• It's easy to sign up and post! Register with a working email address (we won't give it to others, or spam you), or through Facebook, Twitter, or a Microsoft ID. Google and LinkedIn coming soon. 🙂

Postgraduate/PhD Graduate/PhD 2012-2013 applications and acceptance notices: United States

Messages
61
Likes
0
Points
0
#1
There are a few short, specific threads for applications this year, but no all-encompassing thread. It's an annual Cyburbia tradition so it would suck not to have it this year and the more people participate, the more useful and fun it becomes. Good luck everyone!

Last year's thread: http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?t=41653

Let me kick things off. Probably applying to these schools:

UNC
Rutgers
USC
Cornell
Michigan
NYU
Harvard
Illinois UC
and (even though I'll join the multitudes left outside looking in) MIT

My stats:
Colgate University, Class of 2006,
GPA: 3.67, Majored in Economics and History
Expected GRE: 1350 (though could vary)

Work Experience:
3.5 years as research analyst advising clients like HP and 3M on issues relating to technology in the architecture, construction, signage, and real estate markets.
2 years as research assistant engaged in geographic analysis of 19th century economic development patterns and relation between industry growth and education levels and mortality rates
2 years as research assistant to two history professors
Wrote honors thesis on relation between firm location and labor market patterns and the nature of community development in antebellum Lowell, Massachusetts
1 year on local planning board
 
Messages
23
Likes
0
Points
0
#2
I'm applying to 6 schools:

MIT (long shot)
Penn
Cornell
Michigan
UW Seattle
Berkeley

I'm in my last year of undergrad, dual majoring in geology and environmental science
GPA: 3.51
GRE: 740 Q, 720 V, 4.0 writing

Three department scholarships + part of a sustainability honors group
Honors thesis on bike sharing pilot in my city
My work experience is rather lacking - only one internship so far, in CSR
 
Messages
20
Likes
0
Points
0
#3
Alright, I will play. I am currently still narrowing my choices down and will apply to 5-6 schools. My schools under consideration are as follow:

Georgia Institute of Technology
Portland State
University of Cincinnati
University of Illinois, Chicago
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
University of Michigan
University of Oregon
University of Washington
University of Wisconsin
Virginia Polytechnic Institute

Specialties of Interest:
Land Use/ Physical Planning
Community Development

Education:
Louisiana State University - Honors College, Class of 2009
GPA: 3.92, Majored in Political Science, Minored in Classics and Philosophy
Completed Senior Honors Thesis: Empathy as a Political Construct

GRE:
660 V, 710 Q, 5 AW

Work:
2 Years Experience (non-planning) - Medical Communications
 

Tarf

Cyburbian
Messages
705
Likes
0
Points
0
#4
I'll be applying for a PhD program for the 2012/2013 school year. Sticking with a CA school - my Masters was from another state, yet I'm too engrained in CA planning (especially CEQA) to go elsewhere...


University of California, Irvine
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Berkeley
University of Southern California (even if I get in, I can't afford, so this is my long-shot).

Specialties of Interest:
Planning Policy
Environmental Planning

Education:
Eastern Washington University, MURP, 2001 (GPA 3.84)
Some State University, B.S. Natural Resources Planning (GPA 3.69)

GRE:
TBD - Taking Sept. 26. Wasn't required for my MURP.

Work:
1 Year - GIS Analyst
10 Years - Sr. Project Manager - Urban/Environmental Planning, private sector
 
Messages
5
Likes
0
Points
0
#5
Thanks for starting.

Tarf- I used to live in Cardiff...Such a beautiful area.

Schools
MIT -(Good luck to us all)
Other Non-Ivy Institutions

Background
GPA: 3.4 B.S. Environmental Science
GRE:1330/4.5
Experience: greywater/rainwater startup (1 yr.), economic development at non-profit (current), sustainable urban design laboratory (2 yr.), environmental/design summer instructor (3 mo.), other substantial environmental/planning volunteering



Relevant Interests
Environmental Planning
Community Development
Technology
 
Messages
32
Likes
0
Points
0
#6
@Tarf

Good luck on the PhD apps. I applied to 6 schools for PhD last year, for 2011 entry, and got into two. But, I could not get full funding so I didn't attend.

Anyway, one major thing I learned and wished I had known then (and you may already know this), is make sure you get with potential PhD advisors at your selected schools well before your apps are due to see if there are openings and/ or funding for your areas of research. I didn't push hard enough and 3 rejects were due to no openings for my area of study. I wished I had been a bit more aggressive in getting responses from potential advisors. Several emails and voice messages went unanswered and I shrugged it off. Some of this can be attributed to inexperience and ignorance, but I wanted to pass along some things I learned nonetheless.
 

