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UPenn IEDP vs. Stanford ICE vs. Georgetown GHD


MaitreTea

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I'm having some trouble reaching a decision regarding these three schools. I have yet to hear back from UCLA, Teachers College, or NYU but getting into these probably won't change my mind. I was accepted to UPenn with a reasonable amount of financial aid, and none for Stanford or Georgetown. Even though the financial aid from UPenn isn't much, it (along with Stanford) is a shorter program than Georgetown. Attending Georgetown would be 39% more expensive than attending UPenn.

 

 

The ICE program at Stanford is, academically, the best one out of the three. It's a great school and it's got faculty that work in the specific field I want to work in. However, the program seems to be very academically focused. There's no internship/field-work component like the other programs. Just a MA paper. Also, building professional connections. I'm probably going to work in Washington DC. Will it hurt if I'm going to school on the wrong coast? However, the alumni networking and sheer awesomeness of the program might overcome these issues.
 
So for Georgetown I was accepted to the Global Human Development program. It's a new program but since it's connected to Georgetown the program has credibility, and a lot of professors come with lots of relevant work experience. However, it's an international development program, so it's not specific to international education development. There is an international education development sub-field I can do, but IED isn't the main focus as it would be at Stanford or UPenn. There's a fieldwork component and it's in Washington DC.  It is probably the best place to be for building professional connections, just because the alumni network is great and the location is exactly where I would find work after graduation. It's also prohibitively more expensive than the other two programs. I'm a bit late to apply for external scholarships, so maybe in the second year I might nab some external scholarships.
 
The IEDP program at UPenn is really new...it was started in 2008. There's an international internship component so it's very hands-on. Even though it's not in DC, it is close enough to both NYC and Washington DC that I can easily build professional relationships. The thing that worries me most about UPenn is how new the program is. Even though GSE is really respectable the alumni networking won't be relevant since I'm doing international education related stuff. Also, what will government agency/NGO/international development organizations think when they see "UPenn: IEDP" on my resume? The director of the IEDP program is a chair of UNESCO, which counts for something. Might be helpful with other UN agencies as well. 
 
So to sum up my reservations about each program:
 
1. Stanford: not practitioner-based, far away from Washington DC
2. Georgetown: very expensive, not IED focused
3. UPenn: very new
 
 
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You have a tough decision to make... no one can really tell you what to do because in the end, it depends on which factor is most important for you. I do think that an ivy or pseudo ivy is going to have connections everywhere. However, It sounds like the internship/field work is a very important factor for you as you won't be getting your PhD and according to you, it seems that program at Stanford would focus on that. Is there a potential to get an internship/fieldwork at Stanford even if it's not required? Is that something they would be willing to work with you on?

 

If you were to go to Georgetown, is it doable financially or is it just a bit more expensive? If it's not doable, it really is out of the question. I don't think the subfield thing would be too much of an issue. It would open your eyes to new things that you hadn't thought of while still letting you concentrate on what you are exactly wanting to do. Who knows? Maybe your idea of what you want to do would change slightly if you had that extra background information.

 

UPenn seems to be the one that gives you what you want-- practitioner-wise and financially, in the type of area that you want. If the director has that kind of experience, I really don't think you're going to run into many issues. People are not going to read your resume and say "Penn? Why would you go there?" However, if it's newer, do they still have the faculty that you want?

 

Good luck making the decision! I know it's going to be very difficult. Hopefully that's given you a few more things to think about. Ultimately, it really is going to come down to which factor is most important to you. You'll figure it out :). And really, if you have only good options, no matter what you choose, you are going to make a good decision.

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And also... wow. I'm going through a very similar process. Slightly different reasons, but yes. Also, visit the programs! I'm holding off on any decisions until I visit because most of my knowledge about the program is what I've read on their websites. I strongly believe that when you visit "your" program, you'll know it's "the one."

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Regarding Georgetown, it's more expensive but financially doable. I'm just not used to the idea of having crazy student loans (after having a lot of my undergraduate covered by scholarships), but after talking to some Georgetown students about financial stuff I'm a little less worried. I don't think I will be able to visit these programs, so I'm doing my best my getting in touch with current students, asking difficult questions, and talking to recent alumni. 

 

On an unrelated note, I love being an accepted student. I spent the last year of my life shedding blood, sweat and tears to get into your school...now it's the schools' turn to dance for me! I can ask really specific and "difficult" questions that I couldn't really ask before because well...I wasn't admitted and it would make me sound presumptuous. 

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Can I ask what you guys think of the IEPM program at Vanderbilt?  I noticed it often gets looked over in threads such as these.  Is it not very reputable?  It seems like the best option for me because it is 2 years, and you can gain a lot of practical and academic experience.  It would give me a chance to explore my academic interests and possibly re-apply for PhDs (was rejected this time around) and also explore some professional options.  But I am wondering how the program is viewed both academically and professionally... it seems hard to obtain information about this. Whatever I do afterwards, I definitely want to live on the east or west coast... would it make more sense then to go to a program like UCLA or Columbia?     

