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Thread: decision time UCLA MIT

  1. #1
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    decision time UCLA MIT

    just got word from MIT and UCLA and I made it into both masters programs.... which is wow! great! exciting and a bit overwhelming... now time for decisions. still waiting to hear about cash money - which will weigh in heavily as a factor, but in the meantime....

    Anyone been in this dilemma before? - UCLA vs MIT? Obviously very different programs but any first hand elaboration on the subject would be much appreciated. My focus is in design more than policy (currently an architect) - interest is in livable density, immigration, affordable housing, urban ecology, cultural definitions of space, temporary environments.

    However I'm jumping fields, so I anticipate a bit of exploration before honing in on a tight focus during those 2 years.

    the MIT and UCLA open houses are on the same day, Monday, April 10th. (I wonder if this was intentional.) I'll have to figure out which to visit on the "off-day", for now I'll take any words of advice from graduates, practitioners, students, etc...

    thanks

  2. #2
    Member CosmicMojo's avatar
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    congrats!! well done!

    The only input I can offer is that Boston is COLD!

  3. #3
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    if you are under 30 years old - go to UCLA - everyone should live in either NYC or LA at some point in their life - don't worry about the program, which is better - you get what you put into it - go have some fun while you still can

    ....where's that burn out thread again?...

  4. #4
    Cyburbian The District's avatar
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    sita:

    how did you hear from MIT? mail? phone? email? thanks!

  5. #5

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    This is a win-win for you. Follow your heart if it has any leanings. I think MIT grads are more likely to be perceived as "technical" rather than people planner, though I am not sure that is actually true.

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    phonecall yesterday

    Quote Originally posted by The District
    sita:

    how did you hear from MIT? mail? phone? email? thanks!
    i'm not under 30. i'm actually 32. I've lived in DC, Seattle, Phoenix, Providence, SE Asia, suburban Maryland, upstate NY and had extended stays in every major city in the US. My life has been lots of fun.

    LA is tough. I've been there 3 times and I never quite got it. It's intriguing from an outsider's perspective but also hard to digest. I live in Providence now - totally different scale, climate, temperament, density, aesthetic - but i'm not in love with new england so go figure.


    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian
    if you are under 30 years old - go to UCLA - everyone should live in either NYC or LA at some point in their life - don't worry about the program, which is better - you get what you put into it - go have some fun while you still can

    ....where's that burn out thread again?...
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 17 Mar 2006 at 10:20 AM. Reason: double reply

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally posted by sita
    just got word from MIT and UCLA and I made it into both masters programs.... which is wow! great! exciting and a bit overwhelming... now time for decisions. still waiting to hear about cash money - which will weigh in heavily as a factor, but in the meantime....

    Anyone been in this dilemma before? - UCLA vs MIT? Obviously very different programs but any first hand elaboration on the subject would be much appreciated. My focus is in design more than policy (currently an architect) - interest is in livable density, immigration, affordable housing, urban ecology, cultural definitions of space, temporary environments.

    However I'm jumping fields, so I anticipate a bit of exploration before honing in on a tight focus during those 2 years.

    the MIT and UCLA open houses are on the same day, Monday, April 10th. (I wonder if this was intentional.) I'll have to figure out which to visit on the "off-day", for now I'll take any words of advice from graduates, practitioners, students, etc...

    thanks
    MIT no question! By the way, did why didn't you apply to Harvard GSD?

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    Quote Originally posted by vtboy99
    MIT no question! By the way, did why didn't you apply to Harvard GSD?
    you know... i just never considered it a viable option. MIT was a reach for me. I've been more of a state school/public school/lower-middleclass kind of chica. elite private schools always seemed sort of irrelevant to my circumstances (financially and sociologically)

    but perhaps its time to re-frame...

  9. #9
    Cyburbian jbr's avatar
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    LA is tough. I've been there 3 times and I never quite got it.
    i think i get LA more than i get most other cities! it just takes a while -- there's a weird internal logic to it all, but it makes sense.

    and coming from NYC being a car owner is supposed to go against everything i stand for, but GOD there's something extremely appealing about that western "route 66" open-road mentality.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 17 Mar 2006 at 3:17 PM.

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    do tell more...


    Quote Originally posted by jbr
    i think i get LA more than i get most other cities! it just takes a while -- there's a weird internal logic to it all, but it makes sense.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian jbr's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by sita
    do tell more...
    1) i think the sense of decentralization/lack of a unified "city" leads to more culturally concentrated areas, which is fantastic for immigrant groups who want to preserve their ethnic heritage and feeling of community (and unfortunately not so good for poorer areas that could use some gentle gentrification to feed the local economy). the ethnic diversity in los angeles is really outstanding, and i believe that the ability to form those close-knit communities is why.

    2) everything's so far away that when you finally get somewhere you feel like you've really ARRIVED. but maybe it's different for people who live there. but also you can drive 10-15 miles and the topography and landscaping and architecture will look completely different.

    3) and the fact that there's ocean on one side and desert on the other -- there's a palpable identity crisis over whether LA is a balmy, carefree coastal city or whether it's the gunfightin' rattlesnakin' old west! (san francisco has a similar identity crisis.)

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    Quote Originally posted by sita
    you know... i just never considered it a viable option. MIT was a reach for me. I've been more of a state school/public school/lower-middleclass kind of chica. elite private schools always seemed sort of irrelevant to my circumstances (financially and sociologically)

    but perhaps its time to re-frame...
    And MIT isn't elitist, gimme a break! if you are applying to MIT, it really isn't much of a stretch to apply to Harvard GSD...

