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SSP over fully funded GSPIA


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Hey guys, I'm a current undergraduate with a DC university who is graduating in May. I have been accepted to a few schools for Security Studies (I have a load of ongoing internship experience in the area), and I'm picking between two in particular.

 

One is Georgetown's SSP - they are offering me a half-tuition scholarship, which means it will cost me $60,000 over two years on top of extensive undergraduate debts. Obviously the benefits are the name, the program's quality, and the location.

 

The other is the University of Pittsburgh's GSPIA, which is ranked lower and is in a less optimal location but which is offering me a full ride plus a $12,670 yearly stipend.

 

I'm extremely torn, and I have to make a decision soon. What's the advice on this forum? Thanks!

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If you're already getting such generous offers from graduate schools, think of how much better it will get after one or two years of work experience.  In addition to (probably) getting a lot more money, work experience will make your graduate studies more fruitful.

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I'd choose Gtown.

 

Chances are if you were that competitive for both schools with such a high level of funding you won't have trouble getting a good starting salary after graduation and, whoever you work for may help you with a tuition reimbursement program.

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But what you have going for you is your undergrad institution... it always amazed me how people from D.C. schools get jobs straight out of undergrad,.... just hit the D.C. pavement and see what you come up with. I'd say you should hold fire on grad school, try to take advantage of your D.C. location, try very hard to get an internship with an organization/agency that does the kind of work you want to be doing, and reapply next year with a year more of experience. 

 

On the flip side, depending on what you want to do, you will likely be competing with people with higher qualifications even for internship positions... 

 

Tough spot, I know, but I was in a similar situation when I had to choose between a full ride at GWU or go to Georgetown MSFS for $30k... the margin wasn't as big as the one you're talking about, but it was enough to make me decide to save money at a great school rather than go into more debt at the #1 school...

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The grass is greener.

 

I know an AU grad who is on his fifth or sixth DC internship, he's been doing them during and after graduation. He is bright and motivated as hell. He recently decided to go to grad school

 

Especially for the intel community, with the budget the way it is, not a good idea to wait on grad school.

 

But what you have going for you is your undergrad institution... it always amazed me how people from D.C. schools get jobs straight out of undergrad,.... just hit the D.C. pavement and see what you come up with. I'd say you should hold fire on grad school, try to take advantage of your D.C. location, try very hard to get an internship with an organization/agency that does the kind of work you want to be doing, and reapply next year with a year more of experience. 

 

On the flip side, depending on what you want to do, you will likely be competing with people with higher qualifications even for internship positions... 

 

Tough spot, I know, but I was in a similar situation when I had to choose between a full ride at GWU or go to Georgetown MSFS for $30k... the margin wasn't as big as the one you're talking about, but it was enough to make me decide to save money at a great school rather than go into more debt at the #1 school...

Edited by SkyStrike
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I DO right now possess a great internship at one of those places where the sequestration most directly has hit - I have a top security clearance, have been there for almost a year now, they're keeping me on and love me, and any other year I would be hired coming straight out. Alas! It's not any other year. Which is why I applied to grad school in the first place.

 

My gut is telling me Georgetown. Staying in Washington will help me after graduation, and I have the feeling I'll land a DC job SOMEWHERE at some point soon. But you know, there's never any guarantees. And it's just so much money...gah. The advice is helpful, I feel like I'll be in a good situation whichever way I go, but it never hurts to poll some peers.

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And tiltedlight - I only got an email with funding about a week ago. So a bit more than two weeks after the letter of acceptance. Pitt had told me to be on the lookout for funding information in the coming weeks in their original letter. I don't know why they took their sweet time haha, I had joked to my family that at this point I would only consider Pitt if they went crazy and gave me a full ride, and then the aid information came in the next morning. I almost fell out of my chair!

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Honestly, I would ask your colleagues what they would do. If you plan on staying in that field, they are the ones who you should be asking for advice. Also, what do you want to study!? SSP curriculum is geared toward those who are in the DoD, while GSPIA courses seem to examine these issues from a variety of perspectives.

 

While SSP is one of the most repsected programs for those within your line of work, if you already have a career you like locked down, will a degree from SSP give you that much of an advantage over one from Pitt?  IMO if you plan on staying in the public sector, go to whichever school you would enjoy more.

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