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2 hours ago, omoon said:

 

I'm interested in Technology Policy (privacy, data regulation, cybersecurity.) I know I'm likely an unusual candidate, and tbh, I felt embarrassed even to dream of getting into any of the schools.

Still, I hope for a realistic assessment of my chances at these programs or any suggestion on boosting my profile and other programs that I should consider. Thanks

Applying to: GWU Trachtenberg MPP, GA-Tech MS Cybersecurity (Policy), UT-Austin LBJ MGPP, Brown MPA, JHU SAIS MEPP, Tufts Fletcher MALD, MIT TPP, CMU EPP, CMU MSISPM, Georgetown McCourt MPP, Chicago Harris MPP, Duke Sanford MPP, Williams & Mary MPP, Lehigh MPP (new program starts 2021)

Undergrad institution:  Large State School. (One of the Big Ten schools.)

Undergrad Major: STEM major with minors in Computer Science 

Undergrad GPA: <2.5/4.0. 

Grad GPA: Took a graduate level class at Fletcher over the summer and got 4.0/4.0

GRE: N/A

Years out of undergrad: 4-5 years

Quant Background: Took one econ, and a few math, and stats classes (Cs for math classes, B+ for stats and econ classes.) However, I have a lot of quant experience at work where I analyze survey and behavioral data using R, Python, and SPSS.   

Relevant Work Experience:  In undergrad, I have 3.5 years of experience as a research assistant at a quantitive psychology lab. Post-grad, I have worked for a few well-known tech companies as a mixed-method researcher conducting both quant and qual research. 


International experience:  Born and raised in different countries (Japan, Hong Kong, China) before I came back to the States for college.
 

Strength of LOR: One is from a professor who I worked with for 3.5 years as an undergrad. He mentioned he's going to write me a strong letter—another from a professor at Fletcher who I took classes with this summer, unsure if it's strong since I have not and probably would not get a chance to see it. The last one is from my ex-manager, who has a PhD, and is now a principal researcher for a tech company. Assumes it's going to be strong too. 

 

Strength of SOP: While I do not have the final version yet, I plan to write about my reason for pursuing an MPP. I will walk through my personal experience of dealing with data regulation (GDPR) in 2018 and how the experience helped me developed an interest in tech policy (privacy, regulation...etc) and decided to pursue an MPP. After MPP I would like to assist the private sectors in preparing for any future tech policy and assisting the general public in understanding the policy related to them.

It sounds like you are doing a shot in the dark strategy and honestly even if I was on a fly in the wall in every single admissions committee, I honestly don't think I could coherently tell you which schools would likely or not likely give you a shot. Your situation is just rather unique to begin with.

Here is what I recommend you do:

1. Rock the GRE (all 3 categories)--> Thiswill get rid of any concerns about your ability to graduate + you can more easier chalk up the less than stellar GPA to youth indiscretion. If you don't do stellar, you chances in an established reputable program may likely be game over.

2. Have a coherent story with why your undergrad GPA is so bad. If you don't have a compelling story, at the very least chalk it up to being young and dumb and how you have matured as an adult. 

3. Figure out how the school is relevant to you. You seem to have done a scattershot of every single program and I struggle to see how some of these would even be relevant to you. Maybe I am missing here, but I fail to see how any IR program like Johns Hopkins SAIS or Fletcher is relevant your tech interests. You need to differentiate between how a class might have been relevant vs. how a program might be relevant. This is because though GDPR has international influence and ramifications, at the core of it, it is domestic public policy interest. That being said, from the outside looking in, a policy program is best suited for you. 

That being said, you probably want a program that actually has some meaningful engagement in tech, so that in my mind kills of Brown, William & Mary, McCourt (ya they have a tech club, but beyond that, they don't really do anything in tech or collaboration in tech) 

Lets be honest, you are not going to have recommenders send a dozen or so LORs. You are better off just applying to 4 schools which in your case would be a. super reach, reach, less reach, and target. Among the ones left, I would figure out what those 4 will be. 

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1 hour ago, GradSchoolGrad said:

You are insanely competitive as a candidate based on basic stats. Just highlight illness in the addendum. The only thing that concerns me is your lack of explanation on WHY you want to go to policy school. Your school choices hereby don't exactly have the most coherent pattern which confuses me. 

I should elaborate on my goals a bit: My main policy interest is in health. I am currently writing my dissertation on behavioural interventions and preventable diseases and hope to continue this work in my future education and career. My strength is in behavioural research but not in proposing and assessing policy outcomes. I wish to develop my quantitative policy skills (particularly in policy economics, program evaluation, etc.) through an MPP program. I also hope to learn more about health policy in the US through both course work and potentially conducting research with faculty members. The health policy strengths at LBJ, Price and HKS were what made me decide to apply to those schools, and eventually I was won over by speaking with some of their faculty.

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1 hour ago, Canuck2020 said:

I should elaborate on my goals a bit: My main policy interest is in health. I am currently writing my dissertation on behavioural interventions and preventable diseases and hope to continue this work in my future education and career. My strength is in behavioural research but not in proposing and assessing policy outcomes. I wish to develop my quantitative policy skills (particularly in policy economics, program evaluation, etc.) through an MPP program. I also hope to learn more about health policy in the US through both course work and potentially conducting research with faculty members. The health policy strengths at LBJ, Price and HKS were what made me decide to apply to those schools, and eventually I was won over by speaking with some of their faculty.

If you interest is health (and you are married to it), I honestly think you are looking at the wrong degree. I recommend you look at MPHs instead. The big MPH programs are Johns Hopkins, Harvard Chan School, and Columbia. You also learn the same quant skills but get more area specific focus and attention and network. 

The reality is that there is a major market imbalance within MPP programs whereby you do have a fair amount of professors interested in health policy + and labor market demand for it, but I have never really seen strong health policy interests and I doubt you would have as meaningful or sizable a cohort. LBJ and Price are seen as a good Policy programs, but not the best. I think you could get into the BEST MPH schools and serve your career interests much better. 

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44 minutes ago, GradSchoolGrad said:

If you interest is health (and you are married to it), I honestly think you are looking at the wrong degree. I recommend you look at MPHs instead. The big MPH programs are Johns Hopkins, Harvard Chan School, and Columbia. You also learn the same quant skills but get more area specific focus and attention and network. 

The reality is that there is a major market imbalance within MPP programs whereby you do have a fair amount of professors interested in health policy + and labor market demand for it, I have never really seen strong health policy interests and I doubt you would have as meaningful or sizable cohort. LBJ and Price do have are seen as a good Policy programs, but not the best. I think you could get into the BEST MPH schools and serve your career interests much better. 

I am also interested in other social policy areas (with health currently being the most prominent) so there is still a strong benefit for me to enrol in an MPP so I can test different areas. However, I will look at those MPH programs as it sounds like they may be compatible for my interests too, considering I could develop quant skills there as well.

You've been so helpful - thank you very much for your thoughtful responses and guidance!

