Jonathan Dacosta smiling in undergrad graduation robe
Jonathan Dacosta, MPP Class of 2024

Jonathan DaCosta, MPP Class of 2024, writes about his transition to graduate school directly from undergrad.

During my senior year at Boston University, I decided I wanted to continue my educational journey and get a master’s degree. Since I was a kid, I remember my dad always saying how he wanted to get an MBA but didn’t have the desire to go back to school after he found full-time employment. I was confident that  a master’s degree would complete my academic journey, and applying to a program right after undergrad would prevent me having to leave work later to complete it.

However, as an undergrad, my perception of graduate school was that a majority of students would have years of work experience, and  I initially felt intimidated as I checked out the LinkedIn profiles of my soon-to-be fellow classmates who had a few years' experience. 

However, that perception changed once I got to Harris and everyone in the cohort embarked on the Core together. Realizing that everyone in the MPP—regardless of previous experience—took some version of these classes and worked through the same problem sets allowed me to see the Core as a unifying experience.

Before starting my first quarter, one of the crucial programs that helped me ease into Harris was Jumpstart. Jumpstart begins two weeks before Math & Coding Camp and, like Math & Coding Camp, is free to incoming students to freshen up their math skills. It was also a fantastic way for me to meet students with similar backgrounds, and I formed a group of friends who  helped me understand complex material once Core began.

Working on campus as a Graduate Assistant also was a valuable way I got involved in the Harris community. I applied for a Graduate Assistant position with the Dean of Students Office, and in that role  I met new colleagues and developed yet another network.

Although graduate school can be daunting, applying for student work and working with your cohort to tackle challenging classes can help you feel you are truly part of the Harris community.