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Yeah I know there are a good chunk of people straight from undergrad, fewer of whom will be at Fletcher and GTown than at GWU, American, and so on. You have 7 months of unrelated work experience, a low quant score, and haven't completed econ yet. Internships will not put you at the top of the pile; everyone and their mother has internships. Both schools are a stretch, in my opinion, but Fletcher is the more likely of the two. Maybe you're fine for Fletcher, actually. It's not all that competitive. 

 

My opinion is none of these programs are worth going to without work experience, and the top programs have a higher threshold for work experience anyway. Even while I was at SAIS, where there was a good chunk of people straight from undergrad., I (and others) marveled at how many were naive/unfocused how they were devaluing our degrees/experience.

 

I'm not doubting the ability of people to succeed from lower tiered schools; I'm doubting the value added to an already thin resume by a public policy degree (lower tiered or not). My advice is to get work experience, even if you get into Fletcher or GTown. 

 

Well I do appreciate the insight. I have heard many more experienced professionals lament about how their classes are full of professionally inexperienced students. I guess it would be quite frustrating.

 

Well I will weight what you said and think about it going forward. I'll probably apply this cycle anyway and see how it goes.  

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I've been reading over this board for a while as I've been exploring my options and you guys have been a ton of help. Even though I haven't posted anything until now, I wanted to let you guys know how awesome you are! Anyway, just wondering if I'm a mid tier candidate and if I have a chance in hell at the upper tier schools.

 

Programs: MPA, MPP
Schools: Georgetown, Maryland, Princeton, Berkeley, SAIS (MA), NYU

 

Undergraduate institution: University of Maryland

Undergraduate Major: English

Undergraduate GPA:  3.65 overall; 3.81 major

 

 

GRE: Verbal: 170; Quant: 164 (waiting on AW, but I'm confident)

Years Out of Undergrad: 1.5 years

Years of Work Experience: 1.5 years

Describe Relevant Work Experience: 

(This is one of two sections I'm worried about)

6 months teaching English in Korea

 

Languages: 

English: Fluent

Spanish: Took it for 9 years (currently conversational; proficient after I dust it off)

Urdu: Converational


Quantitative: (This is the other section I'm worried about)

Calc 1 (B+), Intro to Microeconomics ( B ) 


SOP: I'm going to ask this board for some tips on organizing it, but between my experiences and background, I think I have a few things that I can say distinguish me from other candidates (I'll just have to pick a few strong ones) and I am confident in my writing abilities.

 

LOR: Honestly, these are probably weak. I do not have strong relations with my professors at this point and my supervisor at my last job (teaching English overseas) has a tenuous command of the English language. So, I picked the director of the writing center where I tutored in college and my assistant director, with whom I helped develop a course and acted as her Teaching Assistant. They are strong writers and have awesome things to say about me, but these are not necessarily research-/academic-related references. The last recommendation is my weakest--it's from the CEO of my non-profit. I work closely with her, but I do not think she is the strongest writer and, again, she cannot say anything about my academic abilities

 

Questions:

-Do I have a chance in hell at a top tier school (Princeton, Berkeley) or should I try for the mid-tier ones?

-I've been reading SoPs for PhD programs and more research-oriented programs. Should I say what I want to study/what I want to do when I get out of school? Or should I focus on my life story for MPP/MPA applciations? Currently, my draft opens with an experience I believe distinguishes me from my candidates (cliche, I know) and I segue into a pretty personal reason why I want to get involved in PP/development work, and then end with the "I want to go to your program because...". Thoughts? (I know this is tough without actually reading the draft, but I'd love to hear thoughts)

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I've been reading over this board for a while as I've been exploring my options and you guys have been a ton of help. Even though I haven't posted anything until now, I wanted to let you guys know how awesome you are! Anyway, just wondering if I'm a mid tier candidate and if I have a chance in hell at the upper tier schools.

 

Programs: MPA, MPP

Schools: Georgetown, Maryland, Princeton, Berkeley, SAIS (MA), NYU

 

Undergraduate institution: University of Maryland

Undergraduate Major: English

Undergraduate GPA:  3.65 overall; 3.81 major

 

 

GRE: Verbal: 170; Quant: 164 (waiting on AW, but I'm confident)

Years Out of Undergrad: 1.5 years

Years of Work Experience: 1.5 years

Describe Relevant Work Experience: 

(This is one of two sections I'm worried about)

6 months teaching English in Korea

 

Languages: 

English: Fluent

Spanish: Took it for 9 years (currently conversational; proficient after I dust it off)

Urdu: Converational

Quantitative: (This is the other section I'm worried about)

Calc 1 (B+), Intro to Microeconomics ( B ) 

SOP: I'm going to ask this board for some tips on organizing it, but between my experiences and background, I think I have a few things that I can say distinguish me from other candidates (I'll just have to pick a few strong ones) and I am confident in my writing abilities.