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12 minutes ago, Canuck2020 said:

I am also interested in other social policy areas (with health currently being the most prominent) so there is still a strong benefit for me to enrol in an MPP so I can test different areas. However, I will look at those MPH programs as it sounds like they may be compatible for my interests too, considering I could develop quant skills there as well.

You've been so helpful - thank you very much for your thoughtful responses and guidance!

So the schools in my opinion that have as good if not better Social Policy (well maybe not as good as HKS) are --> 

1. Duke Terry Sanford (You should be able to take classes at UNC's Public Health School)

2. U. Michigan Ford (They have a neighboring Public Health School you can take classes at)

and just maybe... just maybe --> if you are okay as a strong independent researcher

3. Princeton's Policy School (probably the hardest quant program out there)

4. Syracuse Maxwell

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10 minutes ago, GradSchoolGrad said:

So the schools in my opinion that have as good if not better Social Policy (well maybe not as good as HKS) are --> 

1. Duke Terry Sanford (You should be able to take classes at UNC's Public Health School)

2. U. Michigan Ford (They have a neighboring Public Health School you can take classes at)

and just maybe... just maybe --> if you are okay as a strong independent researcher

3. Princeton's Policy School (probably the hardest quant program out there)

4. Syracuse Maxwell

Very insightful - from the perspective of an applicant it can be difficult to tell a school's strength in a particular area, so I will look very seriously at all of these schools. I'd say I'm a fairly strong researcher - why do you say Princeton and Syracuse subject to that condition?

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3 minutes ago, Canuck2020 said:

Very insightful - from the perspective of an applicant it can be difficult to tell a school's strength in a particular area, so I will look very seriously at all of these schools. I'd say I'm a fairly strong researcher - why do you say Princeton and Syracuse subject to that condition?

So Princeton is a really awesome program in terms of brand prestige, access, academic rigor, and access afforded to you (everyone who goes to Princeton goes for free). THE PROBLEM IS is that their policy program is their ONLY professional school for the entire University. Everything, and especially Health Policy/Social Policy is becoming more an interdisciplinary game. It is good to collaborate with business, legal, medicine, and etc.. The Princeton name will really help you with that and Professors will have contacts to support you. However,  lot of times it means going outside of the University, so that means you need to do things on your own.

Syracuse suffers from a similar problem, but in a different way. Unlike Princeton, they have a lot of good (but not great) professional schools neighboring Maxwell (the policy school). HOWEVER... Syracuse is in the middle of nowhere Syracuse New York, so it isn't exactly that easy to do a live collaboration / research project with. The upside is that Syracuse is generally academically highly regarded among the policy community.

That being said, I personally view HKS, Duke, and Michigan to be the top options for you on the public policy side. If you were to go MPH side, Harvard Chan, Johns Hopkins, and Columbia should take the cake. 

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2 minutes ago, GradSchoolGrad said:

So Princeton is a really awesome program in terms of brand prestige, access, academic rigor, and access afforded to you (everyone who goes to Princeton goes for free). THE PROBLEM IS is that their policy program is their ONLY professional school for the entire University. Everything, and especially Health Policy/Social Policy is becoming more an interdisciplinary game. It is good to collaborate with business, legal, medicine, and etc.. The Princeton name will really help you with that and Professors will have contacts to support you. However,  lot of times it means going outside of the University, so that means you need to do things on your own.

Syracuse suffers from a similar problem, but in a different way. Unlike Princeton, they have a lot of good (but not great) professional schools neighboring Maxwell (the policy school). HOWEVER... Syracuse is in the middle of nowhere Syracuse New York, so it isn't exactly that easy to do a live collaboration / research project with. The upside is that Syracuse is generally academically highly regarded among the policy community.

That being said, I personally view HKS, Duke, and Michigan to be the top options for you on the public policy side.

Ah that makes sense - I would agree that HKS, Duke, and Michigan are arguably better choices then. My angle on policy even now is very interdisciplinary so it's important for me to go to a school where I can take courses and collaborate with others from different departments (one of the reasons I applied to LBJ, HKS and Price). I'll certainly be applying to more schools after this - very grateful for your help!

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7 hours ago, GradSchoolGrad said:

It sounds like you are doing a shot in the dark strategy and honestly even if I was on a fly in the wall in every single admissions committee, I honestly don't think I could coherently tell you which schools would likely or not likely give you a shot. Your situation is just rather unique to begin with.

Here is what I recommend you do:

1. Rock the GRE (all 3 categories)--> Thiswill get rid of any concerns about your ability to graduate + you can more easier chalk up the less than stellar GPA to youth indiscretion. If you don't do stellar, you chances in an established reputable program may likely be game over.

2. Have a coherent story with why your undergrad GPA is so bad. If you don't have a compelling story, at the very least chalk it up to being young and dumb and how you have matured as an adult. 

3. Figure out how the school is relevant to you. You seem to have done a scattershot of every single program and I struggle to see how some of these would even be relevant to you. Maybe I am missing here, but I fail to see how any IR program like Johns Hopkins SAIS or Fletcher is relevant your tech interests. You need to differentiate between how a class might have been relevant vs. how a program might be relevant. This is because though GDPR has international influence and ramifications, at the core of it, it is domestic public policy interest. That being said, from the outside looking in, a policy program is best suited for you. 

That being said, you probably want a program that actually has some meaningful engagement in tech, so that in my mind kills of Brown, William & Mary, McCourt (ya they have a tech club, but beyond that, they don't really do anything in tech or collaboration in tech) 

Lets be honest, you are not going to have recommenders send a dozen or so LORs. You are better off just applying to 4 schools which in your case would be a. super reach, reach, less reach, and target. Among the ones left, I would figure out what those 4 will be. 

Thank you for your recommendations; I'd like to elaborate a bit more on why I am applying to some of the programs, and hoping to get more insight.

  1. To be honest, with my stats, I'd consider all the schools "super reach". So it's challenging to understand which one is less reach and target for me. 
     
  2. My top schools are Chicago Harris MPP, MIT TPP, CMU EPP, GA-Tech MS Cybersecurity (Policy), but all of them are super reach even for applicants with stellar stats. 
     
  3. SAIS, Fletcher, and Brown: I'm applying to Johns Hopkins SAIS's European Public Policy program to focus on GDPR, and European data regulation. For Fletcher, I'm applying to the new cybersecurity and policy programs not MADL. A few professors at Brown aligns with my interest in tech. While Brown is likely still a reach for me, I assumed the program is not as competitive as the top schools I'm applying to.
     
  4. Other schools: I plan to apply to some traditional/generic MPP programs like William & Mary, Lehigh, GWU. LBJ, Duke Sanford, and Brown, because being a non-stellar candidate with zero knowledge in public policy, I'd still gain a lot from a traditional MPP even without tech engagement.
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31 minutes ago, omoon said:

 

Thank you for your recommendations; I'd like to elaborate a bit more on why I am applying to some of the programs, and hoping to get more insight.

  1. To be honest, with my stats, I'd consider all the schools "super reach". So it's challenging to understand which one is less reach and target for me. 
     
  2. My top schools are Chicago Harris MPP, MIT TPP, CMU EPP, GA-Tech MS Cybersecurity (Policy), but all of them are super reach even for applicants with stellar stats. 
     
