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The 'Am I competitive' thread - READ ME BEFORE POSTING

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jcspc,

 

For now, I definitely think my main focus would be pulling up the GRE scores as much as you can. If you get the scores up, you could stand a solid shot at some of these programs, and maybe even get some funding. Similarly to you, I'm finishing up my PC service at age 25 and I decided to pursue graduate school after. I was concerned about how my application would look given my limited work experience (I did Peace Corps almost straight out of undergrad), but with strong academic/personal statements that articulated my desire to study in the programs to which I applied (policy analysis programs), I did get some great results out of my applications.

 

Do you have any econ/stats/calc background? If not, I definitely recommend taking a few free online courses on Coursera if you can. Even if with less than perfect internet, I've been able to take some econ classes during my Peace Corps service that I then listed on my applications to supplement my undergraduate coursework and show that I was serious about getting the quant under my belt (since I applied to quant-heavy programs).

 

Lemme know if you have any more questions! I think as long as you pull up the GRE scores and spend time on your apps, you've got a good shot at a solid school. :)

 

Aja

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Hi Everyone, 1st time poster here.
 
Schools Applying To: Columbia SIPA (MPA), Penn Fels, Cornell [CIPA], Michigan Ford, Texas LBJ (MPAff), Pitt GSPIA (MPA)
Considering Also Applying To: Chicago Harris, CMU Heinz, NYU Wagner
 
UG Institution: University of Southern California
Years Out of UG: 3 or 5
UG GPA: 3.5
Undergraduate Focuses: International Business (major), East Asian Area Studies (minor)
 
Quantitative coursework:
Calc 1: A-
Calc 2: A-
Intro Stat 1: B
Intro Stat 2: A
Stat and Prob (Math dept): A
Intermed Stat for Business: A
Intro Macroecon (Honors): A
Intro Microecon (Honors): A
Intermed Macroecon: A-
Intermed Microecon: A
 
Study Abroad: semester in Singapore, semester in South Korea, semester in Hong Kong
 
Relevant Student Activities:
A. Host for exchange students (2 semesters)
B. Host for international students in USC business case competition (1 semester)
C. Event staff at Asia/Pacific Business Outlook Conference (1 semester)
D. Member of 2 Asian cultural organizations (1 semester)
 
GRE (scores will expire and I will retake): 
Q: 149
V: 151
AW: 4.0
 
Post-Grad Work Experience:
A. Post-grad marketing internship for fruit distribution company in Jakarta (2 months)
B. Clerical/customer service position in small healthcare services company (13 months)
C. AmeriCorps VISTA position in higher ed - youth development or community economic development (12 months - currently applying)
D. [Possible] Peace Corps (1 term: 27 months - will not have if I can get a Rangel or Pickering Fellowship if applying after 1 year in AmeriCorps)
 
Foreign language skills:
Korean - elementary proficiency
 
SoP:
About my desire to become a FSO-Public Diplomacy (Cultural or Public Affairs Officer) and how I would also consider working for UNESCO afterward for its culture or information programs. I am applying for Rangel and Pickering fellowships (I am a 1st generation college grad from a low-income background)
 
LoR:
Will be from a combination of professors from USC/study abroad programs and professionals from AmeriCorps/Peace Corps work (getting enough letters will not be an issue when applying but I cannot assess strength for all recommenders)
 
If I decide to apply after 1 year of AmeriCorps, what programs do you think I could be competitive for? I do not know what my new GRE scores will be, but I always score terribly on standardized tests, regardless of preparation or tutoring. I plan to retaking the GRE after 6 months preparation and again after 6 months - 1 year more preparation if I don't have the scores to apply to a good program before I would plan to start PC.
 
I want to start a Foreign Service career ASAP, so I would rather start grad school in the fall in 1 year than in 3 after PC, and my goal is to get into as good of a brand name school with as little debt as possible, in case I have the chance to work for UNESCO in the future and decide to leave the FS for IGO work. I will not be going to grad school without a Rangel or Pickering Fellowship to guarantee me a FSO job after graduation because I can't justify a master's degree and the cost otherwise, for me personally.
 
Also, if I end up applying after PC, what programs do you think I could be competitive for with the 2 years added relevant work experience? Any input on possible funding possibilities from individual schools would useful as well.
 