 

LOR: Honestly, these are probably weak. I do not have strong relations with my professors at this point and my supervisor at my last job (teaching English overseas) has a tenuous command of the English language. So, I picked the director of the writing center where I tutored in college and my assistant director, with whom I helped develop a course and acted as her Teaching Assistant. They are strong writers and have awesome things to say about me, but these are not necessarily research-/academic-related references. The last recommendation is my weakest--it's from the CEO of my non-profit. I work closely with her, but I do not think she is the strongest writer and, again, she cannot say anything about my academic abilities

 

Questions:

-Do I have a chance in hell at a top tier school (Princeton, Berkeley) or should I try for the mid-tier ones?

-I've been reading SoPs for PhD programs and more research-oriented programs. Should I say what I want to study/what I want to do when I get out of school? Or should I focus on my life story for MPP/MPA applciations? Currently, my draft opens with an experience I believe distinguishes me from my candidates (cliche, I know) and I segue into a pretty personal reason why I want to get involved in PP/development work, and then end with the "I want to go to your program because...". Thoughts? (I know this is tough without actually reading the draft, but I'd love to hear thoughts)

 

 

Generally speaking, apply to all the schools you want to and can feasibly apply for because the last thing you want to suffer from is "what if" syndrome after the fact. Go for the top tier dream schools and throw in a few mid-tier that you'd be just as happy attending if you didn't get into Princeton for instance. At the same time, don't apply to a third tier toilet or anything. Not worth it.

 

For SOPs and Personal Statements, content depends on the prompt. For most MPA/MPP programs, the questions are pretty similar but some are just different enough that you should still pay attention and answer whatever they're actually asking you. Also, it's a good place to start where your comfortable writing-wise and if that means the standard style then do it. You'll end up tweaking and editing the papers anyway so it'll be improved.

 

You're pretty competitive in my view. Good luck!

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First time poster, long-time lurker. This site is awesome though. 

Gonna post my stats and hope someone replies to it:

 

School: Stanford

GPA: 3.9

Degree: BA IR/Political Economy

 

Work Experience: 2-3 years (2 years full time + internships). interned at the World Bank in DC and a policy think-tank in Ghana. Currently work as a Research Associate doing impact evaluation/economic research for a major international NGO in Uganda (I am africa focused=

 

Languages: not much, pretty decent at spanish though

 

GRE: 158Q/166V/6AW. Planning on retaking this week, we'll see how it goes! Need to up my quant score though for sure.

 

Math/Econ: Stats, Intro Macro/Micro, all with A/A- avg, some econ electives though nothing super high-level (development econ, agricultural econ), Linear Algebra/Multivariable Calc (though I only took it Pass/fail).

 

Applying to: HKS (MPA-ID), SAIS, WWS, Yale IDE, potentially LSE and Oxford for either Msc Econ or MPP/MPA. Aside from this probably not much else. I'm shooting for top tier honestly. 

 

SOPs: I think they're solid, had my sister who's at Georgetown Law and an excellent writer edit them for me. I have a good amount of experience in quantitative/analytical international development work, and a lot of in-country experience, so I really drew on this. Still working on my policy memos but I dont think these will be an issue (I worked at WB, so I wrote plenty of these). I got a 6 on AW, so I'm a pretty decent writer.

 

LORs: Two very highly regarded professors from Stanford, one of whom is currently chief of staff to our UN Ambassador. They both like me a lot, but might be a bit too busy to really devote a ton of time to it. My current supervisor also wrote me a rec. I think he kind of rushed it, to be honest, and he's already submitted it. He likes my work, but he's also kind of socially awkward so I can't really read him. Nevertheless I think it was solid, and the academic recs are stellar.

 

My academics, recs, and work experience are probably strong enough to get me into any top school. My GRE and quant background leaves something to be desired though. Given that I want to go into primarily econ focused programs, and end up at the World Bank, Treasury, or a think-tank, is my GRE gonna sink me? Do I have any chance with the HKS MPA-ID (which is essentially my dream program) or should I just apply to the regular MPP there? What school is the best choice if I want to end up at the Bank or a similarly technical multilateral or think-tank in DC? Thanks for any advice, and keep posting!

