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Thread: So, what school are you going to?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    So, what school are you going to?

    I thought I'd start a thread for folks to announce what program they have chosen to attend, and maybe their reasons for doing so.

    After much thought, I have decided to attend Cornell's MRP program, specifically the International Studies in Planning tract. I hope to apply to their Phd program after the first year, and continue my studies there for 5 years.

    Particularly, I was impressed with Cornell's emphasis on policy and planning, and their committment to support students of international studies.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Sounds like....

    You want to join USAID or a non-profit organization after school?....maybe be an international consultant$$$. I worked with an architect who said he could make $5,000 a week easy in the middle east...
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
    John Kenneth Galbraith

  3. #3
    [QUOTE=Rumbach]I thought I'd start a thread for folks to announce what program they have chosen to attend, and maybe their reasons for doing so.

    After much thought, I have decided to attend Cornell's MRP program,.../QUOTE]

    My Uncle graduated from Cornell. He barely made it out the door and never made it out of town before landing at Big Blue for the next 30 years! I look in my crystal ball and see a future for you.... Hargh! Thanks for introducing a "harass the new graduate student" thread.

    Congratulations. A great school and beautiful area. Be sure to climb Storm King Mountain and make a wave at the Hudson for me.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally posted by Rumbach
    I thought I'd start a thread for folks to announce what program they have chosen to attend, and maybe their reasons for doing so.

    After much thought, I have decided to attend Cornell's MRP program, specifically the International Studies in Planning tract. I hope to apply to their Phd program after the first year, and continue my studies there for 5 years.

    Particularly, I was impressed with Cornell's emphasis on policy and planning, and their committment to support students of international studies.
    This is an interesting thread. I'm surpised it hasn't received more replies.

    Cornell has an amazing faculty, and every alum I've met is informed and talented. I think it's a great choice, and I'll surely see you at the open house. And I haven't eliminated Penn either, although I haven't yet seen their FA offer.

    However--Cornell is, in my opinion, a bit disadvantaged by virtue of it's lovely, but adjacent to nothing, location. I haven't ruled it out, but I'm more inclined toward MIT or Berkeley (who I heard from just this evening). I was told that my sub-department (EPG) at MIT has recommended me for a fellowship that would render this decision cost neutral. If that holds, I think that MIT, with a broader faculty, the CRE, Sloan, and Harvard (KSG and GSD) at my fingertips, will be my first choice. My specialty, environmental planning and policy, is also invited to participate in many of MIT's inter-departmental groups.

    Anybody have a strong opinion about this decision that they'd care to share?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    I think you have a very good point regarding Cornell's location - I think it is a bit less important in my case, as I am really focusing on international studies (and will therefore be spending time overseas), but I observed the same disadvantage when considering University of Michigan.

    It sounds like MIT would be perfect in your case.

    Quote Originally posted by cambridgeside
    This is an interesting thread. I'm surpised it hasn't received more replies.

    Cornell has an amazing faculty, and every alum I've met is informed and talented. I think it's a great choice, and I'll surely see you at the open house. And I haven't eliminated Penn either, although I haven't yet seen their FA offer.

    However--Cornell is, in my opinion, a bit disadvantaged by virtue of it's lovely, but adjacent to nothing, location. I haven't ruled it out, but I'm more inclined toward MIT or Berkeley (who I heard from just this evening). I was told that my sub-department (EPG) at MIT has recommended me for a fellowship that would render this decision cost neutral. If that holds, I think that MIT, with a broader faculty, the CRE, Sloan, and Harvard (KSG and GSD) at my fingertips, will be my first choice. My specialty, environmental planning and policy, is also invited to participate in many of MIT's inter-departmental groups.

    Anybody have a strong opinion about this decision that they'd care to share?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally posted by Rumbach
    It sounds like MIT would be perfect in your case.
    MIT's t-shirt looks cooler too.

    I am planning to attend University of Southern California. They gave me finacial aid for 2005-2006, so it is the most practical choice. Whenever I mention USC to people in Baton Rouge, I don't think they recognize that USC isn't a mediocre state school.
    Im not sure if the perception outside planning circles is that significant. But I applied to USC is because it was the last school whose dealine hadn't passed when I decided I wanted to apply to more graduate programs (January 29th).

    Also I have to say, I don't find it noble to count a school like USC out just because it is in a "bad neighborhood." When people say they just want to go to Athens, GA (my hometown) or nowhere, It strikes me as hypocritical how in theory people support infill, stopping sprawl and the such, but if given the choice would move as far away from the urban center as possible.

    -muer
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    http://alliance.freeshell.org

  7. #7
    Quote Originally posted by muer

    Whenever I mention USC to people in Baton Rouge, I don't think they recognize that USC isn't a mediocre state school.
    -muer
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    http://alliance.freeshell.org
    Maybe they thought you said you were joining the USMC.