  3. SAIS, Fletcher, and Brown: I'm applying to Johns Hopkins SAIS's European Public Policy program to focus on GDPR, and European data regulation. For Fletcher, I'm applying to the new cybersecurity and policy programs not MADL. A few professors at Brown aligns with my interest in tech. While Brown is likely still a reach for me, I assumed the program is not as competitive as the top schools I'm applying to.
     
  4. Other schools: I plan to apply to some traditional/generic MPP programs like William & Mary, Lehigh, GWU. LBJ, Duke Sanford, and Brown, because being a non-stellar candidate with zero knowledge in public policy, I'd still gain a lot from a traditional MPP even without tech engagement.

This goes back to we don't have enough data about you to give you meaningful insights.

1. GRE scores??? You need good ones to compensate for bad grades

2. Compelling story about bad grades? - did something happen (illness, death, etc.)? That can further mitigate

3. Leadership experience / potential? --> lead anything? 

4. Diversity - got it you are a data guy, that helps you... got anything else? Veteran? 1st to go to College in your Family? 

You can overcome bad grades if you can sew some element of that together.

Right now, your only real advantage is that you are decently unique as a data/psych/kind of sciences guy, and I could potentially see a school that prizes diversity to view you as a diversity add in terms of background. You might want to figure out your actual value proposition first so you can more accurately figure out what schools are for you --> especially when you are basing your school choices on rather surface level assumptions. 

As for your top schools

1. They make zero sense.

a. U. Chicago isn't exactly a tech haven... It has a great brand and great career stuff... Its one thing to go analytical. It is another to do tech with them when they don't exactly have a strong tech network built in or geographically located.

b. MIT, CMU, and GA Tech are essentially engineering/science based policy programs. Although you may have some academic capability for it, you don't have the background for it. They like people who at least tangentially come from engineering or cyber respectively. Notice how it isn't run by government or policy department, but a hard sciences departments. You are a quant psych guy... that is a rather large stretch. 

2. Other schools you mentioned. In my mind, Brown, William and Mary, and Lehigh also make zero sense. It doesn't matter how much the Professors may have researched an area. Unless you are going into academia or research (which you may), professors don't exactly help you get into jobs. Also, those schools may have great brands due to their undergrad, but they are essentially seen as cash grab players in the higher ed space (because MPP programs deliver profits for schools) with little real meaningful return on investment in regards to job success if you attend a programmatically challenged and under-resourced program. . 

3. GWU MPP now begins to make more sense, because they are all about having people do a lot of internships while going to school. Assuming COVID subsides, you can truly benefit from that by marketing yourself as having sciences experience (because GPA doesn't matter anymore non-science application policy space once you get into school). 

4. Fletcher starting a Cyber Security program is actually concerning for me. It is one thing for Georgia Tech to do coming from an engineering angle. Fletcher has lately gone wild trying to do expansion Masters to compensate for their weaknesses in Tufts not having other professional schools to collaborate with (except for Medicine, but that is downtown Boston). Generally speaking, you don't want to be a person joining a new program --> stuff isn't figured out yet, and being a guinea pig is never fun. 

5. Okay SAIS - MEPP makes sense now. I really hope you love Europe don't regret being siloed with Europe. Also let me warn you, it is a one year program, and those fly by fast and often don't give you sufficient experential learning opportunities to truly boost you resume as a 2 year program would. 

6. Duke Terry Sanford specializes in State and Local Domestic Policy (I mean they do lots of other things well too, but that is what they are really good at). I think you would find yourself rather lonely as a tech guy there. 

7. I can't speak to LBJ

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Hi everyone. Brief background before my profile because I think it may be relevant. I've been interested in international affairs and security topics since high school, but I'm a STEM major, graduated in 2017 and worked in my field till 2019. Left my job in mid-2019 to prepare full-time for a competitive public service exam to join the Foreign Service of Pakistan. I didn't qualify the exam, but I'm still committed to public service and the 8 months or so of studying IR, International Law, World Affairs etc. piqued my interest sufficiently to consider switching to Security studies, perhaps with a stepping stone in a public policy data science program.

Considering applying to: 

Security Studies: Georgetown Walsh, GWU Elliott, UofDenver Korbel, Boston Pardee , Pittsburgh GSPIA

Data Science/Analytics: Georgetown McCourt, UChicago Harris, AU SPA, USC Viterbi, Northeastern CoE, Vanderbilt, Tufts

Undergrad Institution: Top-ranked in Pakistan, ranked 300-400 globally

Undergrad Major: Chemical Engineering

Years out of undergrad: 3

GPA: 3.34/4.0 (3.5+ in last two semesters)

GRE: 340/340, AW 5.5/6

Quant Background: Calculus I and II, Differential Equations, Numerical Analysis. Middling grades, Bs and Cs.

Programming Background: Computer Programming course in C during 2nd semester. Now learning Python through Coursera, self-study etc.

Relevant Work Experience: None relevant to security. Otherwise, 20 months as an Operations Engineer for a large fertilizer company in Pakistan which featured a limited amount of interaction with data analysis in Excel

Relevant Volunteer Experience: Limited. Moderated r/syriancivilwar, a subreddit of ~50,000 subscribers focused on the Syrian Civil War, for a year. I was also a contributor to an online publication that stemmed from the subreddit, the Syrian Civil War Week in Review, (now the International Review) during 2016-2017. Also served as President of my university's debating society and initiated a fortnightly debating forum based on the Oxford model, with the theme being domestic and international affairs.

Languages: Native speaker of Pashto and Urdu. Near-native fluency in English, expecting high score on TOEFL/Duolingo

International experience: No experience outside my home country.

Strength of LOR: Expecting strong recommendation from a former supervisor at work, and middle to strong recommendations from two of my undergrad professors 

I do realize that I'm applying to pretty competitive programs, and am aware that my GPA isn't the greatest and that I have no professional or academic experience in the field (my engineering program had a pre-set curriculum plan with no student choice in terms of course selection). I'm just hoping for an honest assessment of my current chances and advice on how to improve my credentials if I should wait to apply. 

I'd also be very appreciative of some feedback regarding the internship and short-term opportunities in the US for an international graduate in security studies. My goal is to return home to join one of the strategic think tanks in a policy role, but I would definitely be interested in internships and associate/research positions to learn and network before returning or pursuing further studies. 

Thank you in advance for any feedback, cheers!

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1 hour ago, bensaul said:

Hi everyone. Brief background before my profile because I think it may be relevant. I've been interested in international affairs and security topics since high school, but I'm a STEM major, graduated in 2017 and worked in my field till 2019. Left my job in mid-2019 to prepare full-time for a competitive public service exam to join the Foreign Service of Pakistan. I didn't qualify the exam, but I'm still committed to public service and the 8 months or so of studying IR, International Law, World Affairs etc. piqued my interest sufficiently to consider switching to Security studies, perhaps with a stepping stone in a public policy data science program.

