phil413 Posted March 18, 2014 Share Posted March 18, 2014 (edited) Hi friends, I am having some difficulty making the decision between Stanford's ICE (International Comparative Education) program and Harvard's HDP (Human Development and Psychology) program. If anybody is faced with a similar decision or can speak to any of the below points as a current /past student, I would greatly appreciate your input! Below are the various factors that I'm thinking through. Please clarify or correct any misconceptions! · Nature of Program - Obviously, HDP and ICE are very different programs. I am interested in studying moral/emotional development within international populations and how that affects educational equity, so both courses are relevant to me. It seems to me that the HDP program is slightly more flexible and open-ended, which can be a good or bad thing, while ICE is certainly more focused (I don’t yet know whether it is actually feasible to cross-register for many classes across outside the ed school for Stanford) At HGSE, I am able to find faculty whose research aligns perfectly with my interests, but less so in Stanford GSE. However, I have yet to look outside the ed school -- ie. there may be opportunities conducting research with professors in departments outside of Stanford GSE. · Research vs Practical Experience – It seems to me that Stanford’s ICE program focuses on a culminating MA thesis paper, and very few students have internships. On the other hand, HGSE is much more practice-focused and many students take on practical experience or internships. In this regard, I prefer HGSE. But a MA paper is also good in that it is strong preparation for a PhD program one day, and I would not want choosing HGSE to potentially preclude me from a strong PhD application in the future. Can anyone speak to whether it is still feasible to have a strong research experience that produces substantial results at HGSE? · Length of Program – The MA program is already very short at both schools, but Stanford’s takes up the whole calendar year (including summer) while HGSE’s is 9 months. It seems that 9 months would be incredibly rushed, and I wonder if it is enough time to produce research AND glean practical experience AND complete coursework AND form lasting relationships w peers in a substantial manner… · Cohort Size – HGSE’s cohort is ~500 people, while Stanford’s is ~200. In terms of cohort bonding, class size and professor relationship, I prefer Stanford’s smaller size. However, the pro of a bigger school is the ability to build a bigger network (if this actually happens practically at HGSE), and better resources. Hence, in this respect I am undecided. · Intellectual Calibre of Peer Group – I have spoken to current students at HGSE, who tell me (and this is their perspective! Not mine!) that because the school is larger, they found the intellectual caliber/work ethics of some students in the program disappointing for such a top-notch institution. Granted, these types of students might be found in any program, but it was certainly disconcerting hearing them say that of Harvard. In addition, because Stanford GSE is smaller, technically the acceptance rate is lower – could that indeed have a bearing on the types of students found in the program? Can anyone speak to the cohort at Stanford? I don’t mean to sound judgmental on this point – I fully understand that “intelligence”, or insightful experiences, come in many different forms from people of various backgrounds. I know I can learn something from anybody. But, I was just wondering about the intellectual climate and level of rigorousness found in the peer groups of each program. The bottom line is that regardless of which graduate program, we learn from our peers as much as we learn from the professors, so I just want to be in an environment where I am constantly challenged and sharped by my peers. Can any current students at either of the programs speak to this? · Lifestyle – Weather and climate, Stanford obviously wins hands-down. But from what I understand, Palo Alto seems to have much higher living expenses compared to Cambridge. Hence, in this respect I am undecided. Additional Questions to Answer: - Career Prospects Post-graduation – How “easy” or possible is it for students to get a job or move on to their desired next step post-graduation? Where do most students from either program go? Is Stanford’s program indeed more PhD-geared than HGSE? How much does a program from either school strengthen a student’s candidacy for a job / PhD / research etc. ? Do different schools place students in specific roles (eg. more Stanford graduates end up pursuing a PhD vs students graduating from Harvard, for example?) - Cohort / Community Bonding – Harvard seems to be much better resourced as an ed school compared to Stanford, and so does give me the impression that it is much better at maintaining that cohort loyalty / a sense of belonging among alumni. Might this have an effect on how accessible and ready-to-help the future network of graduates become to each other? - Reputation – Would the slight difference in reputation have any effect in reality? Negligible point, but does sadly have some bearing especially overseas, whether I like it or not. Argh! Please let me know if I missed any important factor to consider in addition to the above, or if this is even a good approach at all! I would love to hear your two cents, especially if you are a current /past student, or if you are also currently choosing between these two schools. Please also let me know if you have any thoughts or experiences in general to contribute that I might not have thought of. Your insight would be tremendously helpful. What are some key factors you are considering as you make your decision between programs? Please share, and please also let me know if the above thinking sounds like I’m on the right track, or if It's completely out of whack! Thank you so much!  Apologies in advance that my post is rife with grammatical errors. I am actually typing this half-asleep, as it is late where I am. Pardon me! [/edit] Edited March 18, 2014 by phil413 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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