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GW Trachtenberg vs. GW Elliott; GU McCourt vs. GU SFS


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Hi everyone,


Does anyone know if there might be a disadvantage to applying to both the IR and public policy schools at Georgetown and GW? I would be specializing in IR in the public policy schools.


Also, the essay prompts for Trachtenberg and Elliott are more or less the same (see below), so how different would your essay for one school have to be from the other? I imagine that the rationale you could make for attending Trachtenberg (IR) and Elliott would be very similar.






In an essay of 250 – 500 words, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study in your chosen field. Include your academic objectives, research interests, and career plans. Also discuss your related qualifications, including collegiate, professional, and community activities, and any other substantial accomplishments not already mentioned on the application, or resumé/curriculum vita.



In an essay of approximately 500 words, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study at the Elliott School of International Affairs. As part of your statement of purpose, describe your academic and research interests, career objectives, and how a degree from the Elliott School will enable you to achieve your goals. Please be specific.

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I don't know if it would hurt you to apply to both schools within both universities, but it may not really be necessary/worth it.  Keep in mind that with most programs you can cross-register within the university, so you can take public policy classes even if you're a student within the IR school or vice versa.  With that in mind, probably better to focus on the school/program that best fits your needs and future goals, and then take what additional classes interest you at the other schools.  


If you're trying to choose, all things being equal, I would focus on the flagship program for each school.  More established usually means better resources and a curriculum that's already had the kinks worked out, in addition to giving you a boost with the reputation of the school.  So for example, Georgetown's public policy school is pretty new and fairly unknown, so if you can't choose between SFS and the policy school, I'd go for SFS and then try to take policy courses when/where they fit.  And keep in mind that SFS is intended to be a policy degree, not pure international relations, so you're getting a lot of policy courses already. 

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Thanks for that insight, Gov2School.


I guess I'm concerned that I might not get in to SFS and might have a better shot at Georgetown's public policy school. I get the impression that SFS admission is far more competitive.


But maybe I should just save the application fee and apply to SFS.

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I think it is more competitive, but you have to ask yourself would you really be happy with the other program and would it really prepare you for where you want to go with your career? Even if you don't get in to the SFS program, would it be better to do the public policy school or would it be better to work for a few more years, get some additional field experience, and then circle back to SFS, if that's still what you want?  It's a personal judgement call really based on your own experience, goals, and plans, but just some things to think about.  


As a personal anecdote: When I was applying I ultimately dropped one school off my list that I had on there as my "safety" because I realized that if I didn't get into one of the more competitive programs that I was applying to, I wasn't really going to be happy going to a less competitive program and it wasn't going to serve me professionally.  So I decided that I would rather not waste the time, energy, and money on a "just in case" application, and instead just focus on strengthening my other apps.  I figured I could always continue working if I didn't get in, and that would be better than leaving for a program I wasn't really wild about/didn't think was the best fit for me.  But again, that was based on my circumstances, plans, and experiences. Yours may be different. 

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