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Josef Korbel School Strengths/Weaknesses


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I was also accepted to DU's Int'l Security program, and I would love to go there for various reasons, including snowboarding! So put student ski passes on the strengths :wink:

On a serious note, I have decided not to attend DU b/c I had some reservations about the teaching style. Also, I want to be in D.C. for the network and jobs/internships. I have a college friend who is now at DU...while she's very impressed by the students (esp. the security track peeps), the curriculum, and the overall atmosphere, she's been disappointed with the faculty. She doesn't feel like classes at DU are as intellectually stimulating as the classes we had while we were at Vanderbilt.

I know I'm only taking one person's perspective, but I didn't want to pay tons of money for school and then, kick myself and say why the hell did I not listen to her?

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I've chosen to attend the Korbel school at DU. I did so this weekend after thinking about it for over a month. I chose Korbel over Fletcher for the following reasons:

1. DU offered me a renewable scholarship while Tufts is notoriously stingy with funding. Tufts is five places above DU on the Foreign Policy rankings and I don't think that justifies taking on an additional $100,000 in debt.

2. I was told by my thesis adviser in undergrad that Tufts has a far more politically-conservative faculty and that Fletcher tended to churn out doctrinaire, non-critical thinkers. She urged me to chose DU because she felt, in her words "Denver is a much better program than Tufts."

3. I've spoken with three alumni from Korbel, one of whom works for the Gates Foundation and the other two for the Department of State. They all had a lot of praise for the program and said it has significantly improved over the past 5 years.

4. DU seems to have a greater emphasis on cross-disciplinary studies than Tufts and being out of the East Coast establishment means I can actually focus on theory and practicality rather than politics. I visited Georgetown and Fletcher and was very impressed with Fletcher but not compared to DU.

Life after graduate school is not entirely dependent on making "connections" in DC. Korbel maintains a campus in DC in conjunction with the Maxwell school at Syracuse and the University of Pittsburgh for those interested in working for the government. I would rather work for an NGO or a private research and analysis firm than I would DHS or State. The faculty of the International Security department is also particularly well known in the field.

Lastly. I attended a meeting at the Naval Postgraduate School in January and had a chance to ask the Dean about the two schools. He praised both but saved his highest praise for DU. That helped to seal the deal for me.

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Sroek, what other schools have you gotten into so far?

I'm deciding among UCSD, DU, and AU and been waitlisted at SIPA and Fletcher and waiting on SAIS, GW, and GT. I was going to pick UCSD over DU b/c I have another college friend there and she absolutely loves it. She loves the students, courses, accessibility and caliber of professors, student life, and sense of community. The professors there for China studies are amazing and employment stats were pretty good as well. I also like how down-to-earth yet driven the students were. The guy I met from career services at the APSIA forum in Beijing was helpful and cont. to be helpful after I was admitted. I esp. like the fact I can have both a prof and regional track.

Yeah, so I'm confused as well.

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UCSD is great for Pacific / Regional studies, especially China! I personally think that the curriculum at Korbel for International Security looks amazing. Toe for toe in terms of just a securities program, I think that only Georgetown's SSP has a stronger securities program than Korbel and GWU has a slighter advantage because of location, reputation, and access to one of the best law schools for Intl Law. There are other great schools to study security, but you sacrifice classes to take other classes. For example, Harvard has the new Global and Security Studies, but you have to spend your first year taking the core curriculum which consist of Economic, Leadership, and Management courses. The same goes for Hopkins. Hopkins has an amazing security studies concentration, but it is mandatory to concentrate in International Economics as well. Therefore, for every two classes you take at Hopkins,Harvard, and even SIPA (Columbia) only one of those courses is for security studies. As opposed to Korbel and SSP at GT, every course you take will be some form of security class such as U.S. Foreign Policy, Military Ops, Intelligence, Conflict Resolution, Regional Security (especially China and the Middle East), etc. So this makes my decision process a lot tougher. Do I go to a school with a higher reputation, prominent faculty, world class network base, and location and sacrifice the extra money it would cost and the extra classes I really don't care for? Or do I go to the less reputable, better than average faculty, decent network base, etc and study every course that I'm passionate about? This is the tricky part. If I only get accepted to Denver (although I've been excepted to Chicago's CIR and I don't want to go there over DU) I guess I have very little choice. I just want to make sure that Denver is going to help me achieve my goals and provide me the education I need to succeed in all my academic and career endeavors. I was told personally by the Dir. of Admissions to Georgetown's SSP that I have to make sure that whatever school I apply to is an APSIA Member and Korbel definitely is, so that is a relief. Well Guys let me know your thoughts!

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I was accepted to DU as a Peace Corps Fellow. I would love to go there. It is no as well known as some others, but it is still a good school. I don't think anywhere could beat the location. Snowboarding in the winter and rafting, biking, trail running in the summer. It would be awesome. However, DU is not exactly cheap even as a Peace Corps Fellow. I received an email from GWU saying I was likely to be accepted with a partial tuition scholarship. It is already cheaper than DU and could be significantly cheaper than DU depending on the scholarship. I am still waiting to hear back from SAIS and GT. I am going to wait and see financial aid packages, but I just cannot see spending 10's of thousands more to go to DU instead of GWU. That being said I still have no idea. I plan on attending the GWU open house and possibly the others in DC if I get in. I will be interested to hear about the DU open house as I will not be able to attend.

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