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Thread: Following the money?

  1. #1
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    Following the money?

    I'm having a really hard time justifying going to any school except for the one with the best financial package...

    I applied to my undergraduate school on a whim and was accepted with the most generous package(of the schools I applied to). I had convinced myself that going to a new location(new department, new region of the country) was the best decision and that even if I were accepted, I really should decline. However, that has become difficult as the cost delta has become quite considerable.... upwards of $12-15K a year. Are there any true DISADVANTAGES to attending the same school for both undergraduate and masters when the degrees are from completely different departments?

    As much as I'd like to see another area of the country, it's hard to say that this is worth an additional $20-25K over the course of the program. My undergraduate institution may be ranked slightly lower than some of the programs I've applied to but it's not like I'm going from Harvard to some completely horrible state school.

    Is anyone else having a hard time weighing the financial part of the decision making process?... I've read so many places that it really isn't worth going into significant debt for a planning degree(few exceptions here obviously) because post grad salary wise the school you went to just doesn't make that big of a difference.

    Thoughts?

    Pros/Cons?


    ... the schools are Univ of Florida, Univ of Delaware, Clemson, VaTech, and Rutgers.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    yes...follow the money

    You are right, you aren't going to be making a huge amount of money right out of grad school so there is no reason to go into a ton of debt. All of the schools you got into have great programs, I am a little biased because I am GATOR right now, but I have researched and red articles from profs from most of the schools you listed too. Honestly, unless your bachelor's is in planning, than it doesn't really matter where you go for your master's, even if it is the same school. The only other thing I would consider is where you want to be after you graduate and think about your school choice to take advantage of the networking opportunities for jobs...Best of luck! If you want the inside scoop on UF, feel free to PM me.
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

  3. #3
    Cyburbian JDC's avatar
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    I may end up in the same boat, ACivE. I'm leaning toward enrolling at my third choice program because they offered me a very generous financial aid package.

    Haven't heard from my top two choices, but this late in the game, I'm thinking they'll be rejections or admission sans assistance. I'm almost hoping to get rejected so the choice is easier!

    Going with the best bargain hasn't failed me... I chose my undergraduate institution based mostly on $$ and I couldn't imagine a better college experience.

  4. #4
    I think having the Master's will do you enough regardless of where you got them from (same school). I'm 30 minutes south of Gainesville and should I ever decide to get a Master's it would be from there, although I highly doubt I would get in...I am AWFUL in standardized testing and didn't have a swell GPA in undergrad. Point is I'm 33 with 4 years environmental consulting experience and 2.5 years of planning experience, if I can get AICP certified (queue the standardize test) I'll do fine.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    I went to the same school for both undergrad and grad school and I don't think anyone has ever batted an eye in looking over my resume. That was a previous chapter in my life, before I went back to school again to become a planner (what was I thinking! ). For planning school, my life circumstances had changed a lot (I was married with kids and had a mortgage payment), so my decision to stay close and go to the "affordable" school was an easy one.

    But I got a great education (and a lot of that, as cliche as it is, is what you do with yourself while in school - who you meet, the opportunities you take advantage of, etc.). I don't regret my path for a second. Indeed, my current job sprouted from contract work I did during the summers while in grad school.

    I say, keep your costs low, don't worry about going to the same school you got your undergrad degree in and try to get the most out of the opportunities schooling presents to you (projects, internships, connections, etc.).
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  6. #6
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    Thank you for the replies!

    The regional aspect of planning is still a factor as my undergrad school isn't in a region that I have any desire to stay in. That being said, I don't see this degree as being my last and if everything pans out as I hope, I still have the opportunity to go elsewhere for my JD.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    go where the money is. getting an undergrad and grad degree from the same school really isn't an issue unless you plan on going into academia.

    while going to school in the region where you plan to work in is a plus, it doesn't necessarily have to be a minus.

    i went to undergrad in NY. grad in Louisiana. did an internship in South Carolina. and got my first job in Massachusetts. you can use the diversity to your advantage. play up how you've seen the various ways different parts of the country have planned/made decisions/kinds of regs. which gives you a much broader and less insular approach to planning. it is all how you spin it.
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

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