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Thread: 24 yr old applying to grad school (MUP): where to apply?

  1. #1
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    24 yr old applying to grad school (MUP): where to apply?

    Hi I am a 24 yr old who has been out of school for a couple of years working at various non-planning related firms. I know for certain Urban Planning is want I want to devote my career to. I am in the process of applying to grad school right now for the Fall 2012 semester. I would like to know which programs are middle-of-the-road as far as admission requirements go since I am about to invest a lot of money and time into this process and don't want to put too much time into something that just isn't going to happen. I really like the idea of going somewhere in the Northwest (Oregon, Portland State, Washington etc..) or the Great Lakes/Upper Midwest (Illinois-Chicago, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin), or the east coast (Boston U, New School, Temple, Virginia, or Maryland (Half of my family are Terps!).

    BS Finance
    -3.04 Cum GPA
    -3.45 Finance GPA
    -Roughly 2 years of private sector non-planning related experience/ 1 internship with a real estate development firm in Dallas
    -Multiple rec. letters from bosses/supervisors/employers
    -Working on Academic rec...It has been 2 years since I have spoken to any of my professors!
    -Will take the GRE in October. Will most likely score slightly above average, if history is an indicator.

    ANY information will help. Thank you!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    I went to Eastern Washington University in Spokane, WA. I thought it was a pretty good program, accredited at least.

    Probably the biggest advantage - they don't require GRE scores for the Master's program, and have a pretty big department, so pretty sure it's fairly easy to get into. Wasn't too expensive, either, even for out of state - and residency for in-state tuition is only one year (so 2nd year you pay in-state tuition).

    FWIW, my cumulative undergrad GPA was 3.69 (0.01 short of magna cum laude, grr!), and I went straight from a non-planning-accredited undergrad degree (natural resources). Never took the GRE (though I will be in the fall, as I'm going for PhD).
    In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. (Douglas Adams)

  3. #3
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    The Great Lakes has minimal networking opportunities if your goal is to become fully employed right now. It does however have some great schools. My suggestion is to stay in Austin or go west young man (assuming you're a man)... if not go west young woman!
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  4. #4
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    Well, I just graduated from the University of Kansas in May (Jayhawks, woo!) ...

    My professors were all very professional and were great resources to have. However, it is in Kansas

    Sooo ... I will spare you further details unless you indicate it is someplace you might be interested in attending.

    ed. KU just renewed their accreditation again as well (20+ years strong) and added a new Transportation Planning faculty member.

  5. #5
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    EAM,

    I've been looking at many of the same schools in the Upper Midwest (Michigan, Wisconsin, UIC) and Pacific Northwest (Oregon, Washington, Portland State). I don't know if you have seen the ACSP and Planetizen guides - they have been a huge help to me. I know many people get hung up on the planetizen guide rankings, but they actually both it has a ton of information including: The number of students who applied versus the number who were accepted, some schools show average gpa and gre of incoming class, and if financial aid/cost is a concern for you as it is for me - they offer a total estimated cost of attendance and information on the percentage of students who receive financial aid. ACSP guide is free. The only thing that is tough is there are enough schools in the guide, it can become difficult to identify which schools to start to consider.

    Using those two guides and the programs' websites, I have been building a grid with information to compare my top 10 choices so I can narrow down my applications.

  6. #6
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    J Rish,

    I have been reading both ACSP and Planetizen trying to discern which schools make the most sense for me to apply to. I want to be realistic about where I will be admitted, but I also don't want to sell myself short. As of right now I have narrowed it down to 10 schools:

    Oregon, Portland St., Washington, Minnesota, Illinois-Chicago, Clemson, Auburn, Maryland, Pratt Institute, and Wisconsin.

    We'll see how it goes. I am visiting 5 of them over the next couple of months.

  7. #7
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    EAM,

    Have you decided which 5 you are going to visit? I had intended to apply and then once I got acceptance/non-acceptance, making my decisions of where to visit based on that.

    I'd love to hear your feedback (and your criteria for selecting schools) as you go on your visits.

    Auburn and Pratt stand out to me as different from the rest of your selections - why those 2? Also, I have been considering looking at UT Austin - any reason why that doesn't make your list despite your current location?

  8. #8
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    I will be visiting Oregon, Portland State, Washington, Illinois-Chicago, and Maryland. I was already going to be in all 3 areas for other reasons so I thought I might as well go see the campus and try to meet some faculty/students. I applied to Pratt because it offers the opportunity to live in New York for a couple of years and would be a different experience due to the nature of the school. It also had a high acceptance rate last year so it is somewhat of a safety school. Auburn is the same deal. It is toward the bottom of my list, but I would go there if I had no other choices.
    I would recommend applying to UT-Austin. The only reason I'm not is simply because I am an advocate of placing ones self in different environments (I also don't know if I would get in). Austin is great and I would be happy to live here for a long time, but I would welcome a change of pace if I knew it would last for 2-3 years.

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