Experiences from an MPP Student – by Cindy Lee, MPP ’18

Before starting the MPP Program or any of the Price Masters programs, you will get the opportunity to meet with alumni, current students of various programs, and other admitted students. Every person you speak with will give you insight into their experience, their suggestions on classes and what they would do if they were in your shoes.

When I expressed my desire to work full-time and complete the MPP program full-time, many individuals advised against the idea with very valid reasons and explanations on why. However, I stuck with my plan and as each week of Fall Semester passed, friends and coworkers were asking me how I was doing. My honest answer to everyone was simply, “I don’t know.” Reflecting back on the fall semester, I was able to accomplish a lot: school, work, various volunteer positions, and participate in select USC activities. Without the flexibility of classmates, group members, professors, and many more individuals, the completion of Fall Semester would not have been possible. The support system you receive from your cohort and other USC friends is tremendous because they are willing to help you academically, mentally, and socially....


What I Would Have Wanted to Know Before Coming to Price? – by Jeremy Bates, MPP ’18

In my semester plus as an MPP at Price, there haven’t been too many surprises, and the ones that have come up have been positive ones. Things like how easy it is to get involved in student orgs and make a difference in my short time here and just how many people of diverse backgrounds and experiences I’d have the chance to work with have certainly surpassed my expectations. One thing caught me off guard coming in even though I knew I would need to be prepared for coming in, and would have been helpful to prepare for more last summer before I started. We MPPs got thrown pretty much straight into the fire work-wise, with a lengthy literature review due a couple weeks in to the semester (and another paper due for many a week later, too.) While this was a great opportunity for us to get into the swing of things quickly and bust that summer hangover right away, I wished that over the summer I had taken some time to review some academic journals and research papers I had written in the past so I was more prepared to take on these tasks from the get-go at Price....

Surviving Your First Semester of Graduate School – Vicky Karpilovich MPA ’18

Adapting to your first semester of grad school is a process, and it comes in waves of pure excitement (“I did it” “my classmates are so inspiring” etc.) and absolute fear (“how am I going to prepare for this exam?” “can I really balance it all?” etc.). One of the biggest challenges you will probably encounter is the adjustment to your schedule, lifestyle, and priorities; transitioning from being gainfully employed to unemployed or partially employed and embracing academic life is tough…for everyone. That is a key point because while your personal struggles and challenges may be unique, you’re not alone. In fact, you’re surrounded by like-minded, passionate classmates who are likely experiencing something similar - - - the friends you make during your first semester not only help define your overall experience at Price but they also keep you sane and help you survive your first semester. So, besides bonding with your classmates, here’s a list of tips and lessons I learned in my first semester that will hopefully help you as well (in no particular order):

1. You don’t have to do it all, all the time. It’s practically impossible to read every single page of every single reading you’re assigned, and that’s ok. You may have to miss a meeting/event here and there and you may not be able to go to all the happy hours with your classmates. A study schedule/planner may help keep track of your commitments and help you manage your time better....

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APA LA Student Symposium at USC: Positioning Planners to be Social and Technical Innovators- Olivia Joncich MPL ’17

Students and planning professionals from Los Angeles and the Southern California region gathered at the University of Southern California for the 11th Annual American Planning Association (APA) LA Student Symposium on Saturday, February 11, 2017. The event is sponsored by the APA and rotates between planning programs in the Greater Los Angeles area. This year, the Student Symposium was entirely planned and organized by Master of Planning Students within the USC Price School of Public Policy. Attendees from all over Southern California were invited to participate in workshops and discussions with professionals that examine their daily work and academic study within the framework of innovation, guided by the underlying effort to improve upon the current status quo.

As influential forces within cities and neighborhoods, planners are constantly asked to question their understanding of the communities in which they work. Urban planner and community activist, James Rojas, posed this question to attendees of the Symposium by conducting a “Place It” workshop in which participants were asked to recreate a childhood memory and collaboratively plan their ideal city using an assortment of plastic objects, toys, and figurines....