Considering applying to: 

Security Studies: Georgetown Walsh, GWU Elliott, UofDenver Korbel, Boston Pardee , Pittsburgh GSPIA

Data Science/Analytics: Georgetown McCourt, UChicago Harris, AU SPA, USC Viterbi, Northeastern CoE, Vanderbilt, Tufts

Undergrad Institution: Top-ranked in Pakistan, ranked 300-400 globally

Undergrad Major: Chemical Engineering

Years out of undergrad: 3

GPA: 3.34/4.0 (3.5+ in last two semesters)

GRE: 340/340, AW 5.5/6

Quant Background: Calculus I and II, Differential Equations, Numerical Analysis. Middling grades, Bs and Cs.

Programming Background: Computer Programming course in C during 2nd semester. Now learning Python through Coursera, self-study etc.

Relevant Work Experience: None relevant to security. Otherwise, 20 months as an Operations Engineer for a large fertilizer company in Pakistan which featured a limited amount of interaction with data analysis in Excel

Relevant Volunteer Experience: Limited. Moderated r/syriancivilwar, a subreddit of ~50,000 subscribers focused on the Syrian Civil War, for a year. I was also a contributor to an online publication that stemmed from the subreddit, the Syrian Civil War Week in Review, (now the International Review) during 2016-2017. Also served as President of my university's debating society and initiated a fortnightly debating forum based on the Oxford model, with the theme being domestic and international affairs.

Languages: Native speaker of Pashto and Urdu. Near-native fluency in English, expecting high score on TOEFL/Duolingo

International experience: No experience outside my home country.

Strength of LOR: Expecting strong recommendation from a former supervisor at work, and middle to strong recommendations from two of my undergrad professors 

I do realize that I'm applying to pretty competitive programs, and am aware that my GPA isn't the greatest and that I have no professional or academic experience in the field (my engineering program had a pre-set curriculum plan with no student choice in terms of course selection). I'm just hoping for an honest assessment of my current chances and advice on how to improve my credentials if I should wait to apply. 

I'd also be very appreciative of some feedback regarding the internship and short-term opportunities in the US for an international graduate in security studies. My goal is to return home to join one of the strategic think tanks in a policy role, but I would definitely be interested in internships and associate/research positions to learn and network before returning or pursuing further studies. 

Thank you in advance for any feedback, cheers!

Wow... this is different.

A. I recommend you check on if the schools of your interest has a robust international student office (or something similar) to support you in all the paperwork to come to the US in the first place. You are also taking some risk in gambling that there will be in person classes in Fall 2021. I mean, I think there will be, but you never know the future. That may add to the complexity of if you can actually manage to come to the US for school.

B. If you seek to focus on IR/Security studies, it makes no sense for you to go to a Policy school. If you care to pick up data analytics, it makes more sense that you just cross-register with some Politics or Policy focused statistics classes. Policy school doesn't really cater towards Defense as a whole. Some policy school might touch on IR more robustly than others, but you need to go to an IR school for that. 

C. If you seek to go to a policy data analytics program, you might want to appreciate that it might be difficult to touch on defense/security related issues. Your data experience will most likely be tied to social issues simply because that is the data that is most readily available.

D. You being from a technical background actually helps your ability to get into a school because it makes you diverse. I would not worry about hat.

E. Reddit stuff does not count as volunteer stuff or work experience (unless you are making money off of it or contracted to do it somehow). Otherwise, all the Facebook page managers would add that a to their resume

F. What I recommend you do is to look into IR programs that have a quant angle (or at least options for it).

Such programs would be:

High End - Johns Hopkins SAIS

Middle - GWU Elliot, American SIS

Low - Middlebury - Monterrey, Denver - Korbel 

I say this because then you get the best of both quant and security issues. 

 

 

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17 hours ago, GradSchoolGrad said:

Wow... this is different.

A. I recommend you check on if the schools of your interest has a robust international student office (or something similar) to support you in all the paperwork to come to the US in the first place. You are also taking some risk in gambling that there will be in person classes in Fall 2021. I mean, I think there will be, but you never know the future. That may add to the complexity of if you can actually manage to come to the US for school.

B. If you seek to focus on IR/Security studies, it makes no sense for you to go to a Policy school. If you care to pick up data analytics, it makes more sense that you just cross-register with some Politics or Policy focused statistics classes. Policy school doesn't really cater towards Defense as a whole. Some policy school might touch on IR more robustly than others, but you need to go to an IR school for that. 

C. If you seek to go to a policy data analytics program, you might want to appreciate that it might be difficult to touch on defense/security related issues. Your data experience will most likely be tied to social issues simply because that is the data that is most readily available.

D. You being from a technical background actually helps your ability to get into a school because it makes you diverse. I would not worry about hat.

E. Reddit stuff does not count as volunteer stuff or work experience (unless you are making money off of it or contracted to do it somehow). Otherwise, all the Facebook page managers would add that a to their resume

F. What I recommend you do is to look into IR programs that have a quant angle (or at least options for it).

Such programs would be:

High End - Johns Hopkins SAIS

Middle - GWU Elliot, American SIS

Low - Middlebury - Monterrey, Denver - Korbel 

I say this because then you get the best of both quant and security issues. 

 

 


Thank you for your feedback.

A) Thank you, I'll pursue that route. I do agree it's a gamble but after discussing the matter with friends and former university fellows who are already in the US or going this fall, I'm willing to take the shot. My main concern is with internship or job opportunities though, since from what I've researched, a large proportion of security interns and grads tend to take roles requiring security clearance, which I will be ineligible for. So I'm concerned about competing for a very small number of roles, especially since non-STEM OPT authorization is only for 1 year.

B-F) I understand. Actually, my main interest is in security and the programs mentioned in the first list above. I was thinking of using Data Science/Analytics as a way to bridge the gap between STEM and Security given my limited background, but if background isn't an issue and Public Policy Data Science won't be relevant much anyways, I can focus on the security side now and maybe just get an analytics certification later to round myself out.

Still, in your opinion, is this a competitive enough profile to get into the security programs I'm looking at, particularly with funding/assistance, or should I improve my credentials before applying? And if the latter, what options would you suggest for making my profile more competitive? 

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34 minutes ago, bensaul said:


Thank you for your feedback.

A) Thank you, I'll pursue that route. I do agree it's a gamble but after discussing the matter with friends and former university fellows who are already in the US or going this fall, I'm willing to take the shot. My main concern is with internship or job opportunities though, since from what I've researched, a large proportion of security interns and grads tend to take roles requiring security clearance, which I will be ineligible for. So I'm concerned about competing for a very small number of roles, especially since non-STEM OPT authorization is only for 1 year.

B-F) I understand. Actually, my main interest is in security and the programs mentioned in the first list above. I was thinking of using Data Science/Analytics as a way to bridge the gap between STEM and Security given my limited background, but if background isn't an issue and Public Policy Data Science won't be relevant much anyways, I can focus on the security side now and maybe just get an analytics certification later to round myself out.

Still, in your opinion, is this a competitive enough profile to get into the security programs I'm looking at, particularly with funding/assistance, or should I improve my credentials before applying? And if the latter, what options would you suggest for making my profile more competitive? 

