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Help Me Get Into An MPP Program!

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Hey all-

After a lot of thought, and suffering through an LSAT exam, I have decided that based on my interests and passions, getting a MMP would help satisfy what I want to do for my career.

A little about me: I graduate this spring (on Friday!) from a USNWR ranked Jesuit college. I received a 3.66 GPA with majors in Economics and International Business. I also received a certificate in Service Leadership, which requires students to complete 300 hours of community service, attend 24 leadership workshop and take 5 social science classes. I served/volunteered as a tutoring coordinator for 1.5 years and interned at an on campus position for a year. I am currently looking for some type of employment. I plan to take the GRE in the fall.

With this being said, I was wondering what else is needed to get into a reputable MMP school. Should I wait a little longer and get my work experience. If so, where should I look for employment that will help in admissions?

I am new to the searching of schools and any advice on this matter would be awesome!

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Your GPA is a good start. Shoot for a high GRE and you should be in business. Work experience always helps, but like anything some schools weigh it more than others. It can be a great way to make up for other aspects of your application.

Having finished the application season myself, if I had to do it all over again I would have done two things differently...

-Take the GRE more than once. By the time I got the scores all the apps were due. Bad move on my part.

-Apply to more schools. More match schools for better aid packages and more reach schools. I got in to places I didn't think I had a chance. My bad again for not researching thoroughly. For reasons I am sure are discussed on another thread a good number of top level MPA/MPP programs have generous admit rates as compared to other fields.

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  • 3 months later...

Just updating this to see if anyone can offer any more advice.

More importantly, does anyone know a good site that lists all the MPP programs in the country? I can't find a list with ALL of them (some of them are missing are different lists).

Undergraduate Work

3.66 from Saint Louis University (ranked 88th on US News)

Economics and International Business (through the business school, so took lots of finances and statistics classes)

Service Leadership Certificate (300 hours of community service, 24 leadership workshops, 5 social classes)

Study abroad in Panama and Rome


Quant: 770

Verbal: 580

Total: 1350

Work Experience

-One year as a research intern at my undergrad university

-One year as an AmeriCorps member

Volunteer Experience

-Four years tutoring

-One and half years serving as tutoring coordinator

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You will certainly be able to get into a decent MPP program somewhere, as long as your LORs and essays are really solid. However, I always recommend that people get at least a couple of years of public interest work experience (and that can be anything from working on a campaign to teaching to being a grunt on the Hill to working for a public sector consulting firm). There were some people in my program who went straight from undergrad, and while they often got the best grades (I think because they were still in the academic mindset), I really think the people with a few years' experience got a lot more out of the program. It's one thing to learn abstract concepts - it's a totally different thing to learn these concepts, and have that lightbulb go off in your head where you think of something that happened at your last job and can say "oh, so THAT'S what was going on!" It makes the experience so much richer and probably more valuable. To be brutally honest, people who had come right out of undergrad rarely had much of value to offer in classroom discussions.

As for what kind of work experience you should look for - I'm guessing you're looking now, since you graduated in the Spring (unless that Americorps year is starting now?). Anyway, pretty much any public sector job would be valuable - that includes working for the government or a nonprofit organization, or doing some sort of community-oriented work for a socially responsible for-profit company. I know the economy sucks right now, so it's hard. Even if you can't get a paying position, you may want to do some sort of really substantitve volunteer work (ie, running a program, etc).

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Can anyone help me with this question?

Based on my stats, listed above, and assuming a strong SOP and LOR's, what are my chances with the following schools. I don't want to shoot too high and not get into any school at all!

-Arizona State

-George Washington U



-George Mason

-William and Mary

-Harvard (worth a shot ;))

-University of Chicago

Thanks for the help in all of this!

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I graduated from a top MPP program and have friends on the admissions committee. Most people I've come across are OVER qualified for this area, and you appear to be one of those students.

With a background in econ, you'll likely do well on the GRE (above 1050) and with a background in ECON, you have the quantitative skills to gain admission into any of the top 15 programs (i have a friend in unc and your record is much strong than his).

The only bit of advice I give to students in this area is to attend a school where you'll receive great training in and outside the classroom. So, if I were you, I'd look at schools in DC and in the state capital: http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandr ... y-analysis.


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Thanks for the great advice!! Interesting to hear that many applicants are over-qualified. Public work is something that I want to work with though.

I took the GRE (got a 770 Q and 580 V) and am looking at American, Georgetown, and George Washington. Hope to get at least one of those with some money :)

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Apply early and apply to 10+ schools.

If you have a masters in policy, at best, you'll work for state or federal government (which isnt bad), but you'll likely start out making (at best) 45,000 (and that's a stretch). So when you apply, you have to think how will I be able to pay off my bills.........

Rankings are great, but (especially if you want to work for state gov.) I'd apply to top programs but also programs in major cities and/or state capitals. Connections matter in this field, and being in a big city can be almost if not better than being in a top program.


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