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Hi everyone,

 

I have decided to create this topic for all of us who are planning to apply to HKS this fall. I'm particularly interested in the MPP program. We can introduce ourselves here, share experience and advice and of course freak out together when decisions are about to be released. Anyone else?

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Hey guys... Good luck for your application process! I was one of the lucky ones to get accepted to the MPP program at HKS this year. Although I am not attended the program, no funding offered , I woul

Hi everyone,   I have decided to create this topic for all of us who are planning to apply to HKS this fall. I'm particularly interested in the MPP program. We can introduce ourselves here, share ex

hey yhkak   You are from Columbia!! Generally gradcafe seem really biased against columbia. It was freaking me out till i talked to some people who had actually been there or knew people who had be

hi,

i'm also considering re-applying for MC/MPA next year. Some info about me, i'd be grateful for any feedback (i'll get my act together soon and write it up in the 'am i competitive' format as well):

 

1.    i'm applying as part of a fellowship for civil servants in my country where you have to get into HKS separately, and then you can be considered for the fellowship. Since I got flat-out rejected by HKS last year, that wasn’t relevant. I obviously can’t really afford to take a year off from work and pay the tuition without the fellowship..

2.    undergrad: I grew up in the USA and went to an ivy for undergraduate. Did econ with a GPA of 3.277 (a solid B+), but did engineering the first 2 years where my GPA was much lower, 2.75…and that’s on my transcript L

3.    grad school: Also have an MBA from a local university (a good one) in finance with an average of 90/100 and an MA in sociology (or at least I will have it finished by the time admissions rolls around) with a 94/100 average and an award-winning thesis. (search my profile and you’ll see where I’m from, etc.)

4.    Tests: you don’t need a GRE if you’re applying via this fellowship program, but I took it in 2002, got 780/800 math and 710/800 verbal, 6/6 writing.

5.    Work: been working for a government regulatory agency for the last 8 years, starting as a staff economist and now director of research and strategy; all sorts of prizes, employee of the year once, at least 3 times on award-winning teams, etc. With all due modesty, I’m pretty good at my job.

6.    Previous application: LOR from a cabinet minister, an economics prof. and my former boss. SOP about regulation, etc., and “public good” essay about a regulatory change I spearheaded.

 

Anyway, all this goodness got me flat-out dinged. I know the HKS people read this forum sometimes and I hope I’ll be able to get some feedback from them…before I reapply I want to make sure there’s nothing that makes my application a non-starter from HKS’s point of view…so I’d appreciate any pointers, tips, or critiques, and if anyone would like to swap SOP’s closer to the when the admissions season opens up I’d appreciate it…

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Hey guys... Good luck for your application process! I was one of the lucky ones to get accepted to the MPP program at HKS this year. Although I am not attended the program, no funding offered :(, I would be happy to share my experience.

 

Here is some info about my background

  •  I am a business graduate from Pakistan. I completed my BBA in 2011 with a 3.62 GPA from IBA, it is the oldest and one of the top business schools in Pakistan. 
  • 2012 I joined Competition Commission of Pakistan so at the time of my application to HKS I had barely been here one year. 
  • GRE 159 verbal, 162 math and 5 AW
  • I had volunteer teaching and other leadership experiences in a student NGO to show
  • I had letter of recommendations from current bosses, previous boss (part time work) and teachers

Now the things that I feel helped me get in

  • HKS clearly says they want to see commitment to public service. I was working in the public sector and the major I was applying for was in line with the work that I was involved in so that made my case for coming back and pursuing a career in public service pretty strong
  • HKS also says that the look for extensive or unique experience. My experience was no where near extensive but it was unique. Competition policy and its enforcement is a relatively new area and a lot of universities are exploring this topic through their research and all. I used this to my advantage. I think universities are not only looking for exceptional individuals but also a combination of skills in the entire batch that they admit. So what you will bring to the program is as important as what you will get out of it. By bringing people that could represent unique areas of policy they can enhance the collective learning of the class. Knowing that competition enforcement, especially in a developing country, is a unique strength that I have I used it that way.
  • I am not sure if this helped my chances in any way but I was a fulbright scholarship program candidate. While we compete with student on open merit but the fact that our applications are sent by IIE to universities as candidates that have been pre-screened through interviews and tests by the fulbright management may help the candidates. Again this is just a background on my application and an opinion that floats around in fulbright candidates. It may mean nothing to the admission committee when they are reviewing application.

