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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!

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?

 

Your academic and internship experiences seem very focused and on track. You obviously have a strong focus and know exactly what you want to study, which is great. To me, I think the question now is what you will get out of attending graduate school versus going into full-time work after undergrad. I think at this stage, there's not much you can get out of graduate school that you can't get before you graduate. In other words, since you have another year of school left, you can take some electives in policy, perhaps statistics, and defense/military studies and East Asian studies. 

 

You can get a taste of work experience from doing many internships, as you have, but it's not a substitute for full-time work. Even though you have a specific idea of what you want to study, I would still suggest you get a few years of work experience, figure out what exact sort of field you want to work in, and understand what it's like to do that work with a long time horizon, so you can know whether you want to commit to it for 10 or 15 years as a career. For example, you could end up going into advocacy or lobbying with your interests, or go the research and think tank route, or become an academic, or go into consulting, or go Foreign Service, etc. etc., but work experience can best tell you which route to go (or not go). 

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My first question is regarding GRE scores. I took it twice and scored pretty similarly. I was wondering if anyone had insight as to if one score looks better than the other or if the difference does not amount to much. Thanks.

 

First Test: 162Q, 156V, 4 AW

Second Test: 159Q, 161V, 4.5 AW

 

Still very early on in my process but figured I would post my "am I competitive" since I am on here.
 

Program: MPA

 

Schools considered: Princeton WWS, HKS, Georgetown, others TBD

 

Major: Human Resource Management (I know, very random) from  Rutgers

 

GPA: 3.8 (Good GPA, very easy major)

 

GRE: Please see questions above First Test: 162Q, 156V, 4AW      Second test: 159Q, 161V, 4.5AW

 

Undergrad school: Rutgers

 

Years since UG: 2 as of today 

 

Work experience: 2 years working for a Congressman. Worked in district managing his community affairs. Deputy campaign manager on his reelection campaign. Moved to DC to work for him last month

 

Coursework: My biggest concern. I took Stats 101, Micro, and standard calc, but it wasn't required for my major so I did not take many classes

 

Language: Very basic Spanish, trying to learn more (just bought Rosetta Stone)

 

SoP:  TBD

 

LoR: My boss, a US Congressman. I am all set with other ones but academic one may be a challenge

 

Other: I am on my local planning board and a mentor in Big Brothers Big Sisters

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Hi everyone! This is my first post, I'm really happy to have stumbled on this site! I just graduated (literally three weeks ago—still mourning the loss of my undergraduate lifestyle), and I just wanted to gauge my chances. I've not been very focused in terms of work experience or internships and I'd been debating which field I wanted to go in, but I think I've decided that an international career, perhaps in an NGO, is for me. Would greatly appreciate any and all feedback!

 

Program: MIA

 

Schools considered: my top choice is The Graduate Institute, Geneva; I'm thinking as well about Sciencespo

 

Major: Political Science, Theology

 

GPA: 3.99 (one of the top ranking students in the graduating class)

 

GRE: Since I'm mainly applying to European schools, I won't need to submit GRE scores. Will still be taking it in a few weeks anyway, though.

 

Undergrad school: Notre Dame

 

Study abroad: Spent a full year in France

 

Years since undergrad: just graduated

 

Work/internship experience: Definitely the weakest part of my application. I spent two months teaching English in a developing country. Other than that I've worked at a summer camp.

 

Coursework: Roughly one-fourth of my classes were Political Science, one-fourth Theology, one-fourth French, and one-fourth general requirements. I took really easy math classes to fulfill my schools' graduation requirements, and haven't done micro or macroecon.

 

Language: advanced-level (C1) French

 

SoP:  I have a history of writing really strong statements of purpose.

 

LoR: Professor who specializes in Irish politics, plus the director of my study abroad program in France. I also know a lot of theology professors who would recommend me, but I'm not sure if their letters would help an application in International Affairs.

 

Concerns: Definitely think my strongest asset is my GPA. Wish I had done more internships/been involved more in advocacy during undergrad, but I didn't think to do that during most of my undergraduate career—I was mostly testing the waters, trying different things (theatre, church work, singing, etc) to see which one I'd want to go into. I don't regret that but my lack of focused internship/work experience does put me at a disadvantage.

Edited by vanatrick
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Hi everyone I am a rising senior about to apply to graduate school. My GPA has been a concern for me, and I wanted to see if it will prevent me from getting into a PhD program in neuroscience.

 

Program applying to: Neuroscience PhD program

 

Schools considered: Drexel University (#1 choice, has been for a couple years), Temple University, University of Vermont, and a few others around the same academic level.

 

Major: Neuroscience and Psychology double, Biology minor

 

GPA: 3.20 (3.42 major GPA)

 

GRE: Only have taken a diagnostic practice test - 155 Q and V, 4.5 on essays. (with practice aiming to get it to about 161+

 

Undergrad school: Ursinus College, rigorous science program here.

 

Study abroad: None

 

Years since undergrad: Rising senior

 

Work/internship experience: I will graduate working in 3 research labs at once. 3 years in a neuropsychology lab, 2 years in a neurobiology lab with also summer research fellow on Parkinson's disease, and 1 year in an organic chemistry lab working with carbon-nanotubes and neurotransmitters. I also mentored a community college student through an HHMI grant. I am planning to work on an Honors project (not positive if I will get it so don't hold too much weight to it) in the neurobiology department, but if I don't get approved to work on honors then I will still continue my project anyways. I have presented at 6 or 7 conferences.

 

Coursework: Cell biology (C+), cellular neuroscience (A-), genetics (C+) behavioral neuroscience (A-), cognitive neuroscience( B ) organic chemistry (hard AF, C-), gen chem (A), psychopharmacology (A-). I will graduate also taking molecular biology and developmental neurobiology. I aim to get at least a B+ in developmental, and B+ in molecular. I feel my cellular neuroscience A will make up for my C+ in cell biology. I could have done much better in genetics and organic chem, but I am so busy that I didn't have time during those semesters to study as much as I would have liked to.    My psychopharm and cellular neuroscience classes were taken last semester, and my behavior was taken the semester prior. So those C+'s were from my freshman and sophomore years. My psychology classes I did well in, lowest grade in the major has been a B+. A+ in statistics. I have consistently outperformed my peers in my research labs in terms of dedication and time put into my projects. My professors all have written me outstanding LOR's.

