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What school? Applying to schools: USC, UCLA, UI Urbana-Champaign, Berkeley, UPenn

Messages
7
Points
0
Hello, applying to grad programs this year. I'm 25 years old. I am mostly interested in community/economic development. I am also a convicted felon and have spent a good amount of time in jail before I decided to make some changes-- thinking about writing a small portion of my personal statement on how this factor has also inspired me to pursue my Master's in Urban Planning without being maudlin. (Not sure if this is a good idea).


Applying to schools: USC, UCLA, UI Urbana-Champaign, Berkeley, UPenn (any other school recommendations?)
----Hoping to get into USC and UCLA, Berkeley and UIUC are dream schools.


Junior/Senior GPA: 3.63
Extracurriculars: Worked for a government non-profit as a research assistant for 1.5 years, also worked for a urban planning consulting firm for 8 months. Teaching in Russia for the next year.
GRE: 150Q/156V [worried about these scores, should I retake?]


Please give me some advice.


Thanks!
 

lmacniven

Cyburbian
Messages
100
Points
6
Your experience will help carry you along - improving your GRE score will definitely help your GPA (while definitely good, they may parse it to determine what is skewing it one way or another).

I would re-shift your focus on geographic areas, not strength of programs. While the strength should be considered - try to nail down where you see yourself working/living (a large city? a city with a lot of room for improvement? a relatively inexpensive city?). This will help refine regions/areas, where you can then narrow down to specific programs. Here is a list of accredited programs: http://www.planningaccreditationboard.org/index.php?id=30

For instance, I see that you are a local - if you would like to stay in the area, don't rule out Cal Poly Pomona or UCI (I'm unsure of their Com/Econ.Dev strength), but ensure you have safety schools.

On your "what are my chances" note - I applied and was accepted to UCLA and USC (attended the former - GO BRUINS) with a 3.7, about a yr of planning experience, and similar GRE scores.

Before you apply, take some independent courses, attend mixers, presentations, etc. - all of these can only help you when you're making your case on your Statement of Purpose(s).

Good luck!


Sorry, I meant that improving your GRE will help ease the focus on your GPA.
 

glutton

Cyburbian
Messages
387
Points
11
Everything like your GPA, experience, GRE look fine...but I'm not sure about the felon/jail part. This is a tricky situation and you may wish to get some professional educational consultation on how to handle this situation before you apply (whether or not to mention it, etc.)
 
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