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What school? 🏫 Rutgers vs UPenn

thezenarcher

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Hi all, I was thrilled to receive a letter of admission from both Rutgers University and University of Pennsylvania this week. Still waiting on the financial offers, but going by Planetizen's info, it looks like Rutgers edges out UPenn on average tuition, average financial aid offered, graduate employment in the field, and average # students in core classes. Planetizen ranks Rutgers as the 2nd best planning school in the northeast (Penn is ranked 4th), and #3 in the nation (Penn at #7).

So my question is, is there a real argument for Penn over Rutgers in general? What is the reason for Rutgers' Bloustein School to so vastly outperform relative to its other programs? (Rutgers is generally a respectable state school, but not really competitive with an ivy league like Penn, and Rutgers' facilities, campus and online presence leave something to be desired.)

Working in NYC would be my preference, but I have personal connections in both NYC and Philly, so I would be perfectly happy working in either city. Also, I'm not leaning particularly towards design vs. policy, but my interests are in transportation and land-use, specifically with regards to regional ecological sustainability.

By the books, it seems like Rutgers is the obvious choice here, but I'm wondering if I'm missing something.

Any experience you may have with either school, or with the job market in either city, would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!
 
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Congratulations on getting into two planning programs of your choice in the Philadelphia metro area.
...going by Planetizen's info, it looks like Rutgers edges out UPenn on average tuition, average financial aid offered, graduate employment in the field, and average # students in core classes. Planetizen ranks Rutgers as the 2nd best planning school in the northeast (Penn is ranked 4th), and #3 in the nation (Penn at #7).
Are you referring to Planetizen's free, publicly accessible (latest-6th edition) Top 10 list?
(Free, open publication of Planetizen's latest "Top 25" is probably prohibited on this website, but most planning-minded people have some form of paid access to it.)

I strongly disagree with most of Planetizen's "Top 10" and "Top 25" rankings of planning schools.

(For example, I graduated from MIT, yet I still would give at least equal ranking to MIT and Harvard.)

As per your question of Rutgers vs. U of Penn:
If you can possibly afford it, go to Penn. Once there, seriously consider taking a few of your basic-required courses, or maybe a few electives later on, at Penn's Wharton Business School.




 

thezenarcher

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Mind expanding on why you disagree with Planetizen's rankings? I'm curious why you consider Harvard underrated in their list (it still ranks pretty highly)
Also, I understand that the Wharton school is an extremely well-regarded business school, but what's the reason for focusing on it specifically? (In other words, why not just have gone with an MBA from the outset?)
 
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...why not just have gone with an MBA from the outset?
^That^ is exactly what I did. But I'm not an urban planner by profession--and in no time in my life was it realistic for me to become an urban planner by profession.

I am a citizen urban planner. I made the deliberate decision to not obtain any official certificates or educational degrees in the field of urban planning. This is because in the very unusual locales where I've resided most of my life, it would have been a liability for me to have official urban planning credentials.
 
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