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

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10 hours ago, brown queer said:

anyone?

You seem like a good candidate to get in anywhere. Why don't you work for 2-3 years? You're still young and you have time. Working for 3 years will not only increase your chances of admission but will increase your chances of funding which is critical if you're planning to get back to India and have a loan on you.

My 2 cents? Just work at a good place for a couple of years without even thinking about a Masters for the time being. Your interests are in politics so  continue full time work at a place like PRS or even a political party of your interest.

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On 23/11/2017 at 8:38 PM, aaprabhakar said:

Hi all, would love some feedback on my chances - 

Program: MIA where available, else MPA/IA programs

Schools Applying To:  Columbia SIPA, NYU Wagner, CUNY Baruch, Fordham IPED, The New School Milano, Rutgers Newark. As you can probably tell, I need to live in NY for personal reasons, hence the above choices. HOWEVER, I am also considering applying to Yale Jackson and Princeton WWS (a bit put off by the uber small clas size tho) and Tufts Fletcher, BU Pardee.

Interests: Education and International Development

Undergrad Institution: #1 ranked college in India for Business and Commerce within top university in India [I will be applying as an international student]

Undergraduate GPA: My university doesn't calculate G.P.A but I graduated with 1st Division, should be around 3.5/4. 

Undergraduate Major: Economics

GRE: 159 V, 162 Q, 5.0 AWA

TOEFL: Haven't received scores yet but confident of at least 105 [Does it really make a difference tho?]

Quantitative Courses: Microeconomics and Macroeconomics up till intermediate level, Statistics Methods in Economics, Mathematical Methods for Economics, Introductory Econometrics,  Linear Algebra and Calculus. Sponsored by workplace for 1 week Executive Education program from J-PAL on Evaluating Social Programs. 

Years of Work Experience: 3 years full-time not including any internships etc.

Age: 24

Languages: Hindi (native), English (fluent), French (basic)

Work Experience: 3 years working in a top education sector firm in India. Developed and launched an adaptive and personalised learning product for English as a first and second language. Spearheaded multiple successful grant applications to large, international NGOs for bringing the product to public schools in India. Executed capacity building programs for large scale government clients. Have one publication from this time. In college, worked for 3 years as part of an international organization, creating business models for communities most in need. Led a project working with traditional puppeteers from start to finish and acted in advisory positions after graduation. 1 month internship with Action Contre La Faim in Nepal.

LORs:  1 from supervisor at my workplace. 1 from professor of microeconomics from college. In places that require a third I will get it either from CEO of my workplace who I also worked directly with, or faculty advisor who oversaw my work at the international organization in college.

SOPs: Exploring the link between my global upbringing (lived and studied in 6 countries being from a diplomatic family) to my interest in development, deep work in public education setting in India to now wanting a set of schools to jump-start international career in education. 

Concerns: 

1. GRE - I know it is not the most impressive for SIPA, but am I safe for the other programs, especially NYU?

2. Is this a good range of schools? In New York my options are limited so I think I've pretty much covered them all. Are there any I am missing tho? Outside the city, I'm looking at colleges within 6 hours so that I can make a trip home on the weekends at least. If all else fails, I am open to applying in DC and would appreciate recommendations based on my profile.

3. I would also like to go to a school which has a strong 'international' profile. I am looking to work internationally after graduation so do not want to go to some place focused on domestic US policy. Are there any like that on my list? 

4. Though I have worked in the field of education, the company is a private limited firm. Will it be an issue that it is not a public sector firm or NGO?

Anyone?

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Schools Applying To: UCLA Luskin (MPP), UC Berkeley Goldman (MPP), Columbia SIPA (MIA), Columbia QMSS, Chicago Harris (MPP), UPenn Fels (MPA), HKS (MPP), Yale Jackson, Stanford IPS

Undergraduate institution: University of California, Davis

Undergraduate GPA: 3.45

Undergraduate Majors: Economics and International Relations (Double Major)

Study Abroad: None

GRE Quantitative Score: 159 (73%)

GRE Verbal Score: 157 (76%)

GRE AW Score: 4.5 (82%)

Years Out of Undergrad (if applicable): Would be around 9 months, graduating in December. 

Years of Relevant Work Experience: 1+ (worked before attending college)

Describe Relevant Work Experience: Business management apprentice at a real estate company for 1 year, more than 50 million worth of commercial properties. Campaign staff for a Member of Parliament candidate in my country in the upcoming General Elections. Private paid tutor of Cambridge A-level Economics and Maths. 

