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Thread: Did you get a scholarship/fin.aid for your MUP?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Did you get a scholarship/fin.aid for your MUP?

    Well, did you? If so, do you know any details about why you were awarded aid? Did you have great test scores and GPA? or did you have some amazing work experience to offer?

    Thoughts/stories?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plus
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    NO. I was either poor or broke while in school.
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  3. #3
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Yes. When I went on my interview it turned out that I had a similar research interest as the director. A few weeks later I was admitted, and about a week after that I recieved a phone call asking if I would be his G.A., which I gladly accepted. This resulted in two years worth of work, travel and research which consenquently paid my tuition and a (very) small stipend, which I used for rent, ramen noodles and beer. I also got a thesis, conference presentation, and a few articles out of the ordeal.

    I was by NO means the smartest person in my cohort, nor had the best undergrad GPA, GRE, or anything else along those lines (although all my credentials to this regard were respectable). I just genuinely connected with the man and he wanted to work with me I guess. Years later we are still very close.

    I should also note that the dept. offered several GA positions each year. I do not know the criteria which the other were based. By causal observation, I am inclined to believe the criteria was similar (i.e. if a faculty member wants to work with you, they will ask you to be their GA - if they have the funds to do so).

    I think maybe I answered your question, with out furthering your cause. But on another thought, all students in the dept. had good GPAs, GREs, etc, or they would not really be there in the first place. Thus, research interest and personality fit seems to be the next logical measure, being that you work hard, and close with/for these people... so yall better get along!

    EDIT: this does not mean that you should go kiss butt to get a GA. In my experience, no one ever likes a brown nose (not that you are, I am just adding this caveat for the general reading population). All efforts should always be genuine, or they are simply in vain and will result in very little substantive. So go to school, pursue your interest and dont worry about obstacles. [my 2 cents]
    Last edited by H; 17 Jan 2009 at 10:36 AM.
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  4. #4
    Dan Staley's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mobiusstrip View post
    Well, did you?

    Thoughts/stories?
    mobius,

    IIRC few of us in the CAUP there had financial aid, and those who did didn't tell the rest of us. Most of us worked and ate ramen. I went there to start a second career and all my experience meant diddly. This is not to say you shouldn't do everything you can to get aid, including going over to other depts to see what they have. Look at the affiliations and try in their depts - Derek Booth, Claire, Gordon Bradley.

    Good luck!

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan Staley View post
    mobius,

    IIRC few of us in the CAUP there had financial aid, and those who did didn't tell the rest of us. Most of us worked and ate ramen. I went there to start a second career and all my experience meant diddly. This is not to say you shouldn't do everything you can to get aid, including going over to other depts to see what they have. Look at the affiliations and try in their depts - Derek Booth, Claire, Gordon Bradley.

    Good luck!
    Thanks for the thoughts Dan! According to the CAUP website, they focus their aid on second year students. Not sure what to make of that (eg- does it mean they more evenly distribute it to most people and thus only offer it second year?).

    UW is probably my first choice (I'd like to stay in the NW, my g/f and I both have jobs here already, housing, etc) so getting some specific thoughts on that dept is helpful.

    Anyone else have stories to share?

    EDIT: thanks also H for your thoughts! they confirmed some of what I was thinking.

  6. #6
    Dan Staley's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mobiusstrip View post
    Not sure what to make of that (eg- does it mean they more evenly distribute it to most people and thus only offer it second year?).

    UW is probably my first choice (I'd like to stay in the NW, my g/f and I both have jobs here already, housing, etc) so getting some specific thoughts on that dept is helpful.
    RA - TA opportunities mostly.

    Fritz has a good Center, and I think Nancy Rottle (Green Infra) may have some openings, depending upon your interest (PM me if this is your area and we'll talk). The Real Estate has few openings and I think CFR lost some funding, but there are definitely openings to work, and a grant or two. There's a great alum at PSU doing good stuff if that's your 2nd choice. UW definitely stresses the self-direction so its no problem to make your own way.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    H, Where did you attend school?

    -Lauren


    Quote Originally posted by H View post
    Yes. When I went on my interview it turned out that I had a similar research interest as the director. A few weeks later I was admitted, and about a week after that I recieved a phone call asking if I would be his G.A., which I gladly accepted. This resulted in two years worth of work, travel and research which consenquently paid my tuition and a (very) small stipend, which I used for rent, ramen noodles and beer. I also got a thesis, conference presentation, and a few articles out of the ordeal.

    I was by NO means the smartest person in my cohort, nor had the best undergrad GPA, GRE, or anything else along those lines (although all my credentials to this regard were respectable). I just genuinely connected with the man and he wanted to work with me I guess. Years later we are still very close.

    I should also note that the dept. offered several GA positions each year. I do not know the criteria which the other were based. By causal observation, I am inclined to believe the criteria was similar (i.e. if a faculty member wants to work with you, they will ask you to be their GA - if they have the funds to do so).

