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Hi everyone! I've recently received admissions notifications for grad school and decided to turn to The Grad Cafe for help and/or input in deciding which school I should attend. Hopefully i get some feedback soon, considering the deadline is on April 15!

Anyway, a little background on myself. I am a 23 year old female person from Malaysia. Got my Bachelor's in International Relations from Boston University (Class of 2015) and am currently working as a researcher at a foreign policy think tank in my country. Hoping to go back to grad school this Fall 2017. I applied to all IR MA programs, 6 in total, and all 6 accepted me. The 6 schools and programs are:

  1. Columbia SIPA (MIA)
  2. Johns Hopkins SAIS (MA)
  3. University of Denver Josef Korbel School (MA in Intl Human Rights)
  4. George Washington Elliott School (MA in Global Communication)
  5. UT Austin LBJ School (MGPS)
  6. Tufts Fletcher (MALD)

I honestly did not expect to get into all 6 programs, which is why I am having trouble deciding. I've created an Excel spreadsheet to look over all the relevant details in order to help me make the best choice but what do you guys think are the programs I should give more weight to? All of the programs i've applied to are of the international human rights/humanitarian policy with a global communications/public service/policy orientation. I like these programs because they are all interdisciplinary and most emphasize on practical applications of knowledge rather than theoretical. For example, rather than complete an MA thesis, some of these programs require Capstones or practical internships instead. My weaknesses are economics and numbers.

Some of these schools have also offered me scholarships/fellowships - the only two who haven't are SIPA and SAIS. What i'm taking into consideration when picking schools/programs are mainly cost of attendance, scholarship/fellowship offered, reputation/ranking and cost of living (since i'm guessing i'd most probably have to live off campus, self housing). Prior to receiving admissions notices, I had my own personal choice ranking but now, some of it has shifted. For example, NYC cost of living alone is a number that i am not sure I would be able to afford (let alone cost of attendance of 80k per year) so Columbia has moved down slightly on my list. I am going to apply to government scholarships from my country that would cover cost of living etc, everything total but the problem is i have to make a commitment to a school soon and scholarships here generally have 3-4 rounds of interviews so it might not work out in my favor soon enough.

That's pretty much the basic gist of it! Looking forward to any and all input, opinions, first hand knowledge and experiences that you guys can offer! 

Edited by ForeignFish

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