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Thread: Can't decide on an undergrad school....

  1. #1
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    Can't decide on an undergrad school....

    I've narrowed it down to 4 schools for my undergrad:

    Ball State University, IN
    Cal PolyTech (San Luis Obispo)
    U of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
    U of Virginia

    My top criteria are: emphasis on sustainability, planning-centric study abroad programs, curriculum that is more focused on application vs. theory and being PAB certified.

    If anyone has been to these schools or has another suggestion for me, I'd love to hear from you!

    Thanks!
    Rachel

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Stay away from UIUC's undergrad (BAUP alum here). It is not applied, much more theory, and most of the attention is on the MUP program, which is a very good program (but still mostly theory). You pretty much teach yourself everything from planning to networking to GIS to really get ahead.

    http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showt...highlight=UIUC

    Have you considered Iowa State?

  3. #3
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    I will say it and I am sure others will follow: Ball State is a great undergrad program. If you are looking for study abroad, look no further than Nihal Perera. He is a leader in Asian planning and takes a group of students to India/Sri Lanka/China every other year (its called CAPAsia).

    BSU is PAB accredited and is one of the better undergrad programs. As far as sustainability, I know nothing about their program.

    They are more hands on than some schools and don't base everything on theory. They are much less theory based than Ohio State where I got my masters.


    Good luck on your choice. Oh and BSU puts you in a mixed bag your first year of undergrad with LAs and Arch's. It is fun and allows you to gather some skills other than planning skills.

    Last edited by Hink; 21 May 2008 at 3:32 PM. Reason: I can't spell worth a ....
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  4. #4
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    I'll echo Hink_Planner. BSU was a great undergrad experience for me, and has served me well in my career to this point.
    "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

  5. #5
    Make it three of a kind {BSU MSHP '89}

    Seriously, in addition to the above, you'll also be exposed to grad students in all three disciplines as well as HP grad students. The architecture library is quite good and there are lots and lots of opportunities to be involved in community-based projects.

    Good luck and let us know what you decide.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the feedback! I will move BSU to the top of the list!

    Anyone have an opinion on CalPoly? I'm sort of a coast-line girl, not a big fan of being land-locked...bit I'll do it if it comes down to it.

    Thanks!

  7. #7
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    RA, I'm from the left coast and worked with several grads from Cal Poly SLO. To a tee, each were very competent and possessed all the skills to be successful in this profession. If your focus is on application, that's the place to attend.

    And SLO is a great coastal community. Great beaches. Nearby wine country. What's better?

    BTW, I'm not a CP SLO grad.
    RJ is the KING of . The One

  8. #8
    Cyburbian planr's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RachelAnne View post
    Thanks for the feedback! I will move BSU to the top of the list!

    Anyone have an opinion on CalPoly? I'm sort of a coast-line girl, not a big fan of being land-locked...bit I'll do it if it comes down to it.

    Thanks!
    While I can't speak directly to the planning program, I can say that on the whole, CP-SLO is regarded as having very rigorous programs of study. I dated a girl who was doing her BS in some sort of graphic design field and it kicked her ass, despite her being very smart and hard working. Also, as mentioned above, it is a BEAUTIFUL place to spend four years.
    "Try to be in two incredibly successful bands. If not, that's okay." -- Words to live by, courtesy of Dave Grohl

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    CPSU is a great school within a very quaint and charming college town. You are required to do an internship there as a part of the undergrad study, so the competition is very fierce for both public and private sector gigs in the area (my firm is one of the only ones that take in interns for the summer in the area). So you may have an opportunity to go intern in one of state's finer metro areas (Bay Area, LA Basin). The labs were intense (but speaking to recent grads from our office not what it used to be) and overall you get a well balanced design/policy education, especially if you want to do more design based than policy base. Just my 2 cents from a alum.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post

    Have you considered Iowa State?


    A buddy of mine went to Iowa State for their CRP undergrad program after switching from an LA major and really liked it. I got the impression that it was a good mix of theory and method.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    I graduated from UVA but not from their planning program

    I have no experience with anyone who even graduated from the planning program, but I have large number of friends who graduated from their Architecture school. Their opinion was that the planning kids had a pretty easy time--- but take that with a grain of salt.

    As someone who decided on the school based on basically non academic factors (I saw that UVA is considered a top tier school and they have a football team, plus it felt just right), I think you should take this in consideration:

    The Good:
    -As far as a large-ish public school, the liberal arts professors at UVA were unbelievably good. My classes were all interesting and the students all had pretty diverse viewpoints. You'll have to take a number of Liberal Arts classes and who knows if you want to stick with Urban Planning? Their b-school (which I graduated from) is top 5, and you will basically automatically have a job graduating from there
    -Of all those schools, UVA has significantly better "brand name", especially on the East Coast. Most educated folks put it slightly step below schools like Duke, Northwestern (IMHO)
    -The campus (or grounds) must be one of the top 5 most beautiful in the country. The area where the A-school is getting a new beautiful building
    -Charlottesville is an amazing little town. Beautiful.
    -Charlottesville has a highly stratified population that no one at UVA knows about. People like Howie Long and Dave Matthews have made it their home, but there are streets that the police barricade because they are unsafe. Would be interesting for someone in planning to see how a town like that "works"
    -There are tons of little quirky traditions you might just see at a private school (more later). The honor code is awesome. Most of my exams were unproctored, take home exams
    -The student body is very well rounded. Great athletes, lots of good looking people and people who are pretty smart
    -Tons of student organizations to get involved in
    -Walkability everywhere. More than any big school I've experienced, nobody drives that often
    -School ends up feeling small. I think I knew at least 1/4th of the people in my class (out of 4,000)

    The Bad:
    -The student body is incredibly rich for a public school. The median family income in 2003 was over $100,000. If you're from a poor family and from a small rural school, it may take getting used to. Some people can be pretty elitist and there social racism (i.e. getting into parties, fraternities, etc) is kind of in the unspoken shadows
    -The school is easily the preppiest large school in the country. I have a closet full of khakis and polo shirts to prove it. If you're not used to that environment (I don't think I saw one goth person and very few hippies my whole time there) this might deter you.

    If you have any questions (sorry I couldn't answer to your program question) please send me a message? Not sure how it works? I registered today.

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