Yesterday I took my Microeconomics final, and I think I did rather well. An A in the class (I got 90s on both my midterms) is not out of the question. There were a few questions regarding distinguishing profit schedules between monpolisticly competitive and pure monopolies that I had issues with, but I think I solved them.
And it's probably well that I did, for when I got home I got news in the mail that would have preoccupied me and hurt my problem-solving skills: I didn't get into San Francisco State's Master's of Public Administration (MPA) program.
Early last summer, I was at a crossroads with what to do with my future. I had just figured out (thanks to a withdrawn job offer) that a return to public safety dispatching was not in the cards and was reminded that the only other job that I liked in my adult life -- journalism -- was a failing field. So I figured that it was time to do a "reset" and go back to school. I had worked with civil service workers in both my major career paths, learned to respect what they did and thought I would like to continue my history of public service. So I decided to look into getting a MPA.
So I applied to San Francisco State and even proudly posted about it on this blog. Both geographically and economically, the program at SF State made the most sense. Not only did I have a good history of community involvement, but having previously taken public adminstration courses at SF State, graduated from there with a BA in History and easily met the minimum academic requirements, I thought I was a shoo-in. But I guess the key word above is "minimum."
The rejection letter read something along the lines (I don't even want to look at it again right now) that "there were many more qualified applicants than available positions." I'll take that at face value for now, considering that the California State University system is cutting enrollment in the face of budget cuts. I was also probably hurt because I was applying for a spring semester admission.
So what next? I am considering writing the department head at SF State and asking if there's anything that I can do to strengthen my application for a possible try at the fall 2009 semester.
Obviously I can't do anything about poor marks I got in undergrad work 15 years ago when I was trying to both work and study full time (a 2.62 GPA at Glendale College in the early 90s, and that's including a semester I dropped out too late to drop classes). In fairness, that's not reflective of my academic ability -- I got a 3.5 GPA in 52 units taken since I got my journalism BA in 1998, but there's not much I can do about it at this point. I'm also volunteered out, and I can't take an internship somewhere because I've got a kid and he's got to eat. Anyone have any suggestions?
There's always other schools to try for the fall. The other local CSUs (San Jose State and CSU East Bay) offer public administration programs, but are too far away to realistically attend. Geographically close, but much more expensive (and probably harder to get into), are the private schools University of San Francisco, Notre Dame de Namur University and Golden Gate University. All would cost about two-three times as much as SF State. And with Claire having something like $70K of law school debt, that gives me pause.
(I'm also dreading having to go through the whole process of sending transcripts from five institutions again -- that gets expensive! To top it off, I think I owe City of College of San Francisco some money due to the fact that I may have paid for my last transcript set with a bad check thanks to Netbank failing and ING Direct taking it over, but no longer -- without my knowledge -- honoring Netbank checks.)