I've been lurking on these boards for a while, and have found everyone so helpful...so I thought I'd throw my own situation in here and see if anyone had any advice.
I graduated from NYU with an undergrad degree in comparative literature two years ago, and realized I was a lot more interested in urban development issues than in the critical theory of literature. (I also realized I wanted to make a living!) After an internship on Capitol Hill, I was introduced to a DC area real estate developer who I convinced to take me on as his catch-all assistant. I've spent a year here doing project management on transit oriented mixed use development, including public/private partnership work, market research, and pretty much everything that gets thrown my way. Obviously, based on my education, everything related to zoning, real estate finance, and development in general I've learned on the job, not in school. (My boss has been kind enough to pay for two weeks of valuation classes at the Appraisal Institute.) However, if I want to have any kind of career path beyond my current job, I need to further my education.
Anyway, Penn's program with the real estate design & development certificate at Wharton I find really fascinating given my interests and experience. I am concerned about getting in, however, as my undergrad grades are anything but extraordinary - I suffered from clinical depression through most of college and just getting by was an accomplishment. As I have actual development experience and am capable of good essays and GRE scores, will this be looked upon as mitigating my GPA? I'm also planning on taking Urban & Regional Economics and another class or two at a George Washington before applying to demonstrate my academic capabilities.
Also, does anyone have other programs with a real estate focus that they'd recommend? Penn's program sounds ideal, except for the getting in factor (so does MIT's-sigh)......and of course paying for the damn thing...
Thanks so much!