2 things you should review prior to selecting your dream school

Congratulations, you’ve been accepted to SIPA! But you have too many offers, and it’s hard to decide. I know many of you are in these shoes so this post is meant to help you decide (and not sway you). To make an informed decision, key elements of the issue must be considered. Two of them will be discussed here: tuition and living costs and relevant employment opportunities.

For tuition and living costs, you’re right. SIPA is up there on the list when it comes to pricey graduate programs, and you pay for what you get. Aside from information you already know (Ivy League prestige with world-class faculty and a campus in one of the greatest cities in the world), you really need to ask yourself if you want to “cheap out” on an investment toward your life. But other programs awarded funding or more funding than SIPA? Consider that dilemma, and ask yourself how significant that number is. It’s one thing to get $10,000 over two years than, say, $80,000 in the same period. In other words, how much will it take for you to give up your dream school?

On that note, if you need some extra help strategizing how you’ll pay for graduate school, join us for the Financial Planning for Your Graduate Education Webinar on March 29 at 10:00 a.m. EST. You can RSVP here.

On relevant employment as a student, you’re probably thinking of paid/non-paid internships in a field where you’ll likely end up. This would be the disadvantage of choosing SIPA if DC is the target (although only to a slight degree). If you’re stuck on this point, you should take an honest look at what you want to get out of graduate school (in the near term). Is it building that academic/theoretical foundation and overloading on coursework, immersing yourself in student life and building meaningful relationships, and/or gaining valuable work experience? If you’re thinking all the above, you must hate sleeping. For some people, going back to school is meant to be a break from professional life. If building experience is a priority, you should consider how much the pay (if any), and exactly how substantive the work will be when going in part-time. Don’t forget about the mind capacity you’ll need for the time-consuming econ/quant problem sets waiting for you afterward.

And if you’re looking for additional insights into where SIPA students work, our Career Services tells you that and more here. For example, roughly one-third of 2016 graduates joined the public sector after graduation.

I had considerable work experience and clear goals coming into SIPA. Believe me, I love having money in my pocket, but going to my dream school mattered more. my biggest fear in life is living with regret. Besides, if I was going into debt regardless, I’d rather do it for something I most wanted. Developing an academic foundation and establishing a tight network were my goals for graduate school. In the end, the decision was easy.

Good luck and congratulations again!

[Photo courtesy of Garrett Coakley | (CC BY-NC 2.0)]