 

SoP:  I can write very well

 

LoR: My LoR's will be very very strong from all three of my research advisers. I have completed 2 projects in my neuropsychology lab and one of them won 2nd place at a conference in Philadelphia (about 10 other schools were invited), and I will have completed a very involved project in my neurobiology lab (Parkinson's research), and I have a poster to present for my organic chemistry lab.

 

Concerns: Definitely think my strongest asset is my research experience, I feel 3 years of experience in 3 different labs is so helpful and not many other students can claim this. However, I feel that my GPA will prevent me from getting into a graduate program. Everything else about my application is extremely competitive. I do not know any other student who has been capable of doing maintaining a full course load, working in 3 research labs at the same time, working 3 jobs, and being on the executive board of 3 clubs on campus.

 

Other: I am the co-founder and co-president of my schools Neuroscience club, I am recruitment chair of my fraternity, I am an executive board member of a suicide prevention organization on campus. I am a senior fellow for my school, which means I work in the admissions office and interview seniors in high school who have applied to Ursinus. I also give families information sessions and tell them how to apply to Ursinus and then after that, I rate the student and give my opinion of it they should be admitted to Ursinus or not. I am the senior in charge of the Campus Safety office on campus, and I train new dispatchers and hold bi-weekly meetings as well. I am also a tour guide on campus. I have been invited multiple times to speak to the Board of Trustee's and I am on a first name basis with the Dean's of the campus because of how closely I work with them. The ONLY aspect of my application that is low is my 3.2 GPA, but I am a very busy student and I know if I didn't do anything else on campus that I could easy surpass a 3.6 GPA. I do not know any other student who can maintain a full course load and also been HEAVILY involved in all aspects of campus.

 

 

Am I competitive for graduate school? I interview very well.

Edited by brmcfarland
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Hi everyone I am a rising senior about to apply to graduate school. My GPA has been a concern for me, and I wanted to see if it will prevent me from getting into a PhD program in neuroscience.

 

 

@brmcfarland, this is the Government Affairs forum. Check the overall GradCafe forum to look for the discipline you're interested in!

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Program Applied To (MPA, MPP, IR, etc.): MPA/MPP

 

Schools Applying To: UC Berkeley MPP, Portland State MPA, U Washington MPA, U Michigan MPP, U Oregon MPA

 

Undergraduate institution: Low ranked CSU

Undergraduate GPA: Overall 3.5. Last two years was around 3.7.

Undergraduate Majors: English, Minor in ESL

GRE: In the process of studying. I'm scoring low in quant and OK on verbal.

Years Out of Undergrad (if applicable): By the end of the application cycle, 3 years.

Years of Work Experience: 3 years. I got lucky and worked immediately after my undergrad.

Describe Relevant Work Experience: By the end of the application cycle I will have worked 3 years at a mental health nonprofit. My first year was as a program assistant, one year as a case manager, and my last year will be as a supervisor managing a pilot program for foster youth. We are contracted by DCFS so I'm always in collaboration with county workers.

Languages: English. Some Spanish and Tagalog but not enough to brag about in a resume.

Quant: I'm math deficient. All I have in my transcript is a Math for English Majors and an Intro Stats class. I got an A and C respectively.

Strength of SOP: I haven't put much thought into it yet but I will probably talk about my varying experiences working in the field, organizing events for the community, and as a manager. I'll probably draw from my own experience of living in a single family household in a lower socioecomic neighborhood and draw parallels to the clients we serve. I understand that I should not make it a sob story but help admissions understand where I'm coming from and why I'm committed to this field.

Strength of LOR (be honest, describe the process, etc): Two of the letters will come from managers I work with at my organization who supervised me. They both have MSW's and I have pretty good relationships with both of them. The third letter will come from a professor who I took two classes with. One thing I’m worried about is that she is from the Communications department (different major) and only has a master’s degree. Regardless I had a pretty good relationship with her as well.

Other: By the end of the application period I will have two years volunteering at a suicide hotline, three years for the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books as an area captain, and one year volunteering for the agency I work for now when I was in my undergrad.
 
Thoughts? I'm realistic. My work experience and GPA is decent but I'm worried about my GRE scores, my lack of math courses taken, and my lower ranked UG (that I love by the way). Ultimately, my goal is to either be a city manager for a large city on the west coast or an executive director at a socioeconomic nonprofit. I'm primarily interested in the implementation of policy in social welfare, poverty, education and mental health services. I'm limited to the west coast but my fiance is open to me applying to east coast schools. This is contingent on whether or not I receive substantial funding. I know WWS is probably out of my reach but I'm willing to cross my fingers. I'm contemplating opting out of this application period and just apply for the 2017 school year but I'm eager to leave Los Angeles (born and raised but I really need a change of scenery).
 
Also, I'm planning on taking a couple of economics classes and hopefully calculus but I'm not holding my breath.
 
Any feedback would be great as I'm agonizing over the flaws in my application. Brutually honest responses are welcomed! :lol:

Edited by Forever In Debt
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Hi all, first time poster here. I'm planning to apply for fall 2016 entry and focus on international development and emerging economies.

 

Program (MPA, MPP, IR, etc.): MIA

 

Schools Applying To: SAIS, Georgetown, Fletcher, SIPA (maybe)

 

Undergraduate institution: Large, public university. Big 10 school

Undergraduate GPA: 3.42

Undergraduate Majors: Economics

GRE: TBD, studying now

Years Out of Undergrad (if applicable): 2.5 years

Years of Work Experience: 2.5 years

Describe Relevant Work Experience: Internship with US Embassy Rome, Economic Section. Internship with implementing partner on an economic growth project funded by USAID. Hired full-time to backstop that program upon graduation. Currently in Afghanistan doing technical implementation on the program and will be here until I go to grad school. It'll be over 18 months of field experience by the time of entry (fall 2016).

Languages: Beginner Italian. Intermediate French.

