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USC SPPD over Harris?


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I posted this a few weeks back, but I wanted to bump it again to get some input before I make the final call next week.

I've been racking my brain deciding between USC and Harris for my MPP. Both gave me equal scholarships and both programs are ranked nearly equivalently. I went to both admitted students days and came out with what I think is a full picture of each.

Here's my thinking on the matter and why I will most likely end up choosing USC:

For one, USC advertised, (and students that I talked to in the halls backed up) the fact that USC is an internship goldmine. One girl said she did 5 internships in one year. This practical focus is extremely attractive to me since I want my degree to go towards applied policy either consulting or working in government, rather than strictly analyzing policy. Furthermore, I think the opportunity to actually get out of school would do wonders to enhance my network and ease the job search in two years.

Secondly, ending up in DC isn't a priority for me. I live in California, have covered Sacramento as a journalist, and see enough going on in this state for a more than rewarding career. While Chicago has much better connections/reputation in DC, out on the west coast, USC is better networked. I'd like to stay in the western US in the future and I think USC better equips me for that.

Third, while Chicago wins hands down when it come to quant courses and analysis, I could supplement the program at USC with additional stats and econ courses. While it wouldn't be at the level of Harris, I figure it'd be good enough to give me the "tool kit" (to steal the word of the day from Harris), that I'd need to be competent.

And last but not least, when I visited LA, it was 78 degrees with a slight ocean breeze. When I visited Chicago the week after it was 36 degrees, raining, and the wind was blowing so hard it almost knocked me over. I know it's only two years, but jeez, that weather is terrible.

So basically, I'm wondering what you all think of this reasoning? Does it make sense with what you all have heard? I know some of you all are in similar spots with similar schools, how's your decision making process going?

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Hi mppguy. Your reasoning seems sound to me. I also attended the USC merit scholar event, and got the sense that it provided a very strong network in LA and Sactown (my home town :D ). If you are looking for a career in California, and a more applied education that will focus on internships and fieldwork in addition to academics, it sounds like USC is the place for you. While I've heard good things about Harris (and god knows there are some major boosters on this board), it doesn't seem like an ideal place for you--i.e., less internship focus, more theoretical curriculum and fewer west-coast connections. I say go to USC and don't look back. And please fix all of California's problems.

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Mppguy, I think you are doing the right thing to attend USC. I attended the Open Houses and it is a great school with great facilities and it will certainly help you to lend a job in California, but also in the future in D.C. if you change your mind. Good luck and congratulations !

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Hey all, thanks for the encouragement. I just wanted some reassurance that I was indeed not screwing up completely. I just sent my acceptance into USC today. For anyone that'll be going there, I'll see you in the fall!

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