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Thread: Planetizen planning school rankings

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Planetizen planning school rankings

    I'm curious if anyone has any views on the Planetizen survey rankings. Is it well regarded?

    http://www.planetizen.com/topschools

    I'm actually pretty surprised by the ordering (if not by most of the actual schools). I mean I'm happy to see MIT ranked number one, but I didn't even know USC had a program, and where are Columbia, Harvard GSD, Michigan?

    2012 Guide - Top 10 Planning Programs
    1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    2 Cornell University
    3 Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
    4 University of California, Berkeley
    5 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    6 University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
    7 University of Southern California
    8 Georgia Institute of Technology
    9 University of California, Los Angeles
    10 University of Pennsylvania

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Moderator note:
    (Dan) Sorry, but we were asked by the owner of Planetizen to remove information that is included only in the paid guide, even though we believe the information posted complies with the Fair Use doctrine of US copyright law.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Quote Originally posted by Cismontane View post
    I'm curious if anyone has any views on the Planetizen survey rankings. Is it well regarded?
    I don't remember it being around when I applied 20+ yrs ago and would not have considered it any way.

    Does it mention
    internship placement ? or lenght of them ?
    tuition debt load ?
    that all accredited schools have the same core classes ?
    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?
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    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
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  4. #4
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    First, let's be careful with any rankings from their "study" that they don't provide for free....

    Secondly, I will say this a million times, but these are completely pointless. PLEASE DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY. Look at how they come to conclusions, if you pay them, they will rank you. It is complete bunk.

    If you want to get a start of which Ivy school to go to, feel free. If you were planning on an Ivy anyway, why pay to have someone confirm that? Do your own research and give people a call... that is how you will find what you are looking for. I really don't think you will find a "top" program, just like it is difficult to define exactly what a planner is.... good luck.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  5. #5
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    All programs have their strengths and weaknesses, too. Some are well-rounded, some excel in certain specialty areas, some have gaps. Want to work in a municipal or county planning agency? For example, Cleveland State is terriffic for public policy, housing, and community development. If you want to work in urban design, or in a municipal or county planning agency, you'll be at a big disadvantage compared to your peer; CSU is weak when it comes to what could be called "planning planning."
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    And just to note... it really doesn't matter what rankings there is. Spending money for a top tier school is a great way to go into huge amounts of debt without really affecting your chances of getting a job. However, there are a few state schools on that list...
    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)

  7. #7
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    IMHO rankings are a good place to begin, but not to end. Just like rankings of 'best city for x'.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  8. #8
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    [gritting my teeth] I earned a BA in planning from Sonoma State University. I got good grades. I'm doing alright. I gotta wear shades. 'Cause I'm in Florida now. [/gritting my teeth]

    The point I'm making at this point in time now () is that it doesn't make a flipping difference what school you attend!!!!
    I think that one of the great signs of security is the ability to just walk away.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally posted by Richmond Jake View post
    [gritting my teeth] I earned a BA in planning from Sonoma State University. I got good grades. I'm doing alright. I gotta wear shades. 'Cause I'm in Florida now. [/gritting my teeth]

    The point I'm making at this point in time now () is that it doesn't make a flipping difference what school you attend!!!!
    The best planning school is the one that's free!

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Quote Originally posted by OfficialPlanner View post
    The best planning school is the one that's free!
    Next best is non thesis option.
    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)

  11. #11
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    My 2 Cents

    As a 2011 grad of a well-ranked school on this list, my two cents are thus: the most important criterion you need to consider is the job placement rate (who, where, salary, etc.). Demand that information when you are a prospective student touring campuses. If you can't get numbers on where recent grads are going and what they do, I'd be suspicious. My school's career center was lackluster. I know it's a crummy time for planning-related hiring, but some uni's just don't see career centers as a priority. As a "professional degree" holder, I certainly do. OK, grumbling over.