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I've seen a few comments here and there on this forum about the IEPM program at Vanderbilt. If you search for it I'm sure it'll come up. Posters have gushed about the program but I was a bit skeptical so I didn't apply to it. Even though the program seems outstanding, location would be the deal breaker for this one. Most international development organizations are located in DC, and at least in my experience there as an undergraduate if you want to work in DC you have to be in DC. However, it might be good if you're applying to PHDs right afterwards. 

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Thanks.  Yeah, I've read the posts you are talking about, though they all seemed to be from the same poster - though that poster did make a couple of convincing arguments.  

 

When you say "if you want to work in DC you have to be in DC,"  is it not possible to move there after and then find a job? Or do you mean you should be educated in DC if you expect to live there? 

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I think it is possible, but you might have a disadvantage compared to people who are attending DC programs and are constantly exposed to the "movers and shakers" every week during presentations, seminars, lectures, etc.

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  • 2 months later...

I think the Int'l Ed program at PennGSE is pretty awesome. Yes it's new, but clearly,  a lot of thought has gone into the program and the program leadership know what they're doing. The program is small (comparatively speaking) and follows a cohort model. Plus, the internships are FANTASTIC. And, the fact that you can take courses all over Penn is incredible. The annual lecture series brings people from all over the world to Penn; the affiliated faculty draws from all disciplines; and the cohort itself is really tight and amazing (see the tumblr blog for evidence of the cohort's amazingness: http://iedp-penngse.tumblr.com). Couldn't be happier with my decision.

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  • 9 months later...

I was also admitted to the U.Penn IEDP program. I'm currently trying to decide between Penn, NYU-International Education and American-International Development. I also got accepted into Loyola Chicago's Cultural and Educational Policy Studies program, but that is more of a safety for me. I am still waiting to hear back from Vanderbilt for the IEPM and Teacher's College-IEDP. I agree that Penn's internship is a huge selling point for me. I love the fact that it is required to be international and GSE places you in the internship. The cohort size is also very appealing to me. Can anyone speak to NYU's International Education program? It seems like a great program as well, and the previous partnering organizations for internships are amazing. However I think most internships are domestic and with international education it is much more widespread, with everything from running study abroad programs to education development. I'm not sure how I feel about a program that is not hyper-focused on development. American seems great as well, but I currently live in Arlington and honestly some of my resistance to attend stems from staying in this area, for now. American also seems to be slightly more expensive than U. Penn. But can anyone speak to their international development program, specifically for education development?  Also for tuition at U. Penn it is listed by number of course units, with grad. students maxing out at 5 per semester. I'm assuming that 1 course unit is one class, as the IEDP program is 10 courses over 1.5 years (including internship).

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Can I ask what you guys think of the IEPM program at Vanderbilt?  I noticed it often gets looked over in threads such as these.  Is it not very reputable?  It seems like the best option for me because it is 2 years, and you can gain a lot of practical and academic experience.  It would give me a chance to explore my academic interests and possibly re-apply for PhDs (was rejected this time around) and also explore some professional options.  But I am wondering how the program is viewed both academically and professionally... it seems hard to obtain information about this. Whatever I do afterwards, I definitely want to live on the east or west coast... would it make more sense then to go to a program like UCLA or Columbia?     

 

I was lucky enough to be accepted into IEPM at Vandy, International Education Policy at Harvard, and ICE at Stanford. Since then I have been doing a lot of research into the different programs and faculty. I also attended Vandy's visit days at the end of February.

 

If I am being honest, I was pretty blown away by Vandy's program when I visited. They REALLY support their students on a personal level, and they seem to stress career support more than the other universities. I had several in depth conversations with Vandy's IEPM faculty, and their backgrounds are very strong-- they are definitely as well regarded in the field as Harvard's and Stanford's faculty, if not more so. I felt that they really prioritized conversing with potential masters students, and did so in a genuine way.

 

What is really making the decision for me is the length of Vandy's program-- 2 years with a built-in internship. In the past, many masters students took their internship aborad, which is huge if you are studying international ed policy. Another thing I loved about Vandy is that you can audit any class for $10. Harvard and Stanford may offer a similar deal, but with all your education crammed into one year, would you have time to audit, say, a language class? Probably not.

 

I am visiting Stanford at the end of March, and I am really hoping they will sell their program to me as well as Vandy did. Until that happens, Vandy is my #1.

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PerfectSummer, sounds like you eliminated Harvard's program already in your decision making. Curious why? Will you be going to their Visit Days?

 

SoCalGuy- Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the visit days, as that week is crazy for me at work. I have not completely eliminated the Harvard program as a choice, but there are a few progam characteristics that do not fit what I am looking for in my ideal grad program.