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My reply to Jorexer: (my responses in bold) Please bear with me. I'm new to the "quote" system.

 

On 11/20/2013 at 8:28 AM, jorexer said:

First time poster, long-time lurker. This site is awesome though. 

Gonna post my stats and hope someone replies to it:

 

School: Stanford

GPA: 3.9

Degree: BA IR/Political Economy Great school, great GPA, great major.

 

Work Experience: 2-3 years (2 years full time + internships). interned at the World Bank in DC and a policy think-tank in Ghana. Currently work as a Research Associate doing impact evaluation/economic research for a major international NGO in Uganda (I am africa focused= Awesome! I lived in Accra for a year after college.

 

Languages: not much, pretty decent at spanish though Include this on your CV as "Intermediate" (if that's true)

 

GRE: 158Q/166V/6AW. Planning on retaking this week, we'll see how it goes! Need to up my quant score though for sure. Yes you do. Your current score isn't a dealbreaker but if you can, retake it.

 

Math/Econ: Stats, Intro Macro/Micro, all with A/A- avg, some econ electives though nothing super high-level (development econ, agricultural econ), Linear Algebra/Multivariable Calc (though I only took it Pass/fail). Your coursework is good. You have the pre-requisites for the schools you are applying for.

 

Applying to: HKS (MPA-ID), SAIS, WWS, Yale IDE, potentially LSE and Oxford for either Msc Econ or MPP/MPA. Aside from this probably not much else. I'm shooting for top tier honestly. Your list looks appropriate for your profile.

 

SOPs: I think they're solid, had my sister who's at Georgetown Law and an excellent writer edit them for me. I have a good amount of experience in quantitative/analytical international development work, and a lot of in-country experience, so I really drew on this. Still working on my policy memos but I dont think these will be an issue (I worked at WB, so I wrote plenty of these). I got a 6 on AW, so I'm a pretty decent writer. It sounds like you're all set on your essays. Make sure you are as specific as possible about your plans for the future. The biggest problem I see in essays is vagueness and too much focus on what you have already done rather than what you plan to do and WHY it's important for you to go to the particular school.

 

LORs: Two very highly regarded professors from Stanford, one of whom is currently chief of staff to our UN Ambassador. They both like me a lot, but might be a bit too busy to really devote a ton of time to it. My current supervisor also wrote me a rec. I think he kind of rushed it, to be honest, and he's already submitted it. He likes my work, but he's also kind of socially awkward so I can't really read him. Nevertheless I think it was solid, and the academic recs are stellar. Make sure your recommenders include specific stories that illustrate the qualities they say you exhibit.

 

My academics, recs, and work experience are probably strong enough to get me into any top school. My GRE and quant background leaves something to be desired though. Given that I want to go into primarily econ focused programs, and end up at the World Bank, Treasury, or a think-tank, is my GRE gonna sink me? No. Do I have any chance with the HKS MPA-ID (which is essentially my dream program) or should I just apply to the regular MPP there? If you really want to do the MPA/ID, that's what you shoudl apply for. What school is the best choice if I want to end up at the Bank or a similarly technical multilateral or think-tank in DC? HKS MPA/ID (but I'm biased). Thanks for any advice, and keep posting!

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On 11/20/2013 at 8:28 AM, jorexer said:

First time poster, long-time lurker. This site is awesome though. 

Gonna post my stats and hope someone replies to it:

 

School: Stanford

GPA: 3.9

Degree: BA IR/Political Economy

 

Work Experience: 2-3 years (2 years full time + internships). interned at the World Bank in DC and a policy think-tank in Ghana. Currently work as a Research Associate doing impact evaluation/economic research for a major international NGO in Uganda (I am africa focused=

 

Languages: not much, pretty decent at spanish though

 

GRE: 158Q/166V/6AW. Planning on retaking this week, we'll see how it goes! Need to up my quant score though for sure.

 

Math/Econ: Stats, Intro Macro/Micro, all with A/A- avg, some econ electives though nothing super high-level (development econ, agricultural econ), Linear Algebra/Multivariable Calc (though I only took it Pass/fail).

 

Applying to: HKS (MPA-ID), SAIS, WWS, Yale IDE, potentially LSE and Oxford for either Msc Econ or MPP/MPA. Aside from this probably not much else. I'm shooting for top tier honestly. 