    I have two relatives who attended USC. They both now earn about ten times more money than I do. My (ex)sister-in-law went to USC for her undergraduate degree before sailing through Boalt Law School. She is a very cool person. My cousin on the other hand... earned a master's degree in something management oriented and is now an international "management consultant" where he travels around recommending how companies can fire people. I had dinner with my cousin and his wife about 10 years ago. They were looking for a house to buy in Santa Monica. My favorite quote from my cousin, "It is amazing how little a million dollars will buy anymore..."

    So when you return on your first break from school and your friends give you s****, just casually mention, "You know it's amazing how little a million dollars will buy anymore..."

  8. #8

    comparison of programs

    congratulations to all who have recieved accpetances!!

    I am an international applicant from India and I've been accepted at MIT in the MCP program in the city design and development concentration with half aid and also at UPENN. I'm still awaiting responses from Berkeley(MCP with Urban Design) and GSD(MUP). Gauging from the posts it seems that everyone is waiting to hear from these two places.

    I was hoping to get a comparison between the 4 programs, particularly on which program is better for the Urban Design Concentration. My biggest reason for studying at an American University is that i might be able to take some courses in other departments as well and so i want to know which college among these has the strongest humanities courses and which Planning program allows for a decent amount of freedom outside the core courses?

  9. #9
    Quote Originally posted by wilderness
    congratulations to all who have recieved accpetances!!

    I am an international applicant from India and I've been accepted at MIT in the MCP program in the city design and development concentration with half aid and also at UPENN. I'm still awaiting responses from Berkeley(MCP with Urban Design) and GSD(MUP). Gauging from the posts it seems that everyone is waiting to hear from these two places.

    I was hoping to get a comparison between the 4 programs, particularly on which program is better for the Urban Design Concentration. My biggest reason for studying at an American University is that i might be able to take some courses in other departments as well and so i want to know which college among these has the strongest humanities courses and which Planning program allows for a decent amount of freedom outside the core courses?
    Welcome. If you enjoy the wilderness, and have the option, go to Berkeley.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Working on my Masters at Western Michigan University because work will help pay for it, and it is a 10 min drive across town.
    "The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism." - George Washington

  11. #11
    Cyburbian ChevyChaseDC's avatar
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    Congratulations to everyone who's been accepted to a graduate program. It's a tremendous weight off of your shoulders to know that you'll definitely be going _somewhere_ next fall.

    I've probably said this before in other threads, but I can't emphasize this enough: The school's undergraduate reputation has virtually nothing to do with how strong or prestigious its urban/city/regional planning program is.

    You're probably also thinking about cost, the school's location, and it's program's 'orientation.'

    If cost is a major issue for you, it probably is not worth the extra price of a big-name private school over a public university with a strong program. Planning school is generally not like law school - you won't be competing with your classmates for grades - many programs don't even award letter grades. It's a pretty cooperative environment. And, whatever school you go to, the job you get when you're done in all likelihood won't pay all that much. Certainly not anywhere close to six figures, even in the private sector (unless, of course, you're able to dream up the next urban vision for the world and write some books and give lectures...)

    Also consider the school's location. If you want to learn how to plan in the context of a small to medium sized municipality or county, a school in a 'college town' is a good bet; but if you want to gain some experience working in a large city and/or metropolitan area then consider the urban schools. Also consider what kind of city you want experience planning - are you interested in planning for revitalization and re-investment in dense, older cities? Or would you like to plan for new development and/or infrastructure in a fast-growing area? So location may or may not override cost. Your call.

    Finally there's 'orientation.' Design? Public policy and administration? ; Intellectual? Practical? Every school lies somewhere on these two spectra. Some try to accomodate all of the above (and don't necessarily succeed!). Check out required core courses and if you can, contact current students to find out their opinions on this.

    One more thing - visit any school you'd like to seriously consider. Sit in on a class. Meet your potential classmates at the open houses. It's easy to tell that you might love someplace when you experience it; similarly, you can also tell if you'll be miserable.

    Good luck.

