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coffeewalk

USC Price vs. GSPP

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Help! I am really struggling to make a decision between Goldman and USC Price for an MPP. Here is my situation:

Background: I work at an education non-profit and am interested in education policy and/or social policy, but want to gain more tangible quant skills (hence going to grad school). I currently live in LA (originally from DC) and have a lot of friends here as well as a partner who loves his job.

I got into Harris, Price, and Goldman. Harris was ruled out because of the cost and the cold, and GSPP has been my first choice (I also thought it would the cheapest because of the in state tuition). I got no funding to Goldman and a full ride to Price, so now I am struggling with what to do. I know that I can likely get a GSI position at Berkeley to cover tuition, but I believe that still leaves about $4,000 in fees each semester in addition to the crazy high cost of living in the bay area. I also think it could be pretty stressful to have the additional workload of a GSI position. However, I know Goldman has an amazing reputation, and I love the bay area. 

I would love advice on if Goldman would really be worth the extra cost and life change and what people think of these programs outside of CA. I am really struggling here!

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You should talk to current/alumni from Goldman and get their opinion. I know a few... PM me and I'll connect you. 

Also, from what I understand, USC does a phenomenal job at connecting their students with jobs through their alumni network. If you're thinking of going back to LA, getting a degree from USC debt free would be my first choice. 

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It sounds like you have a solid professional and social network built in LA and are not itching to leave. At this point, I would say just go with USC Price. Goldman's name and prestige is obviously so tempting, but I think going to Goldman would only make sense if you would like to move to the bay or maybe even back to DC.

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Update: after attending both admit days this past weekend, I was pretty underwhelmed by USC's and really impressed by Berkeley. So that's where I will be heading this fall!

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18 minutes ago, coffeewalk said:

Update: after attending both admit days this past weekend, I was pretty underwhelmed by USC's and really impressed by Berkeley. So that's where I will be heading this fall!

 

What specifically left you that impression of USC? You could have just made my decision much easier! 

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18 minutes ago, coffeewalk said:

Update: after attending both admit days this past weekend, I was pretty underwhelmed by USC's and really impressed by Berkeley. So that's where I will be heading this fall!

Can you give more details about what you liked about Goldman's event?  I wasn't able to attend.

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So, USC's event basically involved me sitting in two rooms for  3 hours and 4 hours. Because the event was separated by those who got Deans Merit and those who didn't, I didn't get a great idea of what my classmates would be like, especially since there were people from all different programs at the event. There also weren't many opportunities to talk to current students except for 1-2 who sat with us at lunch and a 15 minute panel of just MPP students (who seemed kind of meh about the program). 

In contrast, I had very high expectations for Goldman, because it basically needed to prove it was worth the $20k more than USC (assuming I have a GSI/GSR/reader position all 4 semesters). It definitely met and exceeded these expectations. There were many opportunities to talk to tons of current students in various environments, the faculty on the faculty panel seemed to love there jobs and are doing really interesting research, everyone I met or have talked to before Goldman raves about what a collaborative and non-competitive environment it is, which is I really value. Also the students there have really interesting research opportunities and summer internships. Secondary factors I really value is that it is a public university, the campus is beautiful and more entrenched in the community, and the Goldman school itself on campus is two small buldings that feel very welcoming where students and faculty often hang out working. The one thing that makes me nervous is how easy it will be to get some kind of assistanship the first semester (the others seem easy).

I do think USC has a lot of great programs, and I liked the idea of their international labs. I also appreciate that a lot of the professors are involved in organizations outside of USC, meaning their skills have real world application.

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1 hour ago, coffeewalk said:

So, USC's event basically involved me sitting in two rooms for  3 hours and 4 hours. Because the event was separated by those who got Deans Merit and those who didn't, I didn't get a great idea of what my classmates would be like, especially since there were people from all different programs at the event. There also weren't many opportunities to talk to current students except for 1-2 who sat with us at lunch and a 15 minute panel of just MPP students (who seemed kind of meh about the program). 

In contrast, I had very high expectations for Goldman, because it basically needed to prove it was worth the $20k more than USC (assuming I have a GSI/GSR/reader position all 4 semesters). It definitely met and exceeded these expectations. There were many opportunities to talk to tons of current students in various environments, the faculty on the faculty panel seemed to love there jobs and are doing really interesting research, everyone I met or have talked to before Goldman raves about what a collaborative and non-competitive environment it is, which is I really value. Also the students there have really interesting research opportunities and summer internships. Secondary factors I really value is that it is a public university, the campus is beautiful and more entrenched in the community, and the Goldman school itself on campus is two small buldings that feel very welcoming where students and faculty often hang out working. The one thing that makes me nervous is how easy it will be to get some kind of assistanship the first semester (the others seem easy).

I do think USC has a lot of great programs, and I liked the idea of their international labs. I also appreciate that a lot of the professors are involved in organizations outside of USC, meaning their skills have real world application.

Thanks for posting your thoughts about the USC event. I wasn't sure if I was imagining that the MPP students seemed kind of iffy about the program, so I'm glad to have someone back that impression up. I was kind of bummed afterwards (since I'll probably be going there due to the $$). The students and faculty just didn't seem that fired up. 

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