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SAIS vs. Fletcher vs. Elliott vs. MSFS Georgetown (vs. SIPA)

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I got into more schools I ever expected but the financial aid differs hugely. Trying to figure out if it is worth to leave the schools with debt and a huge amount of loans or if I should play it safe.


There are several arguments to be made for and against these schools. Keep in mind: I am an international student probably working in Europe afterwards (but I could see myself working in the US as well). I am working as a foreign affairs journalist right now but am trying to get my foot into the door of other industries (Public, Internat. Organisations) with this Master.


Fletcher: 10k. scholarship per year

Elliott: 24k scholarship per year (basically only 12k tuition for the two years)

SAIS: still waiting for their decision on financial aid

MSFS: waitlisted for financial aid

SIPA: no financial aid


Right now I am leaning towards Fletcher - although it is the school least known in Europe I would assume. The reason for that: I like their curriculum, faculty, the fact that classes and community are quite small. And I get at least some financial assistance.


SAIS on the other hand seems to be more "international" - so it will be easier to get a network - also in Europe. But I am not into econ at all - I don't have an issue with taking one, or two courses that deal with it but I don't want to speciailize in it. (Also they dont have a campus in D.C. - which is something I really would want to have)


GW - Elliott School provides me by far with the biggest funds. But as stupid as this might seem - it seems less attractive to me because of this. I know that it is a bigger school - and not having any first-hand experience - there are not a lot of things that draw me to it (regarding faculty, curriculum etc).


If money didn't play a role (which unfortunately it does) - I would choose Georgetown (MSFS) because of their small classes/campus/faculty/curriculum etc. I am only waitlisted for financial aid. So it would be really risky to choose this school and then having to pay the full amount.


SIPA/Columbia is basically out - I just can't afford it. And people tell me that it is really big and you have to work very hard to get the most out of it.


I am asking for your opinions:


Which of these schools is the most competitive? (I have stayed at University of Chicago as an exchange student - so I would be happy if it is a little more relaxed this time ;) which doesn't mean that it shouldn't be competitive at all)


Regarding deadlines/waitlists/financial aid - would you play it safe? Or should I just hope for financial aid from Georgetown?!


Thanks for your help!

Edited by asaretrede
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  • 2 years later...


I know this was written like two years ago and guess you are graduating, but just figured out that you were on the waitlist for MSFS and received full scholarships after all??

Can you please share your story further how you decided and how you were able to receive the funding?


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