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Thread: Chance me in regards to programs

  1. #1
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    Chance me in regards to programs

    With the job market the way it is, I've been thinking about going back to grad school sooner than previously anticipated. I'd always liked Urban Planning and constantly kept an eye on construction and development in the cities I've lived in, so I am pretty sure that is where I'd like to go with a career. I'd like to concentrate on Environmental or Transportation planning (probably Environmental).

    Anyway, I went to UW-Madison, graduated with a degree in History, although I took calc, stats, finite math, and four economics courses. I took the GRE after my junior year and did badly - 720Q/480V/4.5 despite never getting below 650V on any of my Kaplan or official practice tests (and despite being constantly praised for my writing throughout college). My GPA was a 3.3, with a 3.5 in major. I have no experience and very little way of proving I am interested in urban planning.

    Thanks for any info! I want to know what to shoot for. I am thinking the CU-Denver, UC-Irvine, etc type school since I am not exactly Type A anyway.

    My top 3 would be

    CU-Denver
    UC-Irvine
    Cal Poly
    Last edited by Sunyata; 28 May 2009 at 6:46 PM.

  2. #2
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    I don't have any experience with UC Irvine but you should have a very good chance to get into all 3 schools with your stats. You could also try some schools like Virginia Tech where I'm pretty sure you'd get in too. But this whole process is pretty subjective so it is difficult to say for sure whether you would be accepted or not but I think your chances are good. Also it should be noted, the GRE isn't required for either Cal Poly or CU Denver.

    My stats were inferior (3.19 and 1100 GRE) to yours but had a more relevant major (geography), I didn't have much of a problem getting into the caliber of the schools you are looking at. I got waited listed at Cal Poly (which fell through) and CU Denver happens to be my alma mater. I also looked at Texas A&M and Georgia Tech which also appear to have transportation and environmental planning emphasises. Got funding at Clemson even.
    Last edited by Blide; 28 May 2009 at 8:44 PM.

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    Thanks for the reply.

    I'm also interested in upper-ish tier schools (Portland State, Washington, USC etc) --- I assume these are probably totally out of my reach? I've heard USC offers full admission to people in the 1300's+ when it comes to GRE, and I got a 1470 on my final practice exam and have kept all my Kaplan materials and flashcards, so I don't feel that this is totally out of reach if I were to retake the test (which I should be doing anyway since its over 3 years since I took it).

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Plus kalimotxo's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Sunyata View post
    Thanks for the reply.

    I'm also interested in upper-ish tier schools (Portland State, Washington, USC etc) --- I assume these are probably totally out of my reach? I've heard USC offers full admission to people in the 1300's+ when it comes to GRE, and I got a 1470 on my final practice exam and have kept all my Kaplan materials and flashcards, so I don't feel that this is totally out of reach if I were to retake the test (which I should be doing anyway since its over 3 years since I took it).
    My word of advice would be this: reach. Don't sell yourself short. Study hard for your GREs and you will absolutely improve on the verbal section - I took mine twice and gained a cumulative 150 points the second time around. I found that my capacity to manage my time had improved a lot having taken the test once before.

    In the meantime, look for jobs, internships or volunteer opportunities in the planning/environmental/conservation fields (if you're aiming for environmental planning) just to demonstrate to schools that you have a real commitment to the field. If work isn't available, volunteer for a local Friends of the River organization, join the local Sierra Club, take an active interest in local planning issues, etc.

    If I recall correctly, there were some folks here with stats not unlike yours that were accepted at USC with funding opportunities. I don't think any of the schools you are considering are really beyond your reach. Honestly, when I applied to schools in January this year, I thought I was being ambitious; I was accepted to all 3 schools, 2 with really good aid packages. Good luck!
    Process and dismissal. Shelter and location. Everybody wants somewhere.

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    Yeah, you'll probably have pretty good chances at getting in to most schools, though I have no idea on idea on funding. And since it looks like you have an interest in the West coast, it certainly would not hurt to apply to all the schools you listed. The worst that will happen is that you'll be out of an application fee.

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    Are you guys for realz? I assumed a 3.3/1190 GRE would only get me into like, low tier level 2 schools (although I assume tiers are fairly meaningless in Urban Planning, where experience/communication skills trump all). Of course, I am assuming I can do a lot better on the GRE this time around.... hopefully.

    USC would be my top choice because I want to study in a big, big city with all the different stuff to draw upon and learn about, as well as the fact that USC have excellent alumni connections.

  7. #7
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    Higher tier planning programs as a whole are not nearly as competitive or as essential as graduate programs for other fields like psych or business. Just pick a school in a location you wouldn't mind working and a program that best fits your interest. Also planning programs are only rated by one third party source, Planetizen. So how important that is is up to you.

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    If USC is my first choice, does anyone have any info or tips for me? I'd like to at least get half tuition (no way I'm paying 28,000 a year for a planning degree)! Even at half tuition, is it worth it though?

    I also like Cal Poly a lot because I am very interested in the design side, which I hear they excel at. However, I have *no* portfolio, even in the remotest, remotest sense.
    Last edited by Sunyata; 03 Jun 2009 at 5:36 PM.

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