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Thread: "Recent" planning graduate needs insight.

  1. #1
    Sep 2013
    Hilliard, Ohio

    "Recent" planning graduate needs insight.

    Hello all, I'm new to this forum but it seems that you guys can give great advice to someone like me. I "recently" graduated in the December of 2012 and since then, I've just been travelling and half-to-whole heartedly applying with no prevail. Here's me dilemma now:

    -9 months since graduated with a B.S. in City and Regional Planning
    -Didn't participate in any internships/experience while in my undergrad (kicking myself)
    -Not having any prospective job opportunities within the field
    -Currently attempting to gain as much experience as possible (Wherever it takes me, just need enough compensation to live)
    -Highly considering going back for my Masters
    -BROKE <- very important one here.
    -Trying to find other jobs on the side to "sustain" myself.

    So here's my question for you guys. What do you think is my next step in life? I'm highly considering going back to school, but I know right now I'm not financially capable of doing so. Even then, I feel afraid that the situation for after I graduate with my masters would be the same as now. Please help me out!

  2. #2
    I would apply to grad programs. If you're fortunate enough to be offered a financial package with acceptance, such as a fellowship or assistantship, that might kill two birds with one stone. This would also be your second chance to work part-time or intern during your studies. I find that experience trumps degrees when it comes to the job hunt.

    The job market for planning is recovering from its lows, but still, frankly, sucks. Consider pursuing a graduate degree in another field other than planning that may open up more doors and will compliment your undergrad degree. There is little value added from having am undergrad and grad degree in planning. An MPA would be a good combination with an undergrad in planning, but it all depends on your career goals.
    The content contrarian

  3. #3
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
    Jan 2009
    Remote command post at local bar
    I can't help much on life choices. If you can find internships, go for it. If you go to grad school, I agree with OP, get something other than a planning masters, MBA, MPA are good options depending where you want to go. If you're willing to work in a small town you might have better options there. Good luck!
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  4. #4
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
    Jan 2005
    Hang on Sloopy...land
    You have a great grad program at Ohio State just over on I-70. Go talk to some professors, and see what your likelihood of getting in are. Did you try to intern last summer?

    Most communities are budgeting for next year. Send out some resumes or letters of interest to communities. Let them know you would be interested in interning... even if it is only 10 or 20 hours and week and for free if necessary.

    You need experience. Communities (mine included) like to hire interns for the summer because that is when the stock is best. If you can justify yourself to a community maybe you can grab something earlier. The Columbus area has a ton of communities, start sending some letters.

    Good luck from a fellow Buckeye.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  5. #5
    Feb 2013
    The Midwest, God's gift to Planet Earth

    similar situation

    I was also in the same boat as you, but I graduated May 2012 with a bachelor's in planning. Looking back, I wish I would have double majored in something more tangible that would have complemented my planning degree, like Journalism, Econ, Finance, or Landscape Architecture instead of International Studies, but whatever. What I did was intern the summer after graduation through a fellowship program (there are TONS of one year "gap" type of programs available, though not necessarily planning related exactly, and some are pretty competitive), and then traveled for a bit, and then did another internship all the while simultaneously applying for both graduate programs/scholarships and jobs/internships/fellowships in order to keep options open. I would strongly advise that if you are thinking of grad school - remember, you don't NEED to take the admission offer if you find a job instead, but it is good to have a backup so you can compare costs/benefits/options. Also, some schools (like mine for instance) are flexible and let you defer admission as well, so you wouldn't have to go through that whole process again if you do get a different opportunity and want to push school back a little.

    As far as doing the same degree twice, I am currently starting my graduate studies in Planning as well (and so is a guy in my class from Ohio State's undergrad planning program) and we both find the material either refreshing to review or very different and/or much more intense/thorough than our undergrad programs. This might also be due to the fact that much more is expected out of grad students than undergrad, though. I think it will be a good opportunity to do more internships if you didn't get the chance to do them before. In addition, since you already have a background in planning, there is a chance you could waive out of 1 or 2 intro level requirements and instead jump into electives that weren't offered at your undergrad. For example, there is a great Real Estate program at my school that I want to check out, as well as the opportunity to take classes in Landscape Architecture and Public Health. So in that case, if you do your research, you can still learn new things even if you stick with planning, or could mix both (our public policy program students and planning students intermix classes all the time). I was just told whatever you do, use grad school as a way to learn and showcase your hard skills, as well as communication skills.

    Hope that helps, sorry it was long!

  6. #6
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
    Jul 2009
    Colo Front Range
    Quote Originally posted by ln030921 View post

    So here's my question for you guys. What do you think is my next step in life?
    The search function will reveal many others in your shoes.
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

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