrad major: Political Science 

GPA: 3.4 due to very apparent struggles my freshman year/ before political science was my major- I reflect on this in additional documentation ( I only went to college because I lost the chance at a professional sports career in an accident, came to college with no idea what I wanted to do). 3.8 sophomore- senior year and 3.8 for political science courses. 

 Experience: 7 internships-  House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, Senate Homeland Security Committee, a political internship, DOD internship, think tank internship, intelligence analysis internship. Additionally, I am the teaching assistant for my university's Revolution and Terrorism seminar. 

 Experience Abroad: Study abroad in Jordan and major travel in Israel/ Palestine. 

 LOR: Confirmed- I have really great letters from the chair of the political science dept (my advisor), a previous boss who is a special envoy for the President in the coalition against ISIL, and in the case of Georgetown a well respected alum who is now the VP of the think tank I work at (he remarks that every student he's written a letter for has gotten in- for all that's worth). 

Language: 4 semesters of Arabic, 2 of which taken abroad in Jordan. 

 Test Scores:

Quant 155

Verbal 156

Writing 4.5 

 SOP: I have written all 4 and had them edited by my co-worker (professional editor, valedictorian of a security MA program in DC) I focus on my international experience/ internship experience (specific examples of working with foreign emissaries on defense cooperation) and my desire to continue studying predictive factors for terrorist organizations and non-kinetic solutions. I'm also very specific as to why I chose each program and how going directly into graduate school specifically factors into my future plans. 

Publications:  Op- eds on related topics published in major news organizations. 

Thank you in advance. 

Your low GRE scores notwithstanding, I think you're competitive at all of these schools. I would say you're above average for Elliott and SIS and average for SFS, SAIS.

I assume you don't have much work experience given you tout your internships. Your internship experiences look fantastic, but lack of work experience is always the black cloud of uncertainty in terms of gauging your odds.

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On 11/6/2018 at 7:35 AM, hammyc said:

I'm hoping to see if anyone has any input on my chances?

You have to explain your low GPA, but your high GRE scores mitigates that somewhat. To answer your questions, I think if your GRE scores are at the 70th percentile or higher, they're not an issue. If they're at the 85th percentile or higher, they are a plus. So I wouldn't worry there. 

I actually don't think your work experience is a big barrier. You have work experience, which shows maturity. Just try to weave together why your work experience has led you to applying for grad school. 

I would say you're below average for SIPA, SAIS and Fletcher, but very competitive for the rest. But you could definitely get into those first three as well, but likely with very low funding if you were to get in.

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@AGReyes Thank you for the response and feedback! It's been really helpful! I think I may drop SAIS and Fletcher from my list. (I really want to give SIPA a shot.)

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Hey all! Hoping to get some advice on if I should add another "safety" or two to my list to ensure as much funding as possible. I feel pretty good about my admissions chances for many of the schools I'm applying to, but I'm not as sure about what my shots are at getting good scholarships. 

 

Schools I'm applying to:

Heard back: Middlebury Institute for International Studies (accepted with $20k/year in scholarships, which is exciting but probably not enough to make it affordable)

Applied early, waiting on decision: Johns Hopkins SAIS, Columbia SIPA, Tufts Fletcher

Planning to apply soon: Princeton WWS, Harvard Kennedy, Georgetown SFS, GW Elliot, American SIS

Undergrad: University of Maryland, College Park (Honors College), double major in Government & Politics and Arabic Studies

GPA: 3.99 (4.0 in both majors)

GRE: 168 q / 168 v / 5 aw

Language: high Arabic proficiency, studied abroad 3 in the Middle East (1.5 years); also vaguely conversational in French

Work Experience: ~1.5 years of full-time experience (began a summer job in June 2017, started at my current work in August 2017), working at a small DC nonprofit. Also had 5 internships in undergrad - combination of nonprofit/social work and terrorism research

Letters of Rec: not 100% sure what they're like but I think they'll all be pretty solid - one's from my thesis advisor, one from my current supervisor, and one from an Arabic teacher who I later worked with, so I think it's at least a good range?

Essays: working on tailoring them for each school (basically starting from scratch each time but occasionally reusing a paragraph or so when I talk about a specific experience), getting edits from family and friends

 

Thanks for sharing any thoughts you have! 

 

Edited by somewhatslightlydazed

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On 11/23/2018 at 11:58 PM, somewhatslightlydazed said:

Hey all! Hoping to get some advice on if I should add another "safety" or two to my list to ensure as much funding as possible. I feel pretty good about my admissions chances for many of the schools I'm applying to, but I'm not as sure about what my shots are at getting good scholarships. 