*Disclaimer: I come from a very rural village/township in a developing Southeast Asian country where professional work opportunities are virtually non-existent. Most job opportunities comes in the form of neighbourhood family-owned businesses. Not sure how to explain this to the adcoms. 

Languages: Native (trilingual) proficiency in English, Chinese, and Malay

Quantitative Courses: Calculus, Multivariate Calculus, Linear Algebra (Proof-based), Differential Equations, Intermediate Micro, Intermediate Macro, International Trade and Finance, Econometrics, Applied Statistics for Economics, Non-parametric Statistics

Strength of SOP: Described passion for public and international policy, domestic social issues, and intention to become a cabinet minister in my home country. All three of my letter writers said that it is a good SOP. 

Strength of LOR (be honest, describe the process, etc): Extremely strong. Three full Economics professors, two of whom I have been an RA for, one year each. One UC Berkeley graduate, two Harvard graduates. All three of them have given me assurance in writing that they will write very strong letters for me. 

 

Remarks:

Initially, I had planned on getting a PhD in Economics. That was before I found out how ridiculously competitive it was. I also found out that I was not particularly good at Math. So I abandoned math as my second major and replaced it with Poli Science, which was then replaced with IR. I know work experience is very important to these programs, but I have also seen people who entered these programs right out of undergrad. I wish to stay in NorCal, so Stanford and Berkeley are my preferences. I hope someone can give me a realistic opinion on my chances at these two programs, as well as the rest of them. Thanks in advance. 

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3 hours ago, aaprabhakar said:

Anyone?

Hey there! As far as your stats, I'd say you are in pretty good shape. SIPA is my #1 and I got 159Q. When I met the Director of Admissions at a recruitment event she basically told me 159Q was within their "unofficial" guidelines for GRE, so you're fine there. If you haven't submitted your apps yet, I'd have a  couple very specific conversations with your LOR writers about what you want them to say about you, and why specifically you want to go to each of these schools. 

The biggest thing, which you luckily can still control, will be your essays. It seems like you have a good idea of why you want to do IR in general, but it'll be important to get very specific about why SIPA, NYU, etc. is the right school for you. Who do you want to do research with? Are there unique courses you couldn't find elsewhere? Is there a project you'd need their resources to launch? That sort of thing.

From what I know of some of the programs you mentioned, NYU will be a solid "target" school, CUNY Fordham and New School all "safeties." SIPA may be a slight reach, just because they're a top-tier program and even great candidates sometimes don't make it. Princeton WWS is a reach for all human beings, but it's worth the application!

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On 11/24/2017 at 7:08 AM, aaprabhakar said:

Hi all, would love some feedback on my chances - 

Program: MIA where available, else MPA/IA programs

Schools Applying To:  Columbia SIPA, NYU Wagner, CUNY Baruch, Fordham IPED, The New School Milano, Rutgers Newark. As you can probably tell, I need to live in NY for personal reasons, hence the above choices. HOWEVER, I am also considering applying to Yale Jackson and Princeton WWS (a bit put off by the uber small clas size tho) and Tufts Fletcher, BU Pardee.

Interests: Education and International Development

Undergrad Institution: #1 ranked college in India for Business and Commerce within top university in India [I will be applying as an international student]

Undergraduate GPA: My university doesn't calculate G.P.A but I graduated with 1st Division, should be around 3.5/4. 

Undergraduate Major: Economics

GRE: 159 V, 162 Q, 5.0 AWA

TOEFL: Haven't received scores yet but confident of at least 105 [Does it really make a difference tho?]

Quantitative Courses: Microeconomics and Macroeconomics up till intermediate level, Statistics Methods in Economics, Mathematical Methods for Economics, Introductory Econometrics,  Linear Algebra and Calculus. Sponsored by workplace for 1 week Executive Education program from J-PAL on Evaluating Social Programs. 

Years of Work Experience: 3 years full-time not including any internships etc.

Age: 24

Languages: Hindi (native), English (fluent), French (basic)

Work Experience: 3 years working in a top education sector firm in India. Developed and launched an adaptive and personalised learning product for English as a first and second language. Spearheaded multiple successful grant applications to large, international NGOs for bringing the product to public schools in India. Executed capacity building programs for large scale government clients. Have one publication from this time. In college, worked for 3 years as part of an international organization, creating business models for communities most in need. Led a project working with traditional puppeteers from start to finish and acted in advisory positions after graduation. 1 month internship with Action Contre La Faim in Nepal.

