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Thread: Harvard GSD vs. MIT DUSP

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    Harvard GSD vs. MIT DUSP

    I've been accepted to both planning programs, with the GSD offering me 50% of the financial aid I was offered from DUSP. My interest is in the built environment and community development. I've heard repeatedly that Harvard is the place to be to learn about the built environment and that DUSP is the right place for community development. I attended both open houses and was impressed by each program. I like the studios that the GSD offers and the focus that DUSP offers. I need to make a decision soon and am wondering what people think about these programs, especially about which program will suit my interest in the built environment and community development best? Also, either school I go to I'm going to come out with debt. Which program would give me the best employment opportunities? Thanks

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    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Well, I'd follow the money...

    Quote Originally posted by who
    I've been accepted to both planning programs, with the GSD offering me 50% of the financial aid I was offered from DUSP. My interest is in the built environment and community development. I've heard repeatedly that Harvard is the place to be to learn about the built environment and that DUSP is the right place for community development. I attended both open houses and was impressed by each program. I like the studios that the GSD offers and the focus that DUSP offers. I need to make a decision soon and am wondering what people think about these programs, especially about which program will suit my interest in the built environment and community development best? Thanks
    Considering that they are both great programs, and that you can take classes across the two schools (if there are openings, if your schedule allows, etc., but still...) and that DUSP does a pretty good job with community development, I'd say follow the $$$ and head over to MIT. As for the design studios, they are fun to take but if you are interested in hands-on community development work you will rarely if ever use those skills. On the other hand, if you want to go to a highfalutin' consulting firm you may find these skills useful.

    On the whole, I'd do a full accounting of the costs of each program and how much money you will owe at the end, then think carefully about how much you will need to make at your first job to make the respective loan payments. Not having to make a lot of money at your first (or second) job is a key to finding your ideal work. I took at least two salary cuts in the first five years after grad school (both voluntary due to job changes)- both allowed me to follow my heart and not my wallet. I would not have been able to afford to make those job changes if I had gone to the best school to which I was admitted. And since MIT and Harvard both have well-respected programs with good networking, you shouldn't have to worry about settling for second best or what employers think of your educational background.

    On the other hand, if you just really, really want to go to GSD, just do it. That's another kind of happiness.

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