Recommendations to future applicants

  • Your essay is the key! Use it as an argument to make your case to be admitted. Make sure you address each question that may come in the readers mind: What do you want to do in the future, how do you plan to do it, how will this program contribute towards helping you achieve your goal, what have you done so far that has prepared you for the program i.e. how are you a fit. Basically a balance of before the program, during the program and after the program. I know these are pretty obvious points but since my acceptance a lot of people have asked me to read their essays and it seems they always miss one or the other point or don’t say it clearly enough :P
  • I can’t say much for those with significant experience, but those who are applying with less experience should try to bring out the role that the particular experience has played to make you committed to the public sector. Work experiences teach you a number of things but focus on its role in preparing you for your future goals. The goal should be clear throughout the essay and the different experiences that you share should reinforce it. Some essays I read mentioned a goal in the beginning then moved on to the life story and restated the goal in the end. Your life story is important, of course, but combine it with your career goals to make a compelling case.
  • There is only so much you can talk about in your essay and by adding too much you may run the risk of confusing the whole message. Try to choose references who would reinforce the main points you are building in the essay and also mention other fact about you that you may not have added in your essays. Focus on 'key selling points' and let your recommenders cover other points while reinforcing the key points. You can do that by maybe having a conversation with your reference. I sent my reference contact my CV, transcript along with major highlights of my work with them. So that way i knew that even if a leave some parts of my work from the essays they will cover that.  Your entire application package becomes stronger of different parts boost the impact of others as well.
  • Get feedback but I feel too much feedback gets you more confused than no feedback. I got my first draft read by friends and family and I got so many conflicting feedback that the second draft I sent to only two people who then worked with me till the end of the application. I was lucky to get the detailed feedback that I did on the essays.

I guess these points are no news to most of you guys. If you are applying you have probably done enough research to know all of these :). This was just my experience and there is no single formula to getting accepted. Different things would work for different people. All you can do it give it your best shot.

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hi Namash,

 Congratulations your acceptance! may i ask what you've ended up doing? going to a different school, continuing work, etc.?

 

 

Also, in terms of competition policy, I don't know how things work in pakistan but in the US the anti-trust dept. has done this kind of stuff for a long time...i'm also a regulator (in a specific sector) and i pushed this angle hard in my application, and i'm not sure it helped...

 

 

Hey guys... Good luck for your application process! I was one of the lucky ones to get accepted to the MPP program at HKS this year. Although I am not attended the program, no funding offered :(, I would be happy to share my experience.

 

Here is some info about my background

  •  I am a business graduate from Pakistan. I completed my BBA in 2011 with a 3.62 GPA from IBA, it is the oldest and one of the top business schools in Pakistan. 
  • 2012 I joined Competition Commission of Pakistan so at the time of my application to HKS I had barely been here one year. 
  • GRE 159 verbal, 162 math and 5 AW
  • I had volunteer teaching and other leadership experiences in a student NGO to show
  • I had letter of recommendations from current bosses, previous boss (part time work) and teachers