LORs:  1 from supervisor at my workplace. 1 from professor of microeconomics from college. In places that require a third I will get it either from CEO of my workplace who I also worked directly with, or faculty advisor who oversaw my work at the international organization in college.

SOPs: Exploring the link between my global upbringing (lived and studied in 6 countries being from a diplomatic family) to my interest in development, deep work in public education setting in India to now wanting a set of schools to jump-start international career in education. 

Concerns: 

1. GRE - I know it is not the most impressive for SIPA, but am I safe for the other programs, especially NYU?

2. Is this a good range of schools? In New York my options are limited so I think I've pretty much covered them all. Are there any I am missing tho? Outside the city, I'm looking at colleges within 6 hours so that I can make a trip home on the weekends at least. If all else fails, I am open to applying in DC and would appreciate recommendations based on my profile.

3. I would also like to go to a school which has a strong 'international' profile. I am looking to work internationally after graduation so do not want to go to some place focused on domestic US policy. Are there any like that on my list? 

4. Though I have worked in the field of education, the company is a private limited firm. Will it be an issue that it is not a public sector firm or NGO?

hey! was your place of graduation Delhi University? 

1. In GRE, quant matters more for MPA. Yours is above 160 so should be safe.

3. Most top programs such as HKS, WWS, NYU, SIPA are internationally-oriented. Also depends on what you'd bring to the table.

4. Public sector work in private firms and/or corporate social responsibility engagement isn't looked down on in anyway. However, the focus of the firm and the personal motives behind working on that English learning product will matter. It could come under social entrepreneurship. Which firm was it? Also, your involvement with the organisation during college (was it Enactus?) will matter equally if not more for the applications. Make sure to explore those in the essays.

You seem like a good candidate, and J-PAL definitely is an advantage. This was my two cents, good luck for your application! 

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Hope you guys can help me know if I'm a good candidate.

Program: MPP or MPA

Interests: Urban policy

Schools Applying To:  GWU and AU for now

Undergrad Institution: Venezuelan University (most renown one)

Undergraduate GPA: 13/20 (Not sure what the GPA would be, think it could be under 3.0)

Undergraduate Major: Law (Is an undergrad in Venezuela)

Years of Work Experience: 5 years in a paid job, around 11 years in leadership roles

Age: 28

Languages: English, Spanish and intermediate Portuguese

Work Experience:  I've been a city council member (elected official) in the capital of Venezuela for the last 4 years. Previous to this was a High School and University Student Leader (organized protests against Chavez), Secretary of the Youth Wing of a main opposition Political Party, Member of its national directorate, Youth Campaign Director of a Presidencial Candidate, Secretary of Municipal Affairs (all these occupied in different periods). I have participated as a speaker at various international summits on Human Rights (DC, Geneve, Oslo), written about 30 articles on politics in Local and Latin American news outlets. Hosted TV Interview program on politics. Received 8 awards and recognitions related to my political activism.

LORs: Provost of my University (on my role as Student Leader) and Mayor of my city (currently exiled in the US due to political persecution by Nicolas Maduro) on my role as a City Council Member.

SOPs: Wrote about my role as student leader, explained the experience of living in Venezuela and the political struggle I have led. Described some of the policies I've sponsored in the City Council.

I'm basically nervous because of my GPA. Its actually low, but I really think that my CV and political experience in a country such as Venezuela could be interesting of the Admission's Committee. My plan is to study and come back to Venezuela to reconstruct the country once the Maduro Regime ends (and I plan to state this in my Personal Essays).

Any tips or input? Should I be nervous? Does my low GPA affect my funding opportunities or could my experience compensate?

Edited by SadiDash

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Program: MPP/MCP/MUP

Schools Applying To: Chicago Harris (MPP), Berkeley (MCP), Penn Design/Fels (MCP + MPA), Wagner (MUP), USC Price (MPP)

Interests: Urban policy/planning

Undergrad Institution: Columbia 

Undergraduate GPA: 3.45/4.0

Undergraduate Major: Civil Engineering, Political Science Minor

GRE:  169 V / 164 Q / 5.0 AW 

Age: 25 

Languages: English (native), Spanish (meh)

Nationality: US

Quant Experience: Engineering undergrad so dozens of courses... too much to list here. I have Principles of Economics (A) and Intermediate Micro (B).