 

SOPs: I think they're solid, had my sister who's at Georgetown Law and an excellent writer edit them for me. I have a good amount of experience in quantitative/analytical international development work, and a lot of in-country experience, so I really drew on this. Still working on my policy memos but I dont think these will be an issue (I worked at WB, so I wrote plenty of these). I got a 6 on AW, so I'm a pretty decent writer.

 

LORs: Two very highly regarded professors from Stanford, one of whom is currently chief of staff to our UN Ambassador. They both like me a lot, but might be a bit too busy to really devote a ton of time to it. My current supervisor also wrote me a rec. I think he kind of rushed it, to be honest, and he's already submitted it. He likes my work, but he's also kind of socially awkward so I can't really read him. Nevertheless I think it was solid, and the academic recs are stellar.

 

My academics, recs, and work experience are probably strong enough to get me into any top school. My GRE and quant background leaves something to be desired though. Given that I want to go into primarily econ focused programs, and end up at the World Bank, Treasury, or a think-tank, is my GRE gonna sink me? Do I have any chance with the HKS MPA-ID (which is essentially my dream program) or should I just apply to the regular MPP there? What school is the best choice if I want to end up at the Bank or a similarly technical multilateral or think-tank in DC? Thanks for any advice, and keep posting!

 

I think you're fine for all the top programs, including WWS. Why even bother applying to SAIS? You'll be a fish out of water there, I promise you.

 

LSE really has a reputation it doesn't deserve and I've heard that from people who've gone there. Oxford would be awesome but its academics are parochial by American standards. I think you're competitive for the MPA-ID at HKS but, despite your credentials, you might get no money. HKS has the largest endowment ten times over but it's by far the stingiest with money; even Columbia is more generous as a percentage of its endowment. Consider WWS more seriously.

 

You're already qualified to work at a think tank in DC (although why would you want to?), and multilateral banks won't really care where you got your master's. It's not fancy work and it's also a multilateral conditional lending institution which won't give you much cache after this whole global "rebalance" stuff boils over. I'm half-kidding but you don't need a degree from HKS or WWS to work at the World Bank. You might as well go to GWU.

 

Your GRE won't sink you.

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NPRjunkie and Kaneisha. Thanks for the amazing feedback! I guess I've been kind of freaking out without any real reason. I'm quite competitive, but it's also a crap-shoot when you're dealing with all top programs. 

 

NPRjunkie: you really think I should just get rid of SAIS? It has good job placement and a pretty strong curriculum. Also one of my recommenders really likes it and keeps plugging the IDev to me (although he's bff with Fukuyama, so perhaps he's biased). Re: LSE, I've heard the same. It's kind of just a backup, honestly. Lol @ your comments about the Bank. You're completely right, but I want to work more in sector-specific operational or evaluation stuff rather than in general country portfolio lending. I'm really into agricultural development. Anyway, any career options you think might be good for me that are a bit more interesting than multilateral/govt/think-tank?

 

Kaneisha: retaking the GRE in 4 days. If I can break the 80th pctile with math (low 160s), I think i'll be solid. The vote of confidence from an HKSer makes me feel a lot better. Thanks! Last questions: is the MPA/ID adcom gonna look poorly on someone who copped out of taking a grade in Linear Alg/MVC? I mean, I passed, but it was a rough quarter (was also taking 2 econ classes and running a huge development conference. Also, the class at Stanford is f*cking impossible, lots of math majors and engineers in there). The thing is, I'm quite good at math, but my stats don't really show that (especially if I stay with a low Quant GRE). Also, what did you do in Accra? I worked for CDD (idk if you know them--Centre for Democratic Development). What a dope city!

 

Any knowledge on the Yale IDE program?

 

You guys are great, thanks for the support.

 

 

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NPRjunkie and Kaneisha. Thanks for the amazing feedback! I guess I've been kind of freaking out without any real reason. I'm quite competitive, but it's also a crap-shoot when you're dealing with all top programs. 

 

NPRjunkie: you really think I should just get rid of SAIS? It has good job placement and a pretty strong curriculum. Also one of my recommenders really likes it and keeps plugging the IDev to me (although he's bff with Fukuyama, so perhaps he's biased). Re: LSE, I've heard the same. It's kind of just a backup, honestly. Lol @ your comments about the Bank. You're completely right, but I want to work more in sector-specific operational or evaluation stuff rather than in general country portfolio lending. I'm really into agricultural development. Anyway, any career options you think might be good for me that are a bit more interesting than multilateral/govt/think-tank?

