This week, we have a guest post from Molly, a first-year MPA student concentrating in Non-profit Management. Molly attended the SPEA Auction, Gala, and Spring Experience Day 2010! She wanted to share her wonderful experience with prospective students!
Experience Day last year was vital in my decision-making process to attend SPEA! I was in an interesting position because I came to IU knowing that I was probably going to attend another school, but I figured I would give it a fair chance since our hotel room at the Memorial Union was already booked, and my parents love visiting different college towns. We arrived in Bloomington on the Thursday night before Experience Day, just in time to attend one of the dinners with current students that the MPO had set up. This unintimidating atmosphere was a great setting to ask all different types of questions, not just those related to academics. I am proud to say that some of the current and prospective students I met that night remain my closest friends today, one of which is now my roommate.
This year, SPEA has another great opportunity to offer prospective students to meet current students, faculty, and staff in a social setting. Each year, SPEA sponsors an Auction and Gala to help raise funds for professional development grants and unpaid internships. I attended last year and felt incredibly welcomed! Not only was I able to talk with professors, but I also witnessed another special Gala attribution to SPEA other than academics – the tight-knit group of peers who will be by your side during the program and as you transition into your future career. Seeing the interactions of the current students, faculty, and staff really showed me how everyone here wants the best for everyone else in the program. I am very happy that I choose to attend the Auction and Gala!
After going to dinner the night before Experience Day, I woke up the next morning to beautiful weather and a beautiful campus! It was easy to imagine myself as a student here as I walked through the historic Arboretum toward SPEA. From the very beginning, the programming of the day provided opportunities to meet the program (faculty, staff, career services specialists, and the various concentrations) and other prospective students. All of my questions about the program were answered, but I still wasn’t sure that IU would be the right fit for me. That’s when the attentive MPO came in and made sure that I felt comfortable.
The MPO prides itself on knowing each and every applicant very well. Representatives from the office sought me out and paired me up with current students who either had been in a similar situation when deciding on schools or who had similar academic and career interests. Conversations with those students greatly helped me understand all of the resources that SPEA could offer, especially in relation to my specific career interests.
Although I had tried my best to find reasons why I should stick with my initial decision to attend a different school, in the end, Experience Day only complicated my graduate school decision (which was ultimately for the best!). It was hard to deny the vast resources, opportunities, and welcoming community that SPEA has to offer. If you are currently in the dilemma of choosing graduate programs, I would definitely encourage you to attend SPEA’s Experience Day!