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What're my chances? State school vs. private?

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Hello everyone! I'm not quite sure which graduate schools I should be looking into for political science. Here are a few of my "stats:"


I go to a public state school, which is ranked at about #230, but is in the 60's regionally (according to US news rankings) but is known as a broadcasting school, which is one of my majors. I have a double major in journalism and political science as well as a minor in French. I am also a member of my college's honors program which does require you to write a thesis.


I have worked at my college television station for all four years of my college education, and I've had a variety of leadership positions including news director. I was a Resident Assistant in an all freshmen building which required me to be a TA. I also have a job on campus.


By the time I graduate I will have had five internships, one at a network station in New York City.


I haven't taken my GREs, but my SATs put me in the 95% percentile for math, 84% percentile for writing, and 87% for reading.


I'm looking to end up with a 3.6 at graduation, which has qualified me for a number of honor's societies.


I'm fairly positive my recs will be great, so hopefully that helps!


I guess I'm just a little confused with how state schools measure up to Ivy leagues. So if you have any insight, I'd really appreciate it.



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Almost universally, private universities rank higher than public state schools. However, there are plenty of exceptions. The UC system, University of Minnesota, University of Michigian, UT Austin, OSU, and University of North Carolina can all be top schools depending on interests. That being said, out of the top 20 political science Ph.D. programs, private schools dominate. 


Ivy league schools are actually hit or miss in political science. Obviously Princeton, Cornell, Columbia, Harvard, and Yale are all great schools. But UPenn, Dartmouth, and Brown are actually relatively poor ranking schools in political science. 

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According to the USNews rankings: 4 of the top 10, 8 of the top 20, and 13 of the top 25 political science PhD programs are public schools. Public-private distinction is a false one for the quality of post-graduate education. 

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I think it's interesting how the public-private thing plays out across social sciences.  It really isn't that big of a deal, but it's not-a-big-deal-ness varies a bit across disciplines.  Think about a discipline generally more liberal than our own (like sociology) or one more conservative than our own (like economics).  I'm painting with really broad brushstrokes here, by the way.


Anyway, I took some US News data for the top 50 or so schools in each discipline and made this plot.  Note that the divide is stronger in econ than it is in polisci, and that the divide in polisci is stronger than the divide in sociology.  Nothing to hang your hat on; just good water cooler talk.


Edited by coachrjc
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Yeah no one gives a shit about public/private distinction. Just don't go to one of those crappy schools like Michigan or Berkeley or UCLA or Ohio State




Michigan and Berkeley are fantastic schools for political science. UCLA and OSU are also solid schools.

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