Tarf

Cyburbian
Messages
705
Likes
0
Points
0
#7
Anyway, one major thing I learned and wished I had known then (and you may already know this), is make sure you get with potential PhD advisors at your selected schools well before your apps are due to see if there are openings and/ or funding for your areas of research. I didn't push hard enough and 3 rejects were due to no openings for my area of study. I wished I had been a bit more aggressive in getting responses from potential advisors. Several emails and voice messages went unanswered and I shrugged it off. Some of this can be attributed to inexperience and ignorance, but I wanted to pass along some things I learned nonetheless.

Thanks, good advice. I actually plan on doing that - at least at the two schools I most want to attend (UCI and UCLA).

Any advice on the proper timing for that? Is October good (applications due in January)? Should I wait closer to the application deadline?
 
Messages
3
Likes
0
Points
0
#8
Schools
Georgia Tech
Temple
Hunter
UIC
Portland State

Backround
Undergrad GPA- 3.66
GRE-1280
Two years of planning related work
 
Messages
61
Likes
0
Points
0
#9
Are there any members from last year's forum or any previous year's forum who would like to share their advice? What do you wish you knew when you started the application process?
 
Messages
39
Likes
0
Points
0
#10
Would you mind sharing how you narrowed down schools? What made you pick Michigan over Illinois? Cornell over Penn? Clemson over Auburn?
 
Messages
9
Likes
0
Points
0
#11
Looking to shave down this list to 5. A few off-beat schools thrown in as well.

Schools
Portland St
USC
Utah
Iowa
Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Illinois Chicago
Florida St

Background
B.S. Geography, Urban and Regional Planning emphasis
3.88 GPA
GRE: 1250, 4.5
Senior Thesis: Correlation between TOD and Zoning in Salt Lake County, UT
A little lacking in planning experience, but one internship in a municipal community development office and engaged in planning advocacy at undergrad university.

Good luck to everyone!
 
Messages
32
Likes
0
Points
0
#12
Tarf,

I would make contact as soon as possible and try to contact profs at every school. It can't hurt, especially since most of the PhD programs are only taking 2-5students on average. You may actually find that one of your choice schools doesn't match up well or aren't taking PhD's in your area of interest.

Speaking of research interest, be pretty specific and make sure it aligns with faculty research interest. This is where the early contact helps. Again, I didn't emphasis this enough in my apps.
 

nam0806

Cyburbian
Messages
78
Likes
0
Points
0
#13
Applying to these schools...
Georgia Tech
University of Florida
Florida State
Clemson

Education
Undergraduate: East Carolina University
GRE: 1070
GPA: 3.3 (3.3 in Planning as well)
Member of various University honoraries.
Student Member of American Planning Society

Relevant Experience:
Worked on small demography project for local town
Two Planning Practicum courses, requiring full on planning projects.
 
Messages
53
Likes
0
Points
0
#14
Are there any members from last year's forum or any previous year's forum who would like to share their advice? What do you wish you knew when you started the application process?
I'll share some observations about the grad school application process:

You must simply work hard at applications, and then you must endure the stress of waiting for results. There is no getting around it. You will have to do all of this in the midst of your already busy life, and it will be stressful, and nobody around you will "get it".

You can potentially make the process immensely easier on yourself (and your referees) by narrowing down your list of schools to 3-4 rather than 6-8, but don't ask me how to do that...I ended up applying to 8.

You will not be able to know enough about potential programs for your own satisfaction and peace of mind during this process - not from visiting the school, not from talking to professors, not from talking to practicing planners, and certainly not from reading this forum. But you should probably do all those things anyway (except maybe the latter) because it's all you have to go on.

Nor will you be successful in your quest to assess your chances of admittance to programs, because determining that you have a "very good chance" or "only a slight chance" of being admitted to school x is not what you're looking for; what you're looking for is a guarantee that spending dozens of hours and a hundred bucks applying to school x either will or will not result in an offer of admission/moolah. And you can't know that without doing it.

There's really not much else to say. Try to keep it sane and remember that it's not your fault you have too little time and too little capacity to assess all the options in front of you. It just is.
 
Messages
9
Likes
0
Points
0
#15
I'll share some observations about the grad school application process:

You must simply work hard at applications, and then you must endure the stress of waiting for results. There is no getting around it. You will have to do all of this in the midst of your already busy life, and it will be stressful, and nobody around you will "get it".