Work Experience:  4+ years full time transportation/resilient cities related work for major public agencies in NYC and PHL. 

Misc: NA?

LORs: 1 undergrad professor who knows me very well (taught me in 3 engineering economics and project management related courses), two from work - one is very personal from my direct supervisor (HKS MPP alum), the other is from a high level official who is familiar with my work (Cal MPP Alum). Should be a strong focus on my commitment to public service.

SOPs: Strong - tie together my experiences in urban resiliency and transportation with my desire to further expand my urban policy knowledge base and develop policy analysis skills.

My main concerns are GPA and lack of concrete foreign language skills - though I would imagine that for my interest areas it is not essential as I am not planning on focusing on international relations, etc. I hope that my Ivy quant degree and strong GRE scores make up for my low-ish GPA. 

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@Policy.Planner.NYC

Hey, I think you're a great candidate for all of the schools you mentioned. If you're still looking at schools, I might consider Duke. 

Some thoughts on your application:

1) Don't worry about foreign language or even really GPA. With the former, it likely won't matter given your domestic policy focus. With the latter, consider framing your GPA differently for the resume (major etc.). If there's no smart way to do that, don't worry. 

2) Tailor your applications.  You listed a wide variety of programs and a relatively generic sounding sop. 

3) Your work experience matters, but insofar as it relates to your current interests and future plans. Make sure the emphasis is forward-looking. 

Good luck!

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Hi everyone! Just created an account. Feedback would be much appreciated. Thanks. 

Program: MIA-type programs with a human rights/humanitarian focus

Schools Applying To:  Tufts Fletcher (MYF) , Uppsala Masters in Peace and Conflict

Interests: Human rights protection, peacebuilding, humanitarian assistance 

Undergrad Institution: CUNY 

Undergraduate GPA: 3.70

Undergraduate Major: International Criminal Justice (Interdisciplinary between Criminology and IR)

GRE: 153 V, 148 Q, 4.0 AWA

Years of Work Experience: 2 Years full-time work experience.

Age: 22

Languages: English (native), Arabic (conversational)--taking SKYPE lessons with Syrian refugee to enhance proficiency 

Work Experience: Limited. Hence application to Map Your Future program. Currently working with UNHCR based at UN HQ in New York.

LORs:  1 from my current supervisor here at UNHCR. 1 from my mentor in undergrad who is also a Fletcher alum. The last is from a professor I was an RA for who is very active in IR.  

SOPs: Exploring link between conflict and identity politics. A particular focus on mass atrocities (genocide, ethnic cleansing)

Concerns: I was hoping to get some opinions on my candidacy. I'm worried I may not be a strong enough candidate for Fletcher. However, I'm hoping a strong SOP and LORs, a full time position with UNHCR, and a relatively high GPA will offset my low GRE scores. Unfortunately, I took the GRE during my last-full semester of undergrad and was not as prepared as I should have been. 

Edited by Van2460

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Hi, 

I guess I am a bit late for my profile evaluation, but I still have time to pick less ambitious universities if need be. Can you please check my profile?

 

Program: Masters in Public Policy

Schools Applying To:  UChicago Harris MPP, Georgetown MPP, George Washington University MPP,  MIT TPP, UC Berkeley MPP, U Minnesota MPP, UCSD MPP, UMich Ford MPP

Interests: Sustainable development in technologically rich sectors like Power and Agriculture, in corporate diplomacy.

Undergrad Institution: Top-10 in India

Undergraduate GPA: 8.01/10

Undergraduate Major: Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering

GRE: Q168, V159, AWA 4.5

TOEFL: 116

Additional info: I hold a certificate in public policy. In the course, I concentrated on my areas of interest and have some nominal research work to show.

Quantitative Courses: Calculus, Engg math (B), economics (A), statistics (B+), policy analysis (B+)

Years of Work Experience: 3 years in a Technology frontrunner 

Age: 25

Languages: English, Hindi

Work Experience: Three years in AI-leading firm requiring strong quantitative aptitude. One research and one engineering internship in energy sector, 3 months each.

LORs:  1 from HoD at undergrad institute, worked under her on multiple projects. One each from my economics and public policy teachers at the certificate program. One from my manager at the current workplace.

