Making sacrifices for a scholarship (help me!) - Government Affairs Forum - The GradCafe Forums
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Making sacrifices for a scholarship (help me!)

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Hi everyone!

I'm having a really tough time with my grad school decision. Basically, I got a full ride + stipend at UW Madison's La Follette school. I would have no debt whatsoever from grad school including living expenses - they're basically paying me to go to school, and it's apparently very easy to find work so I'd be living pretty well too. My long-term partner is waiting to see whether a full fellowship comes through for him at the same school (different field). He's from Wisconsin so he already has a network there. If he gets it and chooses to go, moving to Wisconsin for grad school would be easy and economical (and I could stay with my partner, which is not a small consideration, although he would also like to live in a big city again at some point). In addition, La Follette has an Institute for Research on Poverty that looks like a great place for me and my policy interests. I went to admitted students' day and really enjoyed talking with all the prospective students and professors I met. Basically, sounds perfect?

Except that I don't really know if I want to live in Wisconsin long-term. I'm a New Yorker and very happy in large cities. In response to my concerns, the Wisconsin folks kept emphasizing that there is a strong network of La Follette grads in DC. I also already have my NYC nonprofit network. NYU gave me a 50% scholarship, which is helpful but obviously not a full ride + stipend. I would probably have to go part-time so I can continue working, which sounds like a much more stressful life. Because it just sounds so much easier to take the Wisconsin money, I'm inclined to that and make my life much less stressful. I'm just concerned that I'll be missing out on opportunities by leaving New York. 

Alternatively, I got accepted to Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, which would be a blast but I have no idea how to obtain a loan for the purpose of living in another country... and as someone who speaks mediocre German, it'll be hard to find work... so that is a third option that would entail a lot of inconvenience for the sake of living in a large city/having a great international adventure.

tl;dr: money/ease of life vs. big city/opportunities

Thoughts/experiences regarding these issues? Thank you!

Edited by emilyf413
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In your shoes I would probably go to UW and work my tail off to forge connections in DC and NYC while I was there.  You can let career services know from the outset that this is your plan and then stay on them to help you out.  It's their job to do so, and in their best long-term interest to get their students what they want.  

So this would be the best of all worlds: cheapness in the short-term, and you can end up back in a big city pretty easily after two years.

Edited by 3dender
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Not sure why you would consider going to Hertie at all. 

I'd honestly take the money. Especially since you already have connections in New York and NYU isn't exactly HKS. The opportunity they are giving you to focus on your studies (i.e. research, girl) is a big deal as well.

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Take the full-ride, without a doubt. Stay in touch with your NYC nonprofit network and see about the possibility of a paid summer internship there, assuming your program allows that. I wouldn't bother with Germany because you wouldn't actually be able to work legally on a student visa.

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