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Thread: Advice for a recent undergrad who doesn't want to go to grad school right away

  1. #1
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    Advice for a recent undergrad who doesn't want to go to grad school right away

    Hey everyone, I just graduated from college last month and like most undergrads (i'd imagine) did go to a school with an undergraduate urban planning program. I was wondering if there are any way an undergrad can get started in the urban planning career before I get into grad school?

    I already know I am going to eventually have to go to grad school and I understand that, but I want to take some time off while contributing towards a career in urban planning,

  2. #2
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    You can search the career advice subforum as well, but the economy is tough and you have to have a lot of skills/experience/networking to get a job right now. You should try for an internship, if you can't get a paid one, look to volunteer a couple days a week. You need to get experience anyway you can. There are lots of planners with 3+ years of experience, a Master's degree, and lots of skill sets that are looking for work.

    You might not be able to compete with these people, but you need to be able to sell yourself as a viable candidate. A master's degree might help that, but it all depends on the costs and your situation. Good luck.
    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 Rygor's avatar
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    I hope that you had a fairly distinguished academic career because otherwise even landing an internship right now is going to be tough unless you know someone personally or you have some other skills or experience that sets you apart. I graduated back in the early 2000's, when things were booming, with a BA in planning but was lucky enough to land an internship, which then led to another internship, which turned into a full-time gig at the same place. If not for having almost 9 years of experience I don't think I'd be very marketable right now with just a bachelor's degree. Right now I am looking for jobs and have a couple interviews lined up, but I also applied to grad school as a fall-back in case I can't land a job in this tough economy.

    So, I would suggest applying to grad schools if not too late (there are still some taking apps) as a fall-back if you can't land some kind of internship or entry-level job. As a Plan "C", I'd be looking for other types of jobs to just pay the bills, as well. Things are slowly starting to turn around in some places but the job market for planners is still tougher than it's ever been. Just be forewarned and make sure you have options.
    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    I also graduated last month with a degree in Economics and applying for MUP grad schools right now. It seems to me that if you're not a finance/business/engineering/math major right now, forget about securing any kind of solid employment with ease straight out of undergrad. And for planning it's even tougher.

    So far, at least for me, the planning-related opportunities that seem to be out there right now are internships, most of which are unpaid: in other words, volunteer work. I've been looking at mostly econ development organizations to leverage my econ background for the time being.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Well, I'm kind of in the same boat as you, being an undergrad who doesn't want to go to grad school right away. While I gained lots of experience interning all throughout my undergrad, I am competing against people with both experience and master's degrees. It's very tough out there.

    Right now I'm plugging away with a retail job and continuing to apply to planning jobs. I've gotten interviews, very positive feedback, and have come really close, so I figure it's only a matter of time.

    If you want to stay competitive and have somewhat of a chance of finding an entry-level job, it is imperative that you network and get lots of meaningful internship experience. I'd definitely recommend grad school at this point too. If I had to do it all over again, I probably would have gone straight to grad school if I knew then what I know now.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  6. #6
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    thanks a lot for all the replies. I really don't like going back to school, but I hear what you are saying. I took one of two undergrad urban planning courses a year ago and my and the professor had a good relationship. Maybe I could contact him and talk about their grad program. The one thing that kills me is the money to pay for it. I mean tuition isnt bad since I'd be paying in state ($6,600 roughly), it's just the bills i'd have to pay on top of the undergrad loans. *sigh*

    An investment for my future does not come cheap. Thanks a lot and if there is any other advice that you all may have, please let me know. I'm taking them all in.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Go west, young man...

    Afghanistan beckons. Plenty of work there, and some of it, leaving the potential futility of it all aside, can be quite interesting and quite lucrative.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Go west, young man...
    Afghanistan beckons. Plenty of work there, and some of it, leaving the potential futility of it all aside, can be quite interesting and quite lucrative.
    Care to share these leads? I don't doubt it, but maybe my Google skills are not up to par.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Plus
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    You could wait 8 yrs like I did.
    I worked in various and assorted jobs unrelated to planning, like being a ski bum in CO, which totally unprepared me for grad school.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

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