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The Planning School you go to DOES NOT MATTER!!!!

Vasanth

Member
Messages
5
Points
0
Hey

Nice to know that

And also see the coincidence I was working under Dr.Paul itself

I'll definetly tell him your regards next week when I meet him

I am from South India-Hyderabad

Glad to know about U and where are U working now and when did U and Ur wife graduated

Just Curious ? Did U also got U'r PhD in Geography? and

also I thought your name was EL Guapo ...I am sure it is not
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,993
Points
30
No I didn't get my Ph.D. And to this day I still can't seem to find it. I have looked everywhere.

I had to get a job before the real world and the student loans closed in on me. And no, my real name is not El Guapo. If I told you what it was it would only serve to shame the good faculty at KSU that tried so hard to make me into a good decent citizen. We don’t share our failures on the great plains.

Besides I have given you more than enough clues. Go to any senior faculty member and ask what fascist republican master’s degree holder recently married Dr. Paul’s only Indian female Ph.D. student. They can tell you without hesitation. I left a bit of a ring around the KSU tub and institutional memories are long.

If you can ever swing an invitation over to Dr. Paul’s you will find his wife is a great cook and a very nice lady.

Take care.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
18,352
Points
67
El Guapo said:
Besides I have given you more than enough clues. Go to any senior faculty member and ask what fascist republican master’s degree holder recently married Dr. Paul’s only Indian female Ph.D. student. .
Ya' should have gone to UB. The planning program there has a very strong economic development track; when I was there, it attracted preppy Republicans like the opening of a subdivision of starter mansions in Fairfax County.

You would have had fun with the urban studies track students.
 

EX-planner

Member
Messages
17
Points
1
lol, the one and only thread I've ever started on this forum, and it gets 1300+ page views and 3 pages of replies over a period of several months.
 

kguru

Cyburbian
Messages
26
Points
2
So in choosing a planning school I should be looking at whether I would be wanting to work in the area around the school and the focus of the program, or are there other factors?
 
Messages
3,690
Points
27
kguru said:
So in choosing a planning school I should be looking at whether I would be wanting to work in the area around the school and the focus of the program, or are there other factors?
kguru, you've got the right of it. if you really wanted to work in the northeast, that's where I'd go, especially to a school that places a lot of emphasis on integrating it's grad students with the local planning community. however, if you really don't have strong feelings about where you want to end up working, then location really isn't so important.

also, don't forget about the $$$ - i'd almost always choose a free education over a location, on the list of priorities.
 

kguru

Cyburbian
Messages
26
Points
2
I could stay in state, but the amount of planning opportunities in north Florida are quite limited. I took an urban planning survey course over the summer and the Professor emphasized that not much planning was going on or taken seriously in the Tallahassee region. Employment wise I would be hoping working in a moderate to large size city in the Midwest that has a deep interest in urban renewal and true pedestrian and mass transit oriented development.
 

kguru

Cyburbian
Messages
26
Points
2
What happened?

What happened to this thread? Some of the words are in red; I don't recall putting words in red initially. I have been looking for internships in South Florida and have not been too successful yet. I will be planning to start a MUP in Planning in the fall of 2004.
 

architecton

Member
Messages
6
Points
0
damn the school then-advice abt the concentration?

Well, now that i have read the 3 pages worth of "it does not matter where you study planning" and similar things, I am posting this mail hoping (really) that maybe someone can offers suggestions about what to specialize in! Yes, i have jumped at the school that was the cheapest and now am looking at 3 spezs- land development, transportation planning and GIS.
I don't think I have it in me for a lot of theory and all thus, these spezs with logistics and all. Any relative comparisons between the above? I have gone thru the course content, etc, but then again, what you study isn't always what you end up working at!

All comments\ramblings\suggestions are welcome.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,081
Points
34
I would suggest that whatever you choose - land development, transportation, or another concentration - that you learn how to apply GIS to it. I have seen to many GIS specialists that did not understand the issues to which they were asked to apply the GIS. Don't be one of them! They couldn't conduct a meaningful analysis, couldn't produce an effective map, and couldn't understand why their careers were going nowhere.
 
Messages
3,690
Points
27
Ditto Michael.

If you concentrate in GIS, be prepared to be a mapmaker for the next 30 years. I personally preferred land development, as transportation engineering seems to be a whole lot of modelling. GIS is definitely a great and valuable tool, I use it every day (I do lots of current planning), but I definitely would not want to spend all day everyday on Arc8.
 