  

Schools I'm applying to:

Heard back: Middlebury Institute for International Studies (accepted with $20k/year in scholarships, which is exciting but probably not enough to make it affordable)

 Applied early, waiting on decision: Johns Hopkins SAIS, Columbia SIPA, Tufts Fletcher

 Planning to apply soon: Princeton WWS, Harvard Kennedy, Georgetown SFS, GW Elliot, American SIS

 Undergrad: University of Maryland, College Park (Honors College), double major in Government & Politics and Arabic Studies

 GPA: 3.99 (4.0 in both majors)

 GRE: 168 q / 168 v / 5 aw

 Language: high Arabic proficiency, studied abroad 3 in the Middle East (1.5 years); also vaguely conversational in French

 Work Experience: ~1.5 years of full-time experience (began a summer job in June 2017, started at my current work in August 2017), working at a small DC nonprofit. Also had 5 internships in undergrad - combination of nonprofit/social work and terrorism research

 Letters of Rec: not 100% sure what they're like but I think they'll all be pretty solid - one's from my thesis advisor, one from my current supervisor, and one from an Arabic teacher who I later worked with, so I think it's at least a good range?

 Essays: working on tailoring them for each school (basically starting from scratch each time but occasionally reusing a paragraph or so when I talk about a specific experience), getting edits from family and friends

  

 Thanks for sharing any thoughts you have! 

 

Your work experience is a bit below average but, outside of that, your GPA and GRE scores are golden. 

~1.5 years of full-time experience is going to be enough that it won't be a black mark on your application, but it definitely won't be a boost when it comes to funding.

That said, you are competitive at all of the IR schools and should definitely aim top tier - SAIS/SFS/SIPA - there. You could get into HKS or WWS but I'm not seeing your application as a natural fit - it seems largely international in focus - and your work experience might not cut it, especially at WWS.

I don't think the Middlebury financial aid package was also very generous, so another safety might be a good idea, since I think your challenge won't be admission, but sufficient funding. A lot of those schools are the type that will admit you and give you the full sticker price - SIPA/HKS/GW especially. 

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15 hours ago, AGReyes said:

Your work experience is a bit below average but, outside of that, your GPA and GRE scores are golden. 

~1.5 years of full-time experience is going to be enough that it won't be a black mark on your application, but it definitely won't be a boost when it comes to funding.

That said, you are competitive at all of the IR schools and should definitely aim top tier - SAIS/SFS/SIPA - there. You could get into HKS or WWS but I'm not seeing your application as a natural fit - it seems largely international in focus - and your work experience might not cut it, especially at WWS.

I don't think the Middlebury financial aid package was also very generous, so another safety might be a good idea, since I think your challenge won't be admission, but sufficient funding. A lot of those schools are the type that will admit you and give you the full sticker price - SIPA/HKS/GW especially. 

Thanks so much!! That pretty much confirms what I've been thinking, that I'm competitive for acceptance at most of the schools (WWS seems like the biggest stretch) but that funding is far from guaranteed. Right now for additional safeties I'm considering University of Maryland (went there for undergrad so I'd be comfortable on campus, plus I could work/intern in DC), Boston University (my parents live in Mass so I could save additional $ by living with them) or Syracuse (mostly attracted to their Atlantis program with the second year in Berlin). Any other schools that you think I should be considering given my profile?

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Have you thought about getting more work experience and then applying again in a couple years?  For WWS the 2-year MPA program asks for 2-4 years while HKS MPP is minimum 2-3 years of work experience.  I think if you do a little more research on what each school wants (check their websites and View books) and work a couple more years then you would be a stronger candidate to the more selective schools with better funding.  So try and find what places you think will be the best fit and tailor your resume and statements, but I would strongly suggest working for a few more years if you really want to get into WWS or HKS.  I know it seems like you have to attend grad school right after undergrad, but gaining work experience is important for your career as well as classroom discussion.  Good luck!

Edited by Westpolicy

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On 11/19/2018 at 12:56 AM, AGReyes said:

Your low GRE scores notwithstanding, I think you're competitive at all of these schools. I would say you're above average for Elliott and SIS and average for SFS, SAIS.

I assume you don't have much work experience given you tout your internships. Your internship experiences look fantastic, but lack of work experience is always the black cloud of uncertainty in terms of gauging your odds.

Thank you for your input! I appreciate it! 

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21 hours ago, Westpolicy said:

Have you thought about getting more work experience and then applying again in a couple years?  For WWS the 2-year MPA program asks for 2-4 years while HKS MPP is minimum 2-3 years of work experience.  I think if you do a little more research on what each school wants (check their websites and View books) and work a couple more years then you would be a stronger candidate to the more selective schools with better funding.  So try and find what places you think will be the best fit and tailor your resume and statements, but I would strongly suggest working for a few more years if you really want to get into WWS or HKS.  I know it seems like you have to attend grad school right after undergrad, but gaining work experience is important for your career as well as classroom discussion.  Good luck!

Thanks! That is the alternative I'm considering to finding more backup schools - I figured I'd give applications a shot now (since a lot of the schools I'm applying to say most people start with 1-2 years of work experience, though admittedly HKS and WWS skew higher), and if I don't end up getting enough funding at schools I'm excited about, I can wait a year or two to get more work experience and make sure I'm more competitive.