  12. #12
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    berkeley, mit

    Quote Originally posted by wilderness
    I was hoping to get a comparison between the 4 programs, particularly on which program is better for the Urban Design Concentration. My biggest reason for studying at an American University is that i might be able to take some courses in other departments as well and so i want to know which college among these has the strongest humanities courses and which Planning program allows for a decent amount of freedom outside the core courses?
    I just went to Berkeley's open house, and I also visited MIT's. Altho I won't be in the design concentration at either, I got the sense from current students at Berkeley that - design studios are very concentrated in the Bay area- even the planning law classes look mostly at california cases. So it's an ideal school for those who want to live, work, and pro-create in the bay area. for those who do not plan to, it can be challenging (i heard this from about 5 current students).

    however, MIT's urban design concentration looked a little broader in scope, though it did look at various local, boston-sited design issues. And everyone there was very excited about the opportunities and the design they were doing, and i did not get that impression from berkeley students... I have a background in architecture, so scanning the urban designs, it also looked like there was more exciting things going on in the design processes as well...

    but the bay area's like heaven (weather-wise, lush), and the design/planning encompasses so much that is happening and changing all up and down the west coast, so it can also be a more dynamic environment for work, especially in looking at transportation, migration, global forces in shaping demographics and labor, etc.


    Quote Originally posted by Rumbach
    It sounds like MIT would be perfect in your case.
    Hi, having been accepted into the IDRP concentration (International development and regional planning) at MIT, this is my top choice.

    However, the dept sat us down and said, 'Hey US students, essentially, we gave most of our funding to international students. good luck! hope to see you next year!' At MIT's open houses and at others, I have met about 4 women accepted into the IDRP program who received no funding at all.

    Cornell, on the other hand, is showering me with funds.
    My concern is definitely-- what will Ithaca do to my soul? will i grow a beard and smoke a pipe?

    another concern: is cornell faculty as diverse and active as MIT's in international planning? To me, it looks like MIT has more faculty experienced in Asia (both work and research), whereas Cornell is strong in Latin America.
    does anyone know?

    i have about 4 days (or less) to decide.
    Last edited by giff57; 21 Apr 2005 at 8:55 AM.

  13. #13
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    Congrats and good luck to everyone

    Congrats to everyone with their acceptances and choices.
    and cheers to no more GREs, letters of rec, apps and waiting

    My choice was pretty easy for me to make. I'm originally from the Bay Area, Ca, went to undergrad in southern cal, studied abroad in Hong Kong and realized I'd like to continue living in different places. When I applied I had my eyes set on the east coast and my heart set on NYC. I decided to apply to A LOT of schools to keep my options open and only applied to schools I thought were great choices. After getting all but one acceptance, I had originally decided on NYU, over Tufts, Upenn, USC, and UCLA. But after getting my Columbia acceptance plus scholarship the choice was clear.

    I visited a lot of schools and did A LOT of research for each the schools I applied to and here are my 2 cents...

    USC: Great school, would be my 2nd pick behind UCB for schools in
    California. Great profs (my mentor used to teach there), great
    publications/think tanks ('sprawl hits the wall') Admin interaction
    very friendly and helpful. not mediocre by any means. was awarded the Dean Meritís here.

    UCLA: not quite the caliber of USC, admin interaction was not very friendly.

    Tufts: seems like a good program. Admin interaction very friendly and
    helpful. good place if interested in environment and planning. was
    warned that Boston is too cold.

    UCB:I talked to many UCB students, GREAT program, great profs (K.
    Chapell, J. Landis) , but I'm born and raised in the Bay Area and want
    to move. amazing amount of concentrations. lives up to it's name.

    MIT: Visited MIT students were approachable, they openly admitted "you
    should know someone (prof) have some personal connection to get
    admitted". Didn't apply didn't seem like a good fit for me. Great
    student lounge for MUPers. Good potential for int'l internships.

    Upenn:Upenn had a pretty bad exp when I went to visit the school last
    year, the prof I talked to was very unwelcoming and told me to go to
    UNC. very strange. I said I was interested in a lot of different
    aspects of planning: transportation (TODs), international dev,
    affordable housing, and he told me all these faculty were retiring. no
    student interaction. Penn over all is a great campus, philly seems
    like it has some fun urban issues to study. This was my top pick
    before I visited the school.

    I choose Columbia because:
    - want to move to NY, Scholarship awarded
    - went to the urban planning dept, students came up to me, talked for
    a long time, answered ALL my many questions and even exchanged contact
    info
    Drawbacks of Columbia:
    -The dept is a little obscure, doesn't have the same student space
    like MIT, uninformative website/strange paper application (no online
    option)

    Seemed that every school I went to students had one or two schools of
    choice that they said 'do not apply to/ they would never go there'. So
    goes to show personal biases. Rankings seem arbitrary and I think I
    have a better assessment on what school is best for me rather than a
    company. Think about what is important to you, location,
    concentration, policy-based etc. I agree with people who are saying
    it doesn't really matter which school you pick it's your determination
    and passion for planning that will ensure success in the end.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    I'm enrolled at the University of Waterloo's School of Planning for my undergraduate studies. For graduate studies I have considered UBC and McGill thus far. Interesting thread though, keep it coming.

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