Jump to content
fenderpete

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

Recommended Posts

On 1/23/2019 at 8:29 PM, CoolRadOh said:

I forgot to mention that I was in the education sector while in the Peace Corps.  

Notre Dame is my top choice.  Good funding and a solid practical program that would allow me to work abroad during grad school.  There are also several RPCVs in the program right now so they seem to be pretty RPCV friendly, which is good.  

RPCVs are eligible for the Coverdell Fellowship, which depending on the institution can be anywhere from full tuition plus benefits to a living stipend for each semester of school.  

I feel like my LORs are a strong point, especially from my department head from undergrad which may help dispel any fears about my GPA.  The other two are from my PC Country Director and Program Manager.  

Hi CoolRad,

 

Have you heard any news on your options yet? Did Fordham get back to you? Looks like they've started releasing decisions

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, MoynihanBreakerBurkina said:

Hi CoolRad,

 

Have you heard any news on your options yet? Did Fordham get back to you? Looks like they've started releasing decisions

I haven't heard anything yet.  No update on application portal either.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/18/2019 at 5:20 PM, CoolRadOh said:

I haven't heard anything yet.  No update on application portal either.  

Heard anything yet from IPED? I was waitlisted so passing it up. Was hoping for a fellowship so that I'd have an excuse to stay in NY. Looks like I'm headed to the west again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, MoynihanBreakerBurkina said:

Heard anything yet from IPED? I was waitlisted so passing it up. Was hoping for a fellowship so that I'd have an excuse to stay in NY. Looks like I'm headed to the west again.

You heard today? I still haven’t got anything either way.  I guess I assumed I was waitlisted, because no rejection or anything.  

Congrats on all your acceptances! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, CoolRadOh said:

You heard today? I still haven’t got anything either way.  I guess I assumed I was waitlisted, because no rejection or anything.  

Congrats on all your acceptances! 

Thank you! Still, I really wanted to be in at Fordham, was betting on that fellowship. They must be much more competitive than I thought (I guess it makes sense since they only accept 25 people/year) but I kind of thought of all the programs I pursued, I'd get this one... obviously I was wrong.


But yeah, I heard back finally after waiting forever, and they said waitlist. So it might possibly be a good thing that you didn't hear back yet? hmmm 

Let me know if you hear back! I hope you get the fellowship!!!!



 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello!  I'm hoping to apply this coming application cycle, but I'm also looking for recommendations to improve my profile.  If I need to, I'm willing to postpone grad school another year or two for more work experience if it means I might be able to increase my chances of getting funding.

Applying to: HKS, WWS, Tufts, Georgetown (probably GHD), maybe JHU, probably American and Korbel for safety (I mostly want feedback if I even stand a chance at the WWS level)

Interests: international development - specifically community development and its relationship to improving international security

Undergrad Institution: University of Denver

 Undergrad GPA: 3.62 (not the strongest, of course)

 Undergrad Major: International Studies and Journalism Studies, minors in History and Hebrew

 GRE: 168V / 160Q/ 5.5 AWA

Quantitative Courses: Calculus I (received a C my freshman year of college); added to my quant background with the following courses from a local community college: statistics, principles of microeconomics, principles of macroeconomics - received As in all of them, I hope I can use this to point to my commitment to doing quantitative work and how serious I am about reentering the academic world.  The university in my town didn't have a lot of continuing ed offerings, but I also read on here that many of the programs don't think negatively about taking community college courses to bolster a weak quantitative resume.

 Work Experience: During college: Journalism internship in Israel, including a magazine feature piece about Syrian refugees treated in Israeli hospitals; 6-month marketing internship/volunteer opportunity (volunteered to stay past actual internship date) at small, internationally focused nonprofit in Denver

Post-college: 3-month temporary position at one of the largest nonprofits in the US in programs/events, turned down the chance for a permanent position to serve in the Peace Corps; 1.5 years in the Peace Corps in Mongolia working in English education and youth development, left because my mom was diagnosed with cancer and facing life-threatening surgery, granted Interrupted Service which is a designation that means I left for reasons out of my control; 2 years in a leadership position at a small nonprofit that is considered an industry leader in sustainable development programs in Africa and Central America, one of 5 US employees, which means I manage a large portion of the nonprofit.