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Hey everyone! I think we understand the song and dance of this thread. Here's my profile:

Undergrad: Virginia Commonwealth University

UGGPA: 3.0

GRE: 165Q/ 162V/ 4.5aw

Language & Travel: Fluent Russian, extensive world travel and worked abroad

LoR: 1- Very strong Prof, Upenn & MIT alum, CDC contributor

2- Very strong Prof, SAIS alum

3- Good letter, Less notable alum

4- Strong professional letter, Retired Colonel working in Pentagon (Army Strategy)

Papers/Research: Poli Sci Student Journals (2)

-Presented at MPSA annual conference (2)

-Presented panel at NPSA annual conference (2)

-Various articles on post-communist politics in think tanks and foreign policy magazines (4)

Professional: 3 years US Army (Infantry and Intelligence Analyst)

-2 winters in Ukraine, working with  (Azov) Volunteer militiamen. 

-2 Years co-owning private intelligence firm (OSINT) (few paying clients)

-3 month internship with Institute on Counter Terror in Tel Aviv

Various?: President of Model UN 2 years

-Various Army schools

-Counter Terror Certificate from Institute on Counter Terror (Tel Aviv)

I'm really bothered by my GPA. I'm getting ready to spend the year doing a few grad courses in statistics and economics. I've been told that my professional background is unique and can make me a competitive candidate but I'm very concerned about my undergrad school and GPA.

I'm planning on applying to SIPA, HKS, SAIS, WWS, and SIS. But should I bother with the UGGPA? Should I be tempering my expectations?

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I've heard that the quant score matters more in many MPP programs. My scores are 160Q//154V. I think the 160 is an OK benchmark for quant based on my research here, but I'm a bit concerned about my verbal. Any thoughts there?

I'm a native English speaker and I've actually worked at a nationally ranked new publication and have been a published author...but I clearly seemed to have cracked on the verbal exam. Do you think this will be a major roadblock at HKS, SIPA, Harris etc?

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I've finally finished all of my applications (just waiting on a couple of recommendations) so I'd like to hear what people think about my chances!

Applying to: Keough School at Notre Dame (International Peace Studies), Jackson Institute at Yale, Kroc School at University of San Diego

Undergrad Institution: Large public (Big 10)

Undergrad GPA: 4.0

Undergrad Major: History and Middle Eastern Studies with minors in Political Science and Near Eastern Languages & Literatures

GRE: 168V / 162Q / 5.0

Work Experience: Fulbright ETA (1 year), Peace Corps (2 years), 1 year with an intercultural education nonprofit

Language: Strong Turkish and Georgian skills (not fluent), ~2 years living in each country

LORs: Pretty good, I hope. 2 from professors (1 I had a seminar with; other led a yearlong, small fellowship I was a part of), 1 from my supervisor in Peace Corps

SOP: Relatively happy with it, it improved at each school I applied to.

Thoughts: I'm worried about a) my lack of coursework in economics (hoping to take some courses in the summer prior to matriculation if I get in, or for next year's applications if I'm unsuccessful) and b) my lack of a super clear career plan. I think my intellectual interests are clear (studying the causes of ethnic conflict and ways to prevent it) and my studies/work experience combine well with it to paint a picture of who I am, what I want to study, and how I'm qualified to do so, but I wasn't super specific about a career path in my essays. I'm a bit worried that that will hurt me, but I'm hoping for the best! I only decided to apply to three programs as they all offer good funding and they were all a good fit for me: small cohorts and ability to focus on peace studies.

 

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On 11/28/2018 at 1:56 AM, VirgilRVA said:

Hey everyone! I think we understand the song and dance of this thread. Here's my profile:

Undergrad: Virginia Commonwealth University

UGGPA: 3.0

GRE: 165Q/ 162V/ 4.5aw

Language & Travel: Fluent Russian, extensive world travel and worked abroad

LoR: 1- Very strong Prof, Upenn & MIT alum, CDC contributor

2- Very strong Prof, SAIS alum

3- Good letter, Less notable alum

4- Strong professional letter, Retired Colonel working in Pentagon (Army Strategy)

Papers/Research: Poli Sci Student Journals (2)

-Presented at MPSA annual conference (2)

-Presented panel at NPSA annual conference (2)

-Various articles on post-communist politics in think tanks and foreign policy magazines (4)

Professional: 3 years US Army (Infantry and Intelligence Analyst)

-2 winters in Ukraine, working with  (Azov) Volunteer militiamen. 

-2 Years co-owning private intelligence firm (OSINT) (few paying clients)

-3 month internship with Institute on Counter Terror in Tel Aviv

Various?: President of Model UN 2 years

-Various Army schools

-Counter Terror Certificate from Institute on Counter Terror (Tel Aviv)

I'm really bothered by my GPA. I'm getting ready to spend the year doing a few grad courses in statistics and economics. I've been told that my professional background is unique and can make me a competitive candidate but I'm very concerned about my undergrad school and GPA.

I'm planning on applying to SIPA, HKS, SAIS, WWS, and SIS. But should I bother with the UGGPA? Should I be tempering my expectations?

I'm also in the application process currently so take what I say with a grain of salt, but from browsing through these forums, I have seen plenty of people with your GPA or lower get into top-tier schools (as well as people with higher GPAs fail to do so). GPA is only a small part of what they're looking at, and the rest of your application is very strong/interesting, so it's definitely worth a shot. 

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