    I think maybe I answered your question, with out furthering your cause. But on another thought, all students in the dept. had good GPAs, GREs, etc, or they would not really be there in the first place. Thus, research interest and personality fit seems to be the next logical measure, being that you work hard, and close with/for these people... so yall better get along!

    EDIT: this does not mean that you should go kiss butt to get a GA. In my experience, no one ever likes a brown nose (not that you are, I am just adding this caveat for the general reading population). All efforts should always be genuine, or they are simply in vain and will result in very little substantive. So go to school, pursue your interest and dont worry about obstacles. [my 2 cents]

  8. #8
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by LTrain View post
    H, Where did you attend school?

    -Lauren
    The aforementioned experience is from the University of Tennessee [where I attained my M.S.P circa early 2000s].
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    I've received tuition remission, a scholarship, and a stipend while in grad school. Most of the people in the program have received some sort of aid. I'm neither the brightest or best or had the highest test scores, but if they believe you will be productive in your area and add something to the school then chances are you will get something.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  10. #10
    Cyburbian planr's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mobiusstrip View post
    Well, did you? If so, do you know any details about why you were awarded aid? Did you have great test scores and GPA? or did you have some amazing work experience to offer?

    Thoughts/stories?
    Upon admittance to MIT in mid-March, no funding was offered. However, I continued beating down doors for professors and labs I wanted to work in/wish. Finally, funding was provided around the time classes started in the fall in the form of a Research Assistant position on a project overseen by my advisor.

    The process for obtaining the RA was competitive (multiple students were interviewed in late August). It is important to note that my advisor happens to be the best fit for me in the program (as it should be!) but also I made strides to reach out to him 6 months before applications were due. I am sure the close alignment of our interests and the established relationship played a part in it.

    My undergrad GPA was well south of 3.0, my GRE scores were 620V / 780M / 5.0A and I had a series of brief, albeit reasonably impressive experiences in the developing world on my CV with associated publications.
    "Try to be in two incredibly successful bands. If not, that's okay." -- Words to live by, courtesy of Dave Grohl

  11. #11
    I got offered at least some funding everywhere I got in. Where I accepted I'm about 75% grants and 25% loans. Two of the other schools were 50%-50% and the last one was the worst at 10%-90%. I also am a research assistant now, but that's just an hourly wage (essentially pocket money)

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan Staley View post
    RA - TA opportunities mostly.

    Fritz has a good Center, and I think Nancy Rottle (Green Infra) may have some openings, depending upon your interest (PM me if this is your area and we'll talk). The Real Estate has few openings and I think CFR lost some funding, but there are definitely openings to work, and a grant or two. There's a great alum at PSU doing good stuff if that's your 2nd choice. UW definitely stresses the self-direction so its no problem to make your own way.
    Dan, I tried to PM you and it said you weren't receiving messages. email perhaps?

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by 110chelsea View post
    I got offered at least some funding everywhere I got in. Where I accepted I'm about 75% grants and 25% loans. Two of the other schools were 50%-50% and the last one was the worst at 10%-90%. I also am a research assistant now, but that's just an hourly wage (essentially pocket money)
    Merit based? Do you just need killer stats, or does it come from your research interests?

  14. #14
    My grants were about 70% merit / 30% needs based (I'm definitely not your blue-blooded ivy leaguer) at my current school. At all the others it was merit based (we never got far enough along in the process to figure out needs based stuff). If you think you might qualify for needs based grants, make sure you send your Fafsa to all the schools before you get accepted so that they'll be able to process them faster to let you know what you'll be getting (do it as soon as you've finished your taxes).

    ps. i've been hearing that competition is WAY up this year because everyone wants to go to school in a recession. I don't mean to scare anyone, but it's good to know what you're up against.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    Competition for $$ or to get in to the school has gone WAY up? I assume both, but I can't imagine MUP programs getting tons more attention from people. B-school/law school....without question. Who knows though. Just my luck...I finally figure out what I want to do and I probably won't get in anywhere

  16. #16
    Cyburbian
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    I would assume both as well.

    I would think applications to graduate school are up tremendously regardless of program, and MUP programs would be seeing a proportionate part of that.

    I haven't seen any hard data on it, because, I guess, many schools are still taking applicants or just stopped, but I think applications must have absolutely exploded this year. I wouldn't be surprised if this is the most competitive year for graduate school in at least decades.

    It sucks, but what can you do?

  17. #17
    Cyburbian
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    I've read a few articles about weather or not grad apps have gone up this year and they were interesting. The basic rule is that apps go up when the economy is bad but a number of schools are actually seeing a decrease, while others are seeing no change or increases, both in grad and undergrad. The conclusion has been that this is a weird year and no one can quite figure out what's going on. The number of people taking the GRE this year also dropped a bit.

