Hello! I've been lurking on Cyburbia for a while now. Now that I'm finally back in town for the summer, I thought I'd post what I've been thinking about.
I'm trying to figure out if I should applying to graduate school this year. I have yet to take the GRE, as I've been studying abroad for the last semester, and am wondering if I have a chance.
Some background: I currently attend the University of Rochester. My academic studies show little to no interest in American/domestic politics; I'm double majoring in International Relations and Religion. I just got back from Cairo, where I studied at the American University in Cairo, taught English to refugees, and wrote a paper on discriminatory urban planning in Jerusalem. My GPA at home is 3.44 cumulative. Fall 2008 I pulled off a 3.8, and in Spring 2009 I maintained a 3.88 at AUC. Extracurricular-wise, I served as co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Undergraduate Research this past academic year. This fall, I'll be serving as president of 'R World 'R Vote, a political awareness and advocacy organization on campus.
I managed to obtain an internship with the City of Rochester's Bureau of Planning this summer, in order to get some practical experience. So far I'm really enjoying it! The projects I'm currently working are keeping me busy and interested, ranging from refugee resettlement to census preparation to housing development.
I'm wondering if I should hold off on applying for grad school, since I'm only now getting practical experience in urban planning. Or do you think it's still worth a shot?
I also have some other questions:
- Will my lack of academic interest in American politics hurt me? Or rather, will it have any effect at all? I intend to work stateside, not in international planning.
- What if I don't yet have a specialization in mind? I'm really interested in transportation and land use, but I don't want to limit myself.
- Does anyone have any experience with the Aga Khan program at Harvard/MIT? I'm not saying I'm a candidate for either school, not by far, but my concentration within Religion is Islam. It might be sort of interesting to blend urban planning with my interest in Islamic architecture as well.
I know I definitely have other questions, but I'll save them for later. Thanks in advance for your comments! I know many of you spend a lot of time helping out frantic prospective grad students like myself. If you have any other advice or comments, I welcome them.