 

Firstly, Harvard's program is only a year (32 credits). Stanford's is also a year, but it is the entire calendar year at least (4 quarters, 48 credits), so they pack in more courses. I love school and learning, and would rather have more time to take courses, even if it means taking out more in loans.

 

Secondly, I have talked to friends who say that, despite the shorter length of the program, Harvard does not skimp on quality or content. While this is wonderful, I have heard that people spend their year there extremely busy and stressed. Many take on an internship because of the pressure to do so, but can't quite handle that experience on top of their work load, and therefore don't get as much out of it. I am someone who is willing to work hard, and stay up late many nights working on papers or projects, but I have a mental limit. Personally, I think the structure of Harvard's program would be too much for me, especially given the fact that I would like to explore areas that may lie outside of the designated curriculum.

 

Lastly-- and this is totally personal preference-- I would have a very hard time spending a winter in Boston. Call me a wimp, but I would get too damn depressed.

 

All this being said, it is obviously a highly regarded program, with distinguished faculty who could connect you to lots of cool projects and people around the world. I applied because I wanted options, and I appreciate the courses and rigor of the program. In the end though, it just isn't a good fit for me personally. Hope this helps answer your question.

Edited by PerfectSummerDay
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Totally get it! I'm looking forward to checking out the facilities and meeting the students and faculty to determine if it's a good fit for me as well. Having lived on the east coast now for some time, I'm used to the brutal winters (in socal we never had "winter" lol). Good luck with your choice!

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  • 2 years later...
On 3/3/2013 at 1:44 PM, MaitreTea said:

I'm having some trouble reaching a decision regarding these three schools. I have yet to hear back from UCLA, Teachers College, or NYU but getting into these probably won't change my mind. I was accepted to UPenn with a reasonable amount of financial aid, and none for Stanford or Georgetown. Even though the financial aid from UPenn isn't much, it (along with Stanford) is a shorter program than Georgetown. Attending Georgetown would be 39% more expensive than attending UPenn.

 

 

The ICE program at Stanford is, academically, the best one out of the three. It's a great school and it's got faculty that work in the specific field I want to work in. However, the program seems to be very academically focused. There's no internship/field-work component like the other programs. Just a MA paper. Also, building professional connections. I'm probably going to work in Washington DC. Will it hurt if I'm going to school on the wrong coast? However, the alumni networking and sheer awesomeness of the program might overcome these issues.
 
So for Georgetown I was accepted to the Global Human Development program. It's a new program but since it's connected to Georgetown the program has credibility, and a lot of professors come with lots of relevant work experience. However, it's an international development program, so it's not specific to international education development. There is an international education development sub-field I can do, but IED isn't the main focus as it would be at Stanford or UPenn. There's a fieldwork component and it's in Washington DC.  It is probably the best place to be for building professional connections, just because the alumni network is great and the location is exactly where I would find work after graduation. It's also prohibitively more expensive than the other two programs. I'm a bit late to apply for external scholarships, so maybe in the second year I might nab some external scholarships.
 
The IEDP program at UPenn is really new...it was started in 2008. There's an international internship component so it's very hands-on. Even though it's not in DC, it is close enough to both NYC and Washington DC that I can easily build professional relationships. The thing that worries me most about UPenn is how new the program is. Even though GSE is really respectable the alumni networking won't be relevant since I'm doing international education related stuff. Also, what will government agency/NGO/international development organizations think when they see "UPenn: IEDP" on my resume? The director of the IEDP program is a chair of UNESCO, which counts for something. Might be helpful with other UN agencies as well. 
 
So to sum up my reservations about each program:
 
1. Stanford: not practitioner-based, far away from Washington DC
2. Georgetown: very expensive, not IED focused
3. UPenn: very new
 
 

Hello MaitreTea, 

I just PMed you since I am hoping that I can learn from your experience making the decision between these schools since I am currently in a similar situation (substituting Stanford for Harvard GSE). I am interested in international education development and I have the same questions that you did about these programs. I also received some funding from each school. It would be incredibly helpful if you wouldn't mind sharing why you picked the Georgetown GHD program at the end and now that you have gone through the program, what you like and don't like about it. 

I am an international student and unfortunately I cannot attend the Visit Days at these schools so I am trying to reach out to as many channels as possible during this decision-making process. I would deeply appreciate any insight from you as you went through a very similar experience. 

Thank you so much! 

 

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  • 2 years later...

Hi everyone,

I was just wondering how everyone’s choices turned out. I’m trying to decide between the IEP program at Harvard, the CIDE program at UMinn and the IEDP program at UPenn.

I’ve had a fair amount of work experience in international education from the nonprofit and NGO perspective, and domestic experience with preschool and early cuildhod education as a teacher, and am most interested in concentrating on ECE and community development in developing and unstable contexts domestically and internationally. 

Specifically, I’m hoping to strength my data analysis skills, learn and develop cooperative and sustainable community education models, and build connections for future school initiatives in the US.

Any advice you have about your experiences or choices would be much appreciated! 

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