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Thread: desperately need grad school advice

  1. #1
    Member
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    Columbus, OH
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    desperately need grad school advice

    Hi everyone,

    I was wondering if you had any insight into my upcoming choice. If my goal is to make about $75,000 upon graduation from grad school while at a job that isn't more than 50 hours per week on average (I'll explain why this is my goal later), which graduate school program should i attend?

    1. An masters in planning and JD joint degree at a respectable public university, both degrees in four years.
    2. The masters in planning degree from MIT.
    3. The masters in planning degree from Cornell.

    I got some level of scholarship offers from all, but the public university has been most generous. Thus, the total cost of all programs will be roughly the same, but in the first program I also get a JD. If I don't get the JD, the total cost of the first program will be nearly nothing.

    I'm open to working in the private sector or the public sector, and am equally interested in planning and also land use law. Having geographic choices after graduation would be nice; I'd like to live on the west coast but it's not a requirement. However, I will definitely need to have a job upon graduation because I have no family to rely on, a chronic health problem, and little savings, so I can't afford to have months in between graduation and my first job. I'll have no place to stay. (Hence why making a salary that allows me to pay back loans comfortably while not being a workaholic is very important.)

    I would really appreciate any thoughts, advice or insight. Thanks for reading this post!

  2. #2
    Your chances of getting a 75k job immediately upon graduation is going to be higher with the JD, regardless of whether its a state school. However, the likelihood of needing to fulfill a lengthy internship as a JD is higher.

    In any case, it seems pretty immature to be asking this question. If you have the intelligence to get into these schools, for their sake I hope you find more important purposes in life than getting a 75k job after graduation and not wanting to be a "workoholic" working more than 50 hours a week (which is completely ridiculous because less than 50 hours a week as a young lawyer is absolutely unrealistic). In fact, the general tone of this post is eerily similar to one of resident trolls.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Vancouver
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    You should send this message to the schools that accepted you and see if they still want you there.

    You aren't guaranteed anything in life. I know masters of planning students from good programs that can't find any work at all after graduating.

    You can't have the expectation coming out of school that you are going to make exactly 75K, live on the west coast, and work 40 hours a week. You just have to go to the program that you feel suites you the most, your career aspirations, and you find the most interesting. Then just work hard, and hope that you land a job upon graduation.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Dec 2006
    Location
    midwest
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    2,785
    Quote Originally posted by indecisive View post
    I will definitely need to have a job upon graduation because I have no family to rely on, a chronic health problem, and little savings, so I can't afford to have months in between graduation and my first job. I'll have no place to stay. (Hence why making a salary that allows me to pay back loans comfortably while not being a workaholic is very important.)

    I would really appreciate any thoughts, advice or insight. Thanks for reading this post!
    Buddy, you have to EARN jobs, everything from scrubbing dishes to working in planning or as an attorney. Law school is really 4-5 years: it's 3 years of school, then 1-2 years passing the bar. There are literally tens of thousands if not more out of work attorneys who passed the bar already who are ready and willing to work 100 hours (see previous posts).

    Almost everyone wants a job immediately after graduation. What makes you different than anyone else? Are you currently relying on your family to help you with your chronic health problem? From what little I have read, it sounds like you really want a high-paying job to just swoop down and grab you the minute you get that diploma. Yes, it does happen but it is much harder than you think.

    Is this chornic condition limiting you from working long hours? If so, I don't think law school is the right choice. The majority of attorneys do not make the huge salaries that the general public is led to believe. Out of school, attorneys in the public and private sectors can earn anywhere from $40,000-$60,000. Unless you either graduate from a top tier Ivy or first in your class from a second tier law school, your chances of landing a job right out of school at a top-notch firm are very slim. If you DO luck out, be prepared to sell your soul to the company.

    If you want to make money for the sake of making money, start a business or be a developer (although no one is building right now so that is kinda tricky). Graduate and law school admissions officers want to know WHY you are interested in planning and law. What exactly interests you about these professions? Don't focus on the money, that will come later.

    I would do two things:
    1. Informational interviews: set up interviews with attorneys and planners who do what you would like to do when you graduate. They are invaluable resources who give tremendous insight on what you can expect when you are done with school. The more people you speak with the better. Cyburbia is a great tool, but that is only one stepping stone. Don't just limit yourself to local professionals either. If your goal is working in another city, I would find a way to take a fly out there, set up interviews weeks/months in advance so you can see many different professionals in different firms over your stay. I did this several times in different cities. You might even discover that planning or law isn't exactly what you want to do. See previous posts.
    2. Go to school on someone else's dime. True, a full ride scholarship would be great, but there are still more than enough scholarships, grants, etc. that you could be working on now before you even go to school. Too many students wait to deal with the loans AFTER school when you should really be dealing with them before you even apply. You are choosing two professions that are significantly impacted by the ups and downs in the economy. There is no guarantee in anything, especially that you will be able to pay back ALL of your loans immediately upon graduation.

    Hope this helps-
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Sep 2009
    Location
    the bay, ca
    Posts
    37
    My gosh. These last couple of posts have brightened my morning much more than any cup of coffee could have. Thanks to the above contributors for serving up a slice or reality. Man, I can't wait to get these 7.75 hours of work done today.

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