Quant:  Lots of economics courses, calculus, statistics, upper level econometrics

Strength of SOP: I just started thinking about it, but I want to stay in international development after grad school, so I will probably focus on tying grad school into the narrative of my development career and future goals (USAID FSO). Working on how to make it stand out from the masses of others that are aiming for international development.

Strength of LOR (be honest, describe the process, etc): Internship supervisor from Rome- current State FSO. COP for the USAID project I'm on. Vice President from current organization. All my professional references should be pretty strong, I've been promoted twice within the same organization in 2 years and earned a field position on my project. No academic references.

Concerns: My lack of an academic reference for starters- I went to a huge school and took my entire senior year in Europe so I've not been in contact with any of my professors for over 2 years. One bad semester in undergrad that really hurt my GPA overall and in major. Very concerned about that and how it'll be viewed by admissions committees. Minor concern for SAIS is their new interview process- do they conduct them via Skype for those based outside the States/will it seriously hurt my chances if I can't do one?

 

Any advice on ways to strengthen my application would be much appreciated!!

Edited by traveler91
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Hi!

 

I am wondering how competitive people think I could potentially be for the following programs (I have not seriously studied for the GRE at this point, so I am ommitting my rough scores... I am asking for comments primarily based on my applicant profile):

 

Fletcher (MALD)

HKS (MPP)

IA at SAIS/GU/SIPA

GA at Jackson

 

Sex: Male (LGBTQ)

Ethnicity: White

Age: 21 (entering senior year)

GPA: 3.8

 

Experience:

 

Host Country Affairs Intern at the Untied States Mission to the United Nations (current)

 

Research Assistant at the Darnal Award for Social Justice

• Conducted comparative effectiveness research
• Assisted in research on social justice issues occurring in Nepal in regard to Dalit rights 
• Participated in think tanks with the goal of improving dialogue and inspiring discourse on topics concerning social justice for Dalits via a web-based platform
 
Public Policy Intern at GMHC (formerly known as Gay Men's Health Crisis)
• Wrote an article titled "From Churches to Mosques: We Need to Include Every Faith Community in the Fight Against HIV", which focuses on the need to expand faith-based HIV prevention and treatment efforts to include Muslim communities due to current North African immigration flows. (this three-page single-spaced article is due to be published on June 25, 2015 in POZ Magazine)
• Interviewed GMHC clients 
• Drafted call-to-action letters addressed to New York State government leaders
• Drafted public comments on GMHC’s response to New York State’s Compassionate Care Act
 
Research Assocaite at the India China Institute
The Sacred Himalaya Initiative: Sacred Landscapes and Sustainable Futures, is a new Luce Foundation funded initiative which builds on the successes of the Everyday Religion and Sustainable Environments in the Himalaya (ERSEH) initiative. For the next three years (2014-2017), ICI will be working with a team of researchers from India, China, Nepal and the United States to study and document relationships between religion and ecology, sacred landscapes, pilgrimage routes and ecological, economic and cultural sustainability and resilience in the Himalaya.
 
Paralegal Intern at Children's Rights
• Executed data and factual research on child welfare systems
• Created memorandums of senate hearings that dealt with policy developments in the child welfare system
• Proofed and cite-checked legal documents
• Worked on creating an exhibit list and other trial preparatory materials
 
Policy Intern at the Midtown Community Court
• Drafted Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) for programs mandated by the Midtown Community Court through the Center for Court Innovation
• Co-Facilitated workshops for non-custodial fathers with the UPNEXT program for workforce development and fatherhood engagement 
• Updated and maintained Midtown Community Court Website
• Designed one-page materials to advertise programs offered by the Midtown Community Court
• Managed and maintained the Midtown Community Court Facebook page
 
Legal Intern at the New York City Criminal Court under Judge Felicia A. Mennin, A.J.S.C.
• Sat bench with Judge Felicia A. Mennin, A.J.S.C.
• Attended workshops on the New York Criminal Justice System
• Visited and attended trials at multiple courts throughout the five boroughs of New York City
- New York Criminal Court
- Kings County Criminal Court
- Red Hook Community Court
- Midtown Community Court
 
Academic Involvement:
Chair of University Student Government 
*successfully negotiated with the Board of Trustees to create two Student Trustee positions with full voting power
Member of the Disciplinary Review Panel at University
Member of the Security Advisory Committee at University
 
Honors:
Point Foundation Semifinalist (Point Foundation empowers promising LGBTQ students to achieve their full academic and leadership potential – despite the obstacles often put before them – to make a significant impact on society.)
University Student Leader of the Year for 2014-2015 Academic Year
Dean's List
College Scholarship
 
Volunteer Work:
2015 NYC AIDS Walk
 
Coursework (including first semester of senior year):
International Human Rights Law (graduate-level)
Critical Security Studies (graduate-level)
Displacement, Asylum, Migration (graduate-level)
Human Rights Research & Advocacy Methods (graduate-level)
Rights of the Accused
Spatial Thinking with GIS
Settler Colonialism, Indigenous Resurgence, and the Politics of Climate Justice
Justice & the American Trial Process
Seeking Refuge- Cambodia
Stealth Journalism
Web Coding for Interactive Design
News, Narrative, and Design 1 & 2
Global Economics
Microeconomics
Modern Political Theory
Encounternig Religious Pluarlism
French 1-3
French Grammar/Composition 1
Arts & Neuroscience
 
 
 
Thanks!

 

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Hi!

 

I am wondering how competitive people think I could potentially be for the following programs (I have not seriously studied for the GRE at this point, so I am ommitting my rough scores... I am asking for comments primarily based on my applicant profile):

 

Looks pretty strong. You have an interesting focus and probably a good strong and personal story to tell in your SOP. That being said, go get some full-time work experience. Come back after at least a year or two, preferably more. You're a strong applicant for entry-level positions, and your application can only benefit from some more focused experiences. It'll make grad school more meaningful for you, and you'll likely garner more funding because of it.

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Hello guys,

Thank you for reading this message. Please assign an acceptance percentage (assuming my essays are on point) to each of my schools listed below. Any other advice is welcomed.