I would appreciate any input. Thanks!
Edited by regtech5

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Regtech5, when you mention 'PC', do you mean Peace Corps? I'm a little confused about your application timeline (you're currently finishing up AmeriCorps but considering going into the Peace Corps?), but either way, I think assuming focused SoPs and good recommendations, your application could be super solid if you could just get up the GRE scores a little bit. You may still get into some good schools, who knows?! At the same time, you'd stand a really good chance at getting some funding if (along with the solid SoPs/recommendations I mentioned) if you got your GRE scores up to at least high 150s/low 160s for verbal and quant. Of course, there are no hard and fast rules with respect to GRE scores and you may well get funding with your current scores, but at this point, if there's any one thing I would be doing to make my application competitive, it'd be studying to retake the GRE since you have time!

 

Pickering and Rangel are great opportunities to fund your education at get you a great job after graduating. At the same time, they don't always cover 100% of the cost to go to grad school, so it's definitely worth putting the effort into your grad school applications to try and get funding from the schools themselves (and a lot of schools DO have funding to give out to applicants who are committed to public service)!

 

Best of luck with your app process, and let me know if there's anything I can do to help.

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Thanks ajak568!

Yes, I meant Peace Corps for PC. I will finish AmeriCorps sometime between May-June 2016 and I will apply to grad schools for Fall 2016 admission unless I can't raise my GRE scores high enough that I think I can be competitive for Rangel, Pickering, and admission. If I can't raise the scores high enough, I will serve in the Peace Corps for 1 term of service and apply to grad schools for Fall 2018 admission.

Congrats on Rangel, and good luck at WWS. I will let you know if I have any more questions on Rangel, Pickering, or grad apps.

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Thanks ajak568!

Yes, I meant Peace Corps for PC. I will finish AmeriCorps sometime between May-June 2016 and I will apply to grad schools for Fall 2016 admission unless I can't raise my GRE scores high enough that I think I can be competitive for Rangel, Pickering, and admission. If I can't raise the scores high enough, I will serve in the Peace Corps for 1 term of service and apply to grad schools for Fall 2018 admission.

Congrats on Rangel, and good luck at WWS. I will let you know if I have any more questions on Rangel, Pickering, or grad apps.

 

Hey, I did similarly on the GRE and have been selected as a finalist for Pickering. I think given your experiences, you're still a competitive candidate for the fellowships!

Edited by ZebraFinch

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Thanks for the input ZebraFinch. I'll strongly consider applying next year then for schools and the FSO fellowships!

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Thanks for the input ZebraFinch. I'll strongly consider applying next year then for schools and the FSO fellowships!

 

You still have time to re-take it, so I'd re-take at least for the peace of mind aspect, but if the scores don't improve by a lot, I wouldn't lose all hope

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Hi Everyone, 1st time poster here.
 
Schools Applying To: Columbia SIPA (MPA), Penn Fels, Cornell [CIPA], Michigan Ford, Texas LBJ (MPAff), Pitt GSPIA (MPA)
Considering Also Applying To: Chicago Harris, CMU Heinz, NYU Wagner
 
UG Institution: University of Southern California
Years Out of UG: 3 or 5
UG GPA: 3.5
Undergraduate Focuses: International Business (major), East Asian Area Studies (minor)
 
Quantitative coursework:
Calc 1: A-
Calc 2: A-
Intro Stat 1: B
Intro Stat 2: A

Stat and Prob (Math dept): A

Intermed Stat for Business: A

Intro Macroecon (Honors): A
Intro Microecon (Honors): A
Intermed Macroecon: A-
Intermed Microecon: A

 

Study Abroad: semester in Singapore, semester in South Korea, semester in Hong Kong
 
Relevant Student Activities:
A. Host for exchange students (2 semesters)
B. Host for international students in USC business case competition (1 semester)
C. Event staff at Asia/Pacific Business Outlook Conference (1 semester)

D. Member of 2 Asian cultural organizations (1 semester)

 
GRE (scores will expire and I will retake): 
Q: 149
V: 151
AW: 4.0
 
Post-Grad Work Experience:
A. Post-grad marketing internship for fruit distribution company in Jakarta (2 months)
B. Clerical/customer service position in small healthcare services company (13 months)
C. AmeriCorps VISTA position in higher ed - youth development or community economic development (12 months - currently applying)
D. [Possible] Peace Corps (1 term: 27 months - will not have if I can get a Rangel or Pickering Fellowship if applying after 1 year in AmeriCorps)
 