Now the things that I feel helped me get in

  • HKS clearly says they want to see commitment to public service. I was working in the public sector and the major I was applying for was in line with the work that I was involved in so that made my case for coming back and pursuing a career in public service pretty strong
  • HKS also says that the look for extensive or unique experience. My experience was no where near extensive but it was unique. Competition policy and its enforcement is a relatively new area and a lot of universities are exploring this topic through their research and all. I used this to my advantage. I think universities are not only looking for exceptional individuals but also a combination of skills in the entire batch that they admit. So what you will bring to the program is as important as what you will get out of it. By bringing people that could represent unique areas of policy they can enhance the collective learning of the class. Knowing that competition enforcement, especially in a developing country, is a unique strength that I have I used it that way.
  • I am not sure if this helped my chances in any way but I was a fulbright scholarship program candidate. While we compete with student on open merit but the fact that our applications are sent by IIE to universities as candidates that have been pre-screened through interviews and tests by the fulbright management may help the candidates. Again this is just a background on my application and an opinion that floats around in fulbright candidates. It may mean nothing to the admission committee when they are reviewing application.

Recommendations to future applicants

  • Your essay is the key! Use it as an argument to make your case to be admitted. Make sure you address each question that may come in the readers mind: What do you want to do in the future, how do you plan to do it, how will this program contribute towards helping you achieve your goal, what have you done so far that has prepared you for the program i.e. how are you a fit. Basically a balance of before the program, during the program and after the program. I know these are pretty obvious points but since my acceptance a lot of people have asked me to read their essays and it seems they always miss one or the other point or don’t say it clearly enough :P
  • I can’t say much for those with significant experience, but those who are applying with less experience should try to bring out the role that the particular experience has played to make you committed to the public sector. Work experiences teach you a number of things but focus on its role in preparing you for your future goals. The goal should be clear throughout the essay and the different experiences that you share should reinforce it. Some essays I read mentioned a goal in the beginning then moved on to the life story and restated the goal in the end. Your life story is important, of course, but combine it with your career goals to make a compelling case.
  • There is only so much you can talk about in your essay and by adding too much you may run the risk of confusing the whole message. Try to choose references who would reinforce the main points you are building in the essay and also mention other fact about you that you may not have added in your essays. Focus on 'key selling points' and let your recommenders cover other points while reinforcing the key points. You can do that by maybe having a conversation with your reference. I sent my reference contact my CV, transcript along with major highlights of my work with them. So that way i knew that even if a leave some parts of my work from the essays they will cover that.  Your entire application package becomes stronger of different parts boost the impact of others as well.
  • Get feedback but I feel too much feedback gets you more confused than no feedback. I got my first draft read by friends and family and I got so many conflicting feedback that the second draft I sent to only two people who then worked with me till the end of the application. I was lucky to get the detailed feedback that I did on the essays.

I guess these points are no news to most of you guys. If you are applying you have probably done enough research to know all of these :). This was just my experience and there is no single formula to getting accepted. Different things would work for different people. All you can do it give it your best shot.

 

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Sorry, missed the "SIPA" in your profile. It's a great school in an absolutely fantastic city, i'm sure you'll love it (guess which ivy i went to as an undergraduate  :) )?

 

 

hi Namash,

 Congratulations your acceptance! may i ask what you've ended up doing? going to a different school, continuing work, etc.?

 

 

Also, in terms of competition policy, I don't know how things work in pakistan but in the US the anti-trust dept. has done this kind of stuff for a long time...i'm also a regulator (in a specific sector) and i pushed this angle hard in my application, and i'm not sure it helped...

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hey yhkak

 

You are from Columbia!! :P Generally gradcafe seem really biased against columbia. It was freaking me out till i talked to some people who had actually been there or knew people who had been there ... i am really looking forward to going there! :)

 

In Pakistan Competition ordinance became an act in 2010 only. Before that we had a monopoly control act which was pretty much useless because of its insignificant penalties. Basically it was very outdated so competition ordinance was made in 2007 and was made an act in 2010. It even got suspended for a while completely during this process :P. So atleast in Pakistan the application or even recognition of competition law and competition policy is in its infancy. We have to struggle for its application not only in the industries but also with the government when they endorse anti-competitive practices even though they are clear violations of our law. Other industry regulators see competition commission’s work in handling cartels in their industries as an intrusion in their mandate.