Queen B

Cyburbian
Messages
3,179
Points
25
Being able to apply GIS and have the vision of what it can do is the key. Those that just make maps are just running a program. Any one can make a worthless map. The people that go somewhere with that education and information are the ones that can see what it will do.
Mapping is kind of like the accounting field in accounting you can make the numbers say just about anyhting you want. You can do the same with maps.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
I have to disagree, not everyone can make a suitable map. There are items that some people have no talent/flare for such as understanding the importance of line weight, colour differences and shading.

Of the 5 GIS techs I have had ( I aided in hiring 2 of them) only 2 of them could make a map that was presentable, only one of them could understand what we wanted when we explained the analysis we wanted done and make a presentable map / diagrams of the information requested. the others it was like pulling teeth to get anything done in a timely and presentable manner.

If you want to make maps, like fidgeting with data and can take criticism of your work (ie I don't like that colour, change that minor detail) then take GIS, if you like to think and learn how to use data then other education options are probably better for you.

I use GIS everyday, for simple queries and such, but I don't need to know or care to know about projections, UTM, DTM's database connectivity, or how a program works, that is what my tech is for.
 

jdstl1977

Cyburbian
Messages
80
Points
4
I'm interested in planning and am wondering what career move you made?

EX-planner said:
Dharmaster, did your bosses also have UNDERGRADUATE degrees in a planning-related field? If you read my first post above carefully, you'll see I said, "If you are coming from a totally non-planning related background and want to get into planning, then maybe it's OK to get the graduate planning degree." At the UW I knew people who had Bachelor's degrees in music, economics and all kinds of other things like that. If you're coming from that and want to go into planning, then yes, it would make sense to get a graduate planning degree. But if you have an undergraduate degree in urban geography or planning or urban studies, you're not really gonna learn a whole lot more by getting a graduate degree. This was my own experience. I learned a lot of planning stuff from my geography degree, but my Master's added very little overall to my knowledge, all it did was add to my student loan debt, lol. If any employers prefers to hire people with Master's degrees in planning over bachelor's degrees in planning, I have no idea why, all they will do is have to shell out a little more money (maybe) for nearly the same product.

As for the "Where you go to school doesn't matter" thing, sorry, but I still stand by that. If someone can show me objective criteria by which to rate a planning school, then I will change my mind. But I think rating the nation's planning schools is about as useful as rating, say, the nation's sociology schools - I mean, who really cares? They're practically ubiquitous and they all teach pretty much the same thing. There's good teachers and there's bad teachers in each and every school. And the majority of what they teach is useless, impractical, mostly theoretical stuff (though I guess all academic disciplines are probably like that). Finally, anyone can go to a supposedly "crummy" school and, with lots of studying, useful internships and so on, can get a lot out of it; while another student can go to Harvard or MIT and sail through and still not be as knowledgeable as the student from the supposedly "crummy" school. If I were an employer I would not give a damn about the school they went to, the particular attributes of the individual candidates are FAR more important!!

And no, I am not "bitter" about my situation, it forced me to make a career move that I am now glad I was forced to make.
 

clare2582

Cyburbian
Messages
194
Points
7
Habanero said:
I agree that it's not all about the school.. but I wish there was some way to show how motivated you are when you went thru school.. It took me 3 years to get a BS in Urban Planning (I also put myself thru working full time, completing 2 internships as well) but I find it's hard for people to take me seriously since I'm the youngest in the office.
Any advice?
Half of the time I think I'm being underestimated...they call me "kiddo" and say that I'm "12"...and half the time I think they think I'm a real working person, like when a co-worker asks for a map and I sit down at the computer and toss it together and print it all within 5 minutes. We're from different generations.. I have some skills they don't, they have many skills I don't. We are both kind of learning from one another. However, when they ask my opinion about something, or ask me "innocently" about something, I can't help but think they're testing me, just to see if the new girl knows what she's doing.
 

JusticeZero

Cyburbian
Messages
367
Points
12
Personally, i'm mainly looking to chose based on what I can study, not the prestige. The people i've talked to here have noted that noone they interviewed with cared which school they went to, and when hiring, they don't care what school they went to. They ask for views on specific questions of policy etc. to see if you understand the issues and mesh well.
While it isn't important to have a prestige name department for me, it is important for me to not spend two years clunking around not learning the things I want to know for the directions I want to go, so 'm making my choices based on what classes are offered.
 

JNA

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
25,308
Points
56
I agree with donk and Queen B
There is a big difference in the design and presentation of map as donk and Queen B had described.
I am glad I learned cartography and statitics the old fashion way drafting by hand,
made you think alot about the layout and presentation before you put ink/zip-a-tone to paper.