1. In the US, your background is actually advantageous compared to someone who is already currently in the policy or security space because

A: You have more quant coming in than the average person

B: You are unique (as an engineer) and under-represented International student (Pakistan). 

Hence, I would stop worrying about your engineering background and view it was a strength. A Data Analytics program might be easier for you to get into, but it won't have a direct connection for you to get into the security space. Even if you do, you won't be doing policy work per se - more the number crunching side of it. 

2. What you really should be concerned about:

A: Internships and Jobs: By virtue of being a non-US citizen, you become highly uncompetitive for many security oriented internships and jobs since lets be honest --> most of them in the US are US centric. 

B: Security/IR programs don't have much funding to give to begin with. Also, I don't think you are competitive enough to get funding other than essentially the worst schools, in which case your return on investment isn't worth it in my opinion.  This is especially true this year whereby the better schools are drowning in applications. 

3. What I recommend you do

Instead of very narrowly closing yourself off to security studies only, I recommend you approach it more holistically from an international relations + foreign policy interest angle on employment, logistics, politics, and economics of security apparatus. It will give you a wider range of appeal, career opportunities, and etc.

Also, I would prepare to not get any funding. 

One thought is simply to apply next year because it will likely be less competitive. 

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On 12/1/2020 at 12:28 PM, GradSchoolGrad said:

This goes back to we don't have enough data about you to give you meaningful insights.

1. GRE scores??? You need good ones to compensate for bad grades

2. Compelling story about bad grades? - did something happen (illness, death, etc.)? That can further mitigate

3. Leadership experience / potential? --> lead anything? 

4. Diversity - got it you are a data guy, that helps you... got anything else? Veteran? 1st to go to College in your Family? 

You can overcome bad grades if you can sew some element of that together.

Right now, your only real advantage is that you are decently unique as a data/psych/kind of sciences guy, and I could potentially see a school that prizes diversity to view you as a diversity add in terms of background. You might want to figure out your actual value proposition first so you can more accurately figure out what schools are for you --> especially when you are basing your school choices on rather surface level assumptions. 

As for your top schools

1. They make zero sense.

a. U. Chicago isn't exactly a tech haven... It has a great brand and great career stuff... Its one thing to go analytical. It is another to do tech with them when they don't exactly have a strong tech network built in or geographically located.

b. MIT, CMU, and GA Tech are essentially engineering/science based policy programs. Although you may have some academic capability for it, you don't have the background for it. They like people who at least tangentially come from engineering or cyber respectively. Notice how it isn't run by government or policy department, but a hard sciences departments. You are a quant psych guy... that is a rather large stretch. 

2. Other schools you mentioned. In my mind, Brown, William and Mary, and Lehigh also make zero sense. It doesn't matter how much the Professors may have researched an area. Unless you are going into academia or research (which you may), professors don't exactly help you get into jobs. Also, those schools may have great brands due to their undergrad, but they are essentially seen as cash grab players in the higher ed space (because MPP programs deliver profits for schools) with little real meaningful return on investment in regards to job success if you attend a programmatically challenged and under-resourced program. . 

3. GWU MPP now begins to make more sense, because they are all about having people do a lot of internships while going to school. Assuming COVID subsides, you can truly benefit from that by marketing yourself as having sciences experience (because GPA doesn't matter anymore non-science application policy space once you get into school). 

4. Fletcher starting a Cyber Security program is actually concerning for me. It is one thing for Georgia Tech to do coming from an engineering angle. Fletcher has lately gone wild trying to do expansion Masters to compensate for their weaknesses in Tufts not having other professional schools to collaborate with (except for Medicine, but that is downtown Boston). Generally speaking, you don't want to be a person joining a new program --> stuff isn't figured out yet, and being a guinea pig is never fun. 

5. Okay SAIS - MEPP makes sense now. I really hope you love Europe don't regret being siloed with Europe. Also let me warn you, it is a one year program, and those fly by fast and often don't give you sufficient experential learning opportunities to truly boost you resume as a 2 year program would. 

6. Duke Terry Sanford specializes in State and Local Domestic Policy (I mean they do lots of other things well too, but that is what they are really good at). I think you would find yourself rather lonely as a tech guy there. 

7. I can't speak to LBJ

Thank you for the comments! I wonder if you have any suggestions on less competitive/selective MPP programs? There are many discussions around the top programs, but those are super reach for my stats, and I am concerned about getting into any of them.  I have some of the "cash grab players" programs on my list, because I assumed those are less competitive and could be a target or safety school for me.

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1 hour ago, omoon said:

Thank you for the comments! I wonder if you have any suggestions on less competitive/selective MPP programs? There are many discussions around the top programs, but those are super reach for my stats, and I am concerned about getting into any of them.  I have some of the "cash grab players" programs on my list, because I assumed those are less competitive and could be a target or safety school for me.

1. I want to re-emphasize, I think you would find yourself extremely unhappy at most MPP programs (and nearly all the lower tier ones)--> even if you can get in due to the lack of opportunities for you to play tech.

2. It would be irresponsible for me to identify schools that merely exist but have little to no demonstrable history of ROI for the student. You have to realize if you have a degree next to your name but no internships / research experience to back it up, you have just wasted your time and money. If you go to one of the cash grab players and do not find yourself with a meaningful experience to help you pivot, that is 2 years and at least $125K wasted. 

3. Since you refuse to provide the data I am asking for, I cannot realistically give you further guidance on what you might be potentially viable for.

4. Also, this is a crazy competitive year for all grad schools (even the mid-tier ones). You would probably be better off applying next year. Your application would be stronger if you had a promotion as well. 

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20 hours ago, GradSchoolGrad said:

1. In the US, your background is actually advantageous compared to someone who is already currently in the policy or security space because

A: You have more quant coming in than the average person

B: You are unique (as an engineer) and under-represented International student (Pakistan). 

Hence, I would stop worrying about your engineering background and view it was a strength. A Data Analytics program might be easier for you to get into, but it won't have a direct connection for you to get into the security space. Even if you do, you won't be doing policy work per se - more the number crunching side of it. 

2. What you really should be concerned about:

A: Internships and Jobs: By virtue of being a non-US citizen, you become highly uncompetitive for many security oriented internships and jobs since lets be honest --> most of them in the US are US centric. 

B: Security/IR programs don't have much funding to give to begin with. Also, I don't think you are competitive enough to get funding other than essentially the worst schools, in which case your return on investment isn't worth it in my opinion.  This is especially true this year whereby the better schools are drowning in applications. 

3. What I recommend you do

Instead of very narrowly closing yourself off to security studies only, I recommend you approach it more holistically from an international relations + foreign policy interest angle on employment, logistics, politics, and economics of security apparatus. It will give you a wider range of appeal, career opportunities, and etc.

Also, I would prepare to not get any funding. 

One thought is simply to apply next year because it will likely be less competitive. 

Understood. I've contacted an academic in one of the local thinktanks who used to teach at my university for his thoughts on the local ecosystem but taking your comments into account, I think it would be more feasible to apply next year then. Could you provide some suggestions please on what I could do to make myself competitive for funding in 2022 or 2023?