 

Here are my stats:

 

Undergrad: Second Tier Ivy (Cornell, Brown, Upenn). Graduation date: 2013

BA: Political Science (International Politics focus); GPA: 3.67, Cumulative GPA: 3.60

GRE: Not yet taken..studying for 2 months. I am pretty good at standardized testing so I think that I will score a minimum range of (Q 153-160, V 155-162). Basically with my profile what GRE scores will make me "safe?"

Econ/Math: Just Principles of Econ in undergrad, and three "political economy" like classes (3As, 1 B. I was actually a quant guy before undergrad, so I am currently refreshing my math with the hope of taking Micro,Macro, and Multivariable Calc before I apply in November. Is the Calc necessary?

Work Experience: excluding undergrad internships: 1.75 at public sector consulting (doing a great deal of international disarmament/pandemic relief work; (think Deloitte, Accenture, Booz Allen).

Leadership: coach to youth development program, pro-bono nonprofit consultant.

Recommendations: 1 professor, 2 supervisors/bosses

Language: Proficient in Spanish, Beginner in French

 

Grad Schools --- I intend to study something political economy/international finance related. I plan to work in impact investing after graduation. Is an mba more relevant?

 

Reaches

 

WWS

HKS

SAIS

Yale Jackson

 

I think I am competitive schools

 

SIPA
SIS
GWU
Georgetown

CIPA

 

I think I will get in

 

Syracuse

Denver Korbel

 

Give as much advice as you can. Thanks again.

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Hi everyone.  Long time reader, first time poster.  I should note that I'm in the middle of my junior year at undergrad, so this post is not really to assess competitiveness but rather to temper expectations.  As in, "Why are you applying to this school/program?  You should apply to X instead."  I'm a non-traditional applicant with a good amount of work experience, but I'm very new at this grad school game.  I'm interested in intelligence and security studies programs, and have based my list around schools that either offer those kinds of programs, or have strong concentrations.

 

Program (MPA, MPP, IR, etc.): MPA, MPP, MIA

 

Schools Applying To: SAIS, Georgetown, GWU, SIPA (Maybe), Princeton, Harvard

 

Undergraduate institution: Columbia

Undergraduate GPA: 3.6

Undergraduate Majors: Middle East Studies

GRE: TBD.  I did merely okay on the SAT

Years Out of Undergrad (if applicable): Still attending

Years of Work Experience: 10 years

Describe Relevant Work Experience: Military intelligence analyst.  Multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, and one to Japan.  Could talk all day about the various analytical work I did there, but suffice it to say I covered a lot of topics and territories.  In Afghanistan I developed a training curriculum for one of the first Afghan National Army intelligence units, and trained several classes of analysts over the course of six months.  It was a very rewarding experience. 

Right now I'm working as an budget analysis intern for New York City.

Languages: Intermediate Persian (Iranian Persian and Tajik dialect)

Quant:  Light.  Macroeconomics and statistics.  I haven't worked up to Calculus yet, but I'll get there.

Strength of SOP: Hard to say for now, but I have a very clear idea of what I want to accomplish in the IC and can draw upon past experiences to substantiate it.  In the past, I've written SOPs for scholarships like FLAS and Critical Language Scholarship that were moderately succesful.

Strength of LOR (be honest, describe the process, etc): N/A

Concerns: My quant experience is light, which will probably hurt me at places like SAIS.  I'm concerned that I'm looking at the wrong programs.  For instance, when looking at HKS' website, I'm not certain if I should be applying for the MPP program or the mid-career program due to my work experience.  Similarly, I'm unsure if I should apply to Princeton's MPA program, or swing for the fences and try for their Security Studies PhD.

Edited by Oh no!
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Concerns: My quant experience is light, which will probably hurt me at places like SAIS.  I'm concerned that I'm looking at the wrong programs.  For instance, when looking at HKS' website, I'm not certain if I should be applying for the MPP program or the mid-career program due to my work experience.  Similarly, I'm unsure if I should apply to Princeton's MPA program, or swing for the fences and try for their Security Studies PhD.

 

 

I think you are in a fairly special position with your particular amount of work experience/ age/ life experience thus far, and while people on GradCafé may provide some insight, you would get much more helpful advice from people who are in your field or a similar position. I suggest reaching out to multiple schools on your list and ask to be connected with alums with significant military/ security studies experience, and also working your own connections to find ex-military folks who have similar degrees. Keep doing your homework on what individual programs offer, and combined with informational interviews with those people who have similar work/school experiences, you should be able to define more clearly for yourself what you want out of a grad school experience. It really depends on what you want to get out of grad school!

 

Don't worry as much about the quant stuff. If you got at least a B+ on microeconomics and statistics, you're good. If you got a B or under, consider re-taking for a higher grade. Even in my fairly quant-heavy MPP program, calculus is not really used, unless you are taking very advanced/specific quant classes. 

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Chocolatecheesecake, by Micreconomics, do you mean principles in microeconomics? Should I have that course done before I send in applications?

I took an AP course in microeconomics which I received a 3 in, so I got credit for it.  But I took intermediate micro in college and I got a C+.  This is one of the parts of my application I am most concerned with.  

Edited by sp108
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Yes, I do mean principles of microeconomics if that's the first entry-level course you take in economics. In general, you don't need to finish extra courses before you apply. If they're in progress or you're registered, grad schools will take it into account too. That being said, getting a C+ is a concern. Did you get a better grade in any other econ undergrad courses? If the C+ is all they see, you should re-take a basic microeconomics course, and personally, I would feel better if I could take it this fall and get an A- or A before I apply. Really great quant GRE score wouldn't hurt either. AP credit won't count for anything here.

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I guess my best option is to take a online course in principles in economics, thanks :)

 

I took 3 other economics courses (Econ Policy course, Intermediate Macro, Labor Economics) and I got 2 A's and 1 B. 

 

I am also currently enrolled as a non-degree graduate student at my local university where I am taking an international economics graduate course.

 

Some additional info - I graduated in 2011 with a 3.47 GPA but with over 164 credit hours of coursework.. my undergrad is in Finance and Accounting. I have a basic calc, stats, class covered. 

Edited by sp108
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Posted in the thread before but I really want to get an opinion on my profile. My GPA is weak but I really want to try to push myself to get a scholarship or assistantship. All advice is welcomed.

