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Thread: Questions and concerns about which school to attend

  1. #1
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    Questions and concerns about which school to attend

    Hello all,

    Im new to the forums and I had a few questions about the planning field.

    I currently work in a legal/public administration field and was gearing myself towards law school. However after observing the legal life, I decided that law is not the career choice for me. Recently, I have been thinking about pursuing a masters in Planning. However, I have a few concerns.

    First of all, my major in college was a B.A in history. So even if I recieved an MA in planning, I was wondering if I was at a significant disadvantage when it came to finding a job.

    Second, If I were to pursue a masters degree I would like to recieve an education that focuses on practicality over theory. I realize that schools like Cal, USC and UCLA are considered top tier schools (UCLA history alum myself). But many have told me that the MA programs are more theory focused. That being said, I was wondering if anyone graduated from Cal Poly SLO or Pomona and could share their experiences.
    Moderator note:
    Modified the thread title. Please no teaser or vague titles outside the Friday Afternoon Club.

    Thanks
    mendelman
    Last edited by mendelman; 15 Nov 2007 at 1:22 PM.

  2. #2
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    I haven't attended Cal Poly SLO (went to Berkeley), but grew up nearby. From what I know about the school in general, is that they are very focused on practical learning...instead of the more theoretical work that you might find at a UC. There are some neat sustainable design projects that have been incorporated into the campus (for example, I think some students helped design a sustainable building for the student run Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm).
    Have you been to the campus before?

  3. #3
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    yep ive been to SLO many times. The campus and entire area is beautiful and quite peaceful. at least in my opinion.

  4. #4
         
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    With regard to having a non-planning related undergraduate degree, I can share my experience. I have a bachelor's degree in history. It took me several years after that to decide what I really wanted to do; I even tried law school...twice! A couple of years ago, I decided to pursue a master's degree in planning because the field intrigued me. During my two-year program, I had a graduate assistantship that placed me at the county housing agency for a year and at a community development corporation-type organization for a year.

    I graduated in May 2007; two weeks before graduation, I was offered a position in the economic development office at my city's planning division. It pays well. In no way was my undergraduate degree important. In my city, the master's degree in planning is the rule in the planning division; nothing else seems to matter much for entry-level positions.

    Unless you live in a place with too many planners, your graduate degree alone should be sufficient to get you an entry-level job in planning.

    Regarding your preference for a practical program, I went that route as well. I opted for a program that had a 100 percent placement rate over programs that specialized in theory. Sure enough, as promised, everyone in my graduating class (only five people this year) was employed in planning within two months of graduation. In fact, all but one had a job prior to graduation.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by rok1982 View post
    Hello all,

    I was wondering if anyone graduated from Cal Poly SLO or Pomona and could share their experiences.
    I graduated from their as an undergrad and with that degree you are pretty much employable from both the public sector side and also the private sector. I know a couple of grad students that have some great jobs since i graduated with them and a few have already gone on to become planning directors. The Grad program has many focuses from design to public policy, sustainable design, and environmental planning. My company has employed a substantial number of grads for our professional positions from Cal Poly and some of the owners and our CEO being Cal Poly grads. At my office, 6 out of 10 workers are Cal Poly grads.

    Do you have a focus that you want to accomplish with the Grad degree? In addition, they have a wicked adjunct professor who teaches land use law. Fun guy and is a part owner of a local firm down there. Good Luck!
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian zaphod's avatar
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    Placement

    Hello. I am just wondering how you found out about job placement rates before attending school. I am trying to decided between what seems like a million schools and any extra information would help.

    Thanks.

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    wow, awesome and positive replies. Thank you all for your insight! I'll be applying with confidence this year then.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by zaphod View post
    Hello. I am just wondering how you found out about job placement rates before attending school. I am trying to decided between what seems like a million schools and any extra information would help.

    Thanks.
    Usually jobs placement rates are tracked by a career services department or other similar department for each campus. At poly, it is done through a survey that is sent out to recent graduates after about a 9month period and is totally voluntary. Here is a link to cal poly slo's job placement rate:

    http://www.careerservices.calpoly.ed..._2005_2006.pdf
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  9. #9
         
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    At the U of Memphis, statistics are tracked in a fashion similar to that of CPSU. Additionally, because the program at Memphis is relatively small, the program director is aware of what almost every graduate of the program is doing now. So between his anecdotal knowledge and the information put out by the career services center, it was clear that post-graduation employment was going to be plentiful.

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