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21 minutes ago, bensaul said:

Understood. I've contacted an academic in one of the local thinktanks who used to teach at my university for his thoughts on the local ecosystem but taking your comments into account, I think it would be more feasible to apply next year then. Could you provide some suggestions please on what I could do to make myself competitive for funding in 2022 or 2023?

I mean so much of funding is OUTSIDE of your control. It is about how much money school has and how much money they want to put forward. A prestigious policy school could have a University run into financial trouble or all of sudden have a wealthy donor make a 100 million dollar donation. This has more impact than you ability to be competitive. 

If you want to be better off was can applicant at large, this is what you need to do on top of what you got.

1. Leadership experience --> a promotion in your job or running a social organization

2. Being published for something (Academic Journal would be great, the press would be fine

3. Social leadership or experience (this is usually a bizarre concept for many International students, but American schools love people who are also social leaders). 

AND YOU STILL may not necessarily get funding. 

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I am writing this on behalf of my spouse who is an underrepresented minority (URM) Latino looking to apply to graduate schools. We are currently living in Washington DC, so he is apply for a 4 year dual degree program from Georgetown MPP & GULC JD. Can y'all give us some advice or suggestions to boost his chances for grad schools and some insight in their MPP programs.

In law school admissions, URMs get a huge boost in their admission chances and higher scholarships. Does the same hold true for MPP programs? He has not taken the GRE and will apply with his LSAT score. In law school admissions, GRE is seen less favorable than the LSAT. Does anyone know if the MPP admissions think less favorably of the LSAT? Also, does anybody know Georgetown's medians for the MPP program (GRE/GPA)? I can't find this information anywhere.

Thank you guys for your help!

Applying to: Georgetown McCourt MPP

Undergrad institution:  Large State School

Undergrad Major: Economics and Political Science-double majored and graduated in 3 years

Undergrad GPA: 3.67

Grad GPA: N/A

LSAT: 164 (90th percentile)

Years out of undergrad: 1.5

Quant Background: Majored in economics and took numerous 500 level and above econ courses including Econometrics. Took one stat & calculus course. Have experience using Stata.

Relevant Work Experience:  In undergrad, I have worked mostly supervisory roles; and in my post grad, I worked on a political campaign (2.5 years of work experience altogether).


International experience:  Studied the African diaspora in Amsterdam for a Maymester 

Strength of LOR: One letter from Econ professor that I took 3 courses with including econometrics, so I think she will write me a strong letter. She has a PhD in economics. Another letter from undergrad professor who I was very close with that I know will write me a strong letter. Last from my supervisor who I worked with a year and half. I am very close with them as well, so they will write strong letter.

 

Strength of SOP: I grew up in a state that has one of the worse public educational systems in the US. Due to firsthand experience with dealing with one of the worst public schools in the nation, I want to study education policy. I am very passionate about this and I have a lot of experience tutoring in low income neighborhoods to show my commitment to educational policy. After MPP & JD, I want to work in the public sector to create legislation to help our school systems and better the US overall. 

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36 minutes ago, chinesejulie said:

I am writing this on behalf of my spouse who is an underrepresented minority (URM) Latino looking to apply to graduate schools. We are currently living in Washington DC, so he is apply for a 4 year dual degree program from Georgetown MPP & GULC JD. Can y'all give us some advice or suggestions to boost his chances for grad schools and some insight in their MPP programs.

In law school admissions, URMs get a huge boost in their admission chances and higher scholarships. Does the same hold true for MPP programs? He has not taken the GRE and will apply with his LSAT score. In law school admissions, GRE is seen less favorable than the LSAT. Does anyone know if the MPP admissions think less favorably of the LSAT? Also, does anybody know Georgetown's medians for the MPP program (GRE/GPA)? I can't find this information anywhere.

Thank you guys for your help!

Applying to: Georgetown McCourt MPP

Undergrad institution:  Large State School

Undergrad Major: Economics and Political Science-double majored and graduated in 3 years

Undergrad GPA: 3.67

Grad GPA: N/A

LSAT: 164 (90th percentile)

Years out of undergrad: 1.5

Quant Background: Majored in economics and took numerous 500 level and above econ courses including Econometrics. Took one stat & calculus course. Have experience using Stata.

Relevant Work Experience:  In undergrad, I have worked mostly supervisory roles; and in my post grad, I worked on a political campaign (2.5 years of work experience altogether).


International experience:  Studied the African diaspora in Amsterdam for a Maymester 

Strength of LOR: One letter from Econ professor that I took 3 courses with including econometrics, so I think she will write me a strong letter. She has a PhD in economics. Another letter from undergrad professor who I was very close with that I know will write me a strong letter. Last from my supervisor who I worked with a year and half. I am very close with them as well, so they will write strong letter.

 

Strength of SOP: I grew up in a state that has one of the worse public educational systems in the US. Due to firsthand experience with dealing with one of the worst public schools in the nation, I want to study education policy. I am very passionate about this and I have a lot of experience tutoring in low income neighborhoods to show my commitment to educational policy. After MPP & JD, I want to work in the public sector to create legislation to help our school systems and better the US overall. 

There are lot of things that concern me here.

1. Why are you posting and not your husband? This is the first time I have ever knowing seen posting by proxy. It is a bit strange. 

2. Why does he want a dual degree? I have seen 4 different cases of JD/MPP (McCourt)?

a. Seeking to focus soon a part of law that is extensively social policy oriented (working with abused children is an example).

b. Trying to have 4 years of school in order to avoid going to the job market (I'm serious)

c. Passion in policy but realizing the paycheck will come from law

d. Trying to get scholarship from McCourt, hoping it can be shared with GULC

Usually b, c, and d have regretted the MPP part of the JD/MPP --> at least with McCourt. 

As for scholarship.

McCourt (like most MPP schools) do not publicize their stats. Mostly due to how it can swing wildly from year to year in terms of the quality of people they get. This year will likely be extra competitive, I just don't know how much so.

As for taking the LSATs --> I know a few people who convinced McCourt admissions to accept the LSAT as a substitute for the GRE. However, those were years when McCourt struggled to get applicants. This likely a good year for McCourt admissions. 

Being an URM does help him to a certain extent in terms of getting scholarship, but is relative to his cohort of diversity. It also helps for him to be interested in a policy area that is not excessively over-represented. I think your husband should be able to get into McCourt easy. Given the uncertainty around application numbers due to COVID, it would be difficult for me to guess the extent of scholarship he gets. I bet he would get some, but not sure how much. 

Please note that if your husband is a go-getter, he will find McCourt extremely frustrating. Most people I know who were dual degree JD/MPP with McCourt highlight how they really didn't like their McCourt experience due to the low interest of individual achievement. The only exception I know is someone who focused on the policy side of things and never really delved into the law side. 

I have written extensively about McCourt here:

 

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4 hours ago, GradSchoolGrad said:

There are lot of things that concern me here.

1. Why are you posting and not your husband? This is the first time I have ever knowing seen posting by proxy. It is a bit strange. 

