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Thread: Help with chosing between Ball State and Indiana Univ

  1. #1

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    Help with chosing between Ball State and Indiana Univ

    I hope someone here can help me, I have been accepted into the Masters of Urban and Regional Planning program at Ball State University and into the School of Public and Enviromental Affairs program at Indiana University. BSU's program is strictly urban planning and leads to certification with the American Institute of Certified Planners. IU's program is highly ranked and I would most likely pursue Local Government Management with Planning as an elective.

    Which program would benefit me the most? Also, I am on a probationary admission at BSU due to some undergrad GPA issues. I have to maintain at 3.0 in the first semester to receive unconditional admission. I have been accepted into IU with unconditonally. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!

  2. #2
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Biased opinion: Ball State. Great program, excellent faculty.

    Full Disclosure: I am a BSU Alum.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  3. #3
    First, determine what you want to do and what type of planning you want to get involved in. My biased opinion. I am an IU grad with a degree in Public Admin. Basically, I took planning classes in addition to PA classes. IU, in the past, has viewed planning, as part of overall local government and was very policy driven. In real, public section planning, this is how it is done. Further, the SPEA program is a nationally ranked program. It used to be in the top 5 in the nation.

    BSU, in the past, has been very design driven, though BSU alums have done well. With either program, most of what you will learn, will be hands-on, on-the-job. Further, the number 1 skill for planners is learning how to work with people. Unforunately, this this is only learned by doing. The most important thing for you is the internship. That will open the most doors. If you go to IUPUI, you will get a chance to work with Jamie Palmer who is very good. If you are wanting to stay in Indiana, IU degrees tend to open more doors.

  4. #4
    Like Whose Yur Planner said, the question is really -- what do you want the degree to do for you? If you want a design intensive career, then I would recommend Ball State. If you see your future more in the area of wonkishness, then I'd recommend Indiana. If you plan on a career outside the Hoosier state, then an Indiana degree probably has greater cache than a BSU degree.

    It's interesting that you have probationary status at BSU and not IU. That might surprise some people.

    Full disclosure: BSU (MSHP '89). Boss: IU (SPEA, BS '75). Wife: IU (Chem '87)
    Je suis Charlie

  5. #5
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Now I will start with that I am currently a Ball State Student, but I looked at all the Planning programs in this area when I was searching for a program.

    I do agree that BSU is design intensive, but just as much as any other program. The fact that they have an accredited undergraduate program should help you to believe that the faculty is top notch. The Master's program is growing every year, and looks to be even stronger next year.

    I do agree that IU might be more notable outside of Indiana, in other majors, but I do believe that a Ball State Urban Planning degree holds up, due to the alums that we have all over the country, and the respect that our faculty have. Let me know if you want more information on Ball State, as I can give you more than you ever wanted to know.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  6. #6

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    Thanks for all the replies. Indiana's highly ranked SPEA programs is very attractive due to it's national recognition, however, it seems like BSU fits more of what I want to do in term of community and economic development. I would leave BSU with AICP, whereas with IU I'd have to work in the field 3 years before I could take the exam.

    Whose Yur Planner gave me some excellent feedback about design versus policy. I really have no interest in policy and would rather work hands on with the shaping and design of communities. The issue I'm wrestling with is will a SPEA degree limit me to local, state and federal government opportunities as well as possible planning opportunities) or will the BSU MURP allow me to go into public or private sector urban planning, with limited opportunities to get into city management if I should choose to do so.

  7. #7
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by immortal06
    I would leave BSU with AICP, whereas with IU I'd have to work in the field 3 years before I could take the exam.
    Um...no. You will not leave BSU with AICP credentials. You simply are eligible to sit for the AICP exam sooner with an accredited degree (which BSU's are).

    Also, in terms of BSU's "reputation" outside of Indiana....it's high, thanks in large part to the work of the Community Based Projects program doing projects all over the country. I had no problem whatsoever with "recognizability" of my BSU degrees in NH.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally posted by NHPlanner
    Um...no. You will not leave BSU with AICP credentials. You simply are eligible to sit for the AICP exam sooner with an accredited degree (which BSU's are).

