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MPP/MPA/IR - 2013 Applicants Thread


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I know it's a bit early but I figure we get this one started now. I've been trolling these forums for the last few weeks and it looks like everyone here ins pretty dedicated and qualified.

So here's the format for posting on this thread:

Program Applied To (MPA, MPP, IR, etc.):

Schools Applied To:

Schools Admitted To:

Schools Rejected From:

Still Waiting:

Undergraduate institution:

Undergraduate GPA:

Last 60 hours of Undergraduate GPA (if applicable):

Undergraduate Major:

GRE Quantitative Score:

GRE Verbal Score:

GRE AW Score:

Years Out of Undergrad (if applicable):

Years of Work Experience:

Describe Relevant Work Experience:



Strength of SOP (be honest, describe the process, etc):

Strength of LOR (be honest, describe the process, etc):


I'll start it off:

Schools Applying To: MPP/MPAs - Brown (Taubman), Chicago (Harris), Columbia (SIPA), Cornell (CIPA), Georgetown (GSFS), Johns Hopkins (SAIS), Penn (Fels), UCLA (Luskin), USC (Price)

Undergraduate institution: Los Angeles Pierce College ---> transferred to University of Southern California (USC) - Fight On! - on full academic scholarship

Undergraduate GPA: Cumulative - 3.5, At USC - 3.2ish (blech)

*Note: During Fall 2011 semester, my mom's disabilities came to an apex and I tanked that semester and didn't go to school the next to support my sister and I - hence the 3.1 USC GPA - I have As and Bs in every other class outside that semester. Came back strong this semester with 4 As and a B/C. All upper division Philosophy and Econ. Yes this explanation will be in all of my applications.*

Undergraduate Majors: Philosophy, Politics, and Law (PPL - modeled after Oxford's PPE program)

Study Abroad: None

GRE: Prospective average based on tests - 164 (Q), 161 (V), 5 (W) (taking it in 2 weeks)

Years Out of Undergrad (if applicable): None - graduating senior - but I worked for 4 years after high school before deciding to go to college, and have been working full-time all throughout undergrad (see below)

Years of Relevant Work Experience: 6 years of full-time work, see below for full explanation

Describe Relevant Work Experience: A bit lengthy, I'll try to be brief:

1. Co-Founder and Operations Director, 2006-Present, uFish: Started a nonprofit program (uFish) my senior year of high school. Program is a 10 week curriculum aimed at the job training, employment, and life skills education of at-risk and homeless youths in Los Angeles (15-27 yrs old). In my 6 years as co-founder and Operations Director, over 250 kids have gained employment and at least 135 could be identified as no longer being impoverished or at-risk. At uFish, we have partnered with the Salvation Army, Pointe Hope Foundation, Homeboy Industries, People for Parks, and the Sheila Kar Foundation for projects and collaborations. I was homeless as a kid after my parents' divorce - goal is for it to not happen to anyone ever again.

2. President and Executive Director - Students for Obama, California: Students for Obama is the official student wing of the Obama for America re-election campaign. I was a volunteer, then bumped to Political Director, and then Executive Director since July 2011. Over 8000 members, over 70K new voter registrees in CA, raised over $192K towards the President's campaign. (Stoked about the election results of course).

3. Presidential Delegate to the Democratic National Convention 2012 from Congressional District 30 - Was voted as a delegate through normal means election last year. Went to the DNC in Charlotte and chaired the platform writing committee. One of the better experiences of my life.

4. Political Editor at Sonic Eclectic Magazine - first just a contributing writer, then political columnist, and now political editor.

Languages: English (native), Farsi (Advanced), French (Intermediate), Spanish (Intermediate)

Quant: Economics (Macro and Micro), probably taking Calculus next semester.

Strength of SOP: My SOP should be good, I suppose. I'm a fairly good writer, however I have not committed an incredible amount of time to it, or had it edited by super-qualified people. I'm focusing more on being direct and honest about my life, my work, and my goals - all of which are fairly straightforward.

Strength of LOR (be honest, describe the process, etc): 1 from Salvation Army Director (non-profit insight), 1 from a Philosophy Professor (academic insight), and 1 from the Executive Director of OFA-CA (Obama for America - California) (political/community organizing insight)

If anyone has any comments, concerns, insight on schools I probably will not be getting into, or really anything at all - I am very open to any criticism or information from people who inevitably have a fair amount of experience with this process.

Thanks and best of luck to all.

All the Best,


Edited by Thelongshot
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