2. Why does he want a dual degree? I have seen 4 different cases of JD/MPP (McCourt)?

a. Seeking to focus soon a part of law that is extensively social policy oriented (working with abused children is an example).

b. Trying to have 4 years of school in order to avoid going to the job market (I'm serious)

c. Passion in policy but realizing the paycheck will come from law

d. Trying to get scholarship from McCourt, hoping it can be shared with GULC

Usually b, c, and d have regretted the MPP part of the JD/MPP --> at least with McCourt. 

As for scholarship.

McCourt (like most MPP schools) do not publicize their stats. Mostly due to how it can swing wildly from year to year in terms of the quality of people they get. This year will likely be extra competitive, I just don't know how much so.

As for taking the LSATs --> I know a few people who convinced McCourt admissions to accept the LSAT as a substitute for the GRE. However, those were years when McCourt struggled to get applicants. This likely a good year for McCourt admissions. 

Being an URM does help him to a certain extent in terms of getting scholarship, but is relative to his cohort of diversity. It also helps for him to be interested in a policy area that is not excessively over-represented. I think your husband should be able to get into McCourt easy. Given the uncertainty around application numbers due to COVID, it would be difficult for me to guess the extent of scholarship he gets. I bet he would get some, but not sure how much. 

Please note that if your husband is a go-getter, he will find McCourt extremely frustrating. Most people I know who were dual degree JD/MPP with McCourt highlight how they really didn't like their McCourt experience due to the low interest of individual achievement. The only exception I know is someone who focused on the policy side of things and never really delved into the law side. 

I have written extensively about McCourt here:

 

1.  My husband is not a big fan of online forums. He was raised in a rural area without access to bandwidth so he didn't grow up using forums like reddit or thegradcafe to gain information. I found this forum and I thought it was a good place to ask for advice.

2. My husband has always had a love for the public sector. He wants to master the legal and policy analysis skills necessary to have a career in policy making. The flexibility and prestige of Georgetown gives him the best chance to reach these goals. (Mainly GULC has been his dream school.)

a. My husband is focusing on immigration law and human rights law. He plans to work in big law for a few years to narrow down his debt before doing what he loves. He eventually wants to work on capital hill influencing policy or with a non-profit like the ALCU. 

b. The 4 year programs is more of a cheaper option to earn both degrees. Credits between the two programs can be used for the completion of the other degree. It also does give him time to wait out the repercussions of the recession. 

c.  Although the public sector does have loan forgiveness options, the big money comes from working in big law. Like most GULC grads, he plans to sell his soul to a big law firm for a few year before pursuing his interests. 

d. From what I read from this forum, it seems like the scholarships from McCourt are a little lackluster when compared to the money GULC typically offers. He's interested in the McCourt Scholar Program though but do you know how selective it is? 

With regards to replacing the LSAT with the GRE. You don't have to convince McCourt to accept the LSAT, they are willing to do it. Law schools are willing to accept the GRE as well as an alternative to the LSAT. McCourt is not requiring any test scores right now due to the pandemic but he wants to increase his scholarship chances so he is submitting his LSAT. 

My husband is hoping for the McCourt Scholarship. GULC has an OSP scholarship program which is around 55K each year that he should qualify for. GULC offers a need-based grant which is half of tuition so he will at least qualify for that. He wants to get at least 3/4th of his tuition paid for by the MPP. How realistic do you think this is? 

 My husband is a "gunner" as you would say in the law school atmosphere. However, he plans to use the master of public policy program mostly to supplement his law degree to earn better career positions later on. He loved his undergrad in economics and honestly prefers numbers. I know he would really love the Georgetown's MPP program.

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23 minutes ago, chinesejulie said:

 

1.  My husband is not a big fan of online forums. He was raised in a rural area without access to bandwidth so he didn't grow up using forums like reddit or thegradcafe to gain information. I found this forum and I thought it was a good place to ask for advice.

2. My husband has always had a love for the public sector. He wants to master the legal and policy analysis skills necessary to have a career in policy making. The flexibility and prestige of Georgetown gives him the best chance to reach these goals. (Mainly GULC has been his dream school.)

a. My husband is focusing on immigration law and human rights law. He plans to work in big law for a few years to narrow down his debt before doing what he loves. He eventually wants to work on capital hill influencing policy or with a non-profit like the ALCU. 

b. The 4 year programs is more of a cheaper option to earn both degrees. Credits between the two programs can be used for the completion of the other degree. It also does give him time to wait out the repercussions of the recession. 

c.  Although the public sector does have loan forgiveness options, the big money comes from working in big law. Like most GULC grads, he plans to sell his soul to a big law firm for a few year before pursuing his interests. 

d. From what I read from this forum, it seems like the scholarships from McCourt are a little lackluster when compared to the money GULC typically offers. He's interested in the McCourt Scholar Program though but do you know how selective it is? 

With regards to replacing the LSAT with the GRE. You don't have convince McCourt to accept the LSAT, they are willing do it. Law schools are willing accept the GRE as well as an alternative to the LSAT. McCourt is not requiring any test scores right now due to the pandemic but he wants to increase his scholarship chances so he is submitting his LSAT. 

My husband is hoping for the McCourt Scholarship. GULC has an OSP scholarship program which is around 55K each year that he should qualify for. GULC offers a need-based grant which is half of tuition so he will at least qualify for that. He wants to get at least 3/4th of his tuition paid for by the MPP. How realistic do you think this is? 

 My husband is a "gunner" as you would say in the law school atmosphere. However, he plans to use the master of public policy program mostly to supplement his law degree to earn better career positions later on. He loved his undergrad in economics and honestly prefers numbers. I know he would really love the Georgetown's MPP program.

So I interviewed for the McCourt Scholarship (I ended up getting the scholarship tier below that). It is one of those things whereby the a board of people decides who are the party favorites between background + prestige. Historically, they like people who went to brand name schools. Its not lost on many that everyone we know who went to Harvard, Oxford, or U. Penn either got interviewed for it or became a scholar. 

On my way out there, there were a lot of complaints about how a lot of scholars were more tied to brand name backgrounds rather than being truly interesting people that wanted to get involved. Supposedly, they reformatted their selection process to de-emphasize brand name backgrounds and actually get people with compelling stories. What suffices as a compelling story and what doesn't is up to the Scholarship Committee, and with a New Dean, I don't know how their priorities will sway. I will say that a I have noticed that a the more recent scholars (the past year) have come from generally less prestigious backgrounds but very compelling stories. 

This is ultimately not just about how interesting/compelling your husband is, but how is everyone else that a is applying in a competitive application cycle. Your husband had roughly the same GPA and background as me, so I'm pretty sure from a basic stats perspective, a few LSAT points left or right won't make a difference. Basically, I would say he is a good position, but you can't be certain.

https://mccourt.georgetown.edu/admissions/mccourt-scholars/

Note how the 2020 scholars come from less prestigious branded backgrounds but have rather unique life experiences. Also note that there is one URM in every year group. HOWEVER, URM is a broad spectrum, but does not take into account what country the person is from. For example, in the 2016 cohort, the British person was a considered the URM. 