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    Go to MIT as long as you're OK with the cost. I know some people in the planning program and they like it. Boston would be better to study planning than LA, in my opinion. Both are terrific universities, of course.

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    Quote Originally posted by jbr
    1) i think the sense of decentralization/lack of a unified "city" leads to more culturally concentrated areas, which is fantastic for immigrant groups who want to preserve their ethnic heritage and feeling of community (and unfortunately not so good for poorer areas that could use some gentle gentrification to feed the local economy). the ethnic diversity in los angeles is really outstanding, and i believe that the ability to form those close-knit communities is why.

    2) everything's so far away that when you finally get somewhere you feel like you've really ARRIVED. but maybe it's different for people who live there. but also you can drive 10-15 miles and the topography and landscaping and architecture will look completely different.

    3) and the fact that there's ocean on one side and desert on the other -- there's a palpable identity crisis over whether LA is a balmy, carefree coastal city or whether it's the gunfightin' rattlesnakin' old west! (san francisco has a similar identity crisis.)
    Huh??? We are getting L.A. advice from a New Yorker?! This has got to be one of the funniest things I have ever seen on Cyburbia!

    jbr, please do indulge us in your extensive knowledge on the city of angels and the golden state if you will...

  15. #15
    Cyburbian jbr's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by vtboy99
    Huh??? We are getting L.A. advice from a New Yorker?! This has got to be one of the funniest things I have ever seen on Cyburbia!

    jbr, please do indulge us in your extensive knowledge on the city of angels and the golden state if you will...
    hi. please **** off and go condescend to someone else. kthxbye.

    Moderator note:
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    Please, no personal attacks. Keep it civil.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 20 Mar 2006 at 9:32 AM.

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    Quote Originally posted by sita
    you know... i just never considered it a viable option. MIT was a reach for me. I've been more of a state school/public school/lower-middleclass kind of chica. elite private schools always seemed sort of irrelevant to my circumstances (financially and sociologically)

    but perhaps its time to re-frame...
    It's worth pointing out that the MIT and Harvard GSD programs are very different....Harvard's program is essentially an urban design program--very heavy on the hard design skills and the studio experience. MIT's is an interdisciplinary program with more policy elements and "soft skills"--you can specialize in urban design, but it's a niche, and only a fraction of the planning students are designers (and only a fraction of the courses are studios). The diversity and politics of the two programs are also quite different. So it doesn't necessarily follow that the same people would apply to (or be happy at) both.

    As far as the MIT-UCLA decision, each school has strengths and weaknesses in the areas you're interested in. I'd honestly try to swing both open houses if you can, since a deciding factor might be the other students. If MIT hasn't changed their setup, the open house is a Sat/Sun/Mon affair, so you could go for the weekend and then head to UCLA for the Monday events, and still have a chance to meet other prospective students both places. (You might miss meeting faculty at MIT, but could probably schedule meetings at the end of the week beforehand.)

    While faculty interests and relationships are important, your classmates also have a huge influence on your grad school experience, and I know many people who changed their minds or decided on programs based on people they connected with at open houses, so it's worth investing in the trip if you can. (See if the school will subsidize the visit, since that's sometimes an option.) Good luck!

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    Quote Originally posted by jbr
    (san francisco has a similar identity crisis.)
    What do you mean here?

  18. #18
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Yes, where is the moderator?

    vtboy it seems that you are the one that likes to provoke and be condescending.

  19. #19
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    What do you mean?

    Quote Originally posted by kjelsadek
    vtboy it seems that you are the one that likes to provoke and be condescending.
    What do you mean?

    elaborate.

    Moderator note:
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    Keep it civil. You've both been warned.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 20 Mar 2006 at 9:34 AM.

  20. #20
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    If you want my honest and biased opinion, UCLA would be the better choice. The program is excellent, the weather in LA is great year round and Westwood is a great college area. I'm going, come join me!

    (You can't go wrong with either choice!)

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally posted by vtboy99
    More insightful "quasi-urban" advice (this time about San Francisco) from a New Yorker...

    I really gotta start visiting Cyburbia more often, it doesn't get any funnier than this indeed!
    Maybe Mr. San Diego could start actually providing some useful insight into his cherished state then instead of just being annoying.

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    Quote Originally posted by flaneuse
    Maybe Mr. San Diego could start actually providing some useful insight into his cherished state then instead of just being annoying.
    What would you like to know about Los Angeles and the Golden State Flaneuse?

    Ask away, I am a three generation NATIVE Angeleno

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    I am sincerly curious about San Francisco's idenity crisis -- what does this mean?

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    Quote Originally posted by timbucktwo
    I am sincerly curious about San Francisco's idenity crisis -- what does this mean?
    That comment about San Francisco had be a bit curious (and suspicious of its author) as well. As far as I have EVER known, San Francisco has been one of the most vibrant examples of self-assured urbanity and cosmopolitanism on this continent. No identity crisis there indeed!

    If anything, San Diego has the worst case of an identity crisis in California (love-hate-jealousy relationship) due to its cultural and cosmopolitan inferiority to its bigger, domineering Southern California urban brother, Los Angeles.

  25. #25
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    While faculty interests and relationships are important, your classmates also have a huge influence on your grad school experience, and I know many people who changed their minds or decided on programs based on people they connected with at open houses, so it's worth investing in the trip if you can. (See if the school will subsidize the visit, since that's sometimes an option.) Good luck![/QUOTE]

    Hm. that is an interesting point to consider. i will atttend both open houses. thanks.

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