I am contemplating on applying grad school, both MS and PhD, in Computational Social Science, such as Computational Analytics and Public Policy at University of Chicago.
But I am not sure what kind of applicant I am. How competitive or desirable I am as an applicant for a grad school. I am worried if I target wrong schools, too high or too low. Of course, I know that ranking is not everything, but at the same time, I don't want to make any mistake, such as failing to evaluate myself.
I think my profile is quite unique and interesting, but not sure if it would attract attention of admission committees. I have been always passionate about working for abused children. But how? Firstly, I was interested in Corporate Social Responsibility, then in Child Psychology, in Social Work, and now in approaching social issues by using computational methods—Computational Social Science.
I did my bachelors in Business Administration(GPA 3.4/4.0) in Korea and partially in France, and did my master of social work(GPA3.9/4.0, full-tuition scholarship) in Australia. All are highly ranked schools.
My GRE score is V:151, Q: 170, AWA: 4.5. I have a range of research experiences in psychology, Social Work, and Information Technology(total 6 labs, from 3months to 1 year). I will have 1-2 papers published by the time of submitting my application. The research will be about improving the lives of international students in my department. I have earned bursary($2,000) for this pilot project, which will be implemented in our department from next year.
I dropped out of middle school in Korea and went to the US by myself when I was 15. I wanted to see the bigger world. Then I came back to Korea and taught myself to get into a Uni. After completing my BA. I worked two years as a Sales Channel manager at Samsung Electronics managing $6 million per year. But I soon realised that doing CSR in Korea is too unrealistic. Then, I quit and gave all my savings to my parents (you know, there is high expectation on children by their parents in Asian culture), and went to Canada to find a way to work for children. After participating in several studies in Toronto, I decided to study social work and went to Australia to do MSW.
I also have a long list of volunteer work, mostly working for children and their family. And I have been making my living working in restaurants since I quit my lucrative Sales manager position at Samsung.
I wonder if my profile would make sense to grad program admission committee, and would like to know how I can make it more attractive. I have been thinking about paying some money ($300/h) to do a consultation for admission. Do you think it is worth it? I want to know how competitive applicant I am.