Georgetown University Admission Process – Masters in Public Policy – Divyanshi Wadhwa
Divyanshi Wadhwa, Masters in Public Policy, McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University shares her experience in this brief interview.
Please tell us about your selection procedure at Georgetown (Exams you took, Application forms, Short listing procedure, Interviews).
I took the GRE and TOEFL exams. The applications consisted of writing a Statement of Purpose and sometimes additional writing pieces. For ex. A brief on a policy problem they asked about. Georgetown interviewed me, but I believe it didn’t play a large role in the selection procedure. It was more for validation of everything I had written in my resume, statements of purpose, etc.
What helped you sail through the hurdles and crack one of the finest institutions?
Planning everything in advance. I started looking at courses and schools I wanted to be in, at the start of 2nd year (I was in a 3 years undergraduate program). Most students who go for 3 years undergraduate degrees are not aware of opportunities in the US because of their rule of 16 years education. But most universities have changed that rule, and students don’t know about it. Researching every school thoroughly, helped me prepare and understand what they wanted and build my profile accordingly.
How did you prepare for the admission season? What advice would you give to your juniors regarding the admission season?
I had a lot going on academically when I had to send in applications. So, taking GRE well in advance gave me more time to concentrate on Statements of purpose.
Advice: Research! Go to university websites and check student profiles. Don’t be afraid to contact the admissions teams at the universities. They will help you! And don’t just concentrate on Ivy Leagues. They are absolutely brilliant, but there are many other top ranked universities that can probably fit your profile better. Look for that match and build your profile accordingly.
What’s the role of academics for pursuing higher education after college?
I think it played an important role. I performed well in my undergraduate class and that helped not just my school transcripts but also my letter of recommendations. But honestly, this is not the most important criterion. At least for my program, professional experience and the visibility of your rigor was more important.
What all internships and projects you did while in college? How did you get them?
Internships: I worked with The Hindu (newspaper) for a month. Being interested in writing, I had heard about the newspaper accepting resume at all times during the year for internship positions. So I submitted my resume to their office (unfortunately, you still have to go to their office and submit). They then called me for a writing test. Based on these processes, interns were selected.
I also worked with UNFPA for a month. A professor of mine knew someone at UNFPA and announced once in class that if anyone is interested in internships with them, they could forward resumes to her. And so I did! Professional networks and her (my professor) opinion of me, helped me secure this one.
I also worked with a start up on Content creation. This was out of pure interest for writing. I found their posting on EduInfo and Let’s Intern, etc., so I sent them some of my writing samples and soon I was working for them.
Projects: I did a research project on Gendered Socialization, sponsored by Delhi University. A professor asked for research ideas. I pitched some, of which she liked a few. So she agreed to forward our application to the university. It got through and a group of 10 students at my college, worked on it together.
I did another research project as part of a Post Graduate diploma program on State apology. This was part of my diploma as a course module and a requirement to complete the program. I secured a position in this diploma program through an application procedure with Statements of Purpose, college transcripts and an interview.
Would you like to give any general advice to your juniors?
Yes. Be proactive. Life at DU can either be very relaxed and of little weight or you can make the most of it by taking on research projects, internships, etc. There is a lot going on, you just need to be willing to actively look for them and participate.
Also, universities don’t care about certificates if you can prove your skill. So, don’t bother with collecting certificates; it’s more futile than most people think it is.