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Georgetown vs. UCLA MPP

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I am about to graduate from UC Berkeley (major Political Economy, minor Public Policy), and plan to pursue an MPP. The top three schools I am deciding between are University of Chicago, Georgetown, and UCLA for the MPP program starting in Fall 2015.

I visited all three-- I am pretty positive Chicago is out because I really didn't like the area and couldn't see myself spending two years there, even if it is the best program I was accepted to.

I really liked Georgetown and DC when I visited, although the weather might be an issue (I am from San Diego and am living in the Bay Area currently). The program fits with my wide range of interests as well. My only concerns are that it is far from home, and that I am really not interested in the DC culture of politics and competitiveness. Also, I plan on returning to California after and am worried about making my connections on the East Coast and leaving.

I don't love the LA area, but it is more familiar than the East Coast. UCLA would be much easier in terms of convenience for traveling and seeing friends/family. I like the program and courses offered, and it would give me a lot of connections in CA.

McCourt (Georgetown) and Luskin (UCLA) are similarly ranked for the MPP program, with McCourt slightly higher. However, from my interactions with friends, family, and professors it seems like Georgetown's prestige and reputation are better.

I got a merit scholarship to Georgetown, but overall it will still be about $20,000 more per year than UCLA. This is definitely a factor, but not the deciding factor.

I am leaning toward Georgetown, since DC will open up many professional experience opportunities in a wide range of fields, while UCLA seems more limited to CA-based policy. Also, it's a great opportunity to try living in a new place, since I've mostly lived and studied in California.


I'd appreciate any advice or information that could help me with this decision!

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