 

Program: MIA

 

Schools considered: Syracuse Maxwell, American SIS, GWU Elliott, Columbia SIPA, New School Milano, Brandeis Heller, NYU Wagner and Pitt GSPIA

 

Major: International Studies

 

GPA: 3.0 - (3.4 in major and 3.6 last two semesters)

 

GRE: 148q/156v/5.5aw  Scheduled to take it again October 1st

 

Undergrad school: Large Midwest Public University

 

Years since UG: 2 years

 

Work experience: 3 months internship at the UN with an NGO, 6 months election writing with political non-profit, 6 months research and business consulting for a non-profit startup for security affairs (remote), will be doing 1 year of Americorps VISTA for Resources Development

 

Coursework: Statistics (B+), Planning on taking Micro and Macro Econ this academic year

 

Language: Intermediate German, Elementary Spanish

 

SoP:  First drafts completed, working on getting fair input and tailoring it to the programs more specifically

 

LoR: Head of International Studies Department/Model UN Advisor, Professor I took many classes with and did well in, Work Manager

 

Other: Worked on various research projects, some of which were published

 

I REALLY want to try to push my application to be competitive for funding. SU Maxwell is actually the most attractive program to me right now and I have been working on their application materials first. Unless anyone else has an opinion, I think it might come down to how well I retake the GRE and my SOP.

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Hi all! I'm trying to narrow my list of schools down in this next week, and I'd love to do so based on my chances of getting in, because I think it'd be smart to not just fill up my application pool with reach schools.

 

Program: MPP/MPA

 

Schools considered: DEFINITELY: Berkeley, HKS, WWS PROBABLY: Chicago Harris, SIPA, Duke, Michigan MAYBE: American, CMU, GW, Minnesota, NYU, UCLA, USC, UT Austin, Wisconsin, Yale Jackson

 

NOTE: I know this is a HUGE number of schools, but like I said, I'm working on narrowing it down, probably to 8-12 in total, including my three definite applications.

 

Major: Politics/Near Eastern Studies

 

GPA: 3.5 (3.54 departmental, cum laude) (NOTE: Definitely not as high as I would have liked, but my college had grade deflation when I attended, which may or may not have played a role)

 

GRE: 170 V / 161 Q (unofficial; I just took it yesterday)

 

Undergrad school: Top-tier Ivy (HYP)

 

Years since UG: 1 year

 

Work experience: 1 year (going into 2nd year) doing Teach for America in a rural Southern placement area. I've been teaching high school science in one of the poorest counties in my state; one of the poorest overall in the country. Before I graduated, most of my summer or part-time work revolved around charter schools, education policy, and international studies.

 

Coursework: Statistics ( B ; Microeconomics (taking this summer)

 

Language: Intermediate Spanish, Intermediate Mandarin Chinese, Intermediate Arabic (Modern Standard + Egyptian Colloquial), and Intermediate Turkish

 

SoP:  Not drafted yet; will probably revolve around my interest in comparative social policy (particularly racial/ethnic inequality), which merges my academic focus in undergrad (more international bent) with my current work with TFA (more domestic bent).

 

LoR: Politics professor at my undergrad (advised some of my independent work; gave me an A plus, which my college highly discourages), TFA coach/manager, and I'm still thinking of the third one, but there's several professors who gave me good grades who I am considering

 

Other: I'm applying to a master's because I'm considering all of my career options (mainly public sector, social sector, and academia). I may want to jump ship from the academic life after two years of an MPP/MPA, but the current soft plan is to get a Ph.D. in either policy or politics, do research, write, publish, and maybe teach at a college or university (I do love teaching, just not necessarily science!). I've talked to a few schools, and they were enthusiastic about the idea of me getting a doctorate after the MPP. If anybody has any insight with policy academia, I'd love to hear your insight!

Edited by maybefuture2016er
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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello! What do you think about my profile? I would appreciate any feedback. My profile might be a bit unusual because I am a lawyer and I have no experience so far with the American higher education system (I’m Polish).  

 

Program: MPP/MPA

 

Schools considered: HKS and WWS

 

Education: Master of law

 

GPA: as we don't have GPA in Poland, this one might be a bit inaccurate. Got the average around 4.7 (on a scale from 2.0 to 5.0) and graduated summa cum laude (I was around top 10% of my class)

 

GRE: 163 V / 167 Q / 4.0 AW (note: I am quite OK with my quant and verbal scores but was really disappointed with the AW. Do you think I have chances with such score or should I try to improve it?)

 

School: top Polish law school (we don't need to go to undergrad school when pursuing master of law).

 

Years since graduating: 2 years

 

Work experience: 1 year in The Chancellery of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland (started as a volunteer, then promoted to the aide to the secretary of state in the Chancellery), 2 years in a top Polish law firm (intern, then junior associate), over 1 year in the European Space Agency in Holland (young graduate trainee, working in the contracts office)

 

Additional experience: 3+ years working as a volunteer in NGO (focused on preserving the works of one of Polish most famous poet); 5 years in student government on my university

 

Coursework (and quantitative experience): law and humanitarian affairs (post-graduate course). I have never had economics as a student, only course that was somewhat close was legal logic. I have taken 3 coursera courses (micro & macroeconomics, calculus and one on economics of transition in emerging markets) to improve my quant resume. Moreover, I have some work experience in the field – I worked for the Economic Council (top advisory body to the prime minister) where I was dealing with macroeconomics issues (like pensions) and also where I was preparing the daily economic bulletin. In addition, in my former law firm and in my current job I am also dealing with quant related issues.

 

Language: Polish (mother tongue), English, intermediate French

 

SoP:  I have some drafts, want to focus on reforming the financial system of local government in Poland (it is a subject of a big debate in my country). It is well-aligned with most of my experience up to date (I was working on this issue in the law firm with the author of the administrative reform in Poland and my thesis was also focused on it). Knowing how it works on the states' level in the US could be a good source of inspiration.

