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Guidance?


PeterQuince
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Greetings. First-time poster here but I've been reading the forum for a while.

I've been working in education (broadly) for the past couple of years and hope to pursue graduate school in the next few years, as a means to gain more tangible skills for grappling with issues of education access/equity, housing/homelessness/food security, neighborhood economic development, public safety, job creation, public health (I have too many interests). To this end, I'm still not really sure if a law degree, an education policy degree, a business/management degree with a nonprofit focus, or an MPA/MPP/etc. program would be best, but I am researching and exploring options.

I know there are is a heavy international relations/security studies focus on this particular board. Are there any domestic policy folks out there? I was wondering what guidance any domestic policy applicants (or students) may have, and if anyone knows if the work experience below is relevant, etc., or if policy schools would be interested in my stats. I've never worked in government (although we receive federal funding), political campaigns, think tanks, or the business world (which all seem to be common on this thread, so that's why I'm asking if anyone has thoughts on the relevance of the background, etc. -- basically, I'm just new to thinking about graduate school and anxious).

Many thanks to anyone for any thoughts regarding good/bad programs, or, well, anything.

Basic stats:

3.64 GPA from Ivy League uni, 3.8+ for the second two years; haven't taken the GRE yet

Honors in history (awarded for strength of thesis - about 20 of us earned this distinction my year out of ~120 undergrads in the department)

Three years of work experience with education equity work of a research university on college access for low-income students, one of those three years as an AmeriCorps member, two of those years helping to coordinate a college access program reaching about 2000 students yearly

No formal math background, but graduate-level coursework taken in statistics, econometrics/program evaluation/policy analysis while working full time

Strong background in GIS software (ArcView, Crimestat, GeoDA), as well as SPSS and Stata

Considerable background in leadership development for youth and young adults, and experience with managing community partnerships, training/mentoring young adults and high school students, data management and basic (basic) program evaluation

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  • 2 weeks later...

I tackled many of the same issues you are thinking about, especially in regards to what type of degree to pursue. Ultimately, I ended up pursing a policy degree as opposed to one in law or business. My interests lie in the domestic policy realm and I'd love to offer any assistance or guidance if you need.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I tackled many of the same issues you are thinking about, especially in regards to what type of degree to pursue. Ultimately, I ended up pursing a policy degree as opposed to one in law or business. My interests lie in the domestic policy realm and I'd love to offer any assistance or guidance if you need.

Thanks Dagger!

The Ford School at Michigan seems really exciting, but these programs all still seem somewhat intangible to me (what exactly one gets out of them, besides better statistics skills, etc.). That may be an outgrowth of working straight out of college in the less policy-driven side of the field of education where most people have either a research degree or a very hands-on instructional or administrative EdM/MEd/MAT.

How do you like Michigan?

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