 

 

By all means apply if you want to, but I'd suggest the caliber of student there doesn't exactly live up to the hype. Your undergrad is a top global university and you have work experience already; you are competitive for jobs already that a SAIS grad. would be applying to upon graduation depending on the type of development work you want to end up doing.

 

I think all those options (multilateral/govt/think tank) should sound uninteresting to you. On the research end of things, your options for think tanks are entry-level positions (for which, as a Stanford grad. with work experience, you're already qualified). There is no room for advancement on the research end between a research assistant and a fellow; you'd have to go to the programming side of things if you want to climb the think tank latter, which doesn't seem up your alley.

 

For multilateral, I'd just point out the obvious: bureaucratic nightmare, thankless work, the potential that your 200-page report will never be read by anyone ever, etc. This might be less the case for the banks, but it's generally the case for IGOs engaged in development.

 

For gov't work in general, you may not even need a master's degree. But for the jobs you do, it doesn't matter where you go to school. 

 

I don't really have any suggestions; I'm just providing disillusionment you should factor into your decision making. :) You might consider the more entrepreneurial end of things in terms of agricultural development (i.e. start-ups conceiving new solutions to old problems). Development as it exists today is such an old beast that needs to be shot and no one wants to pull the trigger. I'd say HKS and WWS (or even Columbia for that matter) would provide more in the way of innovative and entrepreneurial career trajectories, but SAIS will suit your needs just fine if that's what you want. I don't think it'll really add or negate anything you have already acquired in terms of education/work experience.

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Schools applying to:

 

Tufts Fletcher

Georgetown MSFS

Washington U - Evans

 

 

GPA:

 

Studied Law in King's College London. Graduated with a 2:1 honours. Not sure how that would translate into the GPA system. 

 

GRE Score:

 

156 Quant, 164 Verbal, 4.5 AW

 

Work experience:

 

slightly less than 2 years in a law firm in Singapore. Also spent a year in India after graduating and worked for a think-tank for about 3 months. Apart from that, have interned for an NGO working towards the abolition of child labour in rural India. 

 

I would say nothing substantive apart from a few months' internships in the non-profit sector in India. 

Language skills

 

Native speaker of Hindi

Intermediate knowledge of French. Am working on this right now, to get it upto par with grad school requirements. 

 

Quantitative requirements:

Really none, apart from High School Maths and high school macro/microecons. That was almost 7 years back though ! 

 

Overseas experience (work, study and teaching):

I have interned at a think-tank in New Delhi as well as rural areas in central India. In total I have spent about 5 months doing so.  I am an Indian citizen who has lived and worked in Singapore, London and India. I do not think my international experiece would be an issue. 

 

Statement of Purpose:

Should be alright, as I am quite good at writing ! 

 

Recommendations:

 

One is a Human Rights Law professor, one is a Rhodes Scholar, and one was a lecturer in my college. 

 

I know I've posted before, but I did not get any response on my profile. Would appreciate some honest feedback. Thks. 

 

Your aw is more than enough, especially for a non native English Speaker, however your quant is the problem, you, sadly are compiting against a lot of people from your country (India I assume), many with engineering degrees that have at least a 165, you do not need that much as you might not be a math person but you need to increase it to at least the median for that school, aka a 160 ish should be ok a 162+ ideal, this will also compensate for your lack of quant background. Also, if your argument is Im good at English just bad a t math then your verbal should be higher, I would say at least a 160 (i am bad at verbal good at math and that's how much I got), especially for tufts and GT. Also, you are applying for a professional degree, you have work experience and yet you only have academic LOR, you need at least 1 from your boss or direct supervisor or your intern coordinator etc.

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I am an international student from the Middle East

 

Programs: MPA2
Schools: HKS

 

Undergraduate institution: Top university in My country

Undergraduate Major: Pharma and Biotech

Undergraduate GPA:  3.83 overall

Post Graduate Major: Public Policy  - Concentration: Regulatory Policy

Post Graduate GPA: 3.36 ( full time student , working full time and travelling 15% of my time)

 

 

GRE: Verbal: 150; Quant: 154 (AW 5) - wasn't my day :-(

Years Out of Undergrad: 5 years

Years of Work Experience: 6  years

Describe Relevant Work Experience: 

 

