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Thread: Decision, decisions, decisions: more grad school advice Wanted.

  1. #1
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    Decision, decisions, decisions: more grad school advice Wanted.

    Well, here is the story. I am preparing to apply to graduate schools this winter. Currently, I am looking at (but not limited to) Portland State (1st Choice), UWM, CUDenver, UWashingon, and UofToronto. I have about 5 years of experience under my belt and have been involved in projects all over the world. However, lets just say I was not the most applied of undergraduate students. Don’t get me wrong, I loved what I was studying, but I was there for about 60% social, 40% academics (at least I am honest!). At any rate, I did not end up with the most stellar of GPA’s (2.55)…pretty consistent all 4 years. However, since I knew that was an issue, I have taken 12 credits of graduate planning courses (with a 3.5) to hopefully help (or replace as some schools do) a poor undergraduate GPA. I am in a crunch…I do not want to get my plans inline for grad school and then have them shot down because I will not make the cut (admission). Of course there is only one way to find out…apply. But do any of you have any pointers? Sorry for the long thread…but thought it was needed to explain. Thanks all in advance!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Bias Answer - look into CU Denver.
    To off set undergrad GPA have heavy weight letters of recommendation, sell yourself in your Letter of Intent.
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    Cyburbian jread's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JNA
    Bias Answer - look into CU Denver.
    To off set undergrad GPA have heavy weight letters of recommendation, sell yourself in your Letter of Intent.
    Yes, it is my understanding that your GPA isn't the sole factor in determining your acceptance to graduate school.

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    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Yes....

    My biased opinion is for CU Denver if you have to go out of state, U. of Washington would be a good second choice, if you might go into physical planning or serious computer engineering/GIS.

    My unbiased opinion would be to stay in state(?), and save your money
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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Of the schools you named, the only one I would remove from the list is CUD. PSU and UWM are both excellent. Washington has one of the top urban geography programs in the world. Toronto is good, but may hold you back some in finding a job back here in America. Don't worry so much about your undergrad history. When you do not go directly to grad school from undergrad, I find that most departments are more interested in what you have done in the interim. Your work experience and the grad work you have completed will carry a lot more weight. It may also help, if you can arrange it, to research the faculty interests, visit the campus, and spend time speaking with the two or three faculty you are most likely to be working with in your own studies.
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    Thanks

    Thanks for all the responses. Must be a assembly of CU Denver grads here, egh? The 12 credits I have taken have been through the UofMN and Iowa State (the accredited distance program). I presently live in Minnesota. The reason I have not thought of MN much is because I am really interested in getting new perspectives-and I think the environment you study in is just as important as the school. Since I grew up here, I want that new atmosphere (unfortunately, with that comes the out-of-state tuition). I want to focus on urban issues and design opposed to policy based programs.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian DCBuff's avatar
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    Another CU-Denver kid that just left the program last Dec. It is a good program with an Urban Design, Preservation, or Environmental tracks. You can also get a GIS cert. Most of the classes are in the afternoon or at night, which lets you work if you want. There is also a nice mix of men, woman, young, old, working, and not working students. As for getting in I don't think it would be that hard with your experience. Good luck and if you have any questions about UCD I am sure one of us could answer it or I could put you in touch with someone still in the program.
    "A man is what he does in his dreams." ~Camilla Sacci

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    Good logic

    Quote Originally posted by wesjmw77
    I presently live in Minnesota. The reason I have not thought of MN much is because I am really interested in getting new perspectives-and I think the environment you study in is just as important as the school. Since I grew up here, I want that new atmosphere (unfortunately, with that comes the out-of-state tuition). I want to focus on urban issues and design opposed to policy based programs.
    I'm also from Minneapolis and though I was accepted to Humphrey, decided it would be better to uproot myself and study in a different part of the country. It was a great decision by the way, so if you can swing the tuition hike, go for it.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by wesjmw77
    (unfortunately, with that comes the out-of-state tuition).
    Try to apply for financial aid to waive your tuition and fees, and possibly receiving a stipend by getting fellowships, working as an intern(if the program works with the local government agencies/companies to provide internships which can waive the tuition and fees), research assistant, or teaching assistant (if the program that you're going has undergrads). I know that many students in my program don't need to pay for their education.
    English is my second language, but the earth is my first hometown

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    Quote Originally posted by Smith
    I'm also from Minneapolis and though I was accepted to Humphrey, decided it would be better to uproot myself and study in a different part of the country. It was a great decision by the way, so if you can swing the tuition hike, go for it.
    Interesting, Smith. What did you end up choosing? Are you shooting for a more policy-based or physical-based program?

    I'm in Minneapolis, too. I would save a lot of money by attending the U of MN, but I was an Urban Studies undergrad there, and I've already taken a lot of courses in the Humphrey Institute, not to mention classes in their Geography and Architecture departments. I'm worried that attending the U of MN for my M.U.R.P. would be like going through a harder and more expensive version of the education I already have.

    That said, I think the U of MN is great for those interested in pursuing a policy-based education in planning. The geography program is stellar, too. But I'm with you guys on "uprooting" myself from the Twin Cities. I just hope it's worth spending thousands more to do so!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally posted by pinkpoodle
    Interesting, Smith. What did you end up choosing? Are you shooting for a more policy-based or physical-based program?
    I ended up moving to New York to attent NYU. My interests were more policy driven, towards which the program is certainly more geared. Plus I wanted to jump at the opportunity to study in New York, which is certainly a classroom in itself. But parts of Brooklyn are very much like Minneapolis (especially the Uptown area).

    But Humphrey is a great program also, and the faculty I met were very engaging and involved with interesting research. But in the end I wanted to head out of the midwest for a while. By far the toughest-- and best-- thing I've done! The east coast sensibility is way different from Minnesota's though...

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