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Ph.D - policy/political science advice


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Hey All,

 

So I've recently been accepted to the University College London for a Masters in Public Policy. I'm still waiting on LSE for political economics and Edinburgh for Public Policy... but most likely, I'll end up at UCL.

 

I'm currently 21, will be 22 almost 23 when i finish the masters degree. 

 

My UGPA - will be around a 3.75 as long as I don't massively stop studying. My freshman year I messed around a bit, had a 3.3 GPA, since then I've basically had a 3.85+ every semester and like 3 semesters were straight 4.0's. My poli sci degree GPA should be a 4.0 (taking my last 2 classes this semester), same with my minors in communications and business writing.

 

I'll expect mid 160+/160+/4.5+ for the GRE when I end up taking it. Will a masters from a top school and a good GRE offset my slightly sub-par GPA for elite schools? I'm looking at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Berk, Columbia, Cornell, Umich, Duke, UNC and a few other schools, but from what I can tell a 3.75 is on the low end for them. 

 

Is there anything else I can do to offset that? 

 

In terms of work experience, I TA a capstone level class in communications, I work as a supervisor as a non-profit, I've got 2 internships at a non profit law firm specializing in immigration and disaster relief and an internship at a policy/politics watchdog type organization as a policy researcher. 

 

Thanks in advance for the feedback, I know it might be a bit early to worry about this - and I'm not stressing too much, but still, I kinda want to know where I stand and if I can improve my standing. 

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3.75 is not on the lower end, its probably pretty close to the median. Tonnes of people get accepted with GPAs from the 3.3-3.7 even. 

 

Listen, you can't change your GPA, what is done is done. Work on the things you can control.

Edited by victorydance
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3.75 is not on the lower end, its probably pretty close to the median. Tonnes of people get accepted with GPAs from the 3.3-3.7 even.

Listen, you can't change your GPA, what is done is done. Work on the things you can control.

I'll second this.

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Hey All,

 

So I've recently been accepted to the University College London for a Masters in Public Policy. I'm still waiting on LSE for political economics and Edinburgh for Public Policy... but most likely, I'll end up at UCL.

 

I'm currently 21, will be 22 almost 23 when i finish the masters degree. 

 

My UGPA - will be around a 3.75 as long as I don't massively stop studying. My freshman year I messed around a bit, had a 3.3 GPA, since then I've basically had a 3.85+ every semester and like 3 semesters were straight 4.0's. My poli sci degree GPA should be a 4.0 (taking my last 2 classes this semester), same with my minors in communications and business writing.

 

I'll expect mid 160+/160+/4.5+ for the GRE when I end up taking it. Will a masters from a top school and a good GRE offset my slightly sub-par GPA for elite schools? I'm looking at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Berk, Columbia, Cornell, Umich, Duke, UNC and a few other schools, but from what I can tell a 3.75 is on the low end for them. 

 

Is there anything else I can do to offset that? 

 

In terms of work experience, I TA a capstone level class in communications, I work as a supervisor as a non-profit, I've got 2 internships at a non profit law firm specializing in immigration and disaster relief and an internship at a policy/politics watchdog type organization as a policy researcher. 

 

Thanks in advance for the feedback, I know it might be a bit early to worry about this - and I'm not stressing too much, but still, I kinda want to know where I stand and if I can improve my standing. 

 

Curious why you are going the UCL route? Is your undergrad from the UK? A master's in public policy is interesting, but if you want to do that, make sure you take some quant methods courses. If you happen to gain acceptance to the LSE (which I would think you should with that GPA, but maybe the political economy stream is more competitive than the stream I was in *comparative*), I would strongly recommend you do LSE over UCL, both for name recognition and also because PE is going to look better than public policy, and should get you some really solid methods training and exposure to literature. The LSE name recognition helped me during my process for sure, and LSE professors are well known and connected in the US, while the ones at UCL likely aren't. Not a knock at all on the UCL, its a great school and probably a great program, but it just doesn't mean as much (as far as I can tell) in the US.

 

Overall, if you get some good letters, write a good statement and do as well as you think you will on the GRE, you should get into some very good programs. It's pretty much impossible to tell from stats alone rather you have a chance at the CHYMPS, but nothing in the above would disqualify you.

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Oh-a final thought. You seem to have the kind of profile that could apply from undergrad, if you have a good idea what you want to study and who you want to study it with. If you don't-then definitely do the master's. I'm super glad I did mine, it made me a much better candidate. But it does add an extra hurdlle-and with the schools you are aiming for, you will want to make sure to be one of, if not the,  top student(s) in your program. Make sure your thesis is awesome. Especially in London, there will be a ton of temptation to slack off, but make sure you put the effort in. If you end up in the middle of your class in a master's program, that will make getting into a good program a good deal harder. This didn't occur to me until I was already in the program, and while it worked out for me, it is just something to keep in mind. 

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