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Thread: Planetizen Rankings 201(4)?

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    Planetizen Rankings 201(4)?

    Anyone know when Planetizen plans on cranking out the next round of school rankings? Apologies if this has been asked on another thread(s).

    Moderator note:
    (Dan) FYI, the folks at Planetizen don't have a problem with any discussion of the fact they have a school rankings list. However, they'll send us notices if any content other than the basic top 10 list is revealed. In previous years, we removed such posts. This time, we'll leave such posts up if they conform to Fair Use doctrine.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plus
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    No, and yes we have had threads about the value of school rankings.
    Last edited by JNA; 18 Feb 2013 at 6:55 AM.
    Oddball
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    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I am wonder if this obsession with school rankings is a manifestation of helicopter parenting?

    There are hundreds of good colleges out there and dozens of great ones. Anyone who goes into debt to chase after the best one is a fool soon to be parted with his/her money and left with a stack of bills.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

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    One must be a fool to think that the playing field is fair after graduation. All schools will offer almost the same education. But the best schools offer exposure and opportunities that are simply unparalleled.

    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    I am wonder if this obsession with school rankings is a manifestation of helicopter parenting?

    There are hundreds of good colleges out there and dozens of great ones. Anyone who goes into debt to chase after the best one is a fool soon to be parted with his/her money and left with a stack of bills.

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    Look for fit

    But that is why I think it is important to look for a good fit at a school rather than just the ranking. For example, I want to work in the Balkans and do planning. Not many schools have faculty doing research there.

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    Quote Originally posted by eigenvector View post
    One must be a fool to think that the playing field is fair after graduation. All schools will offer almost the same education. But the best schools offer exposure and opportunities that are simply unparalleled.
    The problem is that the vast majority of people in those programs will be unable to turn that exposure into anything more than just another job. At which point it's not really worth the additional cost.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally posted by eigenvector View post
    One must be a fool to think that the playing field is fair after graduation. All schools will offer almost the same education. But the best schools offer exposure and opportunities that are simply unparalleled.
    This is the belief that I find fascinating. It's an individual responsibility for pursuing exposure and opportunities. Probably the number one downfall of new grads is a sense of entitlement over those that have worked in the trenches, or in this case, going to an expensive named brand school.

    Some thoughts on the subject:

    1) Don't get into the business for the money
    2) The Planetizen rankings should play a very small role in determining the where to attend (if any role at all)
    3) Having practical planning experience is more important than education with no experience
    4) For most situations, the best school is the one that is free! (offers assistantships, stipends, tuition waivers)
    5) Be willing to pay your dues by working hard, volunteering and seek out new responsibilities, but also don't be afraid to move on to better opportunities as they arise
    The content contrarian

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    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by OfficialPlanner View post
    This is the belief that I find fascinating. It's an individual responsibility for pursuing exposure and opportunities. Probably the number one downfall of new grads is a sense of entitlement over those that have worked in the trenches, or in this case, going to an expensive named brand school.

    Some thoughts on the subject:

    1) Don't get into the business for the money
    2) The Planetizen rankings should play a very small role in determining the where to attend (if any role at all)
    3) Having practical planning experience is more important than education with no experience
    4) For most situations, the best school is the one that is free! (offers assistantships, stipends, tuition waivers)
    5) Be willing to pay your dues by working hard, volunteering and seek out new responsibilities, but also don't be afraid to move on to better opportunities as they arise
    Amen Amen.

    As long as the school is accredited you almost can't go wrong. Best thing to keep in mind is jobs typically are regional after graduation and you may find it hard to jump from one state to another for a few years (i.e. Many planners from Clemson flood the SC market each year and it is hard for outsiders to get into SC and also would be similarly difficult for Clemson grads to find work around say Raleigh with UNC and ECU nearby).
    @GigCityPlanner

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    Then once you get your first job, where you got your degree becomes even less important.

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    I agree with
    OfficialPlanner's list
    and
    Blide

    About Tide's job market comment -
    When I graduated, the state in which I went to school in and job hunting in - one the market was bad and two employers were over-saturated with grads from my school.
    I moved half-way cross country and got a job because my employer wanted new blood other than that coming out of the local school.
    Oddball
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    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    In agreement with all the aforementioned points.