    I wonder if there is a difference in the number of apps state schools are seeing vs. private schools.

    I got a little stressed when I started thinking about the increased competition due to a bad economy. I had always planned on applying for 2009 no matter what. But what can you do?

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Plus dandy_warhol's avatar
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    i had been accepted to the school and decided to attend. about two months before classes started i went to campus and met with the chair of our department. she didn't have any GA/RA available but directed me to a Prof. who often did. that afternoon i met with him and he offered me a GA on the spot.

    the GA included tuition remission and a stipend.

    i probably could've lived on the stipend but instead i took out a bunch of student loans. in hindsight i should've sucked it up and just lived on the stipend or a lesser amout of loans.
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally posted by bessymarch View post
    I've read a few articles about weather or not grad apps have gone up this year and they were interesting. The basic rule is that apps go up when the economy is bad but a number of schools are actually seeing a decrease, while others are seeing no change or increases, both in grad and undergrad. The conclusion has been that this is a weird year and no one can quite figure out what's going on. The number of people taking the GRE this year also dropped a bit.

    I wonder if there is a difference in the number of apps state schools are seeing vs. private schools.

    I got a little stressed when I started thinking about the increased competition due to a bad economy. I had always planned on applying for 2009 no matter what. But what can you do?
    There's a lot of caution in the market right now and you're not seeing many people taking the risk of leaving a stable job to go back to school even if they don't think there's much room for advancement. They'd rather ride out the storm with some sense of financial security than leave a job, go back to school, take on more debt potentially, and run the risk that a deflationary period could make that debt absolutely explode in terms of real dollars.

    It really only makes sense to go to grad school if you are coming right out of undergrad, have been downsized and don't have other opportunities available, or have a substantial financial cushion. You also need increasingly good credit to get student loans. The bad market=more applications connection is more apparent when slowdowns don't seem as severe as today's situation.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian planr's avatar
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    Admissions / Number of Applicants

    I can only speak for MIT, but the number of applicants for both the Masters and PhD are at record numbers, about 25% above normal I think.
    "Try to be in two incredibly successful bands. If not, that's okay." -- Words to live by, courtesy of Dave Grohl

  21. #21
    Cyburbian
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    Here's what I found in a few minutes of searching:

    Record-high application numbers for continuing education are typical during times of financial hardship-and Duke's Graduate School is no exception in the current economic downturn.

    As of Jan. 13, the Graduate School received 8,303 applications for Fall 2009 admission, said Thomas Steffen, director of graduate admissions. That represents an increase of about 33 percent compared to the number of applications received last year and, according to the Graduate School's Web site, is the highest amount the school has seen in the past 10 years.
    http://www.uwire.com/Article.aspx?id=3652508


    Joseph Duggan, associate dean of UC Berkeley's graduate division, said that as of Nov. 30, the number of graduate school applications is 28 percent higher than the same time last year-the biggest spike he has seen in his 23 years in the division.

    So far, about 7,814 applications have come in, compared with 6,115 last year. Roughly 35,000 applications come in yearly.

    "I don't remember ever having that large of a jump," Duggan said. "This is quite a big rise. They usually go up and down three or four percent."
    http://www.dailycal.org/article/1038...l_applications

    MONTREAL With entry-level job postings down as much as 25 per cent, Canadian graduate schools are bracing for an increase in applications for next year as students opt to stay in school longer rather than enter the workforce at a time of economic uncertainty.

    The University of Toronto has already received 12,631 grad school applications, about nine per cent more than it had received at the same time last year, graduate studies dean Susan Pfeiffer said.

    While applications are still pouring in, Queen's University MBA director Scott Carson said the prestigious program has thus far received twice the number of applications it had at this time last year.
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/can...9KlMBPQ9Ru1SzQ

    I also saw that GRE numbers haven't gone up, which seems strange, but it seems pretty clear to me that applications this year are fairly heavy. Whether it's evenly distributed across all disciplines/programs, who knows, but I don't see how there wouldn't be a significant increase.

    Even if the economy discourages mid-career switching (although that's what I'm hoping to do), I would think the sheer numbers of new graduates struggling to find jobs would result in a substantial increase all by themselves.

    Anyway, all this is probably irrelevant at this point except as a source of added anxiety, so it's probably not worth worrying about too much.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by planr View post
    I can only speak for MIT, but the number of applicants for both the Masters and PhD are at record numbers, about 25% above normal I think.
    To add another data point, UCLA's urban planning program received 30% more MA applications this year than last year.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by planr View post
    I can only speak for MIT, but the number of applicants for both the Masters and PhD are at record numbers, about 25% above normal I think.
    Ughh not too encouraging, though I did take the same strategy as you and approached the MIT prof I want to work with this summer. Judging from your previous posts I think I'm interested in your current advisor (I'm interested in travel behaviour in developing cities).

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