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Thread: Apply to grad school immediately after undergrad?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Apply to grad school immediately after undergrad?

    Should a student apply to a graduate school immediately following their undergraduate degree? I am currently majoring in both geography and urban planning, graduating this coming spring. I've contemplated going into the MASGIS (Master in Advanced Studies in GIS) program here at ASU or the MUEP (Master in Urban and Environmental Planning) most likely focusing on community development or transportation planning (I believe the other two concentrations are environmental planning and international planning if I'm not mistaken). However, the MASGIS program costs a heavy sum, which I'm not entirely sure is just tuition they're revealing.

    Would it be best to apply to either as soon as possible or go out in the work force for a year, two years, maybe 3+ years and return? The MASGIS program is 1 year, all night classes; while the MUEP is 2-3 years; not sure on the night classes.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plus
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    We have had a few threads trying to addressing your questions -

    Geography undergrad, now what?
    http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showt...me+grad+school

    Average age of entering students
    http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showt...me+grad+school

    Working before grad school
    http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showt...me+grad+school
    Oddball
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  3. #3
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    I think it's best to wait. Work for a few years, get some experience and try to figure out what you really enjoy. Then, when you go back, you'll have more focus and probably a little money saved, too.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Go straight on to grad school. The economy is in the toilet and it's not clear when it's going to improve. The public and private sectors are both laying off planners, so you would be competing for entry-level jobs against people with several years of experience.

    Unless you have SEVERAL internships, a good portfolio, a knock-out interview, and several connections (which few college graduates have), it is going to be hard to land a full time job. You will also be competing with students fresh out of grad school for entry level jobs, even internships.

    In better times, I would be much more supportive of working for a few years and saving up for grad school (I am going that route). However, after listening to students' struggles finding jobs after school, I think there is no better time to be in school. The biggest drawback is going into debt and then spending several years paying off tuition when you are working an entry-level job.

  5. #5
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    I agree with going through for the masters. Going back to school is tougher than you may think. Get all the education you want out of the way before you know what it is like to not have to go to school.

    You can always go back to school after you get the masters for more, but get yourself to an even level as fast as possible. I think nrschmid has a good point too. With the way the economy is right now, it would be much smarter to get yourself as marketable as possible. Good luck.
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  6. #6
    Cyburbian transguy's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    Go straight on to grad school. The economy is in the toilet and it's not clear when it's going to improve. The public and private sectors are both laying off planners, so you would be competing for entry-level jobs against people with several years of experience.
    Agree 100%
    Much work remains to be done before we can announce our total failure to make any progress.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian drjb's avatar
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    Go straight, if you can get into the school of your choice.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    GO - don't wait!!!

  9. #9
    Member
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    I would recommend working for a few years and then going back to school. I majored in Geography and Urban Development in undergrad. After that I was able to get a job as a planner in a private consulting firm. I always knew that I wanted to go to Grad School, I just needed some time to really define my goals and skills. I found that my two years away from school made it hard to go back to reading and homework, however, I also felt like I had a leg up on other grad students. I was aware of what the "real world" was like and was able to apply that knowledge to my school work. I think you have to ask yourself, will I really go back if I take a few years off.

    Good luck!

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    Do both - school and work (relevant work if possible), but definitely go straight to grad school. The longer you stay out, the harder it will be for you to go back to school.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Planderella View post
    Do both - school and work (relevant work if possible), but definitely go straight to grad school. The longer you stay out, the harder it will be for you to go back to school.
    I agree. Do both. I did it, had no life for 5 years, but it was worth it.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally posted by Chet View post
    I agree. Do both. I did it, had no life for 5 years, but it was worth it.
    Ok, I slightly readjust my answer. Do both! I worked for 2 years, then continued working and went to school at the same time.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    Get out of the Phoenix area for your Masters. Go see how an older, non-car based city works - you'll like it Seriously, don't stay in Tempe.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    I have to echo those sentiments. I just got back from a weekend in Tempe, it left me feeling sad and empty.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Yup

    Quote Originally posted by Planderella View post
    Do both - school and work (relevant work if possible), but definitely go straight to grad school. The longer you stay out, the harder it will be for you to go back to school.
    Me Three.....or at least get a good internship while in grad school for whatever......

    Oh and more importantly, plan on getting together with Brocktoon, Boiker and The One for a mini-fest later this month.....think October 24th maybe.....
    Skilled Adoxographer

  16. #16
    Cyburbian FueledByRamen's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Planderella View post
    Do both - school and work (relevant work if possible), but definitely go straight to grad school. The longer you stay out, the harder it will be for you to go back to school.
    I fourthly agree with this, mainly because its what I did. I knew going back to school would be hard and I also had caught wind that it is very hard typically to get a decent job in planning without a masters in planning.

    FWIW, I also majored in geography in college and my perspective was that any job I could get wouldn't really give me much planning experience. What I did do was work in GIS while going through grad school and was able to work on some planning projects that way.

    I graduated college at 22, grad school at 24, and I am now 25 and will be going through my company's project manager training next summer. If I had waited, I probably would be 30 before I got to wear I am now....but (and not to sound pompous) that might be my experience and not anyone elses, based more on my skills than on my education schedule. Food for thought.

    EDIT: I also should add that I got ZERO financial aid and had taken a planning class during undergrad (I went to the same school for my BA and my MS) from a professor who wrote me a letter of recommendation. So, it might be financially better to wait and I had some help getting into grad school. YMMV.

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