In college work experience: probably totals nearly a year with another experience I didn't list here.  Post-college work experience (which probably matters more): 3.5 not counting the temp position, nearly 4 if you count it.

 Language: Hebrew (high proficiency with 6 years of study), Mongolian (intermediate proficiency), Turkish (basic proficiency)

LORs: I hope these are pretty good.  One from the Executive Director where I work, one from a professor who can account for my research skills and critical thinking ability, one mostly like from Peace Corps (just deciding who is the best PC person to write this LOR)

SOP: Haven't really gotten into this yet.  I'll probably start these over the summer.  I'll probably talk about my interest in sustainable community development as a tool in international security, why I need an MPA to enter the field I want to enter - something like that.  Seriously, I've been mostly getting my quantitative background in order.

Thoughts: I'm worried about my weaker GPA.  There was also a period of 9-months where I worked in retail and restaurant service because I had trouble finding a job, and then another period of 9-months where I worked in retail and restaurant service because I was waiting to go to the Peace Corps (and felt like accepting a permanent position somewhere would be dishonest).  I don't reflect negatively on those experiences, and I did what I had to do to pay the bills.  I'm just not sure how some of the really competitive programs are going to feel about that.  A lot of the student bios listed on the WWS website are people who have been working incredible policy and/or nonprofit jobs since they graduated college.  Going to grad school is a huge priority, but I know that I'm going to be in nonprofit/public service work for the rest of my life.  I'm trying to do what I can to avoid more debt.  I'm willing to work another year or two (although I need to change jobs because now I do mostly fundraising and I don't like it - it's just an important skill to have no matter where you end up in nonprofit work) if it means that I'll be the strongest candidate I can possibly be.  I'm interested in WWS for so many reasons, some related to funding and some related to the strength of the program, size of cohort, emphasis on enter public service/nonprofits after graduation, etc.  I know it's a total crapshoot, but if someone has a recommendation for me to make it less of a crapshoot or fill in a hole I have, I'm all ears.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, DevMeg said:

Hello!  I'm hoping to apply this coming application cycle, but I'm also looking for recommendations to improve my profile.  If I need to, I'm willing to postpone grad school another year or two for more work experience if it means I might be able to increase my chances of getting funding.

Applying to: HKS, WWS, Tufts, Georgetown (probably GHD), maybe JHU, probably American and Korbel for safety (I mostly want feedback if I even stand a chance at the WWS level)

Interests: international development - specifically community development and its relationship to improving international security

Undergrad Institution: University of Denver

 Undergrad GPA: 3.62 (not the strongest, of course)

 Undergrad Major: International Studies and Journalism Studies, minors in History and Hebrew

 GRE: 168V / 160Q/ 5.5 AWA

Quantitative Courses: Calculus I (received a C my freshman year of college); added to my quant background with the following courses from a local community college: statistics, principles of microeconomics, principles of macroeconomics - received As in all of them, I hope I can use this to point to my commitment to doing quantitative work and how serious I am about reentering the academic world.  The university in my town didn't have a lot of continuing ed offerings, but I also read on here that many of the programs don't think negatively about taking community college courses to bolster a weak quantitative resume.

 Work Experience: During college: Journalism internship in Israel, including a magazine feature piece about Syrian refugees treated in Israeli hospitals; 6-month marketing internship/volunteer opportunity (volunteered to stay past actual internship date) at small, internationally focused nonprofit in Denver

Post-college: 3-month temporary position at one of the largest nonprofits in the US in programs/events, turned down the chance for a permanent position to serve in the Peace Corps; 1.5 years in the Peace Corps in Mongolia working in English education and youth development, left because my mom was diagnosed with cancer and facing life-threatening surgery, granted Interrupted Service which is a designation that means I left for reasons out of my control; 2 years in a leadership position at a small nonprofit that is considered an industry leader in sustainable development programs in Africa and Central America, one of 5 US employees, which means I manage a large portion of the nonprofit.