Concerns: Low undergrad GPA, low GRE score, and no prior work experience in public policy, though I have experience in the Engineering side of my interest fields. 

 

Kinda stressed out because someone said all my choices are too ambitious. Any opinions?

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On 2017年12月6日 at 12:06 AM, VeryCheesey said:

Hi, 

I guess I am a bit late for my profile evaluation, but I still have time to pick less ambitious universities if need be. Can you please check my profile?

 

Program: Masters in Public Policy

Schools Applying To:  UChicago Harris MPP, Georgetown MPP, George Washington University MPP,  MIT TPP, UC Berkeley MPP, U Minnesota MPP, UCSD MPP, UMich Ford MPP

Interests: Sustainable development in technologically rich sectors like Power and Agriculture, in corporate diplomacy.

Undergrad Institution: Top-10 in India

Undergraduate GPA: 8.01/10

Undergraduate Major: Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering

GRE: Q168, V159, AWA 4.5

TOEFL: 116

Additional info: I hold a certificate in public policy. In the course, I concentrated on my areas of interest and have some nominal research work to show.

Quantitative Courses: Calculus, Engg math (B), economics (A), statistics (B+), policy analysis (B+)

Years of Work Experience: 3 years in a Technology frontrunner 

Age: 25

Languages: English, Hindi

Work Experience: Three years in AI-leading firm requiring strong quantitative aptitude. One research and one engineering internship in energy sector, 3 months each.

LORs:  1 from HoD at undergrad institute, worked under her on multiple projects. One each from my economics and public policy teachers at the certificate program. One from my manager at the current workplace.

Concerns: Low undergrad GPA, low GRE score, and no prior work experience in public policy, though I have experience in the Engineering side of my interest fields. 

 

Kinda stressed out because someone said all my choices are too ambitious. Any opinions?

v159+q168, how is that a low GRE?  more info on your SOP?

 

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Hi guys, any comments would be greatly appreciated! Also, have I applied to too few schools? 

Program: MSc Statistics 

Schools Applying To:  LSE, Oxford 

Interests: high dimensional stats, causal inference, econometric theory

Undergrad Institution: University of York (mid-ranking UK uni) 

Undergraduate GPA: first class honors (no idea of GPA equivalent but graduated top 5%) 

Undergraduate Major: Economics and Econometrics 

Quantitative Courses: Microeconomics (I-III), Macroeconomics (I-III), Introductory Econometrics, Linear Statistical Analysis, Time Series (financial) Econometrics, Applied Econometrics, Econometric Methods for Research, University Mathematics (I-II) 

Years of Work Experience: two overseas internships in development econ

Age: 22

Languages: English (native), Italian (native), French (intermediate)

LORs:  one from professor whose postgrad class in econometric methods I attended in the third year, the class was quite small so he knows me well. One from third-year macroeconomics professor (large class but I came second in his course), and another from applied econometric professor. 

SOPs: Oxford - spoke about computationally intensive stats, and then more generally about research interests in the department. LSE: spoke in detail about the research of a few faculty members looking at high dimensional modeling, since the application is also for a 1+3 (masters+PhD) 

Concerns: 

1. I am taking a year out to work, but will still need at least a 50% scholarship to do either of the courses... I know of people with similar backgrounds who have received scholarships, but still, the process seems pretty competitive. 

2. For this year I won't be doing anything stats related, and I'm afraid this will be viewed disfavourably by assessors. I may try to get another internship if I receive an offer in January, but objectively it seems more sensible to save up. 

3. I did two semesters abroad at the University of Hong Kong and found the mathematics horrendous. When I went back to York for my final year the courses seemed quite easy and for most classes, I was in the top 5%. I'm am worried that I'll find myself in the same position in I do get into a good school. 

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Program: MPA

Schools Applying To: NYU Wagner (MPA), New School Milano (MS in Public and Urban Policy), Chicago Harris (MSCAPP), Columbia SIPA (MPA) 

Interests: public communication, digital policy,  tech and social innovation

Undergrad Institution: flagship state university

Undergraduate GPA: 3.65

Undergraduate Majors: economics, journalism

GRE: 159V, 155Q, 4.0 W

Quantitative Courses:  calculus (I-II) macroeconomics sequence, microeconomics sequence, econometrics sequence, developmental economics, international economics, economics of globalization, public economics, monetary policy, resource and environmental economics

Years of Work Experience: 2

Work Experience: UN internship, public information assistant at NYC law enforcement agency (still consult for them), public involvement consulting at private company (current), 4 undergraduate community-oriented internships, undergraduate research assistantship in communication law and digital policy 

Age: 24

Languages: Vietnamese (native)

LOR: one from my manager at the NYC agency, one from an economics professor (I took multiple courses with) and one from a journalism professor (I was his RA)

Concerns: My low quant score. I'm hoping my undergraduate quant background and relevant work experience will make up for it. I already turned in my Wagner application, but I'm debating if I should retake the GRE for SIPA and Harris. This would mean I will miss SIPA's application deadline with fellowship, but I'm almost certain that I will not get any $$$  with my limited working experience.  

