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Cornell vs UMass vs Oxford (social/public policy)

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So I have been accepted to more programs than anticipated, which is a great problem to have but still leaves me more uncertain than when I began!


I applied to policy-related programs - I'm interested in food/ag policy and children and nutrition.


I am torn now between Cornell, Tufts, UMass Amherst, and Oxford, for various reasons. Oxford is, well, Oxford and I would love nothing more than to spend a year there. However my husband and I want to settle in New England and Oxford would not help me with local connections, food policy, or non-profit experience. Cornell gave me a good package and has a great name in my field (and overall) though not necessarily the best in policy. UMass Amherst gave me a full-ride and stipend, which is hard to turn down, and they are in a good area for our future plans and have good connections to food and ag. However, their "brand" is nothing like Cornell or Oxford. Tufts is also great but much more specific (maybe too specific?) and I haven't heard from funding.


One thing I am contemplating is to see if I could defer one of these programs (most likely UMass, because of location and the fact that hopefully I would not be going further into debt with more schooling) so that I could go to Oxford (year-long program) and then come back to get an MPA. The research skills I'd get at Oxford are perfect for what I want to do, and I wouldn't get that at the programs here in the US. I do feel that doing both programs would be complementary, not redundant. However I don't know if it really is just smarter to take up Cornell's offer, with a good "brand" name and the ag/policy focus I need.


Has anyone done anything like that or heard of anyone who has? ANY advice welcome... :)

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Cornell has one of the best names in Ag. There are so many opportunities here for those interested in what you mentioned I don't even think it's a tough choice. You can even spend a semester working with the WFP in Rome if you play your cards right. Otherwise many people in the program get top internships in DC and elsewhere related to food policy. One of my teacher's last semester won the World Food Prize and was spectacular. Connections run deep with top policy think tanks focused on ag policy too. 

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