 

With these challenges we also have the constraint of people who specialize in competition policy. We have mostly lawyers here applying the law but very few policy analysts or economists which is a serious problem since we do not only have to catch anti-competitive behaviors that exist but also regulate trends that may cause such issues to come up in the future through mergers for example, or policies that create barriers to entry. That is what I emphasized on. Not just my need to develop my skills but identifying a capacity constraint that exists in this market to show that Harvard can invest in an area that is currently under-served by people trained in evidence based policy analysis. So basically I built my application on the assumption that they would rather invest in an area under-served currently because that is the best time for trained people to come in and make real changes that impact in the long-run, which is pretty much what they say they want from their graduates.

 

But again the entire batch would not necessarily all be from new areas. They must be looking for a combination of people excelling in different areas so different things will work for different people. But I think it would help if you guys identify a currently unmet need that you are planning to fulfill through the skills you gain at HKS. For me it was easy because the area I was working in was entirely new so there was plenty of need. But for those who are working in established areas there are always problems that you can identify while working in the industry that you feel you would want to improve from their current state. If you can build a case on how you will do it that should really help in convincing the admission committee that investing in you will give them the result that they want in the form of positive change in society.

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thanks Namash, your points are good and very helpful and i hope to take them on board for my next application. I hope, as you say, that it's mainly a matter of "presenting" yourself correctly, i've recently been given management of an economic policy team, so i'm hoping to leverage that...
 
as for SIPA, i'm sure you'll love it. Columbia, like New York, is known for being a little bit "hard nosed", that is, it's not the kind of place that coddles the students or wraps them in cotton wool, you really have to speak up for yourself and figure things out, which is, as far as i'm concerned, an advantage because that's how the real world works. Since you've been working for a regulatory agency that has to fight for its jurisdiction, i'm sure you're used to this :-) 
 
 
And, it's in NY, which is a distinct advantage in terms of networks, etc....and its also a fantastic place to live. Morningside Heights is a great neighborhood, it's gentrified a bit since i was an undergraduate (things were really rough for a while), it's not a university town...i really don't know why there's an anti-Columbia bias on gradcafe, but all i can say is, their loss.
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I will be applying.

 

1. Education: SUNY 3.74/4 BA Philosophy and Math, MCL/PBK/Thesis (4.0 in Econ through the Masters/Honors-UG level if that is significant)

                      Yale Divinity School MAR Theology, GPA Uncalculated

 

2. GRE: Aiming for whatever would be equivalent to a 1350-1400 on the old scale. 

 

3. Work Exp: 1 year teaching high school at a private, reform-oriented high school, 2 years enlisted Army as a Chaplain Assistant.

 

4. Goal: Finishing ROTC while completing an MPP, Go back in as an MI Officer.

 

5. LORs: Undergraduate Advisor, Yale Div Professor I took 25% of my degree with, O-3 (Captain) I work for.

 

Picking this sort of program over, say, MBA schools because my profession is now deeply involved with the idea of statebuilding (for better or worse). We need some administrative skills to be sure, but economic analysis, IR knowledge, Devlopment strategies, etc. are going to provide a far more useful toolbox than courses geared toward the private sector would. IMO at least.

Edited by Jufarius87
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That's really helpful, guys. The more I read about admissions advice and tips, the more confused I get. And especially with HKS, I'm still wondering which will be the thing that I should use to distinguish myself. This is some of my background.

 

Schools I'm interested in so far:  Harvard Kennedy School (MPP), Columbia SIPA (MPA), Georgetown PPI (MPP). I had the chance to meet with admissions officers at Columbia and Georgetown. I guess I left a good impression. 
Undergraduate institution: University of Sofia, Bulgaria. One year (2012-2013) abroad at the American University in Washington, DC. 
Undergraduate GPA: 6.00/6.00 University of Sofia, 3.83/4.00 American University
Undergraduate Majors: B.A. Political Science, Minor in Mathematics; Focus on American government and public policy while at American University

GRE Quantitative Score: N/A
GRE Verbal Score: N/A
GRE AW Score: N/A 

 

I plan to take the test twice - this summer and probably in November. I am pretty good at math so I expect to score high on the quant section. However, the verbal section will be a challenge. I guess this is the case with all international students.