1 year Military in its medical services section

5 years at a UN agency in its Regional HQ in the Middle East. Travelling in the region and providing healthcare/pharmaceutical policy Advisory services to Governments
several internships in multinational companies such as Bristol Myers, Novartis and P&G
Have an extensive event organization experience both locally and internationally
received various academic, service and leadership awards locally, regionally and internationally

Won several apprenticeship like competitions (business case like with several multinational corps)
 

Languages: 

English:Academic  IELTS 8

French: elementary

German: Conversational

Arabic: Native


Quantitative: at Under and post graduate levels

Calc 1 (A-), Macro economics (A-)  Microeconomics ( B+ )  Statistics (B) Quanttiative Analysis (A)


SOP: Focus on my strengths, working closely with governments on a policy level, UN circles exposure, extensive duty travel history , robust future plans in one of the 6 policy areas and related to political change at my country

 

LOR: 1 from Thesis supervisor , 1 from ex work supervisor currently leading very important work on IP and patents globally in HQ and one from an internship supervisor who later turned to a work colleague

 

Questions:

-Do I have a chance with my substandard GRE? I can't take it again due to time factor as HKS are pretty strict with deadlines Or should I save my money , face and work on getting a 160 in quant the least and apply next year? Does HKS look down at re-applicants? Also do you think my MPP would give me an edge considering the pre req courses of MPA2 or it will be a double sided weapon since several core courses are common between the two degrees? My MPP was regulatory focused and less quant.

 

I am starting to feel heebies jeebies as the deadline is approaching!

 

I appreciate your advice!

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You have a chance, yes, are you ideal, no. Honestly for 99% of the population Harvard´s MPA 2 is a chance, lets put it like this the people I know who got in this year included the speaker of the President of my country, so my question is, you are only willing to stop what you are doing for harvard or do you want an MPP, if the first then go ahead, but 5 years is a bare minimum of experience you are competing against people with 10 or more years so chances are pretty dim, if you want an MPP then diversify, I would say you are an ideal candidate for Columbia, Chicago, GT, etc

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To MAAHF MPA2 Hopeful:

 

I think the primary challenge with your application (as you already know) is your GRE scores. With outstanding essays and stellar recommendations, you have a chance at getting into the HKS MPA2. Some strengths of your application is that you did well in college and your postgraduate work and it sounds like your CV will be chock full of great public service-centered content.

 

Despite these strengths, you would have a much better chance if you would wait until next year, knock the GRE out of the park (or get at least a score in the high 150's on each part), and make sure your essays are airtight.

 

I typically advise my clients to wait to submit a top-notch application rather than rush and submit a so-so one. I do think that the hurdle is higher for admissions to HKS and other top policy schools as an applicant. 

 

If you are absolutely sure you are applying this year, make sure your essays provide lots of specific detail on your plans for the future and how HKS fits into those plans (classes, research centers, student organizations, etc.). 

 

Best of luck and I hope you can shake the heebie jeebies! :)

 

Kaneisha

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You have a chance, yes, are you ideal, no. Honestly for 99% of the population Harvard´s MPA 2 is a chance, lets put it like this the people I know who got in this year included the speaker of the President of my country, so my question is, you are only willing to stop what you are doing for harvard or do you want an MPP, if the first then go ahead, but 5 years is a bare minimum of experience you are competing against people with 10 or more years so chances are pretty dim, if you want an MPP then diversify, I would say you are an ideal candidate for Columbia, Chicago, GT, etc

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Mppgal thx for the useful response...number of years of work experience is smth I thought I may be within 2 standard deviations from the mean since the avg MPA2 class profile was 30 yrs with 5 yrs exp as reported on the HKS website. I already have a thesis based MPP so I will not be applying for another one. Can I ask a question....how much weight do you think the adcom put on class diversity? I know sm1 who got into MPA/ID which in my views is even more competetive in terms of pre reqs and work experience and built his case around his unconventional professional background ...coming from and commitment to work in a geographically hot spot.

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To MAAHF MPA2 Hopeful:

I think the primary challenge with your application (as you already know) is your GRE scores. With outstanding essays and stellar recommendations, you have a chance at getting into the HKS MPA2. Some strengths of your application is that you did well in college and your postgraduate work and it sounds like your CV will be chock full of great public service-centered content.

Despite these strengths, you would have a much better chance if you would wait until next year, knock the GRE out of the park (or get at least a score in the high 150's on each part), and make sure your essays are airtight.

I typically advise my clients to wait to submit a top-notch application rather than rush and submit a so-so one. I do think that the hurdle is higher for admissions to HKS and other top policy schools as an applicant.

