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Thread: advice on UCLA Planning

  1. #1
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    advice on UCLA Planning

    I am deciding between UCLA and Columbia. I know a lot of Columbia grads, but UCLA seems like a better fit for my interests. Do we have any UCLA Planning alums here? Can someone give me some insides about the program?

    Thank you.

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    Cyburbian Dharmster's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by retrogizmo
    I am deciding between UCLA and Columbia. I know a lot of Columbia grads, but UCLA seems like a better fit for my interests. Do we have any UCLA Planning alums here? Can someone give me some insides about the program?

    Thank you.
    I'm not a grad of either program. However, I can tell you UCLA has the better planning program. Remember though a lot will depend on what you want to do after graduation and where you want to live. I think UCLA is obviously better if you want live in California. If you want to do international work Columbia would likely work better. Also please remember, planning grads don't make big $$, so don't borrow a lot of money to get your degree.

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    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    A note of caution, having NOTHING to do with the program: UCLA is in the LA basin, which is one of the unhealthier places to try to breathe. If you have respiratory problems, think twice about it. (I did 8 weeks in the LA basin getting my certificate in GIS at UC-Riverside, summer of 2002. More than a year of drug withdrawal followed. It didn't exactly launch my career overnight to suffer the consequences.)

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    Cyburbian Dharmster's avatar
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    Let's remember that the air in New York City is not exactly that clean either.

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    go to UCLA

    UCLA has the better program. It's courses deal with the social, policy, and design issues; its program has a lot of depth and most courses are frequently offrered (not the historic preservation course though). There is no antagonism between the archictects and planners as they are in separate schools/departments. Also, unlike Columbia, there are joint architecture/planning studios. And you can tap into the resources of the Architecture school and take architecture courses as they relate to your concentration. You can also take courses at USC's planning program that specializes in real estate development.

    The air in LA is not that bad. According to a recent ranking of cities with the worst air quality, cities like DC are much worse. Just don't live in the San Fernando Valley (the air tends to get stale there).

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    Hello,

    I have also been accepted to Columbia's urban planning program and am trying to decide where to go in fall. I have no experience in the field so perhaps this is a misinformed question, but shouldn't you also consider where you want to work after you graduate? I don't know much about UCLA (aside from the fact that it's meant to be a great program). But if you plan on working on the east coast, isn't it easier to attend grad school in the area?

    From what little I know, I gather that professors are more likely to refer to local laws and examples in courses, making you inherently more familiar with the systems in the area in which you study. Also, there are definitely different transportation focuses between CA and NY, if that's something you're interested in.

    Shouldn't location be a considering factor?

    Another member raised a helpful point on another discussion that you may want to consider: Columbia does not have it's own career services to support you in your job search.

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    Member annie's avatar
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    I wouldn't worry as much about the location of the school. Obviously, if you're going to school in CA, but want to work in NY, you'll graduate knowing the nuances of planning in CA but not in NY. You'll also have contacts in CA. On the other hand, it may take a bit more effort to find work in NY, but you'll learn about the city you're working in. Believe me...I moved from CT to MN for no good reason other than a cool bike trail, and started working as a transportation planner...barely knowing which freeways connected to where or even the names of all of the suburbs. After working for 15 months, I knew as much as all of my colleagues who had lived in MN for life (and definitely more than MN natives not in the field!). Now, I'm off ot school in NC with absolutely no intention of staying there after graduation.

    End of story? If you have a passion for learning about places, it doesn't matter where you go to school, you will be able to adapt your skills to your location.

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    Cyburbian
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    Any thoughts on Columbia vs. Berkeley?

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    Cyburbian Dharmster's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by hl248
    Any thoughts on Columbia vs. Berkeley?
    Go West young man (or woman)!

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    Member annie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by hl248
    Any thoughts on Columbia vs. Berkeley?
    That's not even a legitimate question!!! Berkeley!

  11. #11
         
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    Quote Originally posted by retrogizmo
    I am deciding between UCLA and Columbia. I know a lot of Columbia grads, but UCLA seems like a better fit for my interests. Do we have any UCLA Planning alums here? Can someone give me some insides about the program?

    Thank you.
    I am new here and a two year UCLA Urban Planning alum. I am guessing you made up your mind already since it is now June, but did you have any specific questions?

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