 

LoR: former Secretary of State in the Chancellery (who is currently the head of the anti-monopoly office), my thesis supervisor and either the head of the NGO I am working with (who happens to be a Harvard graduate) or my supervisor in the European Space Agency

 

Other: I am aware that my profile might not be strong enough to apply to HKS or WWS, but I really want to try. I am currently living abroad (in Holland) and my ultimate goal is to go to the US to get experience and then to use it in my home country. That's the general idea of my application to both schools. I would really appreciate your feedback and if you think that I don't have chances with applying to HKS and WWS, please don’t hesitate to say it.

Thanks in advance!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi everybody!

I was preparing to enter a history PhD program but while I was doing the cost analysis of that I became disillusioned. I am exploring other options. I want to use Russian, do research, have social interaction and feel meaningful at my job. My target is to make 50k within 5 years. Since this section of grad cafe is more career focused and includes experienced professionals, what are the industries and locations where I could do this kind of work? What are the requirements for these jobs? Should I get a masters degree? Which specialty and program? 

Program: Not sure, probably MIA, MPP, Security Studies

Schools considered: States schools with NRCs (National Resource Center) for Russian (FLAS funding), Yale/Stanford (NRCs), and DC schools (close to NGOs)

Major: History, Russian language & lit

GPA: 3.7

GRE: Don't remember. I think my verbal was in the 89% and I didn't care about the quantitative at the time. I remember being disappointed. 

Undergrad school: Top 70, large state school

Work experience: Mostly unrelated 

  • 4 month research assistant for Slavic (digital humanities related)
  • 1 year teaching assistant for Slavic (administrative heavy)
  • 3 month internship for international NGO (administrative)
  • 1 year teaching in Russia on a Fulbright
  • senior history thesis: economics in Uzbekistan 
  • Secretary of student organization
    • organized Human Trafficking Symposium, negotiated contracts, secured funding, booked room and publicized the event, speakers from the FBI came
    • implemented new program at homeless shelter
  • 1 year tutoring 1-3rd graders
  • 5 months tutoring Somali immigrants
  • volunteer at Holocaust museum
  • many customer service jobs, I worked through undergrad/high school 

Abroad experience:

  • Moscow: summer 2012, 2014 (Gilman, FLAS funded)
  • Russian Muslim Republic: Sept. 2014- June 2015 (Fulbright)

Coursework: Russian, Russian literature, Russian culture, digital humanities, history writing seminars, Russian history, a few political science courses

Language: Russian (advanced), just shy of full professional proficiency

Time since UG: 1 year

SoP:  I haven't done it yet. I have a written strong SoPs in the past. I want to go grad school to gain the statistical, political science, and policy analysis background I lacked in undergrad in order to secure a position in the federal government, FBI, or think tank. 

LoR: Head of Slavic department, visiting DoD professor in History department, Associate professor in History, Russian language instructor

Pluses: I have written several successful grants, worked abroad, kept high GPA while working and interning

Minuses: very little statistics/quantitative experience, few poli-sci courses

The major question is should I get more experience before considering graduate school? How do I get an entry level job in IR/security studies? Do I need to go to grad school to get these entry level positions? 

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Hello everyone! I am a rising senior about to apply to graduate school. I have several concerns about my chances but let me give you some basic information first:

 

Program applying to: MPP/MIA

 

Schools considered: HKS (this is the dream), SIPA, Jackson, Georgetown

 

Major: International Studies

 

GPA: 3.20 (It is a 3-years Bachelor degree in the a top Dutch uni. My GPA for the first year was 2.8. I had a very hard time adapting to the new environment (I am not Dutch) but I managed to improve during the second year and achieved an average GPA of 3.6)

 

GRE: Have just started preparing for it but I do believe that I am capable of reaching 158+ scores (no surprise, if I score much higher on the quant. section, but the verbal one will be a challenge)

 

Undergrad school: Leiden University, International Studies program.

 

Study abroad:  I am not from the Netherlands and I do my bachelor here, I guess that counts even though I am not planning on spending a semester abroad?

 

Years since undergrad: Rising senior

 

Work/internship experience: I have done 3 internships. I have used all the vacations I had from uni to do internships. At the Presidential Administration of my country of origin, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and at the Ministerial Council (Prime minister's office). However, two of them were monthlong and the third was two-month-long.

 

Coursework: Political sciences courses, Russian culture/history/language/economics/politics (specialized in this region), macroeconomics (barely passed it. Was during the 1st semester of the first year), microeconomics (will take it in my last semester)

 

Languages: French (Upper-intermediate), Russian (Upper-intermediate), Western Armenian (almost fluent/kind of native)

 

SoP:  Think I can write a decent one

 

LoR: I can get very strong LoRs. Especially professional ones. Can't decide who from my professors should I ask for an academic LoR. A professor, who I am convinced that will write an extremely strong LoR but whose subject is not very relevant (Russian language for example) or a professor, who I don't know that well but teaches a relevant course?

 

Extracurricular activities: 1 year member of the Advisory Board of the biggest student organization in my university and 1 year head of the same Advisory Board. Have spend 1 summer in Armenia studying the language and culture (I am Armenian myself but was born elsewhere and have never lived in Armenia). 

 

Concerns: My main concerns are connected with my GPA and my lack of professional experience.

I do realize that the admission process is quite subjective but I would really appreciate any feedback you can give me on my chances for admission. Thank you!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hello all, 

I feel like I've gotten pretty close to asking this question, but I'll ask it much more obviously since application season is, well, here in a lot of ways. I'm considering apply straight out of undergrad (despite advice from the forums), but I was hoping to get a more realistic picture of what I can expect (so I can make a more realistic decision). 

I have been working (through an internship at a local food nonprofit) and I have continuing through most of the Fall semester. After my official employment  is terminated I plan on continuing to volunteer. Most of the work I've been doing falls into 3 categories. 1.) Food Production. 2.) Community based outreach.  3.) Project coordination. Although it was not a large portion of our job, I did help with project coordination on some level. Yes, I never majorly designed a program or supervised one, but I have some experience with it. 

After I end my paid employment, I'm hoping to stay on and take more of an administrative/coordination role if possible, but I'm not sure to what capacity that would be since I have to get paid work as well. 

