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Thread: Berkeley summer career discovery program

  1. #1

    Berkeley summer career discovery program

    I know Berkeley's summer career discovery program is new - I think 2010 may have been their first year. Did anyone go or know anyone who went? Any feedback or experiences would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Jul 2010
    Portland, OR
    I'm curious about this too. I'm thinking about applying for summer '11.

  3. #3
    Sorry for the delayed reply! I’m going to repost your questions from the message you sent me; I hope that’s okay.

    clarsen asked:
    I read that you participated in the [In]City program at Berkeley last summer and I was curious to hear your impressions. I'm thinking of applying for Summer '11, so it would be great to hear what you thought. Did there seem to be any difficulty getting accepted, or did you feel any sense of competitiveness for spots in the program? What did you do about housing? If I do apply I was sort of planning on finding a sublet in the area, since I just don't know if I could do dorms again, plus subletting seems to possibly be a bit cheaper. Do you feel it helped you get a better sense of the field of planning and prep you for thinking about grad school?

    I’ll try my best to answer!

    I sent in my application pretty early, about 6 weeks in advance of the deadline, and at the time I was under the impression that it was pretty easy to get into the program because I heard back within a week that I had been accepted. However, once I got to Berkeley I found out that they had chosen 70 people from 140 applicants, so I guess that’s a 50% acceptance rate.

    I am really glad that I participated in the program and I do think it helped to solidify my grad school plans. Couple of things: this was the first year of the program. The landscape architecture and architecture programs had been held before, but not planning, so there were a few kinks to be worked out, mostly in terms of scheduling and expectations. The course consisted of lectures, seminars, and studios; lectures/seminars were led by Berkeley faculty and visiting professionals, and studios were led by grad students. The lectures/seminars covered pretty much every major field/specialization in planning so it was a nice overview of a lot of relevant topics. The overall “theme” was sustainability and climate planning, and our studio projects were tied into Berkeley’s Climate Action Plan. There were also field trips related to urban farming, trash, water, and the new Bay Bridge.

    Plan to spend A LOT of time in studio. You’ll learn Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, and touch briefly on ArcGIS. You will learn these programs faster than you thought. There weren’t any assignments for the lecture portion of the course, just readings, and I think most people actually stopped doing the readings because studio took up so much time. The majority of our studio instructors also had an architecture background, and a few of the projects were a little more design-focused than I had anticipated, but learning how to present ideas and data visually is a really good skill to have, and I feel like I came away from the program with a better sense of how to do that. For our final project, we presented our design proposals to planning faculty, City of Berkeley representatives, and community activists.

    Students came from a lot of different backgrounds, some very related to planning, some very different. There were a few undergraduates and a few 30-40 year olds, but I think the majority of people were mid-20s, a few years out of college. I think most of us lived in sublets in Berkeley or Oakland; there are also student co-ops and dorms available. The program director, Karen Frick, was very accessible and met with almost all of the students one-on-one to talk about careers, school, whatever. There were also a few “admissions/grad life advice” sessions with faculty and current students, which were kind of helpful.

    Hmm…I hope that covers everything! Because it was the first year, I really think that nobody (program directors, students, studio instructors) really knew what to expect, and at the end of the session there was a lot of feedback on how to improve the course, so maybe next year it’ll be totally different! Students had different levels of satisfaction with the program, but I really think it's because
    there was so little information ahead of time about what we were actually going to be doing. The best thing about it, for me, was that I came away thinking, “Yes, I am really interested in planning, I can hack it in a grad-level program, and I’m ready to go back to school.” Plus, you know, the Bay Area in the summer ain’t bad (although I had very little free time to enjoy it). Let me know if you have any other questions!

  4. #4
    Thank you for this really helpful information. If one is already sure they want to study urban planning, do you think a summer program like the one at Berkeley is worth it or a good idea? Also, would it really help getting into a good masters program and would it hinder receiving financial aid for a masters program?

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