    Don't be so tied to the ranking of the program that you are overlooking other equally important aspects:

    program of interest
    key faculty members
    region of interest, planning is NOT the same everywhere
    financial aid package
    ability to obtain a related internship while in school to gain much needed experience

    FWIW...I graduated from a program that shot up the ranking list over the 4 years I was there as a part time student. Employers don't care that you graduated from a #1 or #100 ranked program and no, it does not get you a higher salary.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

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    Quote Originally posted by kjel View post
    ability to obtain a related internship while in school to gain much needed experience
    This statement has become a broken record posted countless times about school and ones education experience.
    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)

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    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    I say this every time this questions is asked, but why would you waste your money on the planetizen rankings?

    What good would come of it? For one thing, the "rankings" are really not good. For another, even if they could tell you what the "best" school is, what does it matter?

    I think, and we have beat a dead horse about this in the past, that you should pick a school based on what you want to get out of it.

    Four things to consider when picking a school:

    1. Where do you want to work after school? Regionally, degrees from schools close by usually hold more weight.
    2. What do you want to focus on? Does that school have a professor that specializes in pocket parks which is your dream?
    3. What is the cost? Is it in state? If not, what makes it better to you to have a higher cost?
    4. The most important part - can you get an internship? Can you get your foot in the door somewhere with some help from the school.

    I can tell you that I wouldn't consider a Harvard degree if you want to work in Ohio. Why? Honestly, I would rather a Cincy Grad who knows Ohio and our laws. Someone who knows the area. Someone somewhat local.

    Save your money. Go to a school that meets your needs, but understand that the name does not sell the product. The product (what you learn and how you apply it) sells itself. Either you have the skills and education I want, or you don't. I could care less if your degree is from Berkley or Ball State.
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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    In the majority of entry level jobs, the employer expects that you'll move on after a few years. However, the Ivies and other top tier schools (MIT, etc) that are usually ranked highly could lock you out of mid-level planning positions outside of the Northeast. Employers may assume that you're be expecting pay or a level of responsibility that's commiserate with the prestige of your alma mater, rather than the position itself.

    A MUP from Cornell will set you back about $110K. A MUP from the University at Buffalo - $36K non-resident, $24K resident. Both will earn you a so-so salary in upstate New York.

    Planning really isn't a profession that is obsessed with academic pedigree.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    My two cents - I mainly agree with eigenvector. Yes, it's possible to create opportunities at lesser known schools, but funding for research/work opportunities, access to top-notch researchers/practitioners, the ability to cross register at other schools in the university are part of attending a top-notch school (which, in my opinion, don't necessarily correlate to Planetizen's rankings). It's not a feeling of entitlement - it's having these resources at one's fingertips by working hard to get into one of these schools in the first place.

    Also, while base tuition is often more expensive at the brand name schools, these often are the most generous with need-based grants and other aid so it's not true at all that these schools are necessarily more expensive options.

    Quote Originally posted by eigenvector View post
    One must be a fool to think that the playing field is fair after graduation. All schools will offer almost the same education. But the best schools offer exposure and opportunities that are simply unparalleled.

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    Quote Originally posted by bostonplanner View post
    My two cents - I mainly agree with eigenvector. Yes, it's possible to create opportunities at lesser known schools, but funding for research/work opportunities, access to top-notch researchers/practitioners, the ability to cross register at other schools in the university are part of attending a top-notch school.
    I think it all depends on what you want to do career-wise. I definitely won't argue that going to a top-notch school can open some doors. I just think if you want to take full advantage of those perks, you need to know exactly what doors you want to open. Those that are going into a top-notch program simply because they think it'll lead to a better job are probably misguided. However if you're specifically going so you can break into exclusive segments of the field, it might be worth doing.

  17. #17
    I think this is all solid advice for those pursuing professional careers in the field, but does anyone have insight on PhD programs? Is there anything specific to planning to consider? There really aren't a lot of resources advising people in the field, I guess because it's fairly new.

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    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Streetsy View post
    Anyone know when Planetizen plans on cranking out the next round of school rankings? Apologies if this has been asked on another thread(s).
    Have you given any thought to contacting them directly?

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    Quote Originally posted by jrs11e View post
    I think this is all solid advice for those pursuing professional careers in the field, but does anyone have insight on PhD programs? Is there anything specific to planning to consider? There really aren't a lot of resources advising people in the field, I guess because it's fairly new.
    A PhD adds a slightly different dynamic in that if the school doesn't fund you, you shouldn't even consider going there. With that said, I think it's important to strive to get into the best program possible. Unlike the professional world, academics are keenly aware of program strength and reputation. Although it's also important to go to a program where the faculty's research interests most align with your own.