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Why I Chose Price – Luwam Kbrom, MHA ’18

As I sit here looking at my final 1st semester grades of graduate school (don’t worry, it’s good news), I can’t help but reflect back to this time last year when I had just submitted my application to USC Price. Stress levels were running at an all-time high! I spent so many nights I lying awake praying for a miracle to happen (I can be quite the worrywart). At that time, becoming a grad student just seemed like a far-fetched dream. So about three months later when I found out that I was accepted, it was one of the best days of my life. All of my hard work finally paid off!

I knew USC was the place for me the minute I stepped on to campus. I came to Price to attend an info session for my program and I just remember getting goosebumps! The program director was there to answer all of my questions and the administration staff was so accommodating. I was overwhelmed with excitement as everything that was being presented during info session was exactly what I was looking for in a graduate program! Coming from a large public university as an undergrad student, I wanted to ensure I wasn’t going to be just a number as a graduate student...

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Politics at USC and in Los Angeles – by Alec Vandenberg PP ’20

Presidential debate watch party, phone banking for Secretary Clinton, panel discussion on the role of the media in politics, and a Bernie Sanders rally–all in one week. True, USC may be no historical hotbed of political protest like UC Berkeley and Los Angeles may be no Washington DC, but as a student, a wealth of political opportunities on and off campus lies at a finger’s touch.

Each week you can find several discussions, lectures, and events that focus on politics, public service, and issues facing the local community, state, and nation. For example, just a few weeks ago, the Price School of Public Policy hosted retired General David Petraeus and Californian Congressman Adam Schiff to discuss the future of American foreign policy....

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Reflections from a First-Year MPP Student – by Jeremy Bates, MPP ’18

As my first semester of graduate school comes to a close (I cannot believe I’m saying that!), I thought I’d share some reflections of how my first few months as an MPP student at Price have been. Some things have been just as I’d expected and some things have been different, but it’s fair to say it’s already shaping up to be an awesomely transformative experience.

One of the things I heard from students, staff, and other ambassadors coming into the program was how close the MPP cohorts would become. This was a great selling point for me coming in, but how close my cohort has become has definitely exceeded my expectations. Price put tremendous effort into attracting talented people from all different backgrounds: some of us have worked internationally, others have deep political or other relevant experience, and some even came straight from undergrad...

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Downtown Los Angeles: Eat, See, and Explore – by Fiahna Cabana MPA’17

One you start grad school, time will fly by. Let me repeat: time will fly by. So, don’t miss out on an opportunity to explore what Los Angeles has to offer. On weekends, there’s always the option of spending a beach day in Santa Monica or exploring Hollywood, but there are so many great museums, cultural institutions, and restaurants to explore in Downtown LA—all within a 15 minute drive of USC (without traffic).

So, if you’re ready to take a study break and don’t know where to go, here are a few suggestions: Eat: Smorgasburg - Every Sunday | 10am-4pm....

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That Full-time Life: leaning into the learning curve as a first-year grad student – by Stephanie Castro MPA ’18

Around this time last year, I was sitting in my neighborhood coffee shop (where I coincidentally am also writing this post), with GRE study materials spread around the table and a first draft statement of purpose uncertainly pinned down by my coffee cup. I remember stopping and looking straight ahead, seeing nothing but my own murky future, with all of its moving parts, and worrying over the prospect of making a wrong decision.

One of the biggest determinations I grappled with was my work-school balance. For any individual, it is an enormously important decision with many contributing factors, including your financial situation, current employment, career goals, personal commitments, and family. I approached my first semester with a feeling that can either be categorized as defiant optimism or utter delusion, and decided to be both a full-time employee and full-time grad student. I am often asked by prospective students about this decision: is it really possible to both work and go to school full-time and if so, how do you have still time for the rest of life?...

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Tips For Graduate Applicants – By Disha Jariwala MHA ’18

There is nothing quite like the crucial decision of going to graduate school; it’s a significant investment in your career as it shapes your entire future and decides the course of your life. Applying for graduate schools can be daunting right from the selection of schools to the GRE, catering the best statement of purpose towards your program and getting strong recommendation letters.

-RESEARCH. Finding the schools which cater to your needs and goals for your program is one of the most important parts of the application process. Read through the core courses and curriculum and figure out if it matches your idea of the program...

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