In college work experience: probably totals nearly a year with another experience I didn't list here.  Post-college work experience (which probably matters more): 3.5 not counting the temp position, nearly 4 if you count it.

 Language: Hebrew (high proficiency with 6 years of study), Mongolian (intermediate proficiency), Turkish (basic proficiency)

LORs: I hope these are pretty good.  One from the Executive Director where I work, one from a professor who can account for my research skills and critical thinking ability, one mostly like from Peace Corps (just deciding who is the best PC person to write this LOR)

SOP: Haven't really gotten into this yet.  I'll probably start these over the summer.  I'll probably talk about my interest in sustainable community development as a tool in international security, why I need an MPA to enter the field I want to enter - something like that.  Seriously, I've been mostly getting my quantitative background in order.

Thoughts: I'm worried about my weaker GPA.  There was also a period of 9-months where I worked in retail and restaurant service because I had trouble finding a job, and then another period of 9-months where I worked in retail and restaurant service because I was waiting to go to the Peace Corps (and felt like accepting a permanent position somewhere would be dishonest).  I don't reflect negatively on those experiences, and I did what I had to do to pay the bills.  I'm just not sure how some of the really competitive programs are going to feel about that.  A lot of the student bios listed on the WWS website are people who have been working incredible policy and/or nonprofit jobs since they graduated college.  Going to grad school is a huge priority, but I know that I'm going to be in nonprofit/public service work for the rest of my life.  I'm trying to do what I can to avoid more debt.  I'm willing to work another year or two (although I need to change jobs because now I do mostly fundraising and I don't like it - it's just an important skill to have no matter where you end up in nonprofit work) if it means that I'll be the strongest candidate I can possibly be.  I'm interested in WWS for so many reasons, some related to funding and some related to the strength of the program, size of cohort, emphasis on enter public service/nonprofits after graduation, etc.  I know it's a total crapshoot, but if someone has a recommendation for me to make it less of a crapshoot or fill in a hole I have, I'm all ears.

I think you'll easily get into American and Korbel, and probably Georgetown. If you want HKS, I'd say you should get a little bit more related work experience. I think you also have a good chance at Fletcher. Princetown will be a little tough (could benefit from more experience here as well). Pretty well-rounded profile.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Program Applied To: American SIS MAIAPA, Elliott School MA IDEV

Undergraduate institution: regional public university.

Undergraduate GPA: 3.95

Undergraduate Majors: International Affairs, Minors in Economics and Spanish

Study Abroad: Christ University in India, doing research on women’s rights 

GRE: not taken as it is not required by either school

Years of Work Experience: 1-2 years full-time, 5 years cumulative

Describe Relevant Work Experience: 

-         Completed project for UNDP on political and electoral rights

-         Was a national fellow for a well-known NGO and helped lobby at the UN Commission on the Status of Women

-         Worked as a research/communications assistant on campus for a research institute focused on economic and policy analysis

-         Worked as an international student peer advisor on campus

-         Economic Development Committee member for a local nonprofit doing development work in Kenya

-         Did gender-based violence research as a member of President’s Women’s Commission

-         Changed university policy on emergency contraceptives access on campus

-         Completed internship for a human rights educational center locally

-         Conducted policy evaluation for local municipal county courthouse on racial inequity policies

-         Was a budget and finance chair for a local political action committee

-         Lobbied federal government on global women’s rights issues

-         Held community organizing positions for a variety of issues such as environmental policy, women’s rights, etc.

-         Volunteered for refugee arts organization and a human rights organization creating databases.

-         Politics journalist for campus newspaper

-         Worked full-time for a year as a research analyst for a sales/marketing company after high school.

All before turning 21. It's really varied/wide but there's not a ton of depth in any 1 specific field except women's rights.

