It is that time of year once again where prospective students are considering their graduate school options.  Already, people have reached out interested to learn more about the Education Policy Program at Penn.  One of the first questions is always “Why did you choose Penn?”  Usually, as part of my answer I ask them to consider what is important to them when selecting a graduate program—reputation, location, courses, faculty, etc.  Now that I am here, I know I made the right decision for me and am glad I sorted out my priorities beforehand.  Below are my personal reasons why I choose Penn.


1) Reputation


Admittedly, the first thing I did when I decided I wanted to study Education Policy was check the rankings of programs and education schools.  I eliminated several top schools just based on location alone and looked deeper at the programs that remained.  I was originally intrigued by the name-value a degree from Penn would carry but as I continued to research, I discovered evidence of their high reputation.  The opportunity to learn from esteemed faculty and access to the many resources Penn has to offer reinforced the respect Penn has garnered.


2) Location


Having moved around so much, I applied to graduate programs with the mindset that I would eventually settle down wherever I was attending school.  Although I am not from Philly originally, I was intrigued by the idea of living and studying in such a vibrant city.  I knew that the environment would be just as important to my happiness as the program and decided to look closer at top programs in the northeast region because they were close enough to home (Tennessee) and included several major cities.  I quickly fell in love with all that Philly had to offer.  The geographic and demographic diversity of the region was refreshing and the plethora of events exciting.  The affordability of the city and the fact that I could live here without a car was another bonus. 


To learn more about what Philly has to offer check out:


There is always something to do here!


3) Opportunity for Growth


Graduate school is an opportunity to pursue your career goals.  I had a pretty clear idea of the topics I wanted to learn more about, the skills I wanted to develop, and experiences I wanted to have.  It wasn’t enough to learn applicable material from renowned faculty.  I wanted to feel prepared for my next professional step after the program.  I knew that with the experience gained from the Ed Policy Practicum, the opportunity to be involved with other programs and groups at Penn, and the connections I would make through a small cohort would all contribute to my professional career after graduating.