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Higher Education question


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My question is for all those who have gotten or are applying to get a Masters in Higher Education Administration--Student affairs, and that is about the strength of my application, which I've summarized below.

It is my final year of undergrad, and I'm in the process of applying to around 10 schools. I go to a top 35 school (according to US News and World Report), and currently have a 3.6 GPA in both my major (psychology) and overall. I'm considered an honors student (making deans list every semester save for the first), and am doing a year-long, research/experiment for my honors thesis within a professor's lab.

I belong to several organizations which emphasize my commitment to the student body, including student government and several mentoring programs for younger students. I also do a fair amount of volunteer work.

My work experience includes several summers working with young children (7-15), as well as supervising young adults (17-21). Less importantly, I've held an on-campus job for 3 years, but have a glowing recommendation from my boss (not that I'll probably use it, but I could if needed).

My letters of recommendation will (if it all works out) come from 3 professors and 1 employer (not from on-campus but from when I supervised young adults). 2 of those 3 professors are former Harvard researchers and have recently published books (they are well known in their fields).

My GRE scores are decent, albeit not tremendous. I took them yesterday and scored a 620 verbal and a 630 quantative. The AW section is forthcoming, though I hope (and believe) I will probably get a 4-6 on this section.

I guess my question is if all these things are equal, is this a strong application with weak GRE scores and lack of real work experience at a University? Although my activity in organizations and some work experience show my interest in student affairs, I'm fretting over whether or not I can apply to the top programs (USC, Vanderbuilt, Harvard, etc.) or if I'm being too lofty and should focus on lower tiered universities. I'm meeting with several admissions people this week at my university to discuss this, but would like to hear your feedback if you have any for me. Thank you!

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The question here is which degree are you applying for (e.g. master's or doctorate). From what you describe, I think it is safe to say you are competitive at the master's level ... I think evaluation of the doctoral level would require more information

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