Foreign language skills:
Korean - elementary proficiency
 
SoP:
About my desire to become a FSO-Public Diplomacy (Cultural or Public Affairs Officer) and how I would also consider working for UNESCO afterward for its culture or information programs. I am applying for Rangel and Pickering fellowships (I am a 1st generation college grad from a low-income background)
 
LoR:
Will be from a combination of professors from USC/study abroad programs and professionals from AmeriCorps/Peace Corps work (getting enough letters will not be an issue when applying but I cannot assess strength for all recommenders)
 
If I decide to apply after 1 year of AmeriCorps, what programs do you think I could be competitive for? I do not know what my new GRE scores will be, but I always score terribly on standardized tests, regardless of preparation or tutoring. I plan to retaking the GRE after 6 months preparation and again after 6 months - 1 year more preparation if I don't have the scores to apply to a good program before I would plan to start PC.
 
I want to start a Foreign Service career ASAP, so I would rather start grad school in the fall in 1 year than in 3 after PC, and my goal is to get into as good of a brand name school with as little debt as possible, in case I have the chance to work for UNESCO in the future and decide to leave the FS for IGO work. I will not be going to grad school without a Rangel or Pickering Fellowship to guarantee me a FSO job after graduation because I can't justify a master's degree and the cost otherwise, for me personally.
 
Also, if I end up applying after PC, what programs do you think I could be competitive for with the 2 years added relevant work experience? Any input on possible funding possibilities from individual schools would useful as well.
 
I would appreciate any input. Thanks!

 

 

 

Your profile looks really strong and competitive. Yeah could retake the GRE once more but I honestly think you'd be fine applying with the scores you have and not doing PC! You have a strong quant background and international experience. Good luck! 

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Hello - planning to apply this fall. Feedback appreciated.

 

Program: MPP/MPA with IR/Dev focus/IR Masters with Dev focus

 

Schools being considered: SFS, SAIS, SIPA, HKS, WWS, Fletcher (...I know)

 

Major: Government

 

GPA: over 3.4, higher in major, upward trend, graduated with honorable mention

 

GRE: 160/160/5.0, don't want to retake

 

UG school: Top 5 LAC

 

Years since UG: 4

 

Work experience: 1 year consulting (not the fancy type), 2 years (non-English) teaching at a university in China through a fellowship, 18+ months worth of relevant internships (think tanks and NGOs mostly, some big names, some lesser-known ones), have published over 10 articles directly and indirectly related to my field. Lots of experience across continents and in various countries.

 

Coursework: minor in economics so I have all the bases covered, calculus and algebra, all around the B range

 

Language: fluent in 3 UN languages, advanced Mandarin. I play with duolingo and rosetta stone to learn the "less useful" languages for fun.

 

SoP:  non-existent as of now, should be able to figure something out.

 

LoR: not 100% decided yet, but should be 2 recent supervisors who can speak to my research interests and commitment to public service, 1 college prof in my field. Should be strong

 

Other: I'm a minority? 

Edited by meowthtsetung

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Meowthtsetung, if you can pull out a rock solid Statement of Purpose and articulate what you're looking for in a graduate program, how the programs to which you're applying fit into your personal and professional goals and why you would be a good candidate for the position--I think your applications will be competitive at all of those schools. You never know until decisions come back (seriously, it's a little bit of a crapshoot), but I think you've got a shot! Definitely work on those SoPs to give yourself the best shot.

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Program: MPP/MPA

 

Schools being considered: Harvard, Princeton, Berkeley, NYU, etc.

 

Major: Poli Sci


GPA: 4.0. Awards for being the top student in a course and within my area of study.


GRE score: None yet (see first question below)

 

Years since undergrad: 2.5 when the program would start

Work experience:  Founder of a succesful but small and local non-profit; policy analyst for a local political party; legal researcher for a law firm; cross-cultural advisor at a university; creater of a succesful website which gives writing advice; English teacher to ESL students; manager of marketing at a company in which I helped develop a program later used by a major sports team.

 

Coursework: Mainly Poli Sci and Psych. No Economics or Math courses.

 

Language skills: I can read basic French and Dutch but speak them quite poorly.

