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Graduate Programs for Aspiring Global Leaders

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George Mason University, Schar School of Policy and Government

Holistic Admissions Approach Contributes to Diversity in the Classroom

The student population at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government is extraordinarily diverse across work experience, education, age, and interests. This is a result of the school’s holistic, practical-minded approach to reviewing potential students, which includes prioritizing individuality in a well-articulated goals statement and through strong recommendation letters. The GRE is not required for any of the school’s master’s or certificate programs.

“We’re looking for reasons to admit you,” explains Kristina Bonfiglio, director of graduate recruitment and admissions at Schar School. “Don’t feel like you can’t apply to a graduate program because your GPA from 10 years ago was less than stellar. We want to know what you’ve done since. What qualities do you bring to the table that set you apart from other applicants?”

“Our faculty bring their own professional experiences and connections, as well as real-world knowledge that prepares our students to address today’s most urgent policy challenges.” –Kristina Bonfiglio, Director of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University

This approach is a good fit for the Arlington, Virginia-based school’s teaching philosophy, which is focused on imparting real-world knowledge and applicable skills for a wide range of policy-related fields. And with flexible options for scheduling, course load, and modality—including online, in-person, and hybrid options—students can balance school with work and life.

Because Schar School degrees are career-focused, applicants benefit from knowing what they are hoping to get from graduate school, and why they are interested in a specific degree program and school. “Take advantage of meeting with admissions representatives and attending school-sponsored information sessions or open houses to home in on what you want,” Bonfiglio advises. “The Schar School offers numerous ways to get in touch and get your questions answered throughout the year—let us help you!”

When you’re ready to apply, she suggests focusing your application on how your background and future goals align with a specific program. Bonfiglio also suggests sharing your goals with those who write your recommendation letters. “Talk to them about the schools or programs you’re applying to and why it’s of interest so that this person can articulate that, tangential to your experience with them and their recommendation, to help round out your profile.”

And for students living in Washington, DC, or Maryland, now is the perfect time to apply. Starting in fall 2023, incoming master’s and certificate students domiciled in those locations are eligible for an in-state equivalent tuition rate.

“We believe this will strengthen our programs and our alumni network even further,” Bonfiglio says.

Workforce Readiness Benefits for Life

Schar School graduates have lifelong access to top-notch career services. From their first day of class, dedicated career-advising staff support students with resume writing, networking events, internship and career opportunities, and skill-building career-development workshops and webinars.
>>>Likewise, students benefit from the school’s long list of established relationships with major employers in the Washington, DC, area. Students can also take advantage of paid internship opportunities with government agencies through a new initiative between the school and the Partnership for Public Service.
>>>The school also boasts an alumni network of more than 17,000 graduates and an active alumni chapter with regular opportunities to socialize. Schar School graduates hold key positions in local, state, and federal governments, as well as nonprofits,  organizations, and the private sector.

George Mason University, Schar School of Policy and Government
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