Muaz Chaudhry, MPP Class of 2024, shares his application experience and tips ahead of our early action deadline on October 5. We hope these tips help you, wherever you are in your application.

When I was applying to Harris, I was uncertain about whether to take more time to prepare my application and apply to the Early Action round in October, or apply to Round One in December. Although I only left a few days before the deadline (procrastination is real), I decided to work tirelessly on my essays and submit Early Action. Luckily, this choice paid off because it gave me more time to plan for next year and find the best apartment deals in Hyde Park.

An application that demonstrates both that you've done your research and how you're a good fit for the school will serve you well. While working through my application, I researched Harris programs and found that the Master of Public Policy (MPP) was the perfect fit for me, and I also looked into certificates offered at Harris and decided to pursue the Certificate in Social and Economic Inequality. I also researched faculty members and made sure to mention the ones with whom my policy interests aligned. In my essays, I mentioned why I was drawn to Dr. Maria Bautista's work on state oppression, and how my activism and interests dovetailed with hers.

Personally, I only had one year of full-time job experience after college when I applied to Harris. However, I knew from attending sessions that Harris students came from diverse academic and work experiences, so I highlighted my research and volunteer experiences during college, and I think it helped my application stand out in the pool. How you present yourself, your experiences, and strengths will make a difference!

Finally, I encourage applicants not to hesitate to reach out to people. I contacted multiple members of the admissions team and Harris alumni. The admissions office connected me with Pakistani students and alumni who guided me through the post-application process and helped me settle in Chicago.


Overall, my advice for those applying to Harris is to apply early with a well-researched and robust application, stay in touch with the admissions team and the Harris community, and maintain a positive attitude throughout the process. With these strategies, you'll have the best chance of joining the Harris community.