[OT]Q. Anybody remember zip-a-tone (sp?)?[/OT]
 

clare2582

Cyburbian
Messages
194
Points
7
Not 30 minutes after I posted about being taken semi-seriously, someone who works in the building came into my office and then came back later, after having spoken to a co-worker. He apologized- "I'm sorry, I thought you were the secretary, but you're the assistant planner!"

ba-dum-dum.

JNA said:
I agree with donk and Queen B
There is a big difference in the design and presentation of map as donk and Queen B had described.
I am glad I learned cartography and statitics the old fashion way drafting by hand,
made you think alot about the layout and presentation before you put ink/zip-a-tone to paper.

[OT]Q. Anybody remember zip-a-tone (sp?)?[/OT]

The intro GIS course I took was coupled with an intro to cartography. I'm thankful that I learned so much about presentation and layout; it has made my work so much more polished and effective. I can't understand why all GISers don't get this kind of "training". Personally, I think maps are one of the greatest tools, and generally uable by everyone, regardless of your backgroud- you can infer much from looking at spatial correlations.... why produce something thats only mildly effective?
 
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H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
EX-planner said:
Of course, I would recommend not going into planning in the first place, but that's another story.
[curious]May I ask what you do now? (or did I miss that)[/curious]


Also, I think your rule might apply in general terms, but there are exceptions... like schools with a certain speciality (ie. International Planning, Environ Planning, Trans Planning) not all schools have all programs or sometimes even if they have the program it is just a filler... like a general land use planner teaching the evironmental courses or worse a speacialist environ planner teaching a general land use course! This is where is matters. Who the profs are and what you can or cant learn from them, personally. But you are right about the general curriculum being mostly the same... as it should. :)
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,890
Points
26
clare2582 said:
The intro GIS course I took was coupled with an intro to cartography. I'm thankful that I learned so much about presentation and layout; it has made my work so much more polished and effective. I can't understand why all GISers don't get this kind of "training". Personally, I think maps are one of the greatest tools, and generally uable by everyone, regardless of your backgroud- you can infer much from looking at spatial correlations.... why produce something thats only mildly effective?
I got my BS at Northern Illinois Univ, in Geography, emph in GIS and Urban Geog. It wasn't a true planning program, but it was a very nice spatial analysis and land use theory type program. My intro to GIS was also coupled with a semester of Cartography. The full blown GIS class was ArcINFO. yuck.
 

jsk1983

Cyburbian
Messages
2,451
Points
24
"The intro GIS course I took was coupled with an intro to cartography. I'm thankful that I learned so much about presentation and layout; it has made my work so much more polished and effective. I can't understand why all GISers don't get this kind of "training". Personally, I think maps are one of the greatest tools, and generally uable by everyone, regardless of your backgroud- you can infer much from looking at spatial correlations.... why produce something thats only mildly effective?"
Clare2582: I saw you went to Binghamton on your intro, I'm studying history there, but have an interest in geography/planning and eventually want to go to grad school for it, anyways next semester I am registered for a class in GIS/cartography, probably the same one you took, just wondering what you thought of it and who you had for it.
 

ludes98

Cyburbian
Messages
1,264
Points
22
H said:
[curious]May I ask what you do now? (or did I miss that)[/curious]
I don't think you will get a response to that though I am curious about the same thing. Ex-Planner hasn't been on the board since June of 2003 according to the profile.
 

jread

Cyburbian
Messages
738
Points
20
Just to add to the discussions about GIS:

I have been in the GIS field for 7 years now and what am I doing? I'm trying to cross over into planning!

I agree with the others who say that GIS is a good tool to have but not the most desirable career. I think that anyone who wants to use GIS should just get an online certificate in it, install Arc on their machine and they're good to go.

Texas State University (where I was attending) offers undergrad and graduate degrees in Geographic Information Science, but there is only so much you can do with it. There are the Tech. jobs where you are a digitizing or data-entry monkey, doing the same, monotonous tasks everyday for crappy pay (like me). Then there are the analyst/development positions where you get more into the programming and application development side of things. Most of these people have backgrounds in computer science and don't know jack about spatial relationships. The only GIS positions that you can make a decent living from are managerial ones, and you can be a GIS Manager without even knowing how to spell GIS.

Don't even get me started with ESRI's monopoly on the industry and their bug-ridden software and conceptual database and application B.S. that hardly ever works properly.

Bottom line: learn how to use GIS software. Learn how GIS databases are put together and what they can do for you. GIS is a very powerful and valuable tool, but don't ever try to make a career out of it. Planning is much more exciting.
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
ludes98 said:
I don't think you will get a response to that though I am curious about the same thing. Ex-Planner hasn't been on the board since June of 2003 according to the profile.
Oh, I didnt look at the dates to realize how old this thread was... "duh" :-$
 

Dilettante

Member
Messages
3
Points
0
Does a prestigious school really matter?

