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Thread: Low GPA and chances for acceptance to MUP programs?

  1. #1
    Oct 2010
    Glacier, Washington

    Low GPA and chances for acceptance to MUP programs?

    I'm applying to several programs this fall, but I'm unsure of my chances of admission. I've been reading some similar threads, and I see that some people applying to some of the same programs have significantly higher GPA's and more work experience. I had been under the impression that my internships and volunteer experience might make up for a low GPA. I have a pretty diverse resume, but most of it is pretty light on substance - teaching english in an impoverished nation, internships with land conservation groups (with little responsibility) and most recently a one year AmeriCorps term with a local land trust. My reason for applying to school is because of the poor job market and also because I didn't really devleop real marketable skills in my previous work experience. I'm really interested in the field, but unsure of whether I should set my sights on something a little more tangible and maybe a little less competitive. Any advice would be appreciated.

    Oh and my GPA was 2.8 in a self-designed environmental studies degree highly relevant to planning - land use law, urban economics, environmental economics, GIS, planning methods, planning studio and others.

    GRE was 600 verbal, 550 math

    schools I'm considering are:
    UC Denver
    Cal Poly SLO
    University of Oregon
    Simon Fraser University

    and maybe UT Austin and UCLA just cause...

    Thanks for reading

  2. #2
    Apr 2007
    Which program are you considering at SFU?

  3. #3
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
    Blog entries
    When you wrote "low GPA", I thought you were describing something in the ΔΤΧ range. A 2.8 won't get you into an Ivy, but considering what planners make, many Cyburbians agree that Ivys are overkill, except maybe Cornell.

    Don't rule yourself out quite yet! You may get in, based on extracurricular activities, internships, and grades in relevant courses. So you got a C in Feminism and the Deconstruction of Derrida or Frisian 401 ... it's not going to matter much for a typical planing graduate program if there's enough As, A-minuses, and B-pluses in the courses that really matter in the eyes of the admissions committee.

    You might be admitted on a probationary basis, where you'll be required to keep your GPA above a 3.2 or thereabouts for your first two semesters.

    Just make sure the program is accredited, which will help you get AICP certification much quicker. Also, look at public administration programs where you can specialize i urban planning. The qualifications for many planning jobs include having an MPA or MUP/MURP, and it's a bit more flexible should the planning job market not recover by the time you graduate.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  4. #4
    Jul 2008
    Seattle, WA USA
    If your GPA is on an upward trajectory and at least 3.0 in the last two years of school you'll be fine.

    I know some people who went back to school (undergrad) to get their GPA up so they could go to planning school. It worked.

    And every school is different. You never know until you apply.

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