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Comparing Ed Policy at Stanford, Harvard, and Vanderbilt


PerfectSummerDay
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I am very fortunate, and was accepted to my top choices for International Education Policy. I am genuinely torn, as all of these are amazing schools, with a great faculty. That being said, I am leaning more toward Vanderbilt and Stanford. For others in a similar position, what are your thoughts on these schools (Ed, or Ed Policy, not necessarily just International Ed Policy)? What program characteristics are you factoring into your decision?

 

Here are the main points I am considering: 

 

1. Length of program: Harvard and Stanford are 1 year programs. While most Harvard students in this program do an internship, Stanford students do not. Vanderbilt is a 2 year program, with a required summer internship (I'm thinking I'd go abroad for this!). Given the length of the Vandy program, they are able to focus more on research methods and statistic/analytic training without sacrificing the other topics relevant to this degree. I feel like this would be beneficial when applying to jobs later. Also, I am thinking that the extra year may be worth the cost, if I am able to learn more and explore topics that I may not otherwise have the chance to.

 

2. Faculty: Well, faculty is pretty much amazing at all these schools, so I am stuck here. I guess if I had to pick faculty research that most closely aligns with what I want to do, I would choose Brian Heuser and this colleagues at Vandy.

 

3. Cost/quality of living in Palo Alto/Boston/Nashville: It is waaaay cheaper to live in Nashville, but I am from the Bay Area and love it here. That being said, Nashville is pretty cool too. I would be a little worried about finding decent housing close to campus though, as there are so many students living in the city. Palo Alto is really freaking expensive, but Stanford offers a lottery for subsidized graduate housing (even for couples and students with kids). Boston is super cold-- lovely at certain times of the year-- but freaking cold in the winter.

 

So, basically I love Vandy. But.... I hate to say it, I can't get  the reputations of Stanford and Harvard out of my head (although I know Vandy is also very well regarded in this field). I will probably learn more after visiting Stanford at the end of the month. While cost of tuition is important to me, I was lucky to receive some scholarships, and I am of the mindset that I don't mind taking out more loans to invest in my education. As a result, this is not really part of my decision, but that is just me.

 

Thanks for letting me think out loud. I would love to hear what others are thinking regarding this decision! Trust me, if feels good to type it all out!

 

Best of luck to all!

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Go with vanderbilt. You are clearly so much more excited just writing about it here. And in every category you listed vandy's "pros" versus the others' "cons". It seems like you know what you want to do.

Also it's not as if you are talking about Harvard or Stanford versus some unknown school. Don't forget that vanderbilt is a "name" as well. Plus, as a school of education vanderbilt has the best reputation and ranking of the three. Hope this helps.

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Go with vanderbilt. You are clearly so much more excited just writing about it here. And in every category you listed vandy's "pros" versus the others' "cons". It seems like you know what you want to do.

Also it's not as if you are talking about Harvard or Stanford versus some unknown school. Don't forget that vanderbilt is a "name" as well. Plus, as a school of education vanderbilt has the best reputation and ranking of the three. Hope this helps.

 

Thank you so much! I think you are right-- I have all but decided on Vanderbilt. I would just love to see the types of program details others are looking at too, see if there are other details I am missing :)

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I wonder what the stats are for those who got into the top 3-5 ed schools and where they ultimately end up going. How does Vandy's yield compare to Harvard or Stanford?

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I have to chose between Stanford and Harvard and I learning towards Stanford for it is a bit of a longer program with more research related classes, it also has MA paper component, which I think can be very useful for focusing in one field and in the future if I think of PhD this can be very useful. Third, I love that at Stanford the cohort size is much smaller than at Harvard, which I hope will give the opportunity to really interact with professors. My thoughts. Financially it ends up being almost the same for me (I am international student). My only worry is that Harvard as a brand name is much more recognizable outside US than Stanford, but I hope the people who will consider hiring me in the future will know Stanford name. And the last thought, it is lovely sunny California versus cold Boston!

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