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Thread: Cal Poly SLO

  1. #1
    Sep 2003
    The East

    Cal Poly SLO

    I applied to four grad planning programs ranging from places like SC to OR, but I'm really interested in Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for its location and program. Is anybody out there a current student? Recent grads?

    Reading over the program info, their "Land-Use" track says it focuses on urban design. Is this accurate or it simply general land-use? There's a transportation "focus" available to attach onto that? Anybody have things to say about it? I'd love to take that and try to intern with Calthorpe & Associates or something like that.

    Also, I live in NC right now, so I'm really trying to figure out A) if my girlfriend and I can afford to live there B) if I'll find a job anywhere around there and again, be able to afford to live there. I suppose the real question is, are wages in line with the cost of living there? What do students think of professors, especially Vincente del Rio?

    I appreciate all thoughts good, bad or otherwise.

  2. #2

    Oct 2001
    Solano County, California
    I am not a native Californian, and my planning degree is actually from University of Virginia. But, many, many planners in California have their degrees from Cal Poly. My understanding is that it is a very practical, hands-on program that provided effective training for the profession-particularly in the State of California. If you want a more theoretical program, it may not be your best bet. If, for some reason, you want to work in California, its a good choice.

  3. #3
    Aug 2004
    Los Angeles
    You can ask Cal Poly alumna and engineering students at Cal Poly forum.

    From what I've heard, Cal Poly SLO is one of the best school for architecture in the state of California.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
    Aug 2001
    I practiced planning in Cali for about seven years, and from what I know CalPoly SLO is one of the more respected TECHNICAL schools. Places like Berkeley and UCLA (and even USC's grad program) are good schools for theory... but SLO is all about hands on training. Some of the best planners I know in Cali have been trained at Cal Poly SLO... and they are especially good at design.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Emerald Coast
    I graduated from one of the smaller schools in the California State University system (to which SLO is affiliated), with a degree in planning. While employed in California, I worked with a number of SLOW grads. ( , sorry SLO grads). Overall, I would give high praise to those folks' technical skills and understanding of California planning regulations and CEQA guidelines. FWIW, stay the hell away from San Jose State's program. Some very strange characters on faculity....
    Annoyingly insensitive

  6. #6


    Does anyone know how competitive it is to get in? I'm a Harvard undergrad senior who's going to apply this year. It's my number one choice. Thanks.

  7. #7
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
    Blog entries
    Quote Originally posted by gary3000
    Does anyone know how competitive it is to get in? I'm a Harvard undergrad senior who's going to apply this year. It's my number one choice. Thanks.
    Realize that with an undergraduate degree from an accredited school, whether it's Harvard or Oklahoma Panhandle A&M, you'll still have to wait four years before you can take the AICP exam. You're still a rookie, and despite your education you really can't contribute much real world experience toany planning firm or organization.

    Increasingly, you need an UUP to get a decent job in planning. Even then, those with graduate degrees work their way up to a decent job; two years in a small, less-than-desirable city, a few more years someplace better, and up from there. Tht path is shared by many on this board, and II'm pretty sure a Harvard diploma isn't going to change things much.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  8. #8
    Yeah, I know about planning and the need to work up the ladder. I didn't say that it was going to be easy just because I have a college degree. I was just wondering how competitive it was to get into the graduate planning program at Cal Poly.

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