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American or Mason for MPP?!


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I am really torn between these schools for different reasons. I think both have a lot to offer me.

I choose American because it is a Tier 1 school over all, and the School of Public Affairs is ranked 14 in the nation(Mason is a Tier 3, SPP ranked 45). I like that the classes are on the main campus with all of the amentities including a full library and student life, plus free parking after 5:30 p.m. I love the closeknit community feel of the school. I am against American because they are so dang expensive! Although my financial aid covers my tuition little to nothing is left over for other expenses.

I choose Mason because they are a 15 minutes drive from my house, I like the reaction I get from people when I mention the school, and they are very cheap. With my financial aid, I wouldn't have to work while in school(but I will anyways), I can afford extra classes over the summer, and live VERY comfortably while in school. This is a luxury I totally missed out on in undergrad. I also like that it is a large school with a very large alumni network, and more students for me to get to know. I don't like that Mason campuses are broken up all over the Northern VA region. The program I am going into is not on the main campus, it is a building in another city. I have heard Mason students aren't very social for some reason. While I believe their program is 'good', I don't think it is better than AU's.

Is American worth giving up the luxurious life style Mason is offering me?

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If you're conservative or have any interest in working for conservative groups/organizations/administrations I would do George Mason. I worked at the NRA for a year - we were DIRECTLY tied to George Mason for our scholarly research/researchers, law student, policy practitioner, etc. needs. GM was heavily tied to every other conservative or right-leaning organization in DC that I had contact with. Two of the NRA lawyers I worked for (out of 6) were GM Law grads. I'm serious: I had never even heard of GM till I worked there, but I was soon dealing with them every day. They are really becoming a top institution for conservative-flavored thinking - the econ dept. is like The Chicago School but even more Friedman-centric and the core law school faculty is made up of a group who pulled a coordinated "exodus" from more liberal institutions about a decade ago to form a law school to their specs. Dean of the law school offered me admission without even applying at our Christmas party ;)

If not, I'd consider taking on the debt for American as it is a nationally-known institution whereas GM is much more of a regional school. One more thing to consider: I'm kind of a moderate lefty who worked for the NRA because I'm a huge civil libertarian and happen to like the Second Amendment as much as the First. I'm admittedly a bit of an 'educated' hick, if you will. And even I was annoyed as hell by many of the GM students I dealt with (from several different programs). Lotsa crazies. Worth thinking about.

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Thanks for your reply. I have heard Mason was conservative but I did not know it was to that extent. I hear AU is pretty liberal. I thought it would be the other way around.

I am about 90% sure I will attend AU. I told myself I am going to school for academics, not to be comfortable and the bottom line is AU has the academics in my book.

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