4 Tips for a Successful MPA Application

4 Tips for a Successful MPA Application-image

The landscape of public policy is constantly evolving. Many fields require comprehensive interdisciplinary training for leadership or management roles. 

Choosing the right degree is the first step in pursuing your public service vision. A Master of Public Administration degree focuses on preparing students to work in meaningful public leadership positions across a variety of disciplines. 

Once you’ve found the right program to meet your career goals, the next step is submitting an effective MPA application. Crafting an honest, compelling, and successful application is a challenging task. Here’s our top advice for understanding the application process and constructing an MPA application to set yourself apart.

Understanding the MPA Application 

The typical application process for a future Master of Public Administration student starts with an application to the school’s graduate program. Once you’ve completed the basic application, most schools require you to send in an updated resume, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and an essay. 

Compiling these materials can be a daunting task, but the MPA Program at the Cornell Brooks School simplifies the process into 6 easy steps. Learn more about Cornell’s dedication to career management and professional development within the MPA program.

Navigating the Competitive Ivy League MPA Landscape

Many factors contribute to MPA program selectivity. Cohort size, location, the institution you apply to, and the applicant pool can all affect your chances of being admitted. In any Ivy League MPA program, differentiating yourself as an applicant is key to a successful MPA application. Focus on your unique skill set and experiences and invest in a well-written personal statement and essay. 

How Does Your Application Shape Your MPA Journey?

Your application is more than an entrance ticket–it’s a reflection of your future goals and your current skills and passions. Envisioning your post-MPA career while applying can help you include pertinent details and will display your potential. Your application is your chance to affirm your unique contribution to the MPA cohort, and we’ve compiled four tips for how to craft a successful MPA application.

4 Tips for Your MPA Application

Tip #1: Craft a Personal Narrative

Begin your MPA Application preparation by identifying central themes in your experiences. Constructing a clear narrative from past, to present, to future is vital to defining your personal and professional progress. What key moments in your life, undergraduate experience, or career led you to where you are today? Can you identify any positive patterns in your working experience? 

Your career story is a critical asset to have on hand. You can take your fully-developed personal narrative and articulate it in your personal statement, your application essay, and include portions of it on your resumé.

Looking for more tips? Check out this blog post for our top advice on crafting an impactful personal statement.

Tip #2: Highlight Interdisciplinary Skills

A career in public administration demands a variety of skills from various disciplines to solve complex societal issues. In your statement of purpose and essay, underscore your appreciation for interdisciplinary solutions in public service. 

Your interdisciplinary background is crucial to differentiating your application from the selection pool. Be sure to identify and articulate important transferable skills you currently possess and skills you hope to develop during your education. 

Tip #3: Leverage Professional Experience

There’s no match for real-world experience on your application. When selecting experiences and letters of recommendation to feature, be sure to choose relevant experiences that highlight pertinent skills and positions. Don’t weigh down your application with professional background details that don’t fit your goals, but consider how your existing experience is setting you up for a meaningful career. 

Learn more about featuring professional experience with our Tips For Letters of Recommendation blog.

Tip #4: Focus on Community Impact

When you’re crafting your personal narrative and compiling your professional experiences, remember to include specific and impactful details of your community participation. Highlight your individual contribution and what you learned. How do those community experiences connect to your current goals? How have you grown professionally and personally? What kind of community impact do you hope to make in the future?

Cornell University: Shaping Public Service Leaders

Your story sets you apart. Distinguishing yourself from the applicant pool and crafting a successful MPA application starts with selecting a diverse and narrative-focused collection of personal artifacts. Emphasize your experiences and identify themes that set you apart as a future leader in the public sector. 

We invite you to start your public service journey with the MPA Program at the Cornell Brooks School. Our program gives you the foundational knowledge and skills necessary for leadership careers throughout public service. Give yourself a competitive edge and find the key preparation you need for an impactful public administration career.

Download our Educational Guide for Future Leaders in Public Affairs

Your MPA application is the first step toward achieving your goals and developing a meaningful journey in the public sector. That’s why it’s critical to take the time now to fully develop your application. Don’t miss your chance to reshape the landscape of public policy and become a unit of change in the modern political sphere. 

Previous Post

Can I Use an MPA in Healthcare? MHA vs. MPA for Careers in Health Policy

Next Post

How to Get a Public Administration Internship

Subscribe to the Blog