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Thread: So who is applying to grad school for the fall?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    So who is applying to grad school for the fall?

    I am. Just curious about other people's experiences with the application process. Because I am more interested in the research end and would ultimately be aiming for a PhD, I felt I had to ignore things like tuition and climate, and just apply to the top programs (tongue placed firmly in cheek). The usual suspect list features schools in some financially unfriendly places (Berkeley, Boston, etc.) but if I get in then I guess it's worth it blah blah blah.

    Scrolling through posts from previous years, I've found that admissions letters are sent out around late March or early April. After throwing so much effort into the applications, waiting to hear back is a little like sitting in the electric chair not knowing when they will throw the switch. I know the wait-time complaint is a hackneyed rue, but that doesn't make it easier to endure.

    BTW, for anyone in NY, the Jane Jacobs exhibit at the Municipal Art Society is almost over, so make an effort to get there. The display is interesting, the bookstore even more.

    Cheers!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    I was just about to start a "support thread for people awaiting admission decisions:2008", but I guess you beat me to it.

    It's worse since I'm in school. Being in a class I had no reason to take other than to fulfill a distributional requirement, when the prospect of being in grad school is almost tangible, is not a good feeling, and probably not good for my final grades either.

    Anyone out there heard anything? Let's get the rumor mill started.

    p.s. nyc_tribeca, when does the exhibit end? I'll be in Philly around the 18th or so next month and I'm thinking of swinging by NYC on one of those good ol' Chinatown buses.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Torontopian - ride the Chinatown buses at your own risk! Their reputation for being on-time is exceeded only by their scant regard for traffic regulations and the laws of physics. Unfortunately, though, the Jacobs exhibit ends this weekend. The Urban Center's bookstore, however, appears to be permanent (housed in a beautiful old hotel building at 51st & Madison.) Worth a trip, especially because it's as close to an urban planning "center" as you will get in NY. While some other cities are proud enough of the planning field, and their work with it, to devote entire institutes and museums to the matter (Hong Kong comes to mind), the US is a little lacking.

    Enjoy studying in the city Jacobs called home (I suppose because her activism made her persona non grata in NY). I assume that you're at the Univ. of Toronto - fantastic school and way up there in the research hierarchy for many fields.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian planr's avatar
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    I've applied to Berkeley, UCLA, and MIT. I have a quite specific agenda and these places, for better or worse, are the best places to carry it out (or so it seems based on campus visits and speaking to students and current faculty at each school). In the event I am not accepted at either of the three, I'm fortunate enough to have some 'constructive' options open to me while I wait to apply for 2009.

    I agree though, the quasi-hurry-up-and-wait nature of applying to grad school and associated fellowships is quite taxing!

    Best of luck to everyone

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Hola all, glad someone started up one of these threads. I've applied to UNC, UVA, Penn, NYU, Columbia, Harvard, and MIT (and now I'm broke), hopefully one of those will grace me with an acceptance. Right now I'm in Venezuela visiting family, so hopefully I'll have heard some good news (or just news in general) by the time I'm back in the states (about a month).

    nyc_tribeca, haha you gotta love those chinatown buses, they were the CHOICE mode of transportation to get to NYC when I lived in DC. Nothing like being in a huge bus with the driver thinking he's driving a porsche 911. Also, the stops in inner city B'more are the best. No trip along the NE corridor is complete without dodging bullets somewhere.

  6. #6
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    Hello fellow applicants!

    So since I had no idea where I would be able to get in, I spread my net pretty far and ended up applying to eight schools: UNC, UVA, VCU, VaTech, UPenn, U of Illinois - UC, Cornell, and Rutgers. Whew.

    Anyway, this next month or so is going to go by slowly. Good luck to everyone out there waiting!

  7. #7
    Cyburbian zaphod's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by note to self View post
    Hello fellow applicants!

    So since I had no idea where I would be able to get in, I spread my net pretty far and ended up applying to eight schools: UNC, UVA, VCU, VaTech, UPenn, U of Illinois - UC, Cornell, and Rutgers. Whew.

    Anyway, this next month or so is going to go by slowly. Good luck to everyone out there waiting!

    I think I have the same strategy. Eight schools... but I kept expectations lower than yours: USC, T A&M, UT, Cal Poly slo, Pomona, SJSU, UT Arlington, Irvine. I already heard I got in to Texas A&M (nice secretary lady told me).

    Good luck everyone. The next couple of months should be interesting.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Hoping for Aid

    My list: USC, Harvard, UC Irvine, Cornell, the UofU, and UW. I am hoping that one of these schools will offer me financial aid to cover tuition (a stipend would be nice as well). I have a lot of graduate school debt already.

    Good luck everyone.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    To you Cornell folks out there

    Anyone else got a call from Cornell? I received a call from a current MRP student who solicitously asked me if I have any questions about Cornell or the application process. While I'm grateful for the attention, I can't imagine they make individual phone calls out to every applicant. What does this mean?

    p.s. I really enjoyed dealing with Cornell's staff: prompt with replying to emails and patient on the phone, unlike certain Canadian school out there...