Years Out of Undergrad (if applicable): I plan to go straight from college. However, I have had five internships so far and I plan to work during my last year at college starting this fall.
Years of Work Experience: More than a year if I combine all internships. 
Describe Relevant Work Experience:

  • The Brookings Institution, Advanced Industries Intern (4 months). 
  • Office of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, Economic Development Intern (2 months). 
  • Teach for Bulgaria, Education Policy Intern (8 months). 
  • Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Bulgaria, Economic Policy Intern (2 months). 
  • National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria, International Affairs Intern (3 months). 

Languages: Bulgarian, English, German (basic)


Activities:

  • Starting the first charter in Europe of the Golden Key Honor Society in a few months.
  • President of the Student Club of Political Science at Sofia University.

I have participated in numerous other organizations but I will focus on these two, especially my achievements there. I know this will be an important part of the application for Harvard, which is my top preference.

 

Strength of LOR (be honest, describe the process, etc): One from my supervisor at Teach for Bulgaria (He's a Harvard grad, pretty good at writing recs. I also built a very close relationship with him and stayed in touch after I left the organization). One or two from professors in Bulgaria (I have worked with them on different projects/papers and took numerous courses with them). I am not sure if a recommendation from Brookings will be a good idea because I worked with multiple people, not with one single supervisor and I am not sure whether any of them can show that he/she really knows me well. Same with profs at American University (they will be always willing to write a rec for me but what they can say about me after taking only one class with them).

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  • 1 month later...

Schools I'm interested : HKS,WWS,SIPA,Harris,Goldman
Undergraduate institution: University of Delhi
Undergraduate GPA: No GPA. 65% (first class honors)
Undergraduate Majors: Economics
Graduate institution: Warwick

Graduate GPA:No GPA. 60%.

Graduate Majors: Economics.

 

 


GRE Quantitative Score: 165
GRE Verbal Score: 162
GRE AW Score: 4.0


Years of Work Experience: 37 months as of today.
Describe Relevant Work Experience:

  • Interned at  Planning commission of India for 4 months
  • Interned at a NGO working in rural areas in its renewable energy campaign.
  • Worked for 21 months at a leading Investment bank  and dealt in financing Public Private Partnerships based highway projects. Worked with government agencies in drafting term sheets, project documents. 
  • Working full time for the last 16 months with the NGO that I interned mentioned earlier.

 

Quant : Undergraduate level - Statistics, Mathematical methods, Linear algebra and calculus, Introductory Econometrics.

             graduate level - Advanced Mathematical methods,  Econometrics I & II.

 

 I haven't mentioned about SOP and LOR as I am finalizing both of them. Also still deciding between MPP or MPA2 at HKS

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi all,

 

I have a situation I'd love some insight on if anyone is knowledgeable. I'm planning to apply to MPP/MPA/IR programs this fall, and then my hope is to apply to law schools during my first year of the master's program and make it a joint JD/Master's degree. (I haven't taken the LSAT yet and don't expect to be ready to take it by this fall, so applying for both programs now is out of the question.) The problem is that since it's tough to predict where I'll get in to law school, I want to apply to master's programs which will let you do a joint JD with a range of schools, as opposed to only their own university's law school. So far, HKS, WWS, and SAIS are the only ones that I've found that fit this description. Does anyone know of any other top MPP or IR programs that will give you this flexibility?

