Nice local paper article on Nika Engberg ’06 and her forthcoming year in Williams-Exeter.

Admission to the program is highly selective. Candidates must have already completed Williams’ distribution requirements by the end of their sophomore year. Applicants are recommended by faculty members for their good grades, writing aptitude and academic independence.

“Highly selective”? Back in the day, Williams-Exeter took most/all comers. It was still, via self-selection, an academically serious group, but there weren’t a lot (any?) disappointed applicants. I would be surprised if more than 30 students applied for the 20-odd slots. If there are more applicants than this nowadays, then they ought to expand the program.

While still unsure about her course for the future, Engberg said she is leaning toward attending law school or studying public policy at graduate school like Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

“It’s sort of hard for me to decide at this point,” she said.

Hard for all of us, even 20 years later.

But law school? To many young Ephs, good at school and unsure what to do with their lives, go to law school as a sort of default. They shouldn’t. Of course, if you (or your parents) are wealthy and in no rush to get anywhere else in your life, there is nothing wrong with law school, but you should know what you are getting yourself into. Go spend a day in a first year law class on torts.

And public policy is fine too, but 80% of what they would teach Engberg at a place like the Kennedy School is available to her right now at Williams. The real guts of a public policy masters is micro-economics and statistics (i.e., ECON 251M, ECON 255, STAT 201 and STAT 346). Throw in a seminar or two and you can have your masters for the price of your BA. Of course, anyone interested in a masters in public policy ought to seriously consider the POLI-EC major.

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