I'm thinking about applying to one of the grad schools here in So Cal. I have a couple of choices at different price ranges.

1. Cal Poly Pomona costing about $10K for the whole program.
2. UCLA costing about $26K
3. USC costing about $62K

Here's my question, would a prestigious school give you a competitive edge while job hunting? Does the advantage justify the addition $50K? Also, in terms of quality, do you really get what you pay for? I welcome your input on this topic!
 

torontopian

Cyburbian
Messages
74
Points
4
Is this for city planning? From my limited experience UCLA's planning program appears to be much stronger, quality/reputation-wise; therefore whether or not to spend $50k seems a non-question to me. Having said that, it does depend on what you are interested in specifically.

I think there have been tons of debates on this board between going to an expensive/prestigious school and a non-so-expensive/no-so-prestigious one. Do a search with "Ivy league". Much depends on what you wanna do with the degree. As to job market competitiveness, most people here would say it makes little or no difference, especially for public agency jobs.
 

JNA

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
25,308
Points
56
Several of us have answered similar questions as your with - Why go debt over a name.

Which school has a better/successful internship placement ?
Internship experience is more important than the name of your school.

All accredited program's core classes are the same, the only difference is in the concentration/speciality offered.

:-$ My Bad - I meant to say - Why go into debt over a name.
 
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Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
Messages
18,311
Points
44
If you're intending to remain in California, I'd recommend going to Cal Poly SLO.
 

drjb

Cyburbian
Messages
64
Points
4
Prestige does not come with cost. Look at UCLA's program. It is more highly regarded the USC's.
 

Otis

Cyburbian
Messages
5,165
Points
28
As a UCLA grad I will tell you that there is no prestige associated with USC (the university of second choice). Look into Cal Poly and UCLA. Both have sufficient prestige to help with getting a job. My advice is to attend the best school you can afford. Be sure to look into scholarship, grant, etc. opportunities. Where I went to graduate school they offered me a research assistantship without my even asking. It covered all my tuition and fees.
 

Simplex02

Member
Messages
24
Points
2
As a UCLA grad I will tell you that there is no prestige associated with USC (the university of second choice).
Thats interesting -- well being a UCLA grad that already says enough...I had the choice of applying to UCLA or USC and chose USC due to my own research into internship placements and discovering that they actually had the stronger track record. I chose one UC to apply to for Fall 2008 and that was Berkeley :)

But enough about that -- my point is that while its ok to identify cost, don't forget about the wealth of financial aid that is available. Don't let the 62K of USC keep you from applying, don't forget private universities have deeper pockets and in the end tuition may actually end up being LESS expensive with a nice financial package than even SLO or UCLA.
 

javajuice1000

Cyburbian
Messages
38
Points
2
Assuming a public agency: It may matter in a market like California especially in desirable cities to live such as SF and LA. Outside of that not so sure. Any program will be what you make it. After awhile gaining experience it will really be on you to perform and that is how you'll be judged. In other words, in the near terms the prestige may help get the first job or two, later on, it's all on you, if you perform well that's what matters.
 

Veloise

Cyburbian
Messages
5,708
Points
30
Does the school matter that much?

VegasPlanner started a thread in the Career Advice area asking for input on financing an education, and mentioning the relative importance of top-name planning schools. I'm asking for more input on here where everyone hangs out...

It's my belief that those of us in the "done with schooling" years do not hold the alma mater thing near and dear to our hearts. For instance, VP has been accepted to U-Mich (my first university). If VP came in for an interview, we might mention that in passing, but I can't see it affecting my hiring decision one whit. (If VP came in wearing a big @$$ class ring, and a blue suit with a gold shirt, and a Block M tie that plays The Victors, I would say, "next!")

Would places like UPenn and Michigan play in Peoria or the panhandle or Durango?

[attended U-M, a community college, MSU, Eastern, and Wayne State...none of which matter anymore]
 

tsc

Cyburbian
Messages
1,905
Points
23
I think schools do matter. After working for many years, you see a trend of where some good employees come from.
 

Hink

OH....IO
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
15,446
Points
48
Having had the opportunity to work with many students the last two years, I really don't think schooling makes a good worker. Schooling gives someone the background and base for a well rounded planner, but truth be told, good people go to bad schools. I personally didn't feel that going to UPenn was worth my money. I am happy with my "lower" class masters degree and didn't have a problem finding employment or paying off the non existent loans.