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19 hours ago, yi28 said:

v159+q168, how is that a low GRE?  more info on your SOP?

 

I have been made to believe that the applicants to the Universities I am applying to generally have higher scores. Plus, with a lower GPA, I thought a higher GRE score would be essential. I am also changing fields from engineering to policy with no prior work experience.

My work right now deals with AI and other cutting edge technology, and the SoP I wrote is centred around this theme - the need for regulation, corporate diplomacy, development of essential technology-rich sectors like agriculture and power in developing economies, the likes. I have based it around the Indian policy making premise, where all policies in the technology sector are reactive, but with the lack of preemptiveness especially with AI, there can be massive consequences.

During my policy certificate program, I researched on big data problems in India, and studied the Indian agriculture in great depth. I am using these to back up my claims.

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Thoughts on application profile & any additional schools I should look into much appreciated!

Program: MS Analytics/Data Science

Schools Applying To: UT Austin, U San Fran, NCSU, U Chicago

Interests: technology, consulting, healthcare-psych/lgbtq

Undergrad Institution: boston university

Undergraduate GPA: 3.5

Undergraduate Majors: economics, psychology

GRE: 159V, 157Q, 5.0 W

Quantitative Courses:  calculus 1, linear algebra, stats 1&2, econometrics, econ stats, comp sci (python/sql), java

Years of Work Experience: 2.5

Work Experience: APA internship in college, 2.5 years as data analyst at Boston Children's 

Age: 24

LOR: two professors (econ and comp sci) and medical director that I worked on a published poster with 

Concerns: low quant score

Edited by jack0lantern

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On 12/8/2017 at 1:52 PM, luckylily said:

Program: MPA

Schools Applying To: NYU Wagner (MPA), New School Milano (MS in Public and Urban Policy), Chicago Harris (MSCAPP), Columbia SIPA (MPA) 

Interests: public communication, digital policy,  tech and social innovation

Undergrad Institution: flagship state university

Undergraduate GPA: 3.65

Undergraduate Majors: economics, journalism

GRE: 159V, 155Q, 4.0 W

Quantitative Courses:  calculus (I-II) macroeconomics sequence, microeconomics sequence, econometrics sequence, developmental economics, international economics, economics of globalization, public economics, monetary policy, resource and environmental economics

Years of Work Experience: 2

Work Experience: UN internship, public information assistant at NYC law enforcement agency (still consult for them), public involvement consulting at private company (current), 4 undergraduate community-oriented internships, undergraduate research assistantship in communication law and digital policy 

Age: 24

Languages: Vietnamese (native)

LOR: one from my manager at the NYC agency, one from an economics professor (I took multiple courses with) and one from a journalism professor (I was his RA)

Concerns: My low quant score. I'm hoping my undergraduate quant background and relevant work experience will make up for it. I already turned in my Wagner application, but I'm debating if I should retake the GRE for SIPA and Harris. This would mean I will miss SIPA's application deadline with fellowship, but I'm almost certain that I will not get any $$$  with my limited working experience.  

1

Hey there! As long as you got good grades in your college quant courses, I don't think the GRE score will count against you. I've actually asked SIPA admissions about this and they told me that they just want to see *something* that indicates that you'll succeed in grad level quant-courses- which can mean the quant GRE, quant courses in college, significant professional experience in economics/statistics, or a combination. 

If you think you can devote a good amount of time to studying for and re-taking the GRE it might be worth it to raise your scores a few points. But considering that it'll probably only be by a few points, your time might be better spent working on your SOP.

I also wanted to recommend looking into CUNY Baruch! They have a pretty highly ranked MPA program, especially for a public state school. Your chances of getting in are high and the program is solid. Great choice especially if you are hoping to work while you are in school.