 

Statement of Purpose: Focusing on interest in policy analysis, how that relates to what I've done, and what I'd like to do in the future (i.e. policy analysis/development/implementation for the government)

 

Letters of Recommendation: Two professors whose courses I excelled in and one employer.

 

Concerns: Minimal quantitative/econ-related coursework, no time abroad, and lacking in extensive research aside from what is typically done in undergrad.

 

I have a few questions:

 

1. What type of GRE scores would give me a realistic chance at HKS (my first choice) and other top schools? I haven't taken the GRE but I scored in the 99th percentile on the LSAT (was admitted to HLS, Columbia, NYU, and a few others for law but decided it wasn't for me) and based on my GRE studying I feel I'll be able to obtain farily good scores (though probably not 99th percentile and I suspect not higher than mid 90s on quant).

 

2. How badly will my lack of quantative experience and time abroad hurt my chances?

 

3. What stand out to you as the biggest drawbacks with my application?

 

Thank you!

Edited by quietman

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1. quietman, unless you bomb the GRE I think you should have a pretty decent chance. With a 99% in the LSAT you should be able to do well in the reading comprehension and writing, and quant is actually pretty low for public policy degrees (GRE scores in general are a bit low compared to other programs since the focus is more on experience.) Usually the "average" scores for these programs are around 162-166 for verbal, and 157-162 for math.

 

2. If you're applying to MPPs and not IR degrees, then time abroad isn't as valuable unless your goal is to work in an area that would require international expertise, so it shouldn't destroy your chances. As for quantitative experience, I would make up for it as much as you can by taking online courses, especially micro/macro. Studying for the GRE should help you refresh the math basics.

 

3. There is no way to say what your biggest drawback is without knowing why you want to get an MPP in addition to your JD and what you want to focus on more specifically. How you articulate what you want to do specifically, how your past experience supports what you want to do, and how the program will help you do it will either make or break your application. 

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Hi,

Thanks for offering your kind advice to potential applicants. I am an international student and would appreciate your view on my application as I know little about US schools and admissions.

 

Program: MPP/MPA

 

Schools being considered: SAIS, Goldman, Ford, Sanford, CMU Heinz, Price

 

Major: BA Economics with minor in Modern Languages from a public uni in Europe

GPA: 3.4

GRE score: V:162, Q:164, AWA: 4.5

 

Years since undergrad: 3.5 when the program would commence

Work experience:  3 year employment as Analyst with municipality, 1 year in sustainability planning and two years in local economic development. Two summer internships in Germany and Asia during my studies.

 

Coursework: Macro, micro, international econ, stats, calculus and language courses. I got mostly Bs.

 

Language skills: Fluent German, intermediate French and Chinese

 

International experience: Study Year Abroad in Germany, two summer internships abroad

 

Statement of Purpose: My interests are: Economic Development, Innovation Policy, Labor, Network Economics and Spatial Planning. I wish to improve my analytical skills (Stata, R), experience collaborative learning environment and apply my skills on a consulting project. The US format of government affairs schools would offer a transformational professional and educational experience compared to lecture/dissertation based format in Europe. I wish to build on my prior work and transition to policy analysis with government’s Commerce Department or Economic Development Agency. I have personal reasons as I come from an underdeveloped region with job and population loss as a result of structural problems.

 

Letters of Recommendation: Two professors and a supervisor

 

Other: Party member & volunteer in regional and national election campaigns (canvassing, organising events at local communities and working phone bank). Volunteer for food bank.

 

Concerns: Mundane profile (lack of top US education, awards or big name employment such as the UN), average grades, basic research skills, iffy funding, will adcom consider my non US qualifications as adequate?

 

1. Am I competitive for my target schools and any other schools that would also fit well with my focus?

 

2. Will my precarious funding raise red flags as I cannot pay full tuition? I have modest savings from employment after paying my student loan, but my country does not offer FAFSA and bank’s loan is capped.

 

3. How does Adcom decide on merit based scholarship? 

Edited by CakeTea

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Hi everyone...I've enjoyed reading about everyone's backgrounds and opinions of different schools over the past admissions cycle.  I'm taking your advice and starting the process early so I'd like to get your thoughts about my profile and chances to get into the schools below.  Thanks in advance!

