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Getting a first-year assistantship (public policy)

Dal Espyrn

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I've been admitted to four schools for a masters in public policy/administration. One I dropped right out, but I'm deciding between three others.

School A is really my top choice. It offered me $5,000, and everybody there says assistantships are really easy to get -- everybody who wants one, gets one. And in the event I don't get one, it's in-state, so tuition would be a third of what it is at my other choices.

School B is the school I want to be competitive, because it's where I want to live. It offered me no money, but it has some assistantships for first-year students. People weren't encouraging, though.

School C offered me $5,000 per semester for two years, for a total of $20,000. Wow! But they say it's really tough to get an assistantship, especially first semester. Even with loans I'd still be short of tuition (I don't qualify for a Grad Plus loan).

My wife and I are leaning hard toward School A. But I want B and C to be competitive as well.

So my question is, has anybody successfully gotten an assistantship at a school... even before accepting?

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