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Thread: Looking for University of Michigan insight

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    Looking for University of Michigan insight

    I currently live in Chicago and am looking at planning schools for next fall. I want to stay in the general region and return to Chicago after I finish. I'm leaning towards University of Michigan because the school has a great reputation, but I have heard really mixed things about the actual planning program. Does anyone have any insight? The good, bad, and ugly?

  2. #2
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chitownplan View post
    I currently live in Chicago and am looking at planning schools for next fall. I want to stay in the general region and return to Chicago after I finish. I'm leaning towards University of Michigan because the school has a great reputation, but I have heard really mixed things about the actual planning program. Does anyone have any insight? The good, bad, and ugly?
    Good: It is in Ann Arbor.
    Bad: You have to pay to go to school.
    Ugly: The Football team.

    Go Buckeyes


    Sorry I have nothing positive to add to this thread....
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    For a state school, Michigan's tuition is outrageous for in-state and out of state students. If you want to work in Chicago after graduation I would look into UIUC or Wisconsin-Madison. UIC is okay but is not as highly ranked as the other two Big 10 schools.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  4. #4
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Are you talking undergrad or graduate school?

    I will agree that University of Michigan's graduate tuition is outrageously expensive - that was the main deterrent from me going there. Some of the state schools in Michigan though do have programs that allow residents of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New York, and even Ontario (basically all the Great Lakes states) to pay reduced or in-state tuition rates so that is something to look into (I am not sure if the University of Michigan participates or if they do that for the graduate school).

    I know quite a few folks who went there for undergraduate and/or graduate school and they work in a variety of different types of positions. I know graduates from there that work in metro Detroit, throughout Michigan, Chicagoland, DC... As far as getting that brand name behind your degree, I think Michigan is easily one of the best for public schools - especially in the Midwest. I would agree with nrschmid though and suggest checking out Wisconsin. I've also heard really good things about the University of Iowa. Either of those might be a lot better value if you haave to pay out of state tuition (especially in the long-run). I don't know if it's a good or a bad thing but Michigan also have a relatively large number of PhD students in their planning and architecture programs (which you will not find at other state schools in Michigan).

    I cannot comment on the undergraduate planning program at Michigan (I'm an econ and policy guy myself) but I never hear any complaints from the students who went through the planning programs. One of the good things about Michigan is that their offerings are very diverse and while studying planning, you have the opportunity to take classes through many different nationally recognized departments (which you would likely also get at Wisconsin, Iowa, etc.).

    As far as campus towns go, I love Ann Arbor and have heard it's second only to Madison in the number of things to do. Being so close to a major city in Detroit and only a couple hours from Chicago as well is definitely a plus. The architecture program at Michigan actually does quite a bit of work in the city of Detroit now and has recently opened a satellite classroom for seminars and special classes and trainings in the Midtown area.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Batmanda's avatar
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    I'm a second year masters student at Michigan right now, and while I agree that the out of state tuition here is pretty hefty, I've been very happy with my choice. (FYI there isn't an undergraduate planning program here at all)

    The good: The faculty is great, and theres an interesting and intelligent mix of students. There are a variety of concentrations, certificate programs, and opportunities to take classes in other departments. They make it very feasible to get a dual degree in 3 years- I've got friends in public health, policy, architecture, natural resources, business, and law. Ann Arbor is a great town, and while we do work on the really interesting urban issues in Detroit, we do work based elsewhere as well, and I feel like I'm getting knowledge and skills applicable anywhere. Some other schools I visited were either too theoretical or too practically focused on their specific location, and I've been happy with the balance here.

    The bad: they were trying to grow the program beginning with my class in 2009, and it caused some upheaval with class sizes- but, they've added faculty this year, so it seems things are leveling out. Its an issue any school goes through when attempting to size up, and it seems pretty well resolved now.

    As far as money- I was worried about that too, because I think Michigan may be one of the most expensive public schools out there. However, in general you have to not just consider the amount, but the bang for your buck, and which school's program fits you the best. If you want to stay in the midwest, I have friends who are at Cleveland State, MSU, and UIUC and seem happy there, too.
    Feel free to PM me if you have specific questions!
    Last edited by Batmanda; 14 Nov 2010 at 11:50 AM. Reason: more info

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    MUP Advice?

    I was recently accepted into UM's MUP program and would appreciate an update on this thread/conversation. Could any recent alums/current students chime in? My primary interests are transportation and land use (UM appears to be strong in both). Thanks in advance.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Thanks for reviving this thread, because I'm also from the Chicagoland area I was literally wondering the same thing!

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Funding?

    Anyone hear about $$$ yet?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    UMich Funding

    Quote Originally posted by rdr06001 View post
    Anyone hear about $$$ yet?

    I just received my official letter of admission today with funding info. It was nice but I would still need to take out significant loans to pay for school. The GSI position would be an option but not sure how common it is for MUP students to get GSI positions. I've read they are very competitive so I am reluctant to depend on it.