 

Now, here are my stats:

 

Schools I'm interested : HKS, WWS, SAIS (for reasons described above)
Undergraduate institution: Top 10 nationally (non-Ivy), according to US News
Undergraduate GPA: 3.6/4.0
Undergraduate Majors: Economics
Undergraduate Minors: Political Science


GRE Quantitative Score: 165
GRE Verbal Score: 170
GRE AW Score: 5.5

 

Years of Work Experience: 3
Describe Relevant Work Experience: Currently working at a well-known NGO in Africa. Spent two years in management consulting in the US before that. Relevant internships in college in the international development field, plus volunteering in a couple other developing countries. (In spite of this background, I want to focus on IR rather than IDev... so I'd be applying for the MPP at HKS rather than the MPA/ID.) 

 

Languages: Intermediate French, basic Swahili (I'd probably have to work on my French to meet the standards of SAIS)

 

Strength of LOR (be honest, describe the process, etc): Still figuring out who exactly these should come from - some schools (WWS) are very specific about what the breakdown of recommenders should be (job, school, public service) but others (HKS) give you more flexibility. I'll have an outstanding one from my current job, and could also get a very good/outstanding one from my former job, but since that one was private sector I don't know if some schools would be as keen on it. School will be a little harder as I haven't done a good job of keeping in touch with professors, but I should be able to get one that's positive if not full of specific detail. 

 

Good luck all! 

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Just FYI for anyone planning to apply to both HKS and WWS... Annoyingly HKS and WWS reverse their program's names for their degrees.

 

At WWS – the MPA is the regular 2yr masters program, MPP is the 1yr mid-career professional program.  

 

We had quite a few folks misapply with us for the MPP last year.

Edited by fenderpete
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Hey everyone,

 

Great to read your comments. After reading the forums for a while I finally made an account to post in this thread.

 

I'm planning to apply to HKS for Fall 2014 as my dream school (I'm also applying to LSE and several Canadian Schools).

 

Undergraduate institution: Top Canadian School
Undergraduate GPA: 3.9+
Undergraduate Majors: Political Science, with a concentration in Public Affairs and Policy Analysis

 

Years of Work Experience: 6

Describe Relevant Work Experience:

- I stopped university for a couple years to work for a political party as an organizer. I also served on the party's provincial executive for 5 years (and on the policy committee, finance committee and fundraising committees)

- Worked on a number of campaigns, including as deputy provincial director at one point.

- Since returning to university, I did a year as a legislative intern on Parliament Hill and have a very prestigous summer fellowship doing policy analysis in the governmental sector.

 

Languages: Intermediate French

 

I have yet to take my GRE, mostly because it isn't required for some of the Canadian programs I was looking at and I only recently decided to take a shot for the moon.

 

I'm still not sure if I am a strong candidate and would love any feedback people can give. I know it can be tougher for international students.

 

With any luck I'll see you all next fall.

 

-

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Hi all,

 

I applied to HKS last year and this forum was a lifesaver, so I hope I can be of any help at all. You all seem very well qualified, more-so than myself, so you should feel good. Quals: 3.92 from mid-level undergrad biz school, 163/164/4.0 GRE, 5 years Navy reserve with 2 deployments, but no other work experience. Good luck!

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Hi everybody! Your comments are very  useful, since I am planning to apply this september and I am a bit lost in some aspects of the application process.

I will apply to HKS (MPA/ID), SIPA (MPA-DP), WW (MPA/ID), and some others, but my preference is HKS.

 

Nationality: Brazilian

Undergrad: Economics at a top brazilian university, GPA 3.2, minor in international relations

Grad: Economics at the same university, GPA 3.8

GRE: Q 163, V 156, AW 4.0

TOEFL: 110

Work experience: 3 years at the Ministry of Finance of Brazil

Volunteer experience: 2 years in Brazilian slums called favelas.

Languages: Portuguese, English, Spanish, and some German

International experience: exchange to Europe for a semester during my undergrad. Plenty of travel around Latin America, Europe and Asia in the past 4 years.

LORs: I am pretty sure I can get 2 good letters at the Ministry, and a good letter at my university.

