What was most beneficial for me, however, was actually talking to representatives about my own professional goals, which forced me to define them. I'm definitely interested in continuing a communications career in the public sector, but there are very few programs specifically geared toward that need. I found myself looking for graduate schools that have both highly-ranked public administration and communication programs, and ones that encourage flexibility and interdisciplinary study so I can blend the two course areas. I'm also more interested in project-based versus research-based curricula, and after some confusion about the difference between the two, I've decided I lean more toward administration than policy. The ones that match all my criteria are the University of Southern California, American University, Indiana University-Bloomington, Syracuse University, and Georgetown University. Aside from USC, none of the above have ever registered strongly on my radar until now. I'm also still interested in New York University's public and nonprofit management program, and since they're right down the street, I figure I can take advantage of an actual campus visit.
I'm still a little bit torn because I've also heard that institutional prestige is ultimately what matters, and even though they don't necessarily have the exact program I want, a degree from an Ivy League school like Columbia University or the University of Pennsylvania might gain me more opportunities. What do you think? Is the curriculum or the name recognition really more important when thinking about long-term career?
For those of you who follow the news, you may have heard about the massive freak storm that hit New York City this evening. You'll be happy to know that other than a longer commute and a damp ledge (I left my bedroom window open this morning), I have suffered no loss or damage. In fact, I wasn't even aware there was a severe storm until I checked the news after arriving home. By the time I got back into Queens after the graduate fair and was walking home, all I felt was a light drizzle. I did see a tree that had been snapped in half laying across the sidewalk a block from my apartment, but I didn't even realize it had anything to do with the weather until much later.
|Entrance to the Graduate Degree Fair for the Public Good hosted by Idealist.org.|
|Multitudes of people crowd in to meet with 200 represented graduate programs.|
|Despite the crowds, everyone got lots of face time with recruiters.|
|Awww, poor Manhattanville College. No one wants to be its friend. But seriously, who goes to a graduate school fair to talk to Manhattanville when Harvard, Yale, and Columbia are just steps away?|
|See, look how friendly the recruiter from Harvard is!|
|My falafel pita pocket from Chickpea. Tasty, but I think I over did it with the tahini, corn, and pickled peppers.|
|Scenes from Queens No. 4: Another beautiful flower I passed this morning. It may not be the prettiest neighborhood, but there is some fine flora in these tiny yards.|