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Thread: Admissions...

  1. #1

    Admissions...

    Hey all,

    I am new to this board and have been sifting through some past posts to get a feel of the different grad programs. I am applying for programs this fall and am sifting through what makes sense.

    Right now, my top choices are: Columbia, NYU, Tufts, MIT, USC, Berkeley, and UPenn.

    Is anyone in any of those programs right now? My top choice is Columbia.

    I am not necessarily a strong artist...and am wondering if Columbia or some of the others require this. Also, I took economics in college but really didn't do that wonderfully...do you think it makes sense to re-take it? Or is this something one can cover once in grad school.

    Also, what have you experienced is the most important in the application? I have a decent GPA and have yet to take the GREs. Do you know what average scores/GPA are?

    I have some experience...have been working for a real estate developer for over a year, have an organization devoted to urban revitalization, and did the career discovery program this summer.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    3

    columbia questions

    hey, i'm in the columbia program - i just started about a month ago and just to answer a few of your questions:

    - it is helpful to have an artistic background but totally unnecessary - you would do fine in the program without one...many people do not

    - i did not do very well in the one and only econ course i took before i came here

    - as far as what's important in the app - personal statement, personal statement, personal statement! it's the ONLY chance you get to say it all, and you have to say it clearly and concisely...i'd say stress that. i'm not sure about the importance of the other pieces, but i gather they don't stress numbers as much as experience (professional helps) and the ability to clearly state your intentions - that is, don't look like you just want to stay in school - but from what i can tell, you seem like a good candidate...

    hope that helps!

    rachael

    Quote Originally posted by albsbah
    Hey all,

    I am new to this board and have been sifting through some past posts to get a feel of the different grad programs. I am applying for programs this fall and am sifting through what makes sense.

    Right now, my top choices are: Columbia, NYU, Tufts, MIT, USC, Berkeley, and UPenn.

    Is anyone in any of those programs right now? My top choice is Columbia.

    I am not necessarily a strong artist...and am wondering if Columbia or some of the others require this. Also, I took economics in college but really didn't do that wonderfully...do you think it makes sense to re-take it? Or is this something one can cover once in grad school.

    Also, what have you experienced is the most important in the application? I have a decent GPA and have yet to take the GREs. Do you know what average scores/GPA are?

    I have some experience...have been working for a real estate developer for over a year, have an organization devoted to urban revitalization, and did the career discovery program this summer.

    Thanks in advance!

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered
    Apr 2005
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    2

    Policy or design?

    Just getting started with my first year in the planning program at USC. I actually looked at many of the same schools as you. Though I am happy in my decision to go to USC, rather than try to talk up one program over another, my best piece of advice would be to research carefully and find what is truly the right match for YOU. I know it sounds cliche but it is really true. - there are tons of great programs but cater to a different crowd. Of the schools you mention, there is one clear difference that immediately sets them apart from one another: set in a policy school (NYU, USC) v. set in a design school (Columbia, Penn, MIT, Berkeley). Trained as an architect, I feel like the distinction couldn't be more basic. Both design and policy give the programs very fundamental different underpinnings. I feel like the tone of the school, your classes, and most likely your career path hinge on this distinction. I thought about it through this lens when I looked at schools. Even though I think design is important for planners, having been trained as an architect, I narrowed my field to NYU and USC because they were policy schools and I wanted to complement my training. Just something to consider. Best of luck.

  4. #4

    Mit

    I'm at MIT which is set at an Architecture and Planning School within the Institute. It does not have a design focus unless you choose the design specialization. I have been pleased with the broad expertise of professors- in addition to design experts there are economists, human rights lawyers, sociologists and of course- planners. I would say that our core classes tend toward policy, and then the specialization does in whichever direction you want (design, international, etc.)

    I think it is an excellent program- and while I'm not sure what metters the most on admissions- I also suspect that the personal statement is near the top. I had no econ. before I came, and am taking it now.

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