Jump to content
LAkid

MPAff Programs - Highest Ranked or Closest to Desired Place of Future Work

Recommended Posts

Hey all, 

I'm trying to make a really difficult decision - I am planning to enroll in an MPAff program this fall and am down to two final choices. I received a full ride to UW-Madison's La Follette school (a fellowship the first year with full tuition and a living stipend with an assistantship the second year) as well as full tuition to UT-Austin's LBJ School. Ten years from now I envision myself working or living near Austin (as it is an incredible city and fairly close to Shreveport, my hometown). 

Should I take out the small loan needed to go to the LBJ school or should I enroll in the La Follette school (which, by most rankings, is better)? I plan on concentrating in social policy and hope to work at a state-based think tank such as the Texas Center for Public Policy Priorities. 

Thanks in advance!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know anything about your field but as a general rule, any chance any of those think tanks have public websites with information about its employees, or is there another way to reach them? A major question is who gets hired to do the jobs that you want to do, or more specifically what kind of education they have. If they all have local degrees, that's your answer right there. Or if tend to recruit through internships and otherwise it's very hard to get a job there, again that's another reason to go for the local degree. But if you will have odds that are just as good with the non-local degree, I think not going into debt is obviously the better choice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I received a full tuition scholarship from LBJ as well. Personally, I think it's possible to dramatically reduce debt while improving job prospects by taking on a paid internship in Austin. The university is just a mile away from the Capitol building, which is great for networking and opportunities to perhaps work as a part-time legislative aid, a research assistant at UT, and/or in some other position. This combined with the full tuition offer might cover half of the living costs if you live frugally like a poor college student.

I wouldn't choose La Follette for the sake of its rankings. The biggest benefits of UW are that 1) it's in Wisconsin's capital city and 2) it's offering you a full ride. Other than that, UW and UT Austin are both well-known as state flagship schools. They have strong, but not elite postgraduate and undergraduate reputations. Distinguishing between the two is far more difficult than comparing UC Berkeley with UT Austin.

Edited by AAAAAAAA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LBJ all the way. People in Texas aren't necessarily going to know that Wisconsin is a good school, and they probably aren't willing to take US News and World Report's word for it, either. But they'll know LBJ, and they'll know tons of LBJ people. And your career services department there will probably be able to refer and vouch for you. Wisconsin's? If you're lucky, they might know somebody who knows somebody. But odds are, they won't have any kind of connection there, and you'll be just another solid looking resume... in an entire pile of them.

Plus, I imagine you'd have a good shot at work-study or a GA position, which would do a lot to reduce that living cost. But even if that doesn't happen, your loans won't be that bad. (People are tip-top end schools are paying out the ears!) In your shoes, I would definitely take out a loan to attend LBJ instead.

Edited by aslabchu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Going by US News rankings UW-Madison might technically be higher than UT, but as Ax8 said the difference isn't large. For MPAff, UW is #12 with a score of 3.8 (whatever that means) and UT is #16 with a score of 3.7. If you're leaning towards Public Policy/Analysis specifically, UW is #10 and UT is #11.

It's hard to say "no" to a full-ride, but if you truly want to end up in Austin then I think it's a no brainer to go to UT. The only thing is you said "ten years from now." Do you want to get experience or live elsewhere for a number of years first, and then settle down in Austin? Unless you are absolutely set on ending up in Austin, you might want to consider the possibility that you'll change your mind and want to work or live in DC, NYC, etc. instead. In which case I would also consider the national appeal of UW/La Follette and UT/LBJ. I don't know enough about either to comment on that, but I am curious how marketable UT/LBJ is to federal agencies and DC in general compared to a local university like Georgetown or "better" MPAff programs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Going off Windmills last comment: LBJ has a relatively strong alumni network in Washington, D.C. Plus, they just established a branch of their MPAff program in D.C. The school reports that 19 percent of their graduates end up employed in D.C.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Windmills said:

Going by US News rankings UW-Madison might technically be higher than UT, but as Ax8 said the difference isn't large. For MPAff, UW is #12 with a score of 3.8 (whatever that means) and UT is #16 with a score of 3.7. If you're leaning towards Public Policy/Analysis specifically, UW is #10 and UT is #11.

It's hard to say "no" to a full-ride, but if you truly want to end up in Austin then I think it's a no brainer to go to UT. The only thing is you said "ten years from now." Do you want to get experience or live elsewhere for a number of years first, and then settle down in Austin? Unless you are absolutely set on ending up in Austin, you might want to consider the possibility that you'll change your mind and want to work or live in DC, NYC, etc. instead. In which case I would also consider the national appeal of UW/La Follette and UT/LBJ. I don't know enough about either to comment on that, but I am curious how marketable UT/LBJ is to federal agencies and DC in general compared to a local university like Georgetown or "better" MPAff programs.

"Ten years from now" was poor wording on my behalf - what I meant was I could definitely see myself getting married, starting/raising a family, and working there after graduate school, wherever I go. Like I said previously I plan to pursue a career in social policy and I have already determined that I'll return to the South after obtaining my degree. The question is, is taking out a loan to stay in the South for graduate school (to make connections, integrate myself into the community, etc.) worth it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.