Other info: GPA: 3.5 cumulative; 3.3(ish) institutional at a mid-level state school. GRE: Still in the process of taking and practicing for. 

Although much of the (admissions) decision is pretty holistic between GPA/GRE/Work experience/SOP/Letters and you don't have access to GRE scores, but I was hoping to do an imaginary of what my application chances would be for application season in 2016. 

Schools I'm aiming toward: La Follette, Humphreys, Bush, Truman, Evans, Portland State. 

The schools fluctuate, but La Follette or Humphreys have consistently been the dream. In addition, getting fellowships/assistantships would be fairly critical. What are the (calculated) probabilities I could get into and get fellowships/assistantships at these schools (top 20) based on this resume, assuming GRE scores within the range of admissions? Advice for how to get into the range of getting assistantships at these schools if I'm not already?? Or is work experience really that overpowering?

Thanks y'all. 

 
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Program (MPA, MPP, IR, etc.): MPA, MPP, MIA

 

Schools Applying To: SAIS, Georgetown, GWU, SIPA, Tufts, Harvard,  

Undergraduate institution: Top 25 Private Liberals Arts College 

Undergraduate GPA: 3.33

Undergraduate Majors: Double Major: Russian & Eurasian Studies +  International Political Economy 

Study Abroad: Russia- 2011; Ukraine- 2010 

Participated in: Middlebury Davis School of Russian Immersion Program 

GRE: 162 V, 158 Q, 5.0 W 

Age: 26 


Years of Work Experience: 3

Describe Relevant Work Experience:

The summer before I finished college, I had an amazing internship working at AT&T's External Affairs department for a person very high up in the company.

After college, I obtained an internship at one of the most prestigious think-tanks in Washington during the Fall of 2012. After that, I obtained a research assistant position at another top think tank in Washington DC. After my year in DC, I joined the Peace Corps and am about 18 months into my service. 

Languages: Advanced skills in Russian, Intermediate skills in Georgian 

Quant:  My Quant experience is low and I am not a stellar math student. Though I do have experience as I did take multiple economics courses in college. 

Strength of SOP: Currently writing my SOPs right now. I feel that I am writing a very clear, very defined purpose of my graduate studies and I think the uniqueness of my vision for the future might make some of the schools strongly consider me. 

Strength of LOR: I will have strong recommendations from a professor and two from professionals, each of whom has worked with me in very different capacities.  

Concerns: Obviously, my GPA is a little low which does worry me. However, my GPA got stronger every year of college and I made the Dean's List my senior year. I did not really mature or come into my own until about my junior year of college. I think I compensate for the low GPA by my strong GRE scores, relevant and interesting work experience, LOR and my SOP. 

Other: While I am aware that perhaps my application might not be competitive enough for some of the schools to which I'm applying, I do have hope that one will overlook my undergraduate GPA and accept me based on the strength of the rest of my application. 

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Program (MPA, MPP, IR, etc.): IR or an MPP with a concentration in National Security issues. I am interested in particular grand strategy, counter-terrorism, things like 4GW, and the natsec policy making process. Have also devolped a side interest in politcal risk and international crime/corruption too.

I would like to work as a political consultant on international issues or as a legaslative aide on Capitol Hill.

Schools Applying To:  Georgetown SSP, George Mason MA in International Security,American SIS, GWU Elliot School, Kings College London War Studies, LSE International Relations, St. Andrews International Security, Syracuse Maxwell, Stanford, Princeton WWS, Yale Jackson, University of Chicago, Duke Sanford MPP, Michigan Ford School, Korbel,, and TAMU Bush School

Undergraduate institution: Large "up and coming" university on the East Coast

Undergraduate GPA: 3.45.

Undergraduate Majors: History major with minor(s) in International Studies and Intelligence Analysis

Study Abroad: Kings College London Summer School in between my Sophmore and Junior years.

GRE: Have not taken the GRE yet. I need to take it this spring in order to make the fall 2016 application season.

Age:  25(will be 26 when I enter)

Years of Work Experience: 3 and a half years(including internship experience)

Describe Relevant Work Experience: Interned for two foreign policy think tanks, and an armed forces advocacy organization.I also interned on Capitol Hill for a senior member of the House and for a national security commitee on one of the two chambers.

Since graduating I have been working in politics. I was a staffer on a Senate campaign in the Midwest, and recently worked for a poltical research firm in DC. I have also worked as a staffer on a local campagin and now work for one of the State Party's. I am planning on doing one more election cycle before grad school.

Languages: French and German

Quant: None . 

Strength of SOP: I plan to focus my SOP on my past academic and professional experenices and how it would meld/contribute to the various programs I am applying to.

Strength of LOR: I can count of letters of recommendations from at least two tenured professors who are well published in the areas I am interested in. I can probably get an LOR from an experienced professional who was one of the adjuncts at my school. In addition to the LOR’s I can receive from people I’ve done work for as well.

Concerns: A little worried about my GPA for some top programs. Very concerned about my poor quant background as I am weak in this subject. I expect to preform very strongly on the writing and verbal parts of the GRE but underwelmingly to say the least on the qaunt part.

Other:  In college I helped in the founding of a foreign policy club and was an officer in another.

Edited by Kevin1990
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Program (MPA(affairs)/MPP)

Schools Applying To:  Princeton WWS, Harvard HKS, and UC-Berkeley Goldman

Undergraduate institution: The New School

Undergraduate GPA: 3.8 (includes average 3.8 on 5 graduate courses taken during undergrad, which include 'International Human Rights Law', 'Critical Security Studies', 'Social Entrepreneurship', 'Displacement, Asylum, and Migration, and Human Rights Research and Advocacy Methods')

Undergraduate Majors: Global Studies (Rights, Justice, Governance) with minor in Journalism + Design

GRE: I am taking it soon. Currently scoring around 155-158 quant and 158-162 verbal on practice tests. 

Age:  22 when entering

Years of Work Experience: None, but 'prestigious' internships

Published Work: Hurwitz, Storm. "From Churches to Mosques: We Need to Include Every Faith Community in the Fight Against HIV." Poz Magazine, 2015.