    Don't think anyone's pointed it out yet: ACSP has a free guide --> http://www.acsp.org/education_guide/the_guide

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Quote Originally posted by Sun Devil View post
    As a 2011 grad of a well-ranked school on this list, my two cents are thus: the most important criterion you need to consider is the job placement rate (who, where, salary, etc.). Demand that information when you are a prospective student touring campuses. If you can't get numbers on where recent grads are going and what they do, I'd be suspicious. My school's career center was lackluster. I know it's a crummy time for planning-related hiring, but some uni's just don't see career centers as a priority. As a "professional degree" holder, I certainly do. OK, grumbling over.

    Don't think anyone's pointed it out yet: ACSP has a free guide --> http://www.acsp.org/education_guide/the_guide
    That list has schools missing.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Sun Devil View post
    As a 2011 grad of a well-ranked school on this list, my two cents are thus: the most important criterion you need to consider is the job placement rate (who, where, salary, etc.). Demand that information when you are a prospective student touring campuses. If you can't get numbers on where recent grads are going and what they do, I'd be suspicious. My school's career center was lackluster. I know it's a crummy time for planning-related hiring, but some uni's just don't see career centers as a priority.
    I agree in general, but a caveat here in the midst of the Great Recession is: how many recent grads are bartending and don't wish to share that fact with the school? Just saying numbers are numbers and good chance of GIGO here too.

    Perhaps the prospective student should ask about the number of bartending jobs nearby, and if there is an associated hottie index at those establishments to while away the years.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  14. #14
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Moderator note:
    Just the usual friendly reminder; please don't ask for or offer copies of the actual PN school report. From the rules:

    5.1.3 Freely sharing copyrighted materials that are otherwise being sold in their digital form by their copyright holders is not permitted.

    Cyburbia staff will suspend users who ask for copies of the PN school report, or offer to give it to others. The same goes for other documents being sold in their digital form. Quoting from the report must comply with the Fair Use doctrine under United States copyright law.

    Respect the work that went into the report's creation, and purchase it from the source if you want the data.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    I'd image the schools with the highest job placement rates are those who essentially have a monopoly on the market in their region. My school didn't have strong career placement or anything like that but its name held a lot of weight since it was the only planning school in the state. We were a known quantity thus were more desirable than graduates from schools out of state.

    Obviously this is only beneficial if you want to work in the area where you went to school.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian
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    I agree that job placement is a very important criteria, but surely that can't be it. In theory, a school can be located in a tough market and thus suffer from job placement and still have an excellent program.

    Recent graduates from MIT (which is #1) seem to be doing well enough, and are generally employed, but, then again, as far as I can tell, so are recent grads from Columbia, which didn't make the list. Frankly, the northeast isn't doing that awfully right now, and I would imagine the job placement rates in the region reflect that. I've heard that recent grads from California programs - top or not, aren't doing that well.. which make sense when you consider how bad the hiring requirement is out there....

  17. #17
    Cyburbian
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    I bought the Planetizen guide and can say without hesitation that I'm glad I did. Sure, applicants should go to schools and talk to students and planners about the pros and cons of respective programs. But given the importance one's choice of school has, I wanted to have as much information as possible. Each school has a profile that dumps an appreciable amount of information on you. There's areas of specialization, course offerings and class size, annual cost of attendance for in-state and out-of-state, total financial aid offered, average size of financial aid award for both merit aid and need-based aid, # of graduate assistantships, employment 1 year after graduation and median starting salary, employment by sector (private, public, non-profit), and admissions statistics. As someone who began thinking about planning only recently, the guide allowed me to get catch up on what to know about each school. Even the rankings were somewhat useful since they give a rough approximation of where each school stands.

    For instance, I realized that some private schools even some of the more prestigious ones could be cheaper than a state school (especially for out-of-state residents). For example, out-of-state tuition at UC Irvine is around $28,000. Tuition at Cornell, once you account for a $6000 assistantship every student receives, is around $20,000. It just depends on where you're admitted and what funding each school offers. And some of the more prestigious schools have greater resources so they can offer far more financial aid than other schools. But I would have never known that without the guide.

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