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MA with funding...or MA at an Ivy?


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Guess I'm trying to decide how much the Ivy name (Harvard, to be exact) is worth...Harvard seemed like a no-brainer, but I just found out I got almost full tuition funding from George Washington. The programs are slightly different (Middle East Studies at Harvard, Elliott School of International Affairs at GW), but I don't think that matters too much. Harvard would mean considerable loans and probably having to find a part time job; GW would be pretty easily doable, financially. I have a little less than a month to decide, but I figured I'd ask for advice early before I really start freaking out. Any and all advice is appreciated!! Thanks yall.

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First, "Ivy" is an athletic conference. [sorry, joke.]

Second, Elliot is really well known. Which PROGRAM do you think is better in the field you intend to work in? (I'm a former MES person myself.) It's really important to pay attention to the reputation of the program in the field you want to go into rather than the reputation of the university as a whole.

And from what I know, Harvard uses their MA program to pay for their PhD students, who sometimes have a difficult time getting prof time if they're not really persistent. I know they have great MES resources, though, so it would be a personal choice.

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I like numbers so I'm curious as to how much more (exactly) Harvard will cost vs. GW including living expenses. In addition, it's hard to give you sound advice without knowing what you hope to do in the future and how much more earning potential Harvard may (or may not) give you. If it were me, I would go with GW. Close to full-tuition from the Elliott School is a great accomplishment and I can't stand the thought of +100k in loans.

Having said that, if Harvard's program is that much better in your area of interest and you are comfortable with the large amount of debt AND think it will significantly enhance what you will make down the road...go for it. Not many get an opportunity to receive an education from Harvard.

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I don't really get stuck on big name schools. So with that being said, I would go for the one that offers funding. Will the Harvard education pay in the long run for the X dollar amount of loans you would have to take out as opposed to going to GW? If it will, then Harvard it is! If not, you might want to give GW another glance.

Good luck in what ever you choose!

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depends what you want to do with your life. holding research, publication, and academic work equal (which it probably isn't), a brand name degree makes a HUGE difference in getting interviews and positions- especially in government and consulting. That being said, after you land an interview offer, whats most important is still what you know and what you can contribute, not any degree name.

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Harvard is amazing, but really is only a #1 school for people interested in domestic affairs. GW has a fantastic IR program and is in a better location for internships and networking. Harvard has a better name abroad. It's really a toss-up, but I think the funding puts GW over the top. You can't go wrong, whatever you decide!

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I think it really comes down to who your advisor is and what connections they have. In my case, last year I had to make the decision between an ivy (Columbia) and a smaller-name school. The smaller-name school not only gave me full funding, but my advisor is one of the biggest names in my field, and has tons of academic connections, especially with professors at PhD programs I'm interested. It was a really easy decision in my case. Take a look at what your options are, but I have a sense the funding opportunity may be too good to pass up...

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