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CMU Heinz vs. Duke Sanford

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Does anyone who went to the various Admitted Students' Days (ASD) or who are familiar with these programs want to weigh in on my decision?! Annually, in tuition, I'd be paying $7,300 at CMU and $17,000 at Sanford. I went to ASD at Heinz but not Duke. 

I've spent 7 years at non-profits so am looking to branch out and intern/work in the private or public sectors before ultimately going back to the non-profit sector as an ED. I'm interested in human services. 

I loved the diversity at Heinz, the "personality," and the city. I love what CMU represents (innovation, technology). The students I met were very bright, engaging, and driven. They have had awesome practical experiences and say that their various classes have all begun to fit together and are helping them tackle problems in a way they never thought they would/could. CMU appears to have excellent career services and lots of students going into consulting.

Basically, I'm also in love with the prestige of Duke and the social policy courses/faculty/resources they offer. I didn't go to their ASD so I didn't get a feel for Durham or the culture. Can anyone weigh in on culture/personality? Or anything else about these 2 programs gleaned from firsthand? Feel free to PM me!

I will be 30 when I start this fall, so I'm sensitive about professionalism. I want to be around open, curious, and engaging people who are independent and know what they want.

I already have significant debt from undergrad, btw :(


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I'd think it'd be a good idea to go to CMU as well, though of course, that's partly because I'm at CMU right now. Aside from that...:

22 hours ago, dollybird said:

Basically, I'm also in love with the prestige of Duke

There's no doubt about the fact that Duke is an amazing school. But even when I've interviewed at highly selective employers focused on international affairs, my interviewers have been consistently impressed by the CMU name. You have two great institutions here, and so, in the long run, Duke's slight edge in terms of national prestige may not be such a big deal.

22 hours ago, dollybird said:

I love what CMU represents (innovation, technology).

This is CMU's strength. The things we learn in the analytics classes can be applied to any issue you're interested in--international affairs, social policy, public health, etc. In fact, most of my internship offers have revolved around my ability to integrate my technical skills with my field-specific knowledge in international affairs. I'm sure Duke's social policy classes are great as well, but just know that you may be able to go just as far if you can apply the technical skills you will have learned here to your area of interest.


I've covered the pros/cons of going to CMU's Heinz school here: 


If you have any other questions on CMU, feel free to PM me.

Edited by PolicyStud

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