 

I would greatly appreciate your opinion regarding the following:

1- Is my undergrad GPA too low?

2- Should I try to diversify my LORs?

3- Should I retake the GRE?

 

Finally, does anyone know if there are available sample application materials somewhere? just to have an insight on what the adcom expects regarding the essays...

 

Thank you an wish you the best!!

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Hey,

 

You should check out this blog

http://hksadmissionblog.tumblr.com/post/35323114042/personal-statement-notes-post-9

 

I found it very useful in understanding what the adcom is looking for...

 

Your undergrad GPA is fine. You cant change that now anyway and its nothing that cannot be compensated for by an outstanding personal statement. besides its history, you have already done a graduate program after that with a pretty good gpa so the undergrad gpa should not carry much weight anymore. Same goes for your GRE in my opinion. you have about 4 months. If you are really concerned about your GRE you have time to retake it. But i think the time you will spend on retaking the test you might as well spend on perfecting your essay and recommendations. If you emphasize the quality of your experience enough that should dilute the weight of your GRE, which i think is not bad anyway. In terms of recommendations if these are the people you have worked closest with and they know you well enough to give a detailed recommendation then dont trade it for diversification. But if someone at say your volunteer work place has worked closely with you and can highlight the strengths that are valued by the particular program you are looking for then i would give up one of the ministry contacts for that one. you will mention the volunteer work in your personal statement anyway. It will be good if a recommendation reinforces that. But not at the cost of the quality of the recommendation ofcourse. 

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Hey,

 

You should check out this blog

http://hksadmissionblog.tumblr.com/post/35323114042/personal-statement-notes-post-9

 

I found it very useful in understanding what the adcom is looking for...

 

Your undergrad GPA is fine. You cant change that now anyway and its nothing that cannot be compensated for by an outstanding personal statement. besides its history, you have already done a graduate program after that with a pretty good gpa so the undergrad gpa should not carry much weight anymore. Same goes for your GRE in my opinion. you have about 4 months. If you are really concerned about your GRE you have time to retake it. But i think the time you will spend on retaking the test you might as well spend on perfecting your essay and recommendations. If you emphasize the quality of your experience enough that should dilute the weight of your GRE, which i think is not bad anyway. In terms of recommendations if these are the people you have worked closest with and they know you well enough to give a detailed recommendation then dont trade it for diversification. But if someone at say your volunteer work place has worked closely with you and can highlight the strengths that are valued by the particular program you are looking for then i would give up one of the ministry contacts for that one. you will mention the volunteer work in your personal statement anyway. It will be good if a recommendation reinforces that. But not at the cost of the quality of the recommendation ofcourse. 

 

 

Thank you very much for your time and your opinion Namash!! And congratulations on your acceptances!! :D

Just one more question: I see you are an international student, such as myself. Did you hire any consultant or any help to help you edit your resume and essays?

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No i didnt hire anyone. My brother and my sister helped me. They are both working in the IT industry :P. so not much of a background in public policy profession. But what i did get from them was feedback on effectively expressing my ideas. You have limited space to make your case to the admission committee. Limited words and limited time of the readers attention. Every word on the essay must earn its place there. My first couple of drafts seemed perfectly fine to me until my brother cut out the fluff leaving my essay just half the length without removing any of the real useful content i had originally written :P. We tend to use too many words to say simple things. The admission committee will be swamped with essays, make their job easier for them and just tell them clearly what they need to hear which is simply: What do you want to do in the future, how do you plan to do it, how will this program contribute towards helping you achieve your goal, what have you done so far that has prepared you for the program i..e. how are you a fit.  So once you have made a draft challenge every sentence to see if it is helping make your application stronger or not. If it isnt there no point wasting space on that. You could use that part of the readers attention making your case stronger. 

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Thanks Namash, right on the money and very helpful as always. Good luck at SIPA and don't forget about us applicants!