 

Schools being considered: Duke Sanford, Columbia SIPA, Georgetown McCourt, GW Trachtenberg

 

Undergrad Institution: Top 20 public university in the US

 

Major: Political Science

 

GPA: Overall GPA: 3.45; Major GPA 3.1

 

Graduate Work:  Professional online program in Business and Organizational Security (haven't completed final thesis course), 3.8 GPA thus far.

 

GRE: 156V, 154Q, 4.5 AW

 

Years since undergrad: 8 (at time of admission)

 

Work experience since graduation: I've been on Active Duty in the Army since I graduated but will be getting out before school starts. I'm an officer, with a combat deployment to Iraq and humanitarian deployments to Indonesia and a South Pacific developing nation. Deployments focused on stability operations, more specifically relationship building between US, host-nation military/govt and civilians as a deterrent to hostile influence; analysis of basic services provided by host-nation government in relation to overall stability; disaster response relationships between host-nation governments, NGOs/IGOs and civilians.

 

Coursework: Intro to Macroeconomics; Statistics

 

Language skills: Basic proficiency in Mandarin, Spanish; Took 3 semesters of Italian in college.

 

SOP: Insert cliche "It's going to be strong" statement here.  But really, I want to focus on how my military and leadership experience has impacted my analytical abilities and subsequent views of policy development.  I don't have a lot of formal quantitative analytical training but instead take a pragmatic, effects-based approach to the world.  But that's exactly why I'd like to have some quant training versus attending a MPA/Management/Leadership program of study.  I'm going to look at specific programs at each school and tailor it to them as best as I can.  Programs that focus on the Practicum/Capstone projects for real-world clients are a huge plus for me.  

 

LORs:  Will likely get 2 from past supervisors and maybe a third from an old professor that I'm FB friends with (not in the Policy field)...I didn't maintain many relationships with instructors during Undergrad.  Anyone have tips on reaching out to old professors who don't remember who you are?  Could also get one from a former co-worker/subordinate who is much older and experienced than me, hopefully to highlight leadership and competency.  

 

Concerns:  Mediocre GRE scores and undergrad GPA; I'm hoping my work experience will make up for that.  As far as policy goes, I'm fairly undecided in a specialization at the moment, but I've got a few months to decide. I've always been more of a generalist and enjoy jumping around between different areas, though I feel that might come back to haunt me if I don't find a specific path to take.  I do like to explore the more uncommon links between different policy areas and security policy.

 

Like many, I put a lot of pressure on myself and probably undervalue my experience.  My significant work experience in the Army has touched everything from operations and intelligence to human resources and logistics.  I have a lot of opinions on things but would like to improve my analytical skills to argue those opinions.

Edited by mpp2016

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Hi Everyone,

 

I will be applying to MPP/ JD joint degree programs for 2016-2017. (T14, Vanderbilt, and the ivies)

 

I am currently a Teach for America corps member, and I am trying to decide between two fellowship opportunities for next year. I am curious about the fellowships impact on admissions decisions and any information you have on how well they prepare candidates for success in graduate school. 

 
The options I am looking at include the CBYX (Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals) and the Fulbright ETA in Germany. With the CBYX program I would have a semester of public policy classes and an internship with a leading researcher on educational initiatives to combat racism and right-wing extremism at the Center for Applied politics. (A think tank affiliated with the University of Munich) I am interested in the intersection of education, law and policy, and each of these programs would provide me with hands-on experience with both sectors, in addition to exposure to how the two work together.
 
Also, I can't defer either program, and I have hit the age cap for CBYX after this year. I know the Fulbright name carries a lot of weight, but that the English Teaching Assistantship is not exactly viewed like a research grant. I could also reapply for the research later. 
 
I'd love to hear your thoughts! Thanks in advance!

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Hello everyone! This is my first post, would really appreciate feedback as I am at a lost of what to do. I had just decided to not go for an MBA and pursue what I really like- International Relations! I am planning to apply this year.

 

 

 

 

 

Program: MIA

 

Schools considered: SAIS (nanjing and also the regular program), Fletcher, UCSD, SFS, SIPA, and still looking at others as well

 

Major: Journalism and Mass Comm with focus in PR. 

 

GPA: 3.90 - Outstanding undergrad of the year, top 10%

 

GRE: 150v/147q/4.0w, I took the GRE twice my first score was 152/145/3.5. I just can't seem to get a good score and I am getting depressed over my scores. I don't think I will take it again. Thoughts?