Languages: Intermediate-Advanced Spanish, beginning Hindi. 

Quant: Calculus AB from high school (4), 4.0 in all economics classes including micro and macro, will take econometrics and more classes in econ next year, 4.0 in stats, significant work experience with statistics. 

Strength of SOP: probably fine. 

Strength of LOR (be honest, describe the process, etc): One from a professor who has personally paid for me to go to academic research conferences with her (long story) and has been my mentor from day 1, one from a professor who was the director of my program and appointed me as the leader for a UN simulation in a class on international organizations, and one from a supervisor (either from the director of the international student services dept at my school where I worked for a little under a year or from the director of a public policy & economics research institute on campus that I currently work for, haven’t decided yet).
 

Others: I’m also a first-generation student, nontraditional (married!), and low-income. I’m most concerned that my undergraduate institution will reflect poorly on the rest of my application, since my school is not that good, although it is fully accredited and not 100% acceptance (came here due to financial concerns etc). Not really considering applying to Georgetown or Johns Hopkins because a. don't think I'd get in and b. It would cost a lot more since I'd have to take GREs and they don't have fee waivers for first gen students.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, interstu5 said:

Others: I’m also a first-generation student, nontraditional (married!), and low-income. I’m most concerned that my undergraduate institution will reflect poorly on the rest of my application, since my school is not that good, although it is fully accredited and not 100% acceptance (came here due to financial concerns etc). Not really considering applying to Georgetown or Johns Hopkins because a. don't think I'd get in and b. It would cost a lot more since I'd have to take GREs and they don't have fee waivers for first gen students.

I wouldn’t get hung up on the prestige of your undergraduate institution as you performed extremely well while there. Not all of us can attend Ivies and schools know that—especially for first generation students / low income households. If anything, your undergad institution can be mitigated through your essays. You can expand / reflect on how your undergrad experience and personal background influenced you to pursue graduate study etc etc 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Program Applying To: MPP, MPA, MSCAPP

Schools Applied To:   HKS, WWS, UChicago (MSCAPP), Heinz, Goldman, Ford, Sanford
Undergraduate institution: Top 20 School
Undergraduate GPA: 3.75
Undergraduate Major: Political Economy and Portuguese
GRE Quantitative Score: 170
GRE Verbal Score: 163
GRE AW Score: 5.0 
Years Out of Undergrad (if applicable): 2
Years of Work Experience: 2
Describe Relevant Work Experience: Interned on the hill, global health nonprofit, two RA internships at Harvard, Fulbright in Brazil, currently working as a Project Coordinator at a medical school
Strength of SOP (be honest, describe the process, etc): Planning to start relatively early
Strength of LOR's (be honest, describe the process, etc): Planning on asking my thesis advisor, a professor I worked closely with during my Fulbright, and my work supervisor
Other: I'm still not sure if this upcoming cycle is the right time to apply. Since affordability is a priority, I feel like I might be better off applying when I have more experience under my belt. Any advice would be appreciated!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, yy308 said:

Program Applying To: MPP, MPA, MSCAPP

Schools Applied To:   HKS, WWS, UChicago (MSCAPP), Heinz, Goldman, Ford, Sanford
Undergraduate institution: Top 20 School
Undergraduate GPA: 3.75
Undergraduate Major: Political Economy and Portuguese
GRE Quantitative Score: 170
GRE Verbal Score: 163
GRE AW Score: 5.0 
Years Out of Undergrad (if applicable): 2
Years of Work Experience: 2
Describe Relevant Work Experience: Interned on the hill, global health nonprofit, two RA internships at Harvard, Fulbright in Brazil, currently working as a Project Coordinator at a medical school
Strength of SOP (be honest, describe the process, etc): Planning to start relatively early
Strength of LOR's (be honest, describe the process, etc): Planning on asking my thesis advisor, a professor I worked closely with during my Fulbright, and my work supervisor
Other: I'm still not sure if this upcoming cycle is the right time to apply. Since affordability is a priority, I feel like I might be better off applying when I have more experience under my belt. Any advice would be appreciated!!

