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What are my chances? MPA Program


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I am a senior at a top ranked public university hoping to get into an MPA program for the coming Fall. I recently took my GRE and am quite disappointed with my scores. Most of the deadlines for the Fall are coming up soon so I don't think I'm going to have a chance to retake...

GRE:

Q = 145 or 540 old scale

V = 151 or 470 old scale

Writing = 4.5

Political science major, anthropology minor

3.1 cum. GPA, 3.2 in major

3 solid academic letters of recommendation from professors that know me well, 1 professional letter

Resume:

Two political campaign internships, numerous extra-curricular activities, volunteer work, two years of running my own tennis business

Good personal statement

Not applying for any kind of financial aid...

I am applying to: Northeastern, Suffolk, Brown, UConn, Baruch, NYU, John Jay, and Pace...

What do my chances look like? Will my poor GPA score spoil it for me or do I still have a chance with good letters, a good resume, a good personal statement, and a decent academic transcript?

Thanks!

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You still have some time, for NYU and Brown at least (not sure about the others...) I'm not sure that your GPA is high enough to compensate for the GRE as the lower boundary for that tends to be 3.0. I would really suggest you take the GRE again - were there specific areas you had problems with that you could really focus on for a few weeks while getting rest of the application ready?

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I'm not sure, I haven't gotten my detailed score report back yet. Don't I have to wait 60 days before taking my GRE again? Math is just a really big weakness of mine...I studied it for a long time too and still did horrible. I'm really not sure that my score would be any better I'm absolutely dismal at math.

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Apply to the lower ranked schools with what you have, and work on your GRE scores this semester and apply for NYU and Brown in the summer (if the above info is correct and their deadlines are in the summer). This way you have your bases covered.

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I went to NYU Wagner after 6 or 7 years working in policy (CA State Legislature as a Legislative Aide & and for a national advocacy organization). In my opinion, MPA programs make more sense for people that have more experience so that what you are learning can be applied. I recommend that you consider working for at least a couple years before applying to schools. You will get so much more out of the program and you will be a better peer to the other students. It would also improve your chances of being admitted considering your GRE and GPA are likely at the lower end of most applicants. Good luck whatever you decide.

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I took a general economics course, a basic math course, and a political statistics course all of which I got an A in. For the schools that don't require GRE scores, would you advise that I apply and just don't submit my GRE scores? And retake the GRE and submit the new scores for the schools that require it? How soon can I take the GRE again? I took it a couple weeks ago from this coming Monday...thanks for the responses!

Edited by map07023
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Is there any reason why you don't want to work for a few years after school? Most MPA/MPP programs want to know how you will apply what you've learned to your job. They also want to know if you're committed to public service. It's difficult to make a convincing case if you have a little experience in the field.

Have you looked into fellowship programs for people interested in public affairs? Some of those programs provide the leadership development that can really help boost your application. Try the Coro Fellowship Program and the Fellowship for Emerging Leaders at NYU Wagner. At least with Coro they have linkages to grad schools where you can receive automatic admission upon completion of the 9 month internship program.

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