 

 

Undergrad school: Arizona state, J-Program is top 10 in nation

 

Years since UG: 1.5 years

 

Work experience: 1.5 years in Tech blog site doing community outreach/ PR, created marketing campaign for city government arts commission in Arizona ( 5mth duration), 9 months intern at Film studio PR firm with big clients like Disney/Universal, have published articles- mostly tech related

 

 

Coursework: minor in special event management, cert in international business -did all required econs.  Only took up to college algebra.

 

Language: fluent Mandarin, Taiwanese. Can read Japanese, understand most Korean. 

 

SoP:  Dreading it.

 

LoR: My supervisor from tech blog site who is pretty big in the tech community, probably PR campaigns professor, not sure who else is good :(

 

Other: I'm international, but stayed in US for most of my life. Minority as well

 

Really appreciate feedback! Thanks in advance!

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Hello everyone! This is my first post, would really appreciate feedback as I am at a lost of what to do. I had just decided to not go for an MBA and pursue what I really like- International Relations! I am planning to apply this year.

 

 

 

 

 

Program: MIA

 

Schools considered: SAIS (nanjing and also the regular program), Fletcher, UCSD, SFS, SIPA, and still looking at others as well

 

Major: Journalism and Mass Comm with focus in PR. 

 

GPA: 3.90 - Outstanding undergrad of the year, top 10%

 

GRE: 150v/147q/4.0w, I took the GRE twice my first score was 152/145/3.5. I just can't seem to get a good score and I am getting depressed over my scores. I don't think I will take it again. Thoughts?

 

 

Undergrad school: Arizona state, J-Program is top 10 in nation

 

Years since UG: 1.5 years

 

Work experience: 1.5 years in Tech blog site doing community outreach/ PR, created marketing campaign for city government arts commission in Arizona ( 5mth duration), 9 months intern at Film studio PR firm with big clients like Disney/Universal, have published articles- mostly tech related

 

 

Coursework: minor in special event management, cert in international business -did all required econs.  Only took up to college algebra.

 

Language: fluent Mandarin, Taiwanese. Can read Japanese, understand most Korean. 

 

SoP:  Dreading it.

 

LoR: My supervisor from tech blog site who is pretty big in the tech community, probably PR campaigns professor, not sure who else is good :(

 

Other: I'm international, but stayed in US for most of my life. Minority as well

 

Really appreciate feedback! Thanks in advance!

 

 

Do you have any international experiences, even as an international student in the U.S.? 

 

Also, don't freak out so much about your GRE scores. It's really a holistic approach. This forum makes it seem like you need a perfect scores on the GRE to get into any top program, but it's not true. You should try to get your scores up but don't kill yourself over it. It's good that you've dabbled in a lot of strategic languages and that you have the business certificate, which means you'll be able to handle the quant coursework. 

 

What are your goals after completing the MIA degree? 

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Do you have any international experiences, even as an international student in the U.S.? 

 

Also, don't freak out so much about your GRE scores. It's really a holistic approach. This forum makes it seem like you need a perfect scores on the GRE to get into any top program, but it's not true. You should try to get your scores up but don't kill yourself over it. It's good that you've dabbled in a lot of strategic languages and that you have the business certificate, which means you'll be able to handle the quant coursework. 

 

What are your goals after completing the MIA degree? 

 

Sadly I don't have any international experiences, but I am now in Singapore planning to take on a job that hopefully can help me. Do you have any suggestions for me while I prepare for my applications this year? Will volunteering help?

 

I would like to work for an NGO, UN or as a FSO. I just love working with people with different cultures and sadly because I am international I cannot join the Peace Corps or Teach for America :( 

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Program: MIA

 

Schools considered: SAIS, Maxwell, SIPA, Georgetown, American SIS, GWU Elliott, CEU SPP and Pitt GSPIA

 

Major: International Studies/Political Science

 

GPA: 3.00 (3.4 in major)

 

GRE: NA, figuring what score I could need to help offset GPA.

 

Undergrad school: Large Midwest School

 

Years since UG: 2.5 years by the time I apply

 

Work experience: 0.5 years doing a disarmament internship for UN NGO at UN HQ, 0.5 years marketing, 0.5 years writing in advocacy NGO,

two summer research projects with professors, currently working remotely doing military analysis for a NGO

 

Coursework: Statistics, want to re-enroll next year to take econ.