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@fenderpete. First, thank you for writing this! I've been seeing a lot of these posts, too, and the answer is: there isn't one! This is a nice guide, though. I'm not sure if this has been mentioned - too lazy to read through 43 pages of responses - but you should change your GRE reference. 700 is equivalent to very different percentile scores on new test format (97th for verbal and 59th for quantitative). Unless you meant combined score, for which there is no percentile equivalent. Either way, it's confusing and probably inaccurate. I'd just describe scores in percentiles, that way it doesn't matter which test version you're referring to. Thanks for considering feedback!

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5 hours ago, John Sebastian said:

Any inputs would be very much appreciated!  Thanks!

 

Program: MPA/ID, MPA, MA/IDEV, MSCAPP 

Schools Applying To: HKS, WWS, JHU SAIS, Chicago

Interests:  international development, data analytics, technology, consulting

Undergrad Institution: Top 3 Canadian university

Undergraduate GPA: 3.2 (1st undergraduate in engineering),  3.7 (graduate in engineering),  4.0 (2nd undergraduate in economics, currently in my final term)

Undergraduate Majors: Aerospace Engineering, Economics

GRE: 158V, 165Q, 5.0 W

Quantitative Courses:  Micro, Macro, Economic statistics, Econometrics, Dev Econ,  Cal 1-3,  Linear Algebra, ODE, Probability, various engineering courses...

Years of Work Experience: 5 + 1

Work Experience: 5 years as engineer in the flight simulation industry, around 1 year as RA in social policy 

                                 Volunteering experience in UNDP and nonprofits (a few months)

Age: 32

LOR: 3 letters, should be pretty strong recommendations.

2 professors: supervisor for my current research, professor for my macro course.

1 direct manager in engineering to speak about my problem solving,  leadership and teamwork skills.    

Concerns: They might look not consider my work experience as relevant?  I  explained my motivation for my career switch and emphasized my transferable skills in my SOP -- data analysis, leadership, project management and planning skills.  Low 1st UG degree GPA (even though its over ten years ago), age? (above average age for MPA/ID by about 4 years)

I'm at SAIS, and I can tell you that you'd be very competitive here.  It is quant heavy, so they get really excited when someone who can handle really high level math/econ arrives.

As for age and career change, myself and several of my classmates are older come from areas far afield from international relations and public policy.  I have found this to be not only tolerated, but celebrated as the professors will lean on students strong in certain areas other than the traditional poli sci/econ track, and try to bring the knowledge of the unorthodox discipline into the courses.  And don't worry about the first GPA over ten years ago.  You've demonstrated more recently that you can do well.

Good luck.  I'm sure you'll have several great options.

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On 12/10/2017 at 6:13 AM, yellina122 said:

Hey there! As long as you got good grades in your college quant courses, I don't think the GRE score will count against you. I've actually asked SIPA admissions about this and they told me that they just want to see *something* that indicates that you'll succeed in grad level quant-courses- which can mean the quant GRE, quant courses in college, significant professional experience in economics/statistics, or a combination. 

If you think you can devote a good amount of time to studying for and re-taking the GRE it might be worth it to raise your scores a few points. But considering that it'll probably only be by a few points, your time might be better spent working on your SOP.

I also wanted to recommend looking into CUNY Baruch! They have a pretty highly ranked MPA program, especially for a public state school. Your chances of getting in are high and the program is solid. Great choice especially if you are hoping to work while you are in school.

Thank you for your response, Yelina! Reading it helped in calming my nerves. I will look further into CUNY to see if it's a good fit.

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Age: 26

Program Applied To: Master of Public Policy

Schools Applying To: Evans, HKS, Wagner, SIPA, Harris, Hertie

Undergraduate institution:  a good one in law in my country.

Undergraduate GPA: not pretty sure in this, but 16/20 ( magna cumme laude)

Undergraduate Majors: Law

GRE Quantitative Score: -

GRE Verbal Score: -

GRE AW Score: -

Women, latina and white ¿?

Years of Work Experience: Total: 2 years 9 months;

1 year Congress, doing bills.

1 year paid internhip at something like the State Department, related to foreign affairs of my country.

4 months at an unpaid internship ( Inter american Comission of Human Rights)

5 months at a law buffet related to technology

Describe Relevant Work Experience: In 2008 and 2009 I interned with Coca Cola Enterprises in order to gain a better understanding of the American business environment. My worked generally consisted of working with a logistical team who was responsible for implementing new production hardware. In the Fall of 2010, I interned with the U.S. Department of State in Rome, Italy. I worked in our Mission to the U.N. Agencies.

