After months of researching programs, studying for the GRE, writing essays and pestering mentors for letters of recommendation, it comes down to this. The waiting (and all of the stressing out) is finally over.
I have officially accepted my offer of admission to the MSc program in International Migration and Public Policy at the London School of Economics – and I feel oddly calm about it.
Six weeks ago, I received my offer of acceptance from LSE via email. I was in awe. I had just left an English club meeting and simply could not contain my emotions. Another volunteer and I went to grab a celebratory beer (or three) at a cafe nearby, where he quickly instated a “no squealing” rule. The day before, I had received my very first acceptance from SOAS, University of London. I nearly had a panic attack at the office.
A few more acceptances and a couple of wait lists (no rejections!) later, I feel really good about my decision. Even when I was applying, LSE was always my first choice. It’s a great school with a great reputation in a great city. I was surprised to get in, and I know others were a little surprised as well. While it seemed like a no-brainer to accept almost immediately, I was tempted by other programs.
After thinking (and over-thinking) about it, and after talking to almost everyone I know, I’ve been able to figure out what my priorities are with regard to a graduate program. The fact is, I want my master’s degree in order to move forward with a career in international development. There is a glass ceiling that exists in the field and, unfortunately, my few years of experience just won’t cut it on their own. But, I don’t want to be a generalist. I’d rather focus on the areas within the field that interest me the most – migration, human trafficking, the feminization of labor and globalization. And, I want to study those things without going into crippling debt.
In the end, it really came down to finances (and my inability to turn down an opportunity to live in London). LSE’s Graduate Support Scheme offered me £12,000 in financial aid toward the £17,184 tuition fee. I will still need loans to cover the cost of living in London, but I’m pretty comfortable with that.
In choosing LSE, I am turning down a some amazing programs (including Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and Georgetown University’s MA program in Global Human Development), but I am doing what makes the most sense for me at this moment.