 

Language: Intermediate German and Spanish

 

SoP:  I know everyone says their's are "great" but I plan on spending this summer writing them out and tailoring my focuses in each program.

 

LoR: One from my undergrad IS director, one from a professor I know well and one from my former supervisor at my UN internship

 

Other: I did well in a student public policy competition I entered (Went up against students from Ivy League Schools), so that should be a good boost. Heavily involved with Model UN at my University while an undergrad. Currently a volunteer with a few different disarmament organizations that I help remotely. I staff around three Model UN conferences as well and hold senior rolls in each.

 

My main question is, what type of GRE scores do you think I should aim for? I believe I have a strong work, volunteer and research background so I want to try to really develop good SOP so I can be considered for funding. I know my GPA is a set-back so what GRE scores could maybe help offset that?

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Your stats are quite similar to mine. Did you apply for this cycle or are you applying next cycle?

 

I can only speak of LSE but from what I have seen they don't put too much emphasis on work experience so as long as you have good grades (which you do) in a relevant field you should be good. I think Oxford might be a bit more rigid and want GPAs above 3.8 but you are very close so with the right letters of rec and personal statement, you can definitely get in!!

 

If you did apply this cycle, did you hear back from any schools? Best of luck to you! :)

I got into Columbia's Human Rights Studies program and actually decided to pull my Oxford app (thinking a policy degree may be best for after an MA). Still deciding whether to accept.

Best of luck to you too! Where did you apply?

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Hi everyone! I'm planning on applying to several China studies/security studies programs in the Washington DC area. I'm a rising senior in college and have yet to take the GRE, but I was wondering if you think my academic experiences/work experiences are on track. Thanks so much!

Schools: Georgetown SSP (concentration in military operations), SAIS (Dual Concentration in China Studies and Security Studies), Elliot, SIS. Are there more schools that you would recommend looking at for China Studies and Strategic Studies?

Undergraduate institution: Top 40

Undergraduate Major: Government, Hispanic Studies minor

Undergraduate GPA: 3.77 overall, 3.89 in Government

GRE: Took a practice test. 160 V, 160 Q

Years Out of Undergrad: 0 years

Years of Work Experience: 2 years

Describe Relevant Work Experience:

Internship - US Overseas Private Investment Corporation: 3 months (extensive economic analysis and quantitative work)

Teaching English in Taiwan: 5 months

State Department Virtual Internship: 10 months

Internship - US government agency A: 3 months

Internship - US government agency B: 5 months

Research Volunteer - Air Combat Command/IA: 5 months (brainstormed ideas on how to improve USAF RAS/PAS officer training programs, presented my findings orally to more than 10 USAF senior officials and drafted a policy brief regarding my recommendations)

College Student Assembly: 2.5 years (promote town town relations, speak in front of the city council to advocate for student rights and housing reforms, event planning and management)

Internship - State Legislature: 2 months

Internship - US Senate: 3 months

Languages:

English: Native

Mandarin Chinese: Functionally Native (can read simplified and traditional)

Spanish: Full Professional Proficiency

French: Intermediate

Taiwanese Hokkien: Limited

Quant:

Took several AP courses in high school, received As and high Bs on all of them. 5s on AP exams in Statistics, Calculus, and Macroecon.

College coursework:

Economics and National Security (A)

Introduction to Microecon (B+)

Intermediate Macroecon ( B )

Awards:

NSEP Boren Scholarship

Member, US National Language Service Corps

Other:

Born in China

First generation immigrant and naturalized US citizen

SOP: Focused on how my parents' activism at Tiananmen Square inspired me to pursue a career in US China relations and how I became interested in military analysis during my internships with the US government and study abroad experiences in Taiwan. My research interests mostly have to do with Chinese military strategies and the People's Liberation Army.

LOR: 1 from a senior Foreign Service Officer who has served in China, 1 from a prominent, retired intelligence officer who is also a professor at my school, 1 from an international relations professor at my school who knows me really well.

Questions:

- Do you think I have a shot at Georgetown's security studies program right out of undergrad?

- Are there any other great China studies programs that you would recommend applying to?

Edited by DehJayster

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