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Admitted to WWS off waitlist - Should I go?


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Hi All - 


So I got an email today offering me a spot off the WWS waitlist.


I'm interested in urban economic development policy. I've currently accepted Harvard's offer (some $$, I'd probably end up about with about 50k debt). I think that HKS would probably be a better fit for me, and I'd also like to be in Boston for other personal reasons, but I'm having a hard time turning down a fully funded offer. 


HKS Pros

-Alumni Network (breadth)

-Better overall rep

-Stronger urban policy focus

-More practitioner-centered

-Fellowship in area of interest

-More classes (though harder to get into)

-More speakers

-I'd like to be in Boston for other personal reasons


WWS Pros

-Alumni Network (depth) and better career center

-Better rep in policy circles

-Stronger academics


Thoughts? What would you guys add to the list? Also, did anyone turn down WWS for a less than fully funded offer? And how is WWS in domestic policy? Feel free to PM me if you don't want to post in this thread.




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I'm speaking purely from my own bias. I'd take the WWS offer. I don't focus on domestic policy so I can't comment on it but usually, people have a choice between lots of $$ from 2nd tier school and no money from top tier. Your choice is full ride (and more) from top tier and some money from top tier. Also, even if WWS had fewer urban policy profs (don't they have a certificate in that?), they'd be able to spend far more time with you because of the small cohort size and that might make up for the lack of variety

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I'm internationally focused so take this opinion with that in mind.  I would take WWS because it's a great school.  I think reputation is overblown in many ways and it's irrelevant if you do your job right.  Yes, I've heard of some people that hire in specific departments of massive institutions favor certain schools, but I think that's the exception to the rule.  

I'm a very debt averse person so I'd personally go to a school that's not as exactly on the mark for what I want to do if it meant saving tons of money.  50k or even 30k is "tons" to me.  In ten years looking back it may be a kind of funny thing to think about, but right now I don't know what's down the road.


In terms of the personal stuff, if it's a relationship, two years could be tough.  I'm going to be doing one year apart, but we're setting up a schedule with a 5hr Megabus ride involved.  It's a burden, but at the end of the day, a year (and really two) isn't long.  It's not like you're going to Med School.  If it's not a relationship and more of a family thing, then that could be very different.


Good luck with your decision.

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Econpp, if you're still making a decision, feel free to PM me. Would be happy to talk to you about HKS vs. WWS, and connect you with urban policy students here.


I think you pretty much got it right in terms of your pros/cons list. I will say though that having used the Harvard alum network (Crimson Compass), barely anyone replies to you and those who do will not go out on a limb to help you, since there are so many people in the network. The WWS network, people literally are giving out jobs to each other right and left (not really an exaggeration), and empirical evidence suggests you'll get a reply from 99% of alums within days or even hours.


HKS is probably more practitioner-oriented and a bit less rigorous academically. What do you want to do afterwards? If it's public service, $50k is a lot of debt and the career services + full funding (you should also count the guaranteed WWS funding for summer internships, language courses over the summer and even a lot of free meals/speaker events/dinners...these all add up to a lot!) will set you up well here. If you're going to go into private sector afterwards, then HKS may well be a better cultural fit and the $50k won't be as big of an issue.

Edited by piquant777
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The only variable that's hard to weigh here is wanting to be in Boston "for other personal reasons."  Taking that out of the equation for a moment, since only you know how much importance that should command: I don't think this is a tough call -- you should choose WWS.  Nothing on your Harvard "pro" list is worth $50k in my opinion, and I don't see any real WWS cons (aside from location for you).  And graduating debt free will vastly expand your choices as to a next step after grad school.


Best of luck choosing!

Edited by ADLNYC
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