I think your education is what you make of it. If people hire based on pedigree that is kind of disheartening.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
19,853
Points
47
On a regional level, I would say they can help. I am not the first NMU graduate at my current job, and there is another NMU graduate working as the assistant planner at my last job. We are all over the place, slowly taking over the world. [evil laugh] HA HA HA [/evil laugh].

In reality, I think at most, they help, but they are not the deciding factor. I think that in today’s world, the biggest factors are compatibly with current staff, ability to interact with strangers in a comfortable manner, and having the skill set that they are searching for. Often they are looking for a specific position to fill and experience may also play a role in that.

Schools might help get you in the door for an interview, but they won’t get you the job. If they see that you came from a school that has produced terrific planners that they have employed in the past, or if the person that is doing the interviewing came from that school, then it can be a foot in the door. After that, it is all about the interaction and communication that takes place in an interview.
 

hilldweller

Cyburbian
Messages
3,865
Points
23
Schooling seems to matter a lot more in the corporate world, particularly for higher-paying positions. The executives like to hire grads from their alma mater, or so I hear.
 

DetroitPlanner

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
6,241
Points
27
Vel, you been looking at my resume???

Your schools pretty much match mine.

I would say the most important schools are found prior to even getting into college. I grew up in a terrible school district and my parent's responsibility for paying for school ended when I graduated from high school. I was lucky in that I was able to go through a parocial system that had nuns and priests yelling at me, keeping me from getting too out of hand. If I didn't I'd be in jail, dead, or some junkie by now.

Colleges and universities don't matter anywhere near as much as some folks claim. A good student will make the best of whatever school they attend. I've known brilliant people who have attended schools like Oakland U and idiots who somehow made it through U of M.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,474
Points
50
....and idiots who somehow made it through U of M.
Hey! I resemble that remark! ;) :-D

I would say that your school, at least in a planning career, only really matters for that first or second job and/or the first 5 years of professional working. Once you past those two points, your experience and recommendations really matter more.
 

NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,914
Points
40
Moderator note:

Three very similar threads merged.
 

DetroitPlanner

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
6,241
Points
27
Geez... my whole point was you make what you can with what you have. There are many folks who have attended U of M who are not idiots. The idiots are the exception. I would have gone to U of M A2 if I thought I could have afforded it.
 

Veloise

Cyburbian
Messages
5,708
Points
30
Vel, you been looking at my resume???
Your schools pretty much match mine. ...
Yah, I been stalking you. Did you enjoy sliding down the sloped roof of Munn Arena during the blizzard of 1978? Care to join me for a GIS class (maybe the instructor will be able to teach something this time) at Grand Valley?

(someday I'll make a hanging lamp out of school pennants, just the ones for which I've attended classes)
 

tsc

Cyburbian
Messages
1,905
Points
23
Michaelskis makes a good point that it does matter on regional level. If you go to a planning school in NY, you are more likely to have had exposure to NYS laws, home rule and issues of planning in the state in general. I guess that's why I find students from NYU, Cornell, SUNY ESF, SUNY Albany, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Binghamton, Pace, Hunter and Columbia have and edge over other students...but alas I am from NY..and attended one of the aforementioned schools!
 

craines

Cyburbian
Messages
578
Points
17
I wouldn't go to ucla or usc for their masters program, more specifically ucla. Being a landscape architect dealing in advance planning issues here in Los Angeles I get to bring a different persepective and point of view to the planning process here at the city, ie I am not initial constrainded by the do not's.
 

ofos

Vintage Cyburbian
Messages
8,278
Points
27
It depends on ...fill in the blank.... I think we can all agree that the definitive answer is Maybe, unless you're in Texas and then it's Might Could (Maaht Kuud).
 

CCMNUT39

Cyburbian
Messages
256
Points
10
Interesting....

It's funny how the whole thread started out. I think people are just over-planned (if you can that as a term) on the West side of Washington State. Over-regulated and less common-sense oriented.

Personally, as an undergrad out of Eastern Washington's program, I had some great mentors from the git-go. Call it age, call it seasoning, but there seems to be more issues with graduate students coming out of any planning program because the lack of social and common sense skills.

I've been fortunate to have some people to mentor me and learn under and really explain my planning bredth.
 

Tresmo

Cyburbian
Messages
873
Points
20
Either you have social skills, common sense, and a good foundation of knowledge, all combined with an ability to learn a lot on the job, or you don't. My offices have had a wide range of older and younger people, people who got degrees when they were older and some who got them when they were younger, some with master's and some without, and a huge mix of schools, degrees, and educational levels. Some people are competent and some aren't, and it doesn't really correlate with anything other than their inherent abilities. There are people with lots of education and low competence, and vice versa, AND people who think they can do any job without a shred of education.
 
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