    Also, in terms of BSU's "reputation" outside of Indiana....it's high, thanks in large part to the work of the Community Based Projects program doing projects all over the country. I had no problem whatsoever with "recognizability" of my BSU degrees in NH.

    thanks for the clarification. so in your unbiased opinion, which program should i choose?

  9. #9
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by immortal06
    thanks for the clarification. so in your unbiased opinion, which program should i choose?
    I don't have enough knowledge about IU's program to comment on it, but I do know that my BSU degrees have served me well, and will definitely prepare you for life as a planner in either the public or private sector. Take Hink_Planner's offer to talk to him/her about the program. I wholeheartedly recommend the BSU program. Visit, check it out, talk to students and professors....they'll be honest with you and help you make an informed decision. Feel free to contact me if you'd like more info....
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally posted by NHPlanner
    I don't have enough knowledge about IU's program to comment on it, but I do know that my BSU degrees have served me well, and will definitely prepare you for life as a planner in either the public or private sector. Take Hink_Planner's offer to talk to him/her about the program. I wholeheartedly recommend the BSU program. Visit, check it out, talk to students and professors....they'll be honest with you and help you make an informed decision. Feel free to contact me if you'd like more info....
    I visited last week and met with Dr. Kelly and Dr. Parker. I left with a good feeling about the program and the small class size seems to lend itself to a lot of one-on-one learning. Any planning publications that you would recommend?

  11. #11
    Quote Originally posted by immortal06
    I visited last week and met with Dr. Kelly and Dr. Parker. I left with a good feeling about the program and the small class size seems to lend itself to a lot of one-on-one learning. Any planning publications that you would recommend?
    NHPlanner's comments make me glad that know that BSU's CAP has arrived on the national scene. Being in far south central Indiana, IU gets all the play down here and I've lost touch with the rankings of schools at the national level.

    The only downside to BSU is Muncie. The upside is it's just an hour to Indy.
    Je suis Charlie

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker
    NHPlanner's comments make me glad that know that BSU's CAP has arrived on the national scene. Being in far south central Indiana, IU gets all the play down here and I've lost touch with the rankings of schools at the national level.

    The only downside to BSU is Muncie. The upside is it's just an hour to Indy.

    I dont plan on being in Muncie too many weekends, I go to watch football at my alma mater, Purdue, on Saturdays, and the girlfriend is in Naptown. Outside of BSU, Muncie is pretty much a hole, and that's a lot coming from a dude that was born and raised in Gary (no Michael Jackson jokes please). Who bulids a shopping mall next to a railroad track, then develops ALL the other businesses (Wal-Mart, Home Depot) seven miles down the road??

    Thanks for all the replies so far, keep 'em coming!!

  13. #13

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    As someone who has no affiliation with either institution, but is conversant with the reputations of different schools, I just want to say that UI is not very well known in planning circles on a national basis, while Ball State graduates seem to pop up everywhere.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Joe Iliff's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Lee Nellis
    . . . UI is not very well known in planning circles on a national basis, while Ball State graduates seem to pop up everywhere.
    Technically speaking, it's IU for Indiana University. It's not University of Indiana. (My dad and sister are alums.)

    And you are correct that Ball State has the better reputation for planning. Even in Texas, my Ball State planning degree has been highly regarded.

    I don't mean to belittle IU's SUPA. It just not as good for a career in planning. As far as I know, it's well regarded school for public admin.
    JOE ILIFF
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  15. #15
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Although Muncie is not the greatest area, the program makes it worthwhile. Dr. Kelly is VERY well known around the country, and Dr. Parker is someone who can take you anywhere you want in transportation planning. I can answer any questions that you have about the program if I can help, let me know. I would love to see another face around the campus. Let me know. Good luck hunting.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  16. #16
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    As the saying goes, "I'd rather BALL U that IU"


    I went to neither, but have family that went to both.

  17. #17

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    As another BSU grad, I can vouch for the national recognition that Ball State has. In both New Hampshire and Idaho, my Ball State degrees on the wall have been recognized and respected. Even though the Ball State program has more of a design emphasis, you get enough policy to serve you well. Most of my career has been more on the policy side and I think I've done well (totally unbiased opinion, naturally).

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