You can potentially make the process immensely easier on yourself (and your referees) by narrowing down your list of schools to 3-4 rather than 6-8, but don't ask me how to do that...I ended up applying to 8.

You will not be able to know enough about potential programs for your own satisfaction and peace of mind during this process - not from visiting the school, not from talking to professors, not from talking to practicing planners, and certainly not from reading this forum. But you should probably do all those things anyway (except maybe the latter) because it's all you have to go on.

Nor will you be successful in your quest to assess your chances of admittance to programs, because determining that you have a "very good chance" or "only a slight chance" of being admitted to school x is not what you're looking for; what you're looking for is a guarantee that spending dozens of hours and a hundred bucks applying to school x either will or will not result in an offer of admission/moolah. And you can't know that without doing it.

There's really not much else to say. Try to keep it sane and remember that it's not your fault you have too little time and too little capacity to assess all the options in front of you. It just is.
Bravo... This is the single most useful piece of advice about "the process" that I've ever heard/read. Good to know I'm not alone when I feel like I don't have enough info.
 
Messages
433
Likes
0
Points
0
#16
Are there any members from last year's forum or any previous year's forum who would like to share their advice? What do you wish you knew when you started the application process?
Yeah. I'd ask myself a few questions:

1. How much is the debt going to be?

2. Do you know what planning really is?

3. How much is the debt going to be?

4. Do you really want to be a planner (at a suburban public planning office, where most of 'em end up)?

5. How much is the debt going to be?

6. What do you want to do after you finish planning school?

7. How much is the debt going to be?

8. How will the school(s) help you get to where you want to be?

9. How much is the debt going to be?

10. Finally, is it worth it, financially?


Good luck!
 

ofos

Cyburbian
Messages
8,289
Likes
0
Points
0
#17
It's been a long, long time since I did the apply for PhD thing but I was successful in getting accepted at two of the three schools where I applied. My strategy was to only apply to schools from which my major professors had received their doctorates and to get letters of recommendation from them. That, of course, presumes that you have had good relationships with your profs and want to go to those schools.
 

Tarf

Cyburbian
Messages
705
Likes
0
Points
0
#18
GRE:
TBD - Taking Sept. 26. Wasn't required for my MURP.

Took the GRE today. Per the preliminary results (and using the old scoring system), I got:

Verbal: 710-800
Math: 750-800

Anyone know scores well enough to know if that's good enough for PhD program? Granted, I know the writing portion will be key and no idea my score on that (probably 4-5). None of the programs I'm applying to indicate "minimum" scores (not that I can find anyhow).

Edit: By the way, the range in the scores is because I took the new test, and they won't "normalize" it until November, at which point I get my actual score under the new scoring system.
 

MSahimi

Cyburbian
Messages
31
Likes
0
Points
0
#19
I'm going for a MURP or similar masters program for next year, with my intended focus to be in environmental and/or transportation planning and design.

Planning on applying to a Masters program at:
-UC Irvine
-UCLA
-Cal Poly Pomona
-UC Berkeley
-USC (just for shits and giggles, since I probably can't afford it.


Education:
University of California, Irvine - expected graduation March 2012
Majors: Urban Studies/Planning, and Criminology
Minor: Political Science
GPA: 3.529


GRE: July 2011
Math- 790
Verbal- 590
Writing- 4

Work/internship experience:
-4 years retail, not really relevant
-1 quarter (unpaid) at real estate law firm
-current quarter at transportation/environmental engineering/planning firm (Parsons Brinkeroff)

Research Experience:
-1 quarter research assistance for a criminology lecturer.
-Currently helping the Chair of the Planning, Policy and Design department with some research and data mining.
-Helping two other PPD professors with research and surveys on LA's future Expo transit line.

Additional stuff:
-Taking 1 graduate MURP class this fall (Transportation and Environmental Health) with one of the PPD professors I mentioned earlier.
-Taking an undergraduate GIS class this fall.
-Worked with a campus green club to secure funding for an on-campus hydration station for reusable water bottles.
-Spent one quarter with a green campus club as an "official" academic-credit intern spreading "community awareness" on saving energy and water via energy audits.





BTW good luck everyone!!
 
Messages
32
Likes
0
Points
0
#20
Tarf,

I wouldn't worry too much about the GRE scores, concentrate on making PhD Advisor contacts and writing a very strong SOP.
 
Top