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Thread: Grad school now or later?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Grad school now or later?

    My (future) wife is applying for law schools this fall, and plans to attend Campbell University in Raleigh, NC (she was accepted there before, but wasn't able to attend). I am considering applying to UNC-Chapel Hill's MRP program but had a question about timing and wondered what everyone here thought:

    I could either, a) also apply this year and plan to attend next year, or b) wait a year while working in NC, get in-state tuition, then attend (all assuming I was accepted of course).
    The benefits of option A are that I wouldn't need to look for a job that I planned to leave in one year. The benefits of option B are in-state tuition (although I read that 85% of 2nd years end up getting in-state tuition anyway), and the fact that we would graduate at the same time (3 yr law program and 2 yr MRP), giving us more flexibility to find employment.

    I am leaning towards B, but let me know...

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by ParkPlace View post
    My (future) wife is applying for law schools this fall, and plans to attend Campbell University in Raleigh, NC (she was accepted there before, but wasn't able to attend). I am considering applying to UNC-Chapel Hill's MRP program but had a question about timing and wondered what everyone here thought:

    I could either, a) also apply this year and plan to attend next year, or b) wait a year while working in NC, get in-state tuition, then attend (all assuming I was accepted of course).
    The benefits of option A are that I wouldn't need to look for a job that I planned to leave in one year. The benefits of option B are in-state tuition (although I read that 85% of 2nd years end up getting in-state tuition anyway), and the fact that we would graduate at the same time (3 yr law program and 2 yr MRP), giving us more flexibility to find employment.

    I am leaning towards B, but let me know...
    Apply this year. One of three things will happen:

    1 - You won't get in. You should be able to get some input on what you need to do to reapply. If you assume it will take a year of prep-work/re-applying to get into grad school, might as well start now and keep your options open down the road.

    2 - You'll get in, and be in a position to attend. Problem solved.

    3 - You'll get in, but won't be in a position to attend. Defer. Your options are now open for next year.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    economy is in the tank. Go to school. nuff said.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian lycosidae's avatar
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    I think that you should go to grad school now. Not just because the economy is tanking, but because I think it could put a strain on your marriage if your wife is in school but you are not. Law school is really hard on relationships and the first two years are particularly difficult... In fact, my fiancee had considered law school in the past and we were able to talk her out of it because of how overrated the whole experience is. She's relieved and is actually considering going into planning! Like many interested Poli Sci majors, she realized that studying law and practicing it are two different things...

    My advice is not to really focus too much on in-state/out-of-state tuition. I would try to apply to programs that provide the opportunities for funding. Anyone who pays the total cost of their planning tuition outright is going to regret it, especially if you are muddling about having to pay in-state vs. out-of-state (I'm assuming your not rich). I'm pretty much in the same boat as you, so I know how that is... Planning isn't business school, and considering the cost of law school you will want to keep your debt as low as possible.

    Chapel Hill seems like it is actually pretty good about funding (lucky!)... Seems like a substantial amount of incoming students receive full tuition remission. A couple incoming students get fellowships, and most of the rest get either research assistantships or teaching assistantships. If you're somewhere the middle-of-the pack in terms of admissions I would think you would easily be eligible for such opportunities.

    Chapel Hill's admissions rates are something around 50% so I wouldn't worry about getting in unless you have really low scores/GPA....

    Check out this link, I have found this site innumerably helpful because it gives a lot of info the schools websites don't offer, though it might be a little dated.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Thanks all.

    I guess I am hesitant about applying because I already have $20,000 in debt from previous schooling, and we'll have to be taking out more loans for my wife to go to law school. Plus, I already have a Master of Public Affairs degree. I really didn't like the program, and don't feel qualified for planning-type jobs, but wondered if the degree itself would be enough to find an interesting job.

    Maybe I will apply, see if I get any funding. If not or not enough, then start job hunting!

  6. #6
    Cyburbian lycosidae's avatar
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    What kind of internships did you do with your Public Affairs program?

    You really don't need another degree, you just need to planning experience. Teach yourself some GIS and try to get an entry level job somewhere. A lot of planner 1 positions will waive the year of experience needed if you already have a masters.

    If you didn't like public affairs, you probably won't like planning - the two overlap considerably.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    I worked at a state economic policy council during my graduate school, and currently work in a housing research center. I took an introductory course in ArcGIS in school, but have mostly only used it to show data at state or county levels, I never really used the ability to make buffers or alter shapefiles, etc.

    I am still very interested in public affairs, the school just didn't teach me much, and I became interested in growth management after having worked around planners recently.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian lycosidae's avatar
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    Well, I wouldn't muddle too much in the details of what you may or may not know about GIS... I would try for some planning jobs. Your experience seems very applicable...

    P

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