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    Quote Originally posted by Blide View post
    A PhD adds a slightly different dynamic in that if the school doesn't fund you, you shouldn't even consider going there. With that said, I think it's important to strive to get into the best program possible. Unlike the professional world, academics are keenly aware of program strength and reputation. Although it's also important to go to a program where the faculty's research interests most align with your own.
    Ditto on the faculty's research interests. Your will be spending a lot of time with your adviser and committee so you should have some commonalities with them otherwise it's going to be a miserable trip. It's not particularly worth it if you are coming cash out of pocket for a PhD, they should be paying you to be there.

    More people are parking it in school longer and the PhD is a classic case of diminishing rate of return. The PhD job market is pretty saturated and most planning shops (public or private) likely won't consider a PhD as a hire.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

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    I want to change the subject slightly. Gettting a graduate degree has gotten a LOT more expensive since I finished my graduate degrees 15 years ago. In short, most prospective students spend way too much time obsessing over which school they should attend and too little time thinking about whether it makes sense to go to graduate school.

    The reason being is that even the "top" public institutions now have out of state tuition which can exceed $30,000 a year. When you combine that with the need in most cases to borrow living expenses for almost two year a student could find themselves easily in $100,000 of debt. For many the debt they take on for graduate school will be on top of any undergraduate debt they have. When you factor in the opportunity cost (foregone income for almost two years), the cost of a graduate education is often very, very high. While it is not what I do, most planners work in the land development process and real estate development is only now sputtering to life after becoming almost moribound during the past recession. Jobs are hard to come bye, and a graduate degree does not guarantee you employment after you complete your studies. You only have to go over to the "Career Advice" forum to understand how tough the job market has been over the last five years and it is only now getting better which means as a new graduate you will be competing for jobs with more experienced workers.

    Regarding school choice, I think it does matter. I agree with those who say that programs have a strong regional focus. I know a well qualified young person who went to a top 10 program (according to the 2012 Planetizen Guide), but is now resident in the Bay Area. He simply can't get a job because he is not part of the UC Berkeley mafia that predominates planning in the Bay area. I also believe that all other things being equal, a better school will open up more opportunities for you. The question then becomes, how much are you willing to bet on yourself (by borrowing money) taking advantage of the opportunities that going to a top school will afford you? In short, the increasing price of attending graduate school means that it is no longer the slam dunk investment it used to be. Remember, that some people will change their careers in the 40+ years of ones career and others will take time off to raise families or take care of aging parents. Finally, as a society we are very mobile and just because you intend to settle in the area around the school you plan on attending doesn't mean that you will end up working in that area for your 40+ year career. While it is impossible to predict the future, propsective students should figure considerations of geographic mobility and mid career changes into their choice of both whether to attend graduate school and which school to attend.

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    Orignal Poster

    Hello tide of internet commenters!

    My question was blunt, however I understand how threads are a great way for trollers to release (or build) aggression.

    I was simply asking because I attend a 'top 5' planning program and I cannot believe that the education I am actively seeking at this institution is worthy of this weight. In short, I think the rating is bogus, and I want to see how my program will change or not change in ranking in the next round.

    ˇKeep it coming compas!

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    What School?

    Quote Originally posted by Streetsy View post
    Hello tide of internet commenters!

    My question was blunt, however I understand how threads are a great way for trollers to release (or build) aggression.

    I was simply asking because I attend a 'top 5' planning program and I cannot believe that the education I am actively seeking at this institution is worthy of this weight. In short, I think the rating is bogus, and I want to see how my program will change or not change in ranking in the next round.

    ˇKeep it coming compas!
    Do you mind sharing what school you felt was over ranked? I am considering one of the schools in the top 5 and am wondering if it is the same school you are talking about. Feel free to PM me if you do not feel comfortable posting it on the thread.

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    Quote Originally posted by myh5015 View post
    Do you mind sharing what school you felt was over ranked? I am considering one of the schools in the top 5 and am wondering if it is the same school you are talking about. Feel free to PM me if you do not feel comfortable posting it on the thread.
    I would also be curious to know which and for what reasons.

  25. #25
    I am also very curious which school you're referencing if you're willing to share. I'm potentially going to go to one of them.

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