Describe Relevant Work Experience: 

-Global Strategy Intern, DoSomething.org (part-time internship where I managed a strategic partnership with a not-for-profit in Ghana, designed and created a Global Youth Advisory Board, surveyed 100,000+ members on global systemic issues and presented a DoSomething.org action plan, and created all global response campaigns)

-Host Country Affairs Intern, United States Mission to the United Nations (full-time internship where I archived 4,000 pages of documents and created a memorandum that is serving as guidance for US Ambassadors regarding Travel Restrictions placed on DPRK, Cuba, Syria, Iran, Russia, and PRC) 

-Assistant Producer of University Showcases, Telsey + Company Casting (part-time job for over 2 years)

-Crisis Counselor, Crisis Text Line (certified Crisis Counselor with over 30 hours of training. Serve as a Crisis Counselor weekly)

-Public Policy & Affairs Intern, Gay Men's Health Crisis (wrote public comments on the NY Medical Marijuana Bill)

-Paralegal Intern, Children's Rights

-Legal Intern under Judge Felicia A. Mennin, A.J.S.C., New York City Criminal Court

-Policy Intern, Midtown Community Court

Languages: French (intermediate)

Quant: Micro, Macro, Stats with SPSS, Quant. Methods

Strength of SOP: I plan to focus my SOP on my experience on insight gained from co-facilitating cognitive behavioral group therapy with ex-convict and non-custodial fathers and interviews conducted with GMHC clients, who were HIV positive. My SOP is focused on my desire to move into Domestic Policy (Urban/Health/LGBTQ-focused). 

Strength of LOR: 

LOR 1: The Chief of the Counterterrorism & Sanctions Unit @ US Mission to the UN, a WWS alum, who negotiated the Iran Nuclear Deal with Kerry (known for over 1 year will use for all applications)

LOR 2: The Chief of the Research Unit @ US Mission to the UN, a UC-Berk a PhD alum (for UC-Berk app)

LOR 3: Director of Public Policy & Affairs @ Gay Men's Health Crisis, an MPA alum (will write LOR for HKS/WWS)

LOR 4: Professor of Legal Studies @ The New School, wife of the President of TNS and past-director of Int'l Human Rights Law Clinic at Northwestern Law School (Will write academic LOR for WWS/UC-Berk)

LOR 5: Professor of Religious Studies @ The New School, Harvard Divinity Alum (will write academic LOR for HKS)


Concerns: Lack of full-time work experience. GRE scores being below median. 

Other: Semi-finalist for Point Foundation (re-applying this year), Co-Chair of University Government, member of University Security Advisory Committee, University-wide Student Leader of the Year Award, and  member of the University Disciplinary Review Panel

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Program (MPA(affairs)/MPP)

Schools Applying To:  Princeton WWS, Harvard HKS, and UC-Berkeley Goldman

Undergraduate institution: The New School

Undergraduate GPA: 3.8 (includes average 3.8 on 5 graduate courses taken during undergrad, which include 'International Human Rights Law', 'Critical Security Studies', 'Social Entrepreneurship', 'Displacement, Asylum, and Migration, and Human Rights Research and Advocacy Methods')

Undergraduate Majors: Global Studies (Rights, Justice, Governance) with minor in Journalism + Design

GRE: I am taking it soon. Currently scoring around 155-158 quant and 158-162 verbal on practice tests. 

Age:  22 when entering

Years of Work Experience: None, but 'prestigious' internships

Published Work: Hurwitz, Storm. "From Churches to Mosques: We Need to Include Every Faith Community in the Fight Against HIV." Poz Magazine, 2015.

Describe Relevant Work Experience: 

-Global Strategy Intern, DoSomething.org (part-time internship where I managed a strategic partnership with a not-for-profit in Ghana, designed and created a Global Youth Advisory Board, surveyed 100,000+ members on global systemic issues and presented a DoSomething.org action plan, and created all global response campaigns)

-Host Country Affairs Intern, United States Mission to the United Nations (full-time internship where I archived 4,000 pages of documents and created a memorandum that is serving as guidance for US Ambassadors regarding Travel Restrictions placed on DPRK, Cuba, Syria, Iran, Russia, and PRC) 

-Assistant Producer of University Showcases, Telsey + Company Casting (part-time job for over 2 years)

-Crisis Counselor, Crisis Text Line (certified Crisis Counselor with over 30 hours of training. Serve as a Crisis Counselor weekly)

-Public Policy & Affairs Intern, Gay Men's Health Crisis (wrote public comments on the NY Medical Marijuana Bill)

-Paralegal Intern, Children's Rights

-Legal Intern under Judge Felicia A. Mennin, A.J.S.C., New York City Criminal Court

-Policy Intern, Midtown Community Court

Languages: French (intermediate)

Quant: Micro, Macro, Stats with SPSS, Quant. Methods

Strength of SOP: I plan to focus my SOP on my experience on insight gained from co-facilitating cognitive behavioral group therapy with ex-convict and non-custodial fathers and interviews conducted with GMHC clients, who were HIV positive. My SOP is focused on my desire to move into Domestic Policy (Urban/Health/LGBTQ-focused). 

Strength of LOR: 

LOR 1: The Chief of the Counterterrorism & Sanctions Unit @ US Mission to the UN, a WWS alum, who negotiated the Iran Nuclear Deal with Kerry (known for over 1 year will use for all applications)

LOR 2: The Chief of the Research Unit @ US Mission to the UN, a UC-Berk a PhD alum (for UC-Berk app)

LOR 3: Director of Public Policy & Affairs @ Gay Men's Health Crisis, an MPA alum (will write LOR for HKS/WWS)

LOR 4: Professor of Legal Studies @ The New School, wife of the President of TNS and past-director of Int'l Human Rights Law Clinic at Northwestern Law School (Will write academic LOR for WWS/UC-Berk)

LOR 5: Professor of Religious Studies @ The New School, Harvard Divinity Alum (will write academic LOR for HKS)


Concerns: Lack of full-time work experience. GRE scores being below median. 

Other: Semi-finalist for Point Foundation (re-applying this year), Co-Chair of University Government, member of University Security Advisory Committee, University-wide Student Leader of the Year Award, and  member of the University Disciplinary Review Panel

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