UNC School of Government interview

25 01 2013

i just finished a phone interview with UNC. they work quickly. the application deadline was 1/15. roughly 50% of interviewees are accepted into the MPA program, so i’m no shoo in. but i’m more interested in the MPA program than I was prior to the call.

the interviewers were professional, prepared and gracious. two professors, two students and one graduate hosted. one of the students works part-time as a research assistant at the SoG and part-time at the Triangle J Council of Governments, most recently working in database management. i was glad to hear students have time to sandwich contextual work around their full-time course load. T, W, TH courses leave some time to make a little money the rest of the week. the alumnus said she was about at the same place in her career experience-wise as i am.

i also liked that professor ammons tactfully questioned whether a dual degree made sense. i applied for the MPA / Master of City and Regional Planning, but it might not make sense. three years is a long time to be in school, for age and money one, but also for want of getting this show on the road and doing interesting work.

i’m reenergized this evening about economic development. just like asking students to present what they’ve learned helps them clarify their thoughts, articulating why i want to go to school and work in econdev renewed my mojo.

i can imagine an urban lifestyle for the next two years, learning and working and living like a pauper. it feels fulfilling.

NCCU, maybe not a good choice for grad school

15 01 2013

The UNC MPA application is out the door, and I’ll submit NCSU this week. I believe I ought to explore programs outside of the state and the US for good measure, but my inner naysayer says out-of-state tuition will be prohibitive, and what sense does it make to learn about economic development in an international program, when I want to make a difference in my country.

Should someone be foolish enough to admit me, I can’t believe I’ll be going back to school. For 10 years, I’ve been prostrate with indecision and the feeling of should. I don’t believe in school for school’s sake or for hiding out from work or for delaying decisions. Now I want to go back and get better at what I do. UNC seems to be a training ground for city managers and has an excellent reputation, but I’d rather go there for continuing ed, as I already went there for undergrad. NCSU comes across as more practical. What am I saying? Any school that will look past my 2.65 undergrad years is the school for me.

I’m looking at UNC-G and NCCU for good measure, but NCCU may be a myth.
There are no deadlines or dates on any of their grad school pages. Bad sign?