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I'm undecided between education policy, urban economic policy and energy policy. I've heard back from some programs and waiting to hear back from 3 more (Duke Sanford, Harvard Kennedy, Berkeley Goldman). So far, everything has been positive. Financial aid is a concern, but I believe I can also get loan forgiveness after school. I listed schools in order of rankings, but I would like to hear from others about choices or if they know much about programs. I intend to eventually pursue a Ph.D. and/or work for an advocacy group. I was admitted to the following:

-U Chicago Harris (minimal financial aid) MPP

-U Wisconsin La Follette (full ride & internship) MPA

-Georgetown U McCourt (half ride) MPP

-OSU John Glenn (full ride & internship) MPA


Looking for wisdom :)

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You should try to see whether UChicago could sweeten the deal based on your other offers. Otherwise eliminate it, as Georgetown seems to have similar employment prospects and starting salaries with less debt. Not to mention being in DC might help you find internships/experience with advocacy/lobbying groups in case you change your mind.

You certainly would save a lot of money at OSU or Wisconsin. Both are top-notch public schools. OSU says nearly half their MPA's go on to work in local/state Government. Wisconsin has similar numbers. Do you have connections there? or the desire to live there in case you change your mind about the PhD? While I went to a Big 10 school for undergrad, and they're all great academically, I think for the most part their MPA programs truly serve those in their states, which doesn't seem like the best fit for your goals (unless you want to do in-state advocacy/lobbying). Michigan's Ford school seems to be an exception sending 25% internationally, and another 20% to NY/DC.. but you didn't apply it seems.

The last three are the most "prestigious" of your choices, and might afford the most flexibility in terms of job placement, so post back when you know about the admissions/financial situations of those three.

Since you want to continue on to a PhD, you might consider following the money, taking a ton of econ/quant courses and doing well and cozying up to professors. But none of these programs are designed for those looking to go onto a PhD.

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Is there anywhere in particular you want to live? Or if you don't do a PhD, where would you want to work? Those are some really solid schools, but they're pretty scattered in terms of geography.

Also, don't make the mistake of just following the rankings/prestige. Harvard is probably a no-brainer regardless of your situation, but beyond that it's about fit, location, and specialty. Having the right alumni network/connections in the right location with the right degree and the right specialization is pure gold, and far more valuable than rankings points on a list.

Do yourself a favor and take some time to read up on your potential areas of study. When you've figured out what you really want to do, the right school will stand out a lot more. and don't forget to pick a geographic location! Graduating from Berkeley can do a lot for you in California, but not nearly as much in Chicago, despite the fact that Berkeley is much more highly ranked. Schools tend to have the strongest alumni networks in their home states/regions, and that can make a big difference.


Edited by aslabchu
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