 

No i didnt hire anyone. My brother and my sister helped me. They are both working in the IT industry :P. so not much of a background in public policy profession. But what i did get from them was feedback on effectively expressing my ideas. You have limited space to make your case to the admission committee. Limited words and limited time of the readers attention. Every word on the essay must earn its place there. My first couple of drafts seemed perfectly fine to me until my brother cut out the fluff leaving my essay just half the length without removing any of the real useful content i had originally written :P. We tend to use too many words to say simple things. The admission committee will be swamped with essays, make their job easier for them and just tell them clearly what they need to hear which is simply: What do you want to do in the future, how do you plan to do it, how will this program contribute towards helping you achieve your goal, what have you done so far that has prepared you for the program i..e. how are you a fit.  So once you have made a draft challenge every sentence to see if it is helping make your application stronger or not. If it isnt there no point wasting space on that. You could use that part of the readers attention making your case stronger. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey all, I'll most likely be applying for the MPP program, though I might be able to apply to the MPA since I'm 6 years out from my BA at this point. In any event, I want to do IGS, with a focus on China/East Asia. I know a couple people who have gone to HKS and I can say they both had 2-3 years work experience before applying. I don't know their grades, GRE, etc, but I assume they were pretty good.

 

Some info about myself: my undergrad GPA was a 3.5 from a top 50 US university with majors in history and international studies and my grades in grad school have thankfully been better. My original GRE scores are out of date, but I'll be happy to get to the 70th percentile on the Math section when I retake next month. I'm working on a PhD in History with a focus on China and this has been the bulk of my post-undergrad career. I lived in China last year and have pretty good language skills, so this is my strongest selling point. I really want to go to HKS, in part because I've heard good things about it from my friends, but I'll also be applying to WWS, SIPA, probably Georgetown, and maybe SAIS and Fletcher. 

 

I would like to second what Namash said above. Everyone I've talked to says that getting in seems to be partially about your background, and partially about your ability to make a case for yourself. I don't think any of these schools have some kind of algorithm that computes your GPA, GRE, etc. and this determines your fate. I believe them when they say they consider every application thoroughly (as long as there are no glaring typos or other oddities). Especially if you have a masters degree and/or work experience, no one is going to care about the grades you got when you were 18 years old. 

 

Good luck everyone. Let's stay in touch and hopefully we'll see each other next year.

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Hi guys, 

 

I am preparing my application for the MPP as well. 

 

I am quite young, 22 years old - but it seems that the youngest admitted this year was 21. 

 

I graduated last year with straight 4.0 (or the equivalent) with a Bachelor in Economics and I was ranked at the top %1 in the class.

My undergraduate institution is one of the most renowned French University (Sorbonne). I might not have as much work experience as other applicants though but I interned 3 months at the European Parliament working for a European Deputy, 3 months at the French Parliament (Lower House) as an assistant for a deputy from my native region, 3 months at the Turkish Parliament, and just finished my internship at the United Nations working for the European Union's delegation as an ''adviser'' in Political Affairs at the Security Council. 

 

I also worked for two different NGOs, One in Rome which focused on Inter-religious dialogue and one in Paris, which focused on Inter-cultural dialogue and integration. I am of Turkish background so I speak French, English and Turkish. 

 

I did not take the GRE yet ... quite stressing out about it. 

 

For the LoRs I am opting for the European Deputy I worked for, the President of the NGO I worked in Rome and most probably a teacher. The thing is, on the Harvard blog they said that the only case to avoid would be to have 3 LoR from teachers - what would be Ideal for me is to send 3 LoR coming from internship supervisors instead. But I recently graduated so I assume that it might not be very wise? 

 

I received several scholarships through academia, the last one being attributed by the French Ministry of Education for outstanding academic result for students in need (son of blue-collar worker). 

 

Extra: I managed to get from a bad Middle School to one of France's best High School back in the days..

 

(PS: If someone could chance me I would be very grateful)

Edited by fuzzylogician
Edited for privacy at the request of the poster. --fuzzy
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