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Thread: "What school?" Help!

  1. #1
    Dec 2015
    New York, NY

    "What school?" Help!

    Hello Cyburbia! Please help me select a school.

    Here are my stats:
    GRE 166Q 165V
    GPA 3.4
    2 letters of rec from Professors, 1 from employer

    I work at an IT Consulting company where I write proposals and other marketing material in response to RFPs put out by procurement offices. I also am a jr consulting analyst at a large transportation authority, where I take notes on a project to revamp a certain business process. Otherwise I have no planning experience.

    I am currently applying for Fall 2016. I am interested in, in order: environmental/sustainability, economic development, transportation. My priorities regarding school are, in order: price, job placement, education, weather(warmer is better), brand/reputation. I would prefer to not have to take out any loans, so I would target schools with a lot of assistantships, or schools where I would have a good shot at an assistantship. What are my best options? Also let me know if there are other factors that may help/hinder my application process. Thank you for your time.

  2. #2
    Mar 2012
    Fredericksburg, Virginia
    Based on your priorities...

    1.) Price - Obviously, in-state and public schools will be your cheapest option. If you are dead set on out-of-state schools, you'll need to secure some type of funding (assistantship, scholarship, fellowship, whatever).

    2.) Job Placement - I would lie to you if I said that planning wasn't still a tough field to crack in to. Find schools that require or heavily emphasize field placement, internships for credit, or have good connections with firms/governments/organizations in the city you want to work in.

    3.) Education - I would argue that any school in the top 50 will provide you with a solid planning education. If you really want to specialize, find a school with a strong reputation in 'sister' programs. For instance, if you were interested in urban design, go to a planning program at a school that also has a strong architecture/landscape architecture program. You will most likely be afforded more opportunities to take electives in other disciplines this way.

    4.) Weather - If you want nice weather and a solid school, I would pick California. Texas, Florida, and Georgia probably has some warmer weather as well (and strong planning schools).

    5.) Brand/Reputation - Some will tell you this matters, and I would agree based on my personal experience. Schools with a strong reputation could (all else remaining equal) open a door to an interview for you. But I think there are more important things to focus on in choosing a school than this.

    One more thing..... It appears that you really aren't sure what you'd like to specialize in. That's totally okay (I didn't either). In that case, maybe pick a school that has a great core curriculum (classes with all of your interest areas covered) and plenty of opportunity to explore what you want. I entered graduate school wanting to do transportation. Hated it, so I did more physical and land use planning, loved it. Got a job in local government, took on an urban design role and that is my passion-of-the-moment.

    Don't freak out if you don't know exactly what you want at this juncture. We're planners; we're broad by nature.

    Best of luck to you!

  3. #3
    Cyburbian The Terminator's avatar
    May 2006
    Try for Columbia. but if that doesnt work out, go for SUNY Albany, SUNY Buffalo, Pratt and Hunter.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally posted by The Terminator View post
    Try for Columbia. but if that doesnt work out, go for SUNY Albany, SUNY Buffalo, Pratt and Hunter.
    Figure out where you want to work and the field that you want to work.

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