Recently I’ve been looking at what sort of direction I would like my career to take, and what kinds of things I would like to learn and accomplish.  The majority of the specific job postings that have interested me require some sort of graduate degree.  I have a general idea of what programs I would like to do, and there is a specific dream school.  Right now it remains a dream school as it is pretty prestigious and has very competitive pool of applicants. So competitive that it’s actually terribly intimidating.

The main thing on my mind is how do I find out what type of applicants they like? How do I stand out as someone who is not merely interested in this program, but who is so incredibly awesome and amazing that they would be fools not to admit me.  I need to somehow get a glimpse at policy making and program development, to give me a better feel for what it is and how I could contribute.

Reading info on graduate admissions, it feels like you need to have good grades plus the requisite personal statement and recommendations, but no one tells you exactly how good those grades need to be in order to be competitive.  I also feel like it sort of depends whether or not they like you.  With grad school, yes your grades need to be at least this GPA or higher to be considered, but how high do they need to be in order to be for me to be considered competitive? Am I completely wasting my money on applying to this particular school because there is no way in hell I would ever be let in with the grades and experience I have? 

But perhaps the big question for me is, am I ready for this kind of potential rejection?