Hi, first time poster, need some input if you'd be so kind...
I've applied to and been accepted to 3 urban planning master's programs: UC Irvine, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and Cal Poly Pomona, and I'm waiting to hear back from UCLA; feel pretty confident I'll be accepted.
I got my bachelor's 15 years ago, this is about retraining for a new career so I want to get the most bang for my buck. I want the best education for my money, but I also want the best master's degree for the job market. That might mean the most expensive school or the cheapest, I don't know.
Obviously UCLA is the most prestigious program/school on the list, and it's also the most expensive. I want to get into as little debt as possible so really the only reason I'd choose UCLA is if the extra cost was justified in terms of employment chances after I graduate. UCI is a bit less than UCLA but they want to give me my first quarter for free (saving $5k).
I like Cal Poly's more practical, hands-on approach/curriculum, and they are both much cheaper than either UC school, but will a degree from either Cal Poly school look mediocre to an employer?
So overall what I'm looking for is general input regarding how much the prestige of the school matters to employers (either in the public or private sector), any ideas about the reputation of the 4 schools (and their programs) I mentioned, and just any advice related to my dilemma would be appreciated.