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    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by myh5015 View post
    I just received my official letter of admission today with funding info. It was nice but I would still need to take out significant loans to pay for school. The GSI position would be an option but not sure how common it is for MUP students to get GSI positions. I've read they are very competitive so I am reluctant to depend on it.
    Yeah, that caught my eye too, but I wouldn't bank on it. Overall, their offer really bummed me out. If you're going to charge such an absurd amount for your program, be a little more generous with funding. I'll be declining. If I'm going to pay top dollar, it'll be for Penn.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by rdr06001 View post
    Yeah, that caught my eye too, but I wouldn't bank on it. Overall, their offer really bummed me out. If you're going to charge such an absurd amount for your program, be a little more generous with funding. I'll be declining. If I'm going to pay top dollar, it'll be for Penn.
    Agreed. I am attending the open house at UMich to see in person what the program has to offer. Looking forward to what Penn has to offer.
    Last edited by myh5015; 07 Mar 2013 at 6:57 PM.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    so much deciding to do

    Quote Originally posted by myh5015 View post
    Agreed. I am attending the open house at UMich to see in person what the program has to offer. Looking forward to what Penn has to offer.
    I agree with both of you above. I got some money from Mich for the first year (9,000+9,000) but the catch is that you cannot be a GSI while holding a scholarship...which I think is just another way of saying GSI's are reserved for second years.

    Gonna attend the open house - the classes offered are soooo unique and I am really excited about them! Not so much about the price tag and uncertainty though

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    GSI

    Quote Originally posted by akshali2000 View post
    I agree with both of you above. I got some money from Mich for the first year (9,000+9,000) but the catch is that you cannot be a GSI while holding a scholarship...which I think is just another way of saying GSI's are reserved for second years.

    Gonna attend the open house - the classes offered are soooo unique and I am really excited about them! Not so much about the price tag and uncertainty though

    From my understanding, you are eligible for GSI after your first term but if you have a scholarship for that semester, you essentially forfeit that money. In exchange, you get full tuition coverage, stipend and health benefits. I think the GSI is a better deal

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    GSI

    Quote Originally posted by myh5015 View post
    From my understanding, you are eligible for GSI after your first term but if you have a scholarship for that semester, you essentially forfeit that money. In exchange, you get full tuition coverage, stipend and health benefits. I think the GSI is a better deal
    True, if the position is within Taubman College. I am looking at GSI's in other departments and those are part time 50% with no stipend...so I wonder if it's possible to combine both in that case? Not that I really expect anyone to give an assistantship to a measly first year, but one can try right? *sighs wistfully*

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    GSI

    Quote Originally posted by akshali2000 View post
    True, if the position is within Taubman College. I am looking at GSI's in other departments and those are part time 50% with no stipend...so I wonder if it's possible to combine both in that case? Not that I really expect anyone to give an assistantship to a measly first year, but one can try right? *sighs wistfully*
    It sounded like we couldn't have both

    Does Taubman give assistantship to first years? On last year's thread, there was someone that mentioned receiving a full ride scholarship. Haven't heard of any for this year.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian
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    Getting a GSI first year

    You can try to get one second semester but I think it's pretty uncommon. I talked to a current first year student today and she said you have a 1/3 chance of getting one once you enroll. Though she also managed to get a research assistantship so maybe that's easier...?

  17. #17
    Cyburbian
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    Open House?

    Anyone else planning on going to the open house this week?

  18. #18
    Cyburbian
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    Open House

    Quote Originally posted by akshali2000 View post
    Anyone else planning on going to the open house this week?
    I'll be attending the open house! I am very excited about visiting. I've had great conversations with multiple students and look forward to seeing the program in person.

  19. #19
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    Unfortunately I can't attend UM's open house but I'm visiting the week after. I would appreciate a brief a recap of the open house from those able to attend, if you have the time.

  20. #20
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    Hey everyone,

    I'm currently a second year student in Michigan's urban planning program. I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have so feel free to send me a PM or whatever. Glad to see that there are a few of you considering the program.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian
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    Open House Weekend

    The open house weekend was pretty impressive. I felt like I got a very good taste of the program and felt a genuine sense that the faculty cares very much about their students and their success. Michigan has definitely set the bar very high for the other schools I am visiting. After this weekend, it put Michigan at the top of my list.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian
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    Open House

    Quote Originally posted by myh5015 View post
    The open house weekend was pretty impressive. I felt like I got a very good taste of the program and felt a genuine sense that the faculty cares very much about their students and their success. Michigan has definitely set the bar very high for the other schools I am visiting. After this weekend, it put Michigan at the top of my list.
    It was definitely a very well organized event and I loved the sense of family among the current first year class.

  23. #23
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    Open house

    I was also at the open house! Still debating the money issue...I think everyone perked up when they were talking about GSI's...going to be competitive!

  24. #24
    Cyburbian
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    Anyone care to elaborate on the GSI position? Is it full tuition plus stipend? How much is the stipend? Are the positions only for one semester in your second year? Is it true that about a third of second years are offered a GSI position?

  25. #25
    Cyburbian
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    GSI

    Quote Originally posted by rdr06001 View post
    Anyone care to elaborate on the GSI position? Is it full tuition plus stipend? How much is the stipend? Are the positions only for one semester in your second year? Is it true that about a third of second years are offered a GSI position?
    The GSI will provide full tuition, stipend (not sure on amount) and health benefits. It is my understanding that it is very difficult to get a GSI position, factors such as past experience and academic performance in the class can put you in a more favorable spot. However, we were told that we could look outside of Taubman. Since Taubman does not have any undergraduate UP classes, there is limited space for GSIs. In most cases, if students get a GSI position it is for one semester. The college likes to spread the opportunity around to other students.

    An upside is that students can apply to other areas of the university to be GSI if it relates to your undergraduate major(s) and/or job experience and comes with the same benefits. However the challenge is that most of those areas likely have a preference for their own respective graduate students.

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