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Torontopian - I got the same call. Saturday night!!! How do they get student volunteers to make phone calls on a Saturday night, and what does this say about life in Ithaca? She asked if I had any questions, and I asked if there was anything important that wasn't on the website. Not really, apparently, but she was nice in answering things about financial aid, the decisions for which will supposedly come down sometime in early March. She also said the open house is March 28 (?). If the financial package is right, and I am familiar enough with the research work of the faculty to be comfortable (and confident that they will be there and not on sabbatical) then I don't know what I would see from a visit that might change my mind. Of course, I was ready to sign on the dotted line for USC back in 2004, went out on their dean's merit thingy visit and got cold feet and didn't go to school anywhere.

    Like you, I hope the phone call is a "good sign," but I can't imagine that it really means much at this point.

    My school list is rather ambitious: Harvard, Penn, Cornell, UCLA and Berkeley. My best hope is 2-for-5 but you never know. As Chris Berman says, "that's why they play the game."

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    I don't know if you bought the Planetizen guide, but apparently the acceptance rate (pre-matriculation) at both Cornell and Penn is something around 70%. Read into it what you will but for me it did a lot to calm the application season jitters.

    I guess it makes sense: planning is not law school, and what idiot would want to throw in 50k only to pay it back over 20 years

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    call

    I got the Cornell call on Sunday morning.

    NYC Tribeca,
    Was the dean's merit visit you mentioned paid for by the school? Were you applying to master's programs in planning? What specifically gave you cold feet?

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    Toronto - I've heard urban planning grad programs easier to get into than Hell itself, but I imagine the funding is pretty competitive. The Cornell lady said something a little worrisome: that funding packages rarely cover all costs. This isn't a surprise, but I imagine these things vary by school. In the reputation-endowment matrix, low-high (respectively) is the best quadrant. Less competition for more $$. But how would this affect me down the road? My approach to funding is a little like playing the lottery: I'll go for the jackpot and if I don't win, I'll go back to what I'm doing now. I'm not really willing to pay for the masters, nor am I able to at this point. Dipping further into the loan well (beyond what I owe now) would be irresponsible. If I have to borrow a small amount, maybe I would but it would depend on the school, and what the matrix says.

    Seamus - Yes, it was UP. They paid for 1/2 the plane ride (if I recall correctly), and got us some discounted rooms at the Biltmore Hotel across from Pershing Square (before it was redone, BTW. I was there a few weeks ago and didn't recognize it. I imagine all that didn't go down very quietly.) Anyway, the whole thing was an attractive deal. There was a tuition waiver and research assistanceship. But I ran the numbers and it wasn't break-even. At that stage I didn't want to borrow. I was especially discouraged by the housing situation (USC housing had a $900/mo. apartment, in a bedroom I would have had to share. Maybe as a freshman. Not now.) Otherwise, there wasn't anything about the USC program that turned me off. It seems to be heavy on the RE devt. side, but it's large enough for you to go after what interests you. Had lunch with Dowell Myers during the visit, and he's pretty well known in the field, plus a very interesting guy. Nice facilities, too. And who can argue against LA as a good place to study planning? In retrospect, I wouldn't have pulled the plug, but all you can do is make the best decision with the information you have at the time.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    nyc Tribeca,

    Thanks for the details about USC. It's near the top of my list. I used to live in Hollywood, and seems like a great place to study planning.

    I'm also worried about loans. I can take one or two more drops from the loan well, but then it will dry up.

  15. #15
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    I got the cornell call too! It was really awkward actually. First of all it was 8pm on a Saturday. The girl told me that decisions would be mailed in early March, then proceeded to ask me if I was planning on coming to their open house in late March. Well... that depends on whether you accept me, now doesn't it...

  16. #16
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    Hey NYC - when did USC contact you in 2004 with all of this? I'm just curious -- maybe it will cure my waiting jitters.....

  17. #17
    Cyburbian
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    Simplex: 4 years ago - hard to recall. They would have to do it in time for people to plan their visit, which is late April/early May (?). I would say early/mid March on the letter.

    Note to self (screen name): I thought the same thing. Even said it: I might visit but that would depend on the outcome of my application. Maybe they are casting the line to see who will come to the open house, then accepting those people in order to boost attendance.

  18. #18
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    Has anyone else had an issue with MIT's application status webpage? Mine changed from complete to missing one transcript and I'm not sure what that means. They say they don't answer questions about application status, but I think I'll have to call them about it tomorrow.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian
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    nope, mine stills shows complete.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by torontopian View post
    nope, mine stills shows complete.
    As does mine.

    Just another heads up, I called UVA to confirm that my application was complete, and they said that they were probably gonna start reviewing applications next week.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian JDC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by stopgap View post
    Has anyone else had an issue with MIT's application status webpage? Mine changed from complete to missing one transcript and I'm not sure what that means. They say they don't answer questions about application status, but I think I'll have to call them about it tomorrow.
    My MIT application status was finally updated today. Last week it said one of my letters of recommendation was still missing, even though I know it arrived at least two weeks ago. Now it says it's complete.

    Good luck to all applying - perhaps some of us will be classmates!

  22. #22
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    i applied to unc only and i just got the letter yesterday. i got in! submitted my app. dec 1.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian
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    i applied to unc only and i just got the letter yesterday. i got in! submitted my app. dec 1.
    Congratulations!

  24. #24
    i have completed my applications to unc and uwash. finishing up applications to georgia tech and ball state this week, good luck to everyone.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian
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    Whew... got my apps to UIC, McGill, and Rutgers out the door. Probably going to put one together of UW-Milwaukee too.

    Anyone else applying to McGill? That's my top choice.

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