Of your two years of work experience, has this been full-time work or internships? 

Your GRE quant and verbal scores are fantastic so I would not worry about those at all. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all, is there anyone who has been admitted to SIPA's MPA EPM and declined the offer or is planning to do so? I am on wait-list and cant wait to get in. Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/11/2019 at 11:10 AM, yy308 said:

Program Applying To: MPP, MPA, MSCAPP

Schools Applied To:   HKS, WWS, UChicago (MSCAPP), Heinz, Goldman, Ford, Sanford
Undergraduate institution: Top 20 School
Undergraduate GPA: 3.75
Undergraduate Major: Political Economy and Portuguese
GRE Quantitative Score: 170
GRE Verbal Score: 163
GRE AW Score: 5.0 
Years Out of Undergrad (if applicable): 2
Years of Work Experience: 2
Describe Relevant Work Experience: Interned on the hill, global health nonprofit, two RA internships at Harvard, Fulbright in Brazil, currently working as a Project Coordinator at a medical school
Strength of SOP (be honest, describe the process, etc): Planning to start relatively early
Strength of LOR's (be honest, describe the process, etc): Planning on asking my thesis advisor, a professor I worked closely with during my Fulbright, and my work supervisor
Other: I'm still not sure if this upcoming cycle is the right time to apply. Since affordability is a priority, I feel like I might be better off applying when I have more experience under my belt. Any advice would be appreciated!!

Your profile sounds great! I think you would be ok to apply in this application cycle. I applied with three years of experience and got into every program I applied to with much worse test scores than yours. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will be doing a bit of a shift from my educational background trying to get into environmental management or policy programs ideally with an international spin. I am also looking at many schools in Europe and one in Japan. My goal is to narrow it down to about 5 schools and these are probably the most prestigious (difficult to get into) on my list. I know it is a long shot for Yale and WWS but I think I have a good chance at the others. 

Schools Applying To: Yale MEM (Environmental Management), WWS MPA,  Maxwell MPA, Notre Dame Keough MGA, Science Po MEP (Environmental Policy), Lund University IIIEE (MEP)

Undergraduate institution: Top 3 school in state 

Undergraduate GPA: 3.25

Undergraduate Major: Intentional Relations and Japanese Language

GRE Quantitative Score: 156

GRE Verbal Score: 163

GRE AW Score: 4.

Languages: I am fluent in French and conversational in Japanese

Quant: This is not my strong suit but I did take intro to Macro & Micro getting an B and A- I also took stats and calculus where I think I got a B and a C. 

Years Out of Undergrad (if applicable): 2

Years of Work Experience: 2

Describe Relevant Work Experience: I would not say this is particularly relevant but I have been teaching English in Japan as a JET for the past 2 years. I have been able to take on a lot of responsibilities and even introduced new programs to the English curriculum. Starting in September will be interning at an international energy policy think tank in Tokyo that will run until June of 2020. 

Strength of SOP (be honest, describe the process, etc): I have not started writing them yet but I believe that I have a clear path in my mind that involves going to graduate school to achieve my goals.  I grew up living on sail boats and have seen coral bleaching and fish diversity decreasing first hand and picked a fair amount of trash out of the ocean. A lot of my interest in environmental issues stems from my experiences with that life.  

Strength of LOR's (be honest, describe the process, etc): I have one professor who has written multiple LORs for me in the past and who I got along with well in undergrad. Two others might be a bit more difficult. I plan on asking the intern director at the think tank to write me one. Potentially my Japanese professor could be a third but her field is obviously pretty removed from environmental studies. 

