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Thread: Ball State vs. Virginia Tech

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Ball State vs. Virginia Tech

    I got accepted to the MLA program at ball state and VT respectively and was wondering how would you guys compare the two programs. VT's program is unique in a way that first year will be spent at George Washington University but I am worried about the high living cost in the DC area. I heard good things about Ball State too but the school is less well known than VT.

    Thank you!!

  2. #2
    I got my Master's in Historic Preservation at Ball State and worked quite closely with the faculty and students in the LA, Architecture and Planning programs. I was very impressed with Professor Les Smith in particular and had several close friends among the students. I have no experience whatever with VTech and can't comment on it, although I can say the cost of living in Muncie was quite reasonable.

    Good luck and let us know what you decide.

  3. #3
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker View post
    I got my Master's in Historic Preservation at Ball State and worked quite closely with the faculty and students in the LA, Architecture and Planning programs. I was very impressed with Professor Les Smith in particular and had several close friends among the students. I have no experience whatever with VTech and can't comment on it, although I can say the cost of living in Muncie was quite reasonable.

    Good luck and let us know what you decide.
    Also a BSU grad, in Urban Planning. The LA program is very well respected, and has an excellent faculty. In addition to Les, Malcolm Cairns is an great prof in the LA department. BSU stresses interdiscipline work, so I believe it's one of the better programs you will find.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  4. #4
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Hmmm....

    Used to work with people from VaTech ages ago.....some of the best people I've worked with....I'd go to VaTech because I like Virginia If all you care about is a good education can't go wrong in either place
    Skilled Adoxographer

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    One of the principals in my firm has a BLA from BSU and I have heard presentations from their faculty who visited my college. Very well-respected, and from what I have heard through the grapevine, very hands-on with design .

    Don't really know anything about Virgina. But it is much more expensive than Muncie. My kid sister works for Time Magazine in DC and complains that she can't find a decent place to rent under a thousand and within walking distance to work (she sold her car a while ago) so she moved back in with my uncle, a slum lord...but we still love him anyway

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    I'd be a bit hesitant about VT's MLA program for a couple of reasons. The big one for me is the students. Being located in the DC Metro, most of the students will be part-time or commuter students. Not a bad thing, but it *does* mean the sense of community will be less. Also, the faculty seems fairly small, not really connected to other programs, and it seems like there's more turnover and part-time faculty. Again, not necessarily bad things, but keep them in mind. It's been a couple of years since I visited their facilities, but I wasn't that impressed.

    I don't have any direct experience with Ball State, but they do have a great reputation within the field.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    they are my worries over VT too. Seems like the program is designed for career changers and those who can only attend school part time. But one of my concerns over Ball State is its typical midwest town feeling that does not provide any case studies for urban design which i am interested in and the school is not very well know nationwide.

  8. #8
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by bozerwong View post
    they are my worries over VT too. Seems like the program is designed for career changers and those who can only attend school part time. But one of my concerns over Ball State is its typical midwest town feeling that does not provide any case studies for urban design which i am interested in and the school is not very well know nationwide.
    I'd have to disagree with you on the urban design end of things....check the Community Based Projects website, and the CAPIndy Center....lots of design/practice opportunities outside of Muncie.

    As far as national reputation, I don't know where the LA program ranks, but the Architecture and Urban Planning programs consistently rank quite highly in national rankings (especially for a public university).
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  9. #9
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Ball State's Urban Planning program is ranked 17th in the US, their LA program is higher.

    A quote from their webpage:

    "The 2007 edition of "America's Best Architecture and Design Schools" also cited Malcolm Cairns, chair of the landscape architecture department, as one of the 2007 Landscape Architecture Educators of the Year.

    "It's certainly an honor to be named as one of the top educators in my field, but more importantly, the national program ranking is a tremendous recognition for our department," Cairns said. "We have improved our national ranking over the past three years from 10th to fifth, and we find ourselves ranked in a peer group of very distinguished programs. This recognition is a tribute to our faculty, students and graduates."

    Along with the best in the Midwest ranking for the undergraduate program, landscape architecture's graduate program was listed as the region's third best. The department also scored high in multiple skills assessment rankings:

    Security design principles—fourth
    Sustainable design practices and principles—fourth (tied)
    Design—fifth "
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

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