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Hi everyone, New member here. I'd really appreciate if anyone could suggest some MPP/MPA/Masters in International Development Programs in US where I have a very good shot at getting in. I am based in Bangladesh, and Financial Aid/RA/TA are extremely crucial for me. However, if I do get into some of the top ones, I can consider taking loans. Here are my credentials:

Undergrad: BBA with CGPA 3.33

MicroMasters on Data, Economics, & Development Policy (DEDP) from MIT

GRE: Quant: 168, Verbal: 155, AWA: 4.5

TOEFL: 119

4+ Years experience of working in a non-profit/development sector. I have a solid project management experience, 4/5 conference papers, 7/8 op-eds & research articles for newspapers & online journals and 3 book chapters.

I also have a couple of good recommendations. My quantitative skills are quite good and would prefer programs that focus more on the quantitative part. 

Thanks in Advance.

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11 hours ago, rafee1493 said:

Hi everyone, New member here. I'd really appreciate if anyone could suggest some MPP/MPA/Masters in International Development Programs in US where I have a very good shot at getting in. I am based in Bangladesh, and Financial Aid/RA/TA are extremely crucial for me. However, if I do get into some of the top ones, I can consider taking loans. Here are my credentials:

Undergrad: BBA with CGPA 3.33

MicroMasters on Data, Economics, & Development Policy (DEDP) from MIT

GRE: Quant: 168, Verbal: 155, AWA: 4.5

TOEFL: 119

4+ Years experience of working in a non-profit/development sector. I have a solid project management experience, 4/5 conference papers, 7/8 op-eds & research articles for newspapers & online journals and 3 book chapters.

I also have a couple of good recommendations. My quantitative skills are quite good and would prefer programs that focus more on the quantitative part. 

Thanks in Advance.

Do I think that you are competitive to get into good programs - maybe. I have some major questions

1. What is your major? - it may determine your diversity

2. What quant classes / professional experiences do you actually have? - could determine your competitiveness

3. What exactly want to do? Do you want to do real international development or are you more about domestic policy programming? - how strong of a story you have can also determine things.

4. Is your University internationally known? Does it have experience with sending students to Western graduate schools? Grad programs are more comfortable with admitting students from schools they are more familiar with among International students (although they also they at time take risks).

5. Did you get grades from your MIT program? If you didn't get grades from it with an academic transcript its not considered a real academic degree of any sort. Its imply a certificate.

As for funding... 

Even if I was on the admissions committee for every single MPP/MPA/IDEV school, I would not be able to answer the question about funding. I think it would be very difficult - period, and if you do get any scholarship, it would only be a partial scholarship. It depends on how much money each school has and how competitive your peer group is. If you are applying for 2nd round or 3rd round (or equivalents) for this year's application cycle, I would say its will be insanely difficult to get any scholarship. Schools are simply struggling financially, and for an international student to get any scholarship at a top school, they have to be truly impressive (well regarded schools, prior awards/scholarships/fellowships, interesting life experiences, starting a non-profit, and/or something akin to that). 

You might have a marginally better chance next year, a likely less competitive year, but only marginally better. 

You have to realize that doing IDEV from an expensive US graduate school is really economically painful. At most, a Washington, DC job with 4 years work experience in a real IDEV role is 80Kish on the high end, roughly 50-60K in the middle, and some as low as 30. So with a top school costing $130K (minimum - and I'm adding in living costs) + how loans have compounding interest (I also don't know the mechanics of international students getting loans for US schools) --> simply it is not a good idea to take loans. Basically, if you have to take a lot of loans to afford a US school, I really recommend that you don't do it! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, GradSchoolGrad said:

Do I think that you are competitive to get into good programs - maybe. I have some major questions

1. What is your major? - it may determine your diversity

2. What quant classes / professional experiences do you actually have? - could determine your competitiveness

3. What exactly want to do? Do you want to do real international development or are you more about domestic policy programming? - how strong of a story you have can also determine things.

4. Is your University internationally known? Does it have experience with sending students to Western graduate schools? Grad programs are more comfortable with admitting students from schools they are more familiar with among International students (although they also they at time take risks).

5. Did you get grades from your MIT program? If you didn't get grades from it with an academic transcript its not considered a real academic degree of any sort. Its imply a certificate.

As for funding... 

Even if I was on the admissions committee for every single MPP/MPA/IDEV school, I would not be able to answer the question about funding. I think it would be very difficult - period, and if you do get any scholarship, it would only be a partial scholarship. It depends on how much money each school has and how competitive your peer group is. If you are applying for 2nd round or 3rd round (or equivalents) for this year's application cycle, I would say its will be insanely difficult to get any scholarship. Schools are simply struggling financially, and for an international student to get any scholarship at a top school, they have to be truly impressive (well regarded schools, prior awards/scholarships/fellowships, interesting life experiences, starting a non-profit, and/or something akin to that). 

You might have a marginally better chance next year, a likely less competitive year, but only marginally better. 

You have to realize that doing IDEV from an expensive US graduate school is really economically painful. At most, a Washington, DC job with 4 years work experience in a real IDEV role is 80Kish on the high end, roughly 50-60K in the middle, and some as low as 30. So with a top school costing $130K (minimum - and I'm adding in living costs) + how loans have compounding interest (I also don't know the mechanics of international students getting loans for US schools) --> simply it is not a good idea to take loans. Basically, if you have to take a lot of loans to afford a US school, I really recommend that you don't do it! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi, Thank you so much for such a detailed response. Answering your questions one by one

1. Finance Major

2. I did have 3/4 statistics, mathematics, calculus courses. I have also been working a bit in R. So, I was hoping that should count. From what I have checked o far, I do qualify for most MPP course (ID specialization included). 

3. I am more interested in international development, than domestic policy. I believe I can write a good story around that. My plan is to start working for INGOs/private sector consultancies once I graduate. I don't mind coming back to my country. Degrees from US schools are valued very highly back here, and do attract some good salaries. However, I would prefer to stay and work in US for a few years after graduation, to gain some diverse experience. 

4. My university is not internationally known (in terms of ranking). It's abysmal to be honest. However, it is the best business school in the country. There are a good chunk of students from every batch who gets accepted into the top US schools every year.   

5. I did receive grades for my degree at MIT. It counts equivalent to a semester worth of studies. So if I apply and get accepted in the DEDP program at MIT, I'll just have to complete 1 more semester, and a capstone project.  

Thank you also for sharing the details about the prospective salaries post-graduation. My wife is also applying for Phd in US, and we are trying to coordinate our applications such that my living costs can be covered by her stipend (same school/same city) as much as possible. I have a few seniors and friends who have been able to do something like this. As for scholarships, I know that it is extremely difficult, more so during this pandemic, in the top schools. So, I would appreciate if you could suggest some mid-tier schools that I may have a good chance of getting full-tuition scholarships. I'll be applying to schools of all categories make a decision afterwards. Also, I'll be applying in the first round for scholarship consideration. Apart from a few, most of them have a January 15 (or later) deadline. 

Thanks.

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