 

Languages: spanish (native) english ( 95 toefl, I can retake the test), portuguese (basic)

 

Quant: None, but the next year I will dedicate exclusive time to this.

 

Strength of SOP: I am extremely interested in development and an adequate public policy.

 

Strength of LOR (be honest, describe the process, etc):  My boss and former boss are both congressman and two of my teachers former secretaries. I'm pretty sure that they can write good lor for me. I'm not sure if they have ever did that in english thought.

 

Other:

-Chosen as a member of Committee againd discrimination in my law school

-I participate in a MOAS in DC, and a lead a team at HLMun (A Mun that is run in Latino countries)

-I did a lot of volunteering (Related to elections, development, teach some courses in my law faculty by invitation and an association, something lie a Teaching assistant in constitutional law)

- I have helped with petitions to the interamerican comission of human rights.

- Some courses in ethics and public policy from recognized institutions in my country.

Is there any chance?

Edited by Mochil_

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On 11/15/2017 at 7:27 AM, lutherblissett said:

I hope that you're still looking at this thread. At any rate, fellow Bruin, your GPA is really good. It's enough to qualify you for top-tier MPP programs that have a lot of curricular flexibility should you wish. I think that you should work the GRE score up and take a few quant courses, and you could have a good shot at HKS/WWS etc. 

Of course, if you can write all of your experiences into a compelling narrative, I'd be interested in seeing where this application goes.

Thanks lutherblissett, that's good to hear! I did also just recently take my GRE, and realized I'd been pretty ridiculously low-balling my score estimates. I ended up with a 170V/159Q/5A =D

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Hi, new here and looking for some guidance. I've been able to get quite far in my current job at a university by working my way up, but I'm now looking to move out of the university world and into the public sector/third sector environment, continuing to work in program management which I love. The jobs I'm looking at usually want an MPA or MBA or similar, which I don't have, so this is about checking a box on a job application and finding a good program for me. Looking at online only because I can't move my family very easily.

Program: MPA

Schools Applying To: SPEA IUB, SPS Northwestern, UNC. Online programs only, going to be part time and working on this for several years to avoid loans and handle mom stuff and establish my freelance consulting business. 

Interests:  Nonprofit management, public management, consulting

Undergrad Institution: University College London (US citizen)

Undergraduate GPA: Upper Second Class (somewhere between a 3.4 and 3.7, all depends)

Undergraduate Majors: Linguistics

Grad school: 

  1. Large R1 university, MA Linguistics, GPA 4.0
  2. Public Ivy, Masters in Law and Policy, 3.9

GRE: not taken, waived for grad school before 

Quantitative Courses:  none.

Years of Work Experience: 12

Work Experience: 10 years as a program manager working in compliance and accounts management at a university. Currently hold a senior management position, supervising several people. Six years teaching college classes as an adjunct, three years working as a consultant freelance on the side. Lots of overlap between all these things. Volunteer wise, I teach at the after school literacy program at my local elementary.  

Age: 36

LOR: 1 from current supervisor, 1 from Law & Policy faculty, 1 from Linguistics faculty. 

Concerns: I went to the UK for college because it was cheaper than my US options back in 1999. The UK system doesn't really have electives, so I only took classes related to Linguistics from day one. Classes like Neurolinguistics had stats and experimental design components built in, and my MA thesis was research driven. But I'm now concerned my lack of quants are going to hold me back in a more quant heavy program. Got the GRE waived so no experience there either.

Also, I worry I'm looking like some sort of compulsive degree earner at this point. I got both my Masters degrees for almost free while working at the universities where I was studying, and many people working at these schools had one or more Masters degrees from the schools. I think my SOP will have to tie them together well and show my progression from wanting to go into academia to wanting to work at a university, to wanting to work in the public sector generally. There are mid-career MPA applicants out there, right?

Edited by chocolatte_

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@chocolatte_ if you're legit doing this to check a box, apply to those mid-career/executive MPA programs they have that take a year and are low or no-residency. The Harvard one accepts like 50%+ of applicants. Less prestigious ones probably accept everyone. I wouldn't worry about the application process too much in general. As you go down the rankings, the adcoms' concern quickly becomes less about academics and more about your ability to pay.

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