If you are absolutely sure you are applying this year, make sure your essays provide lots of specific detail on your plans for the future and how HKS fits into those plans (classes, research centers, student organizations, etc.).

Best of luck and I hope you can shake the heebie jeebies! :)

Kaneisha

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Kaneisha

Thanks for your thoughtful reply..specially the tips on essays :) Do you have any takes on re-applicants to HKS? I am thinking if my GRE scores are the big hole in my application... I would give it a shot this year anyway....if turned down I would study ..retake GRE and apply next year as a re applicant. Question is do you think adcom look down at re applicants? Or have a qouta for them from total applicant's population? is there a wait list for HKS like in MBA programmes? Would you kindly also give your views on the diversity element I asked MPPgal about?

much appreciated

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To MAAHF MPA2 Hopeful:

I think the primary challenge with your application (as you already know) is your GRE scores. With outstanding essays and stellar recommendations, you have a chance at getting into the HKS MPA2. Some strengths of your application is that you did well in college and your postgraduate work and it sounds like your CV will be chock full of great public service-centered content.

Despite these strengths, you would have a much better chance if you would wait until next year, knock the GRE out of the park (or get at least a score in the high 150's on each part), and make sure your essays are airtight.

I typically advise my clients to wait to submit a top-notch application rather than rush and submit a so-so one. I do think that the hurdle is higher for admissions to HKS and other top policy schools as an applicant.

If you are absolutely sure you are applying this year, make sure your essays provide lots of specific detail on your plans for the future and how HKS fits into those plans (classes, research centers, student organizations, etc.).

Best of luck and I hope you can shake the heebie jeebies! :)

Kaneisha

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Jorexer: That is awesome! I'm happy for you! Time to get those applications in!

 

MAAHF: My answers to your questions are below in bold.

 

Best of luck, everyone!

 

Kaneisha

Thanks for your thoughtful reply..specially the tips on essays :) Do you have any takes on re-applicants to HKS? I am thinking if my GRE scores are the big hole in my application... I would give it a shot this year anyway....if turned down I would study ..retake GRE and apply next year as a re applicant. Question is do you think adcom look down at re applicants? I wouldn't say the AdCom "looks down" on reapplicants, but I would say that I think the hurdle is higher. You have to prove that your candidacy has drastically improved / changed since the last time you applied. Or have a qouta for them from total applicant's population? No, there is not a reapplicant quota. is there a wait list for HKS like in MBA programmes? Yes, HKS does use a waitlist. Would you kindly also give your views on the diversity element I asked MPPgal about? Yes, they are looking to build a diverse class and weighing in on how you would add to that diversity (whether it's your work experience, future goals, etc.) would be helpful to your application.

much appreciated You're welcome!

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International student from Pakistan

 

Programs:  MPP/MPA
Schools: HKS, WWS, UM C-Park, LBJ Austin and Bush School,

 

Undergraduate institution: Top University in My country

Undergraduate Degree: Law

Undergraduate GPA:  53.70% (3.05/4.00 as per WES)

Post Graduate Degree: LLM

Post Graduate Major: Int’l Law, Int’l Economic Law and Jurisprudence

Post Graduate GPA: 68.58% (4.00 as per WES)

 

Masters’ Thesis: on nuclear disarmament

 

GRE: Verbal: 153; Quant: 158 (AW 3.5)

Years Out of Undergrad: 2.5 years

Years of Work Experience: 2.5  years

Describe Relevant Work Experience:

 

1 year as legal intern in the prosecution department, 3 months internship as research assistant at a local research institute specializing in international law and the rest as a lawyer.

 

Languages:

English: TOEFL IBT 102/120  (R-26; L-26; S-28; W-22)

Urdu: Native

Arabic: Elementary

Quantitative: at UG level.

Calc 1 ( B ), Macro economics ( B )  Microeconomics ( C ) 

Enrolled in Statistics & Probability, Linear Algebra and Calculus (multi-variable)

SOP: Focus on nuclear order and international security and career goals in research and academia.

 

 

LOR: 1 from Thesis supervisor, 1 from another professor and 1 from an internship supervisor.

 

Questions:

-Given my low scores in GRE, do I have shot at these policy schools? Besides admission, what are the chances of financial aid, including merit and TA-ships if any?

 

 

I appreciate your advice!

