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MPP, am I qualified?

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I'm in almost the exact same boat...i have about the same gpa as you do and I've gone to big state schools for undergrad. The main difference is that it sounds like you have some real work experience (i only have summer internships with a non-profit).

Having a gpa below 3 is really scary when applying to these schools...i don't expect to get into the top-tiered schools but the usnews rankings helped me narrow down my search for accredited and at least recognizable names. The ranking for graduate public affairs programs go from 1-90 (there are 260+ public affairs programs throughout the nation). So even a school ranked 90th is in the top third of all schools. So I think the ranking can be useful in that regard. A bright spot for a safety school is University of Oklahoma (ranked 72nd) and on their website they say they basically accept everyone who has a gpa over 3.00....if you have a gpa between 2.75-3.00 then you can be admitted on a conditional status...so a 2.8 gpa (with other strong parts of the application) has a very good shot at Oklahoma...i'm putting it down as m first safety school. They are an mpa program but you can specialize in policy, and I assume you could specialize in specifically environmental policy because in their core classes they have an environmental policy course. Anyway you can read all about it on the website: http://www.ou.edu/cas/psc/pa/degree_requirements.html

I also think it's possible to get into the bigger state schools with an under 3 gpa and that's why I'm applying to ASU (ranked 25th), FSU (ranked 27th), and OSU (ranked 36th) ....all pretty high ranking considering there are 260+ schools...and they all have broad name recognition across the country.

check out NASPAA for a complete list of all the accredited programs. www.naspaa.org

I hope this info helps you, again, I have a very similar academic record and also want to go into a similar career. I want to focus on energy and sustainability policy so I am also looking at environmental programs that have a focus in energy.

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Oh its so nice to hear that there are people like me!

Thanks for your response.

Please let me know what schools that you are looking at...considering we have very similar goals. I'm very worried, however, hopefully all works out.

Thanks again.

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I think the key is to say WHY you didn't get above a 3.0 and to explain EXACTLY why you want to get into a program. I would apply to one reach, just because, and a ton of schools you think you are "safe" for. Also, I would get more job experience.

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I think you'll face an uphill battle coming straight from undergrad with a 2.8. The GPA isn't a dealbreaker if you've got significant work experience, but when you're coming straight from undergrad, your GPA will weigh more heavily in your admission chances and funding chances. You'll probably find that a lot of applicants to policy schools have done internships, worked on campus, and/or held multiple offices in a student organization while in college, so I'm not sure that your work experience thus far would really set you apart from other applicants.

If I were you, I would focus on bringing up your grades next year if at all possible, doing well on the GRE, and writing a great SOP that really communicates how an MPP will help you achieve your career goals. I know the economy's not great, but I would also try to look for a job as well and see if you can get a couple of years of full-time, professional work experience under your belt. Having work experience will mitigate the low GPA a little bit and probably improve your chances of getting funding somewhere. Also, you'll get more out of an MPP if you've got some work experience that relates to policy in some way, because you'll have had more experience about how policies work (or don't work) and you'll be able to bring more to classroom discussions and assignments.

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I'm surprised nobody's said it yet but I guess I'll be the bearer of bad news:

with those grades/GPA, you're going to need AT LEAST one year of solidly relevant post-college to offset that GPA if you want to go to a decent school. Not top 10 mind you, but a decent, top 25 school.

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