Other: I was a CLS recipient for Japanese. I took two Graduate courses in undergrad and got As in both.  One was on Modern China the other on Religions in Japan.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hey all, I posted in the political science thread a week or so ago but recognized this would be a better spot, as I'm trying to get a policy-oriented Ph.D. I wanted to get some advice on getting into a Ph.D. program focused on International Relations, specifically studying nuclear deterrence. I’d like to build a research-oriented career in nuclear deterrence and strategy. However, my path leading up to this point has been rather untraditional, so I’m trying to get some advice on what I should do over the next few years to set myself up for success when I start applying to programs to try and be somewhat competitive.
 
Currently, I have a BS in Music Production from Full Sail University (3.19 GPA) and an MA in International Relations from Webster University (3.78 GPA). I did my schooling online as I was in the military for most of it; I spent 6 years enlisted in the USAF working with nuclear security. Recently, I started working as an analyst contracting for DTRA, evaluating nuclear weapons security and exercise protocol. I haven’t taken the GRE yet, though I understand that those scores will be critical to getting into a decent program.
 
Since I did my school online and through schools that don’t have name-brand appeal by any means, I’m a little worried about getting into a decent program. I don’t need to get into Harvard or anything but would like to make myself as competitive as possible to get into a decent program. I still have a bit of my GI bill benefits left and was playing with the idea of doing some more school first. I’ve been considering a graduate certificate focusing on nuclear policy through George Washington, or perhaps a second Masters in security studies or something similar at a school here in DC. I don’t mind doing more school before putting in for a Ph.D. but I don’t want to waste my time either. I’d like to make sure that if I do more graduate school it will be conducive to my application. Also, I’m unsure if I’d even be able to do a second Masters since I already completed one in the field. 
 
Any advice on what I should be doing would be greatly appreciated! My fairly nontraditional background makes it hard for me to judge my competitiveness and what I should do to improve that, it would be great to get some advice from those who may know a little more than myself. Thanks in advance!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
Hi folks! Have been reading some of the posts - they are very helpful. I’m starting my second year post graduate and hoping to apply for MPP/MPA this fall. Coming from a humanities background, I hope to eventually work in cultural policy (and cultural economies). I would love to hear your opinion on my chances of getting into any of the programs listed. I’m a bit worried about my background not being political science/international relations/global affairs/economics etc. Oh and, I’m an international student, if that matters.
 
Program Applying To: MPP, MPA
Schools Applied To: HKS, WWS, Jackson, Harris, Goldman, Sanford, and maybe Blavatnik (Oxford) (am I aiming too high?)
Undergraduate institution: NYU
Undergraduate GPA: 3.81
Undergraduate Major: Art History
GRE Quantitative Score: 165
GRE Verbal Score: 166
GRE AW Score: pending (haven’t received my report)
Languages: Mandarin (native), English (full professional), French and Italian (very basic level)
Quant: haven’t taken too many quant classes, but I did take microecon (A-), macroecon (B+), cal (B+), stats (A). I hope my GRE quant could make up a bit for my lack of quant background. 
Years Out of Undergrad (if applicable): 1-2 (will be 2 years at the time of enrollment)
Years of Work Experience: 1-2 (2 if counting all internship experience)
Describe Relevant Work Experience: a writer internship for NGO on foreign policy; a museum internship; an UN internship; full-time writing fellowship at a university doing research while providing writing consultation (about to start my second year of the fellowship)
Strength of SOP (be honest, describe the process, etc): feel pretty good about this. Personal story+academic and professional experience can demonstrate why I want to work with cultural policy
Strength of LOR's (be honest, describe the process, etc): one art history professor, one law/environmental studies professor, and maybe one of my supervisors at the UN
Other: Besides my humanities background, I’m also worried about my professional experience. None of them is directly related to policy research/analysis. I guess the writer internship for NGO on foreign policy could be a bit more relevant than others. The UN internship is mainly about strategic communications and advocacuy, so I feel it doesn’t mean that much other than the big name. The only I could improve between now and the admission deadline is to make my research during my second year fellowship relevant to policy. Would this help?
 
Would love to hear your opinion on my strengths/weakness and also chances of getting into any of the schools. Any advice appreciated!! Many thanks!
Edited by justaname

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.