 

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Programs: MPA, MA in International Relations
Schools: Columbia (SIPA), Princeton (WWS), Yale (Jackson Institute), NYU (SCPS), Seton Hall

 

Undergraduate institution: State University ranked in top 50 (according to US News Report)

Undergraduate Major:  Information Technology (some programming, but more emphasis on business management)

Undergraduate Minor:  French

Undergraduate GPA:  3.87 overall

 

GRE: Verbal: 161; Quant: 152; AW: 4.5 (a little worried about the math)

Years Out of Undergrad: 0 (I'm a senior in undergrad right now)

Years of Work Experience: 3 years of work/internships

Describe Relevant Work Experience: 

-Resarch work for Johnson & Johnson (pharmaceutical company)

-Currently working as intern for a prestigious government agency

 

Languages: 

French (Earned diploma in French business language from Paris Chamber of Commerce - DFA1, passed with honors)


SOP: I'll be talking about my work at the government agency, how I feel my government service makes a qualified candidate, and what I would like to gain from each respective program

 

LOR: 1 letter from my supervisor at the government agency, 2 letters from professors

 

Questions:

-Firstly, I'm worried about my GRE scores. My quant score is low, despite being in a semi-techincal major. Honestly, I'm not sure why I scored this low in quant. During the practice tests I was repeatedly doing much better in quant than verbal, but I ended up with the opposite scores on the real test! I do not have the time to take the test again, so I'm just going to hope for the best!

 

-Also a little worried about applying straight out of undergrad. Although, people have told me  that my internship gives me a competitve edge in the area of experience.

I talked to a recruiter from NYU (his office directly handles selecting masters candidates), and he told me that I was definitely a competitive candidate. In retrospect, maybe he was just being nice and wanted to get me to apply.

 

Any feedback would be much appreciated!

Edited by rk2012
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Programs: MPA, MA in International Relations

Schools: Columbia (SIPA), Princeton (WWS), Yale (Jackson Institute), NYU (SCPS), Seton Hall

 

Undergraduate institution: State University ranked in top 50 (according to US News Report)

Undergraduate Major:  Information Technology (some programming, but more emphasis on business management)

Undergraduate Minor:  French

Undergraduate GPA:  3.87 overall

 

GRE: Verbal: 161; Quant: 152; AW: 4.5 (a little worried about the math)

Years Out of Undergrad: 0 (I'm a senior in undergrad right now)

Years of Work Experience: 3 years of work/internships

Describe Relevant Work Experience: 

-Resarch work for Johnson & Johnson (pharmaceutical company)

-Currently working as intern for a prestigious government agency

 

Languages: 

French (Earned diploma in French business language from Paris Chamber of Commerce - DFA1, passed with honors)

SOP: I'll be talking about my work at the government agency, how I feel my government service makes a qualified candidate, and what I would like to gain from each respective program

 

LOR: 1 letter from my supervisor at the government agency, 2 letters from professors

 

Questions:

-Firstly, I'm worried about my GRE scores. My quant score is low, despite being in a semi-techincal major. Honestly, I'm not sure why I scored this low in quant. During the practice tests I was repeatedly doing much better in quant than verbal, but I ended up with the opposite scores on the real test! I do not have the time to take the test again, so I'm just going to hope for the best!

 

-Also a little worried about applying straight out of undergrad. Although, people have told me  that my internship gives me a competitve edge in the area of experience.

I talked to a recruiter from NYU (his office directly handles selecting masters candidates), and he told me that I was definitely a competitive candidate. In retrospect, maybe he was just being nice and wanted to get me to apply.

 

Any feedback would be much appreciated!

 

 

From everything I've read and everyone with whom I've spoken, those who make it to the very top schools (which you're definitely looking at) straight from undergrad are rare. Those who do make it have pristine stats (near-perfect GRE, near-perfect GPA, and did something truly noteworthy for their age). I think you're competitive for mid-tier schools, but I think it will definitely be a stretch for the top of the top. Your experience and quant scores are low compared to most applicants to, say, WWS.

 

I've talked to an admissions consultant named Kaneisha Grayson a bit, and the advice she always gives her clients is that those who are applying the second time around have a more difficult time getting in than those applying the first time. It's tougher for reapplicants. I think it comes down to this: if you are set on grad school NOW, then, by all means, apply! See what happens. Maybe apply to another mid-tier school as a backup.

 

If, instead, you're more concerned with getting into a top school in particular, then wait. Work in a field you're passionate about, do great things, get your GRE for both quant and verbal into the mid 160s, and then it will no longer be a reach, but it will be quite within your range.

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