A game plan tailored to your needs...

Another beautiful aspect of the policy degree is that if you are genuinely interested in developing your technical competences, policy school offers cutting-edge quantitative options such as econometrics, environmental policy, applied statistics & policy, decision science, or techno-science & society, et cetera. If you then complement a quantitative concentration with a non-qualitative one such as organizational behavior, conflict resolution or labor relations, you will be in a position to motivate, nurture and develop other people, which makes a significant difference in the value that you provide a firm. Your work will be both fulfilling and financially rewarding.


Policy schools require a number of essays in the application. They can be very general — Give us your three major reasons for applying, or they can be unusually specific— If you were asked to create a time-capsule that would be opened 150 years from now, what four items would you include about you? Why?

These writing exercises are designed to help admissions officers learn about (1) your writing proficiency and style, (2) your creativity, and (3) your ability to follow instructions. More subtly, readers are always gauging your judgment when they read your work. Are your responses balanced? Do they provide unnecessary or too much information? Is the language clear or evasive? Are words chosen appropriately?

Admissions officers ask these questions because applicants may (1) use the essays to spotlight themselves in an exaggerated way, (2) criticize others in their work environment in hopes of impressing readers about their expertise, or (3) engage in using rarely used terms and the like.

All of these elements are grounds for downgrading an applicant, since nobody wants to be around those who (1) disrespect others, (2) suffer from profound insecurities, (3) are clueless about what is appropriate and (4) are pretentious. These characteristics can come across loud and clear in an essay, sometimes because an applicant is trying too hard.

Entablature will help you find your voice and bring out its best attributes in your application.

Your Resume…

Policy schools will request your resume. Remember, that document is your stage — and a golden opportunity to present your community service work, academic accomplishments, professional appointments, special skills, long-standing hobbies and awards in a format that is flattering to you.

Entablature will evaluate your resume and make suggestions for relevant and appropriate modifications. We will pose questions about your life, goals and motivation for applying to policy school. We will spend a lot of time with you so that we can capture and help you maintain your voice in the application.

Additionally, we want to ensure that your unique qualities stand out, as they will distinguish you from comparatively competitive candidates who may present run-of-the-mill profiles.

In sum, we will help you build the best resume that you can.


These days, interviews are suggested for policy school admissions. Some schools require all applicants to interview; others will invite applicants to interview. A few make it optional, although we urge you interview in as many cases as you can.

These possibilities mean that an interviewer may have already read your folder, and is now looking to see if you are “in person” what the folder seems to say about you. Alternatively, an interviewer may know nothing about you, save that you have applied to the school. In either case, you will be told the circumstances so that you may prepare accordingly.

The interviewers are alumni, admissions officers or faculty. While each group brings a different perspective to the table, it is important to bear in mind that the one thing they will all be looking for is ‘fit’. On the other hand, it may be that you would bring a measure of diversity that a school seeks, anything from where you come from (e.g., Timbuktu, Mali) to your career goal (E-government).

While a knockout interview is helpful to your candidacy, it is one of several important elements in your application. Thus, a strong interviewer may not be admitted, and a weak interviewer may not necessarily be rejected.

Entablature prepares you for interviews via mock exercises.


Your policy school references need to be — above all else — from people who know you well. Too often we hear of applicants bragging about having a CEO or United States Senator write a letter. It is not uncommon for such letters to be damning with faint praise, or altogether vague and vacuous. That is fatal to your application, in part because if you cannot get two or three individuals to write strong, detailed letters about you and your accomplishments, you probably aren’t ready or fit to go for an MPP/MPA. Again, this goes to your judgment, which is all-important in the policy arena.

Entablature will discuss all of your options with you, and engage in frank conversation about your choices.

Standardized Tests: GRE/LSAT/GMAT

Policy schools require the GRE for admission. However, if you are applying for admission to joint degree programs, try to minimize the number of tests you take. For instance, some business schools will accept GRE scores. If you are a joint degree candidate in policy and business and the latter accepts GRE scores, you need not take the GMAT.

Alternatively, if the policy school accepts GMAT scores, you need not take the GRE. You don’t want to endure the trial and expense of additional tests if you don’t have to.

In most cases, however, the GRE is a fact of life to be endured by tens of thousands around the world. As such, it behooves you to take it seriously, and this means spending ample time preparing for it. If you are less adept at quantitative material then you should purchase test prep books, enroll in a test prep course, or work with an experienced private tutor to ensure that your score falls in a competitive range. Be aware that courses and good tutors can cost thousands of dollars.

Taking a few writing courses at a local community college may also be a good idea. On the other hand, if you are an engineer who has been generating calculations, bar graphs and such for the last ten years without writing lengthy reports, your writing and reading comprehension skills probably need beefing up. Have a look at old GREs as well as GRE practice tests in your local bookstore.

Financial Aid…

Policy school is expensive. It is a major investment of capital, and we want to ensure that you keep your expenses to a minimum. As such, we will assist you in exploring outside scholarship, grant and loan opportunities. If you are an international applicant, there are specific questions and issues that need to be addressed when attempting to finance your MPP/MPA education. Entablature will walk you through the maze of information so that you can access all available resources.

A special comment about scholarships: Outstanding applicants may find themselves with scholarship offers that can range up to 100% of costs. This fact only underscores why so much care needs to be taken with each application. A flawlessly presented package can result in significant scholarship awards.