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Thread: Me again, now between Hunter College v. BU....

  1. #1

    Me again, now between Hunter College v. BU....

    I have decided that I really want to do planning and will take whatever consequences that my follow out there in the job market.

    Now I am just looking for planning schools I can get into (my GPA was not the best in undergrad, 3.2). It was a top 20 undergrad, but I doubt that matter much.

    Two schools I am looking to apply to are Hunter College-CUNY and Boston University's MET program in City Planning.

    It seems like one can get a lot of good experience from either city.

    Hunter's tuition is a big sell for me. BU's flexibility is a bigger seller to me.

    CUNY's program seems really technical and practical. Plus CUNY to me sounds like a UCL (University College London) in the UK. Big City, well regarded university.

    Does anyone have any info. on the reputation of these schools in the planning world?

    The BU program is not accredited. The CUNY program is not even ranked in the top 25.

    So which one would be a better pick? I would really like to hear from grads of either school or people who know grads from either school.

    Thanks....

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    If you want to work as a planner, then the accreditation matters. Rankings are more or less irrelevant for planning programs since they're all bound by the same standards through the accreditation process. Planning is not a profession like law or business where school ranking is important for getting good jobs.

    So based on what you've said, Hunter College would be a better option. It is cheaper plus its curriculum is practitioner oriented which helps for getting jobs.

  3. #3

    Excellent.

    BU's program is not accredited, so I am assuming this hurts grads in the long run, no?

    Rankings do not matter, you say, but I am sure employers still look at the caliber of the program or reputation. Is Hunter one such program that is reputable?

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    in my humble opinion, hunter is a very reputable program.

  5. #5

    I hope the rest of the planning community shares your opinion

    Is it just reputable in the NYC metro area or all over the country? Perhaps over seas too?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    What rankings are you referring to anyway? Planetizen is the only entity that ranks planning programs and their name doesn't really carry any weight with employers. Then the school rankings are not indicative of an individual program's quality. I wouldn't be too caught up with a school's name since it isn't that important when getting a job in this profession.

  7. #7

    That is really good to hear...

    ....but then does accreditation heavily impact one's job prospects?

    For example the BU program seems like it has a lot to offer in terms of internships and the like, but it's not accredited.

    I've heard conflicting things, that it does matter or that it doesn't matter much, so that is why I am asking.

    Mostly, what I was asking about earlier is if employers value some programs over others? If a programs reputation is widely known among the greater planning community.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Going to an accredited school just makes it easier to get an AICP certification. Non-accredited schools may leave gaps in knowledge for the test. They also require you to have a year more of experience before you can attempt the certification test. AICP matters for some employers and going to an accredited school allows you to obtain it sooner.

    The reputations of schools are more regional in nature and are largely dependent on where the alumni are employed. Like here in South Carolina, a Clemson degree carries more weight with employers than a degree from any other planning school. It doesn't mean Clemson's program is better, it just means it's a familiar and known quantity to planning agencies in the state.

  9. #9
    Does that mean that it's best to remain in that area for a while, build up experience, before attempting to move elsewhere?

    If I consider the CUNY-Hunter program, I really don't know just how I would fair in a city with such a high COL.

    I would've liked to take any experience gained or degrees earned back down to South where it's more affordable to live.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Then why go way out of state? I still don't get this. You are spending a considerable amount of time on here trying to find if this school or that school is going to earn our seal of approval. Get off of Cyburbia for a couple of days, try to see if you can set up some informational interviews with practicing planners in the south who do what you want to do. Find out where THEY went to school since you want to follow in their footsteps, right?
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  11. #11

    It has mostly to do with getting earning elsewhere...

    ...wanting to work and see a new city and attend a reputable program.

    I really don't think I can get into UT-Austin or Texas A&M's programs either. They seem highly competitive. I am sure Hunter's and BU's are too but not as highly competitive as the former two. So I'd rather attend a program like Hunter where I can get considerably better experience than I would at UT-Arlington or Texas Southern University in Houston.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    I'll just say this, don't let your GPA hold you back on where you apply since your GPA is just one piece of the application. I can also say from experience that your GPA shouldn't be an issue at Texas A&M.

    Just keep in mind; it will be easier to get a job near where you went to school. That's not to say that where you go to school limits where you can work though since it does not.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by manoverde84 View post
    ...wanting to work and see a new city and attend a reputable program.

    I really don't think I can get into UT-Austin or Texas A&M's programs either. They seem highly competitive. I am sure Hunter's and BU's are too but not as highly competitive as the former two. So I'd rather attend a program like Hunter where I can get considerably better experience than I would at UT-Arlington or Texas Southern University in Houston.
    do not short change yourself. apply.. see what happens, you could be pleasantly surprised of the outcomes.

    also, some schools offer fee waivers so be sure to ask how do you qualify for one.

  14. #14
    Thanks guys for the encouragement.

    It would be hard to pass up NY though, lol.

    It seems like the experience there would be invaluable. The tuition is so low, I would have considerable amount of money for an apt. if I take out a Stafford Loan. I would pay for tuition out of pocket.

    I will apply to UT and A&M too....... with my fingers crossed.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by manoverde84 View post
    Thanks guys for the encouragement.

    It would be hard to pass up NY though, lol.

    It seems like the experience there would be invaluable. The tuition is so low, I would have considerable amount of money for an apt. if I take out a Stafford Loan. I would pay for tuition out of pocket.

    I will apply to UT and A&M too....... with my fingers crossed.
    good luck man! just write one heck of an LOI and have multiple people pick it a part for you. Oh, and ask early for letters of rec

  16. #16

    Just to reiterate the position on here....

    Hunter's program is highly regarded among planners, especially in NYC metro area? BU, not so much?

  17. #17

    Is it a red flag if a program offers no GIS courses?

    http://www.bu.edu/cityplanning/courses/#a_UA702

    ^ It doesn't seem like there are GIS, AutoCad, or internship courses in the curriculum.

    Does that mean the program is mostly theory based?

    http://www.bu.edu/cityplanning/faculty/benson.html

    Faculty is lacking planners. Is this a bad sign too?

  18. #18
    Cyburbian
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    Planning is an interdisciplinary field so not having planners in the program isn't a bad thing per se. I'll just say there's probably a reason that the program isn't accredited by the PAB. I can only speculate as to the reason but it likely has to do with the fact they aren't able to meet to PAB's standards. This doesn't necessarily mean they don't want to but they simply don't have the resources to.

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