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Which school is better for city revtitalization or economic development U.Penn or UMD

Dacia0117

Member
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I got accepted to U.Penn for grad school in the city and regional planning program which is 2 hours away and it will total about $50000, an overall cost that is about $20,000 more than University or Maryland College Park which is right down the street from me. I know Penn is a good school, but i'm trying to figure if the ivy league name will make that much of a difference in my career (City and Regional Planning). If not, then could save a lot of money that I don't have by going to Maryland. I'd really appreciate any advice on which school might be better, because I feel like this is the biggest decision of my life and I can't find any information anywhere about how important ivy leagues are. Penn definately is a beautiful city I would like to live in, i just don't know if it's worth it.
 
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Seabishop

Cyburbian
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3,838
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25
I'm not really familiar with the schools but since you need answers by tomorrow . . .

Ivy League status isn't important in this field unless you really want to get a phd and teach. If Maryland is good too I'd go with it, although I do understand the lure of the big city.

BTW this won't be the biggest decision of your life. Employers don't seem to get hung up on which school you went to.
 

Elisabeth

Cyburbian
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157
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7
I know exactly what you're going through! Except I'm still waiting to hear from the University at Albany (there was a slight snag with my recommendations as in two of the three getting lost in the mail). I've been accepted to Pratt in Brooklyn, but it's a 34k difference in price. Nevertheless, I have to decide what to do about Pratt tomorrow or Friday, at the very latest.

I feel, though, that if I'm accepted to Albany, I'll just go there (I'm from Albany too) because, from what I've gathered here, it's more about your experience than where your degree is from. Maryland is a great school--don't they have that center for smart growth there? And you're so close to DC! If I were you, I'd be really proud of the fact that I was was accepted to Penn, but would go to Maryland. Good luck with your decision!
 

Dacia0117

Member
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18
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yeah, the reason this is so last minute is because I thought I didn't even get into Maryland. They took me off their wait list at the last minute and gave me like a few days to decide. What do you think you would do if money wasn't a factor
 

Elisabeth

Cyburbian
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157
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7
Update! I just got accepted to Albany--phew--now I really have a decision, before it was just the probability of a decision. Well, in my situation, if money wasn't a factor, I would certainly go to New York City because I think it would be a great place to study. However, money is a huge factor, not only because school itself is so expensive, but also because the cost of living is astronomical. I also want to go to law school and focus on land use and development law--both Albany and Pratt have dual degree programs, but if I decide on Pratt the law school thing is out the window because I just couldn't afford it ( I mean, I could, but I value my quality of life and don't wish to be in debt till I'm 53). However, because Albany is significantly less, I could do the dual law program, or if I get sick of being here, I might apply to law schools elsewhere. I did my undergrad in DC and I really miss the area--I wish I had applied to Maryland for planning, actually, so I'm somewhat jealous of you right now (I love UMD basketball). One of my friends is going through this same turmoil, but she's deciding between NYU and Albany for Education--it's a 30k difference for her--we've come to the conclusion that it just plain sucks that school costs so much money. Off topic, I really miss the Chipotle on route 1 too...
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
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7,915
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Elisabeth said:
However, money is a huge factor, not only because school itself is so expensive, but also because the cost of living is astronomical.
You could always do like this guy ;)

Congrats on getting accepted!
 

Big Easy King

Cyburbian
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1,361
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Seabishop said:
Ivy League status isn't important in this field unless you really want to get a phd and teach. BTW this won't be the biggest decision of your life. Employers don't seem to get hung up on which school you went to.
I agree. Best wishes on your future endeavor(s).
 

Elisabeth

Cyburbian
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157
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7
Thanks, Tranplanner!

I read that article in the New York Times yesterday--I can't believe that poor kid slept in the sub-basement of the library! And how kind of NYU to give the guy free housing for the last, what, two weeks of the semester! I'd push for free housing for next year too!
 

Dharmster

Cyburbian
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440
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Dacia0117 said:
I got accepted to U.Penn for grad school in the city and regional planning program which is 2 hours away and it will total about $50000, an overall cost that is about $20,000 more than University or Maryland College Park which is right down the street from me.
Go Terps!! oh, and go to Maryland. It's simply not worth borrowing to get a urban planning degree.
 

The One

Cyburbian
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8,289
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30
I agree

Save your money and attend the lower cost university. To your pal: Spending one cent more than required for an education degree makes absolutely NO Sense to ME....
 

Dacia0117

Member
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18
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1
Cool, points all well taken. Anyone have an idea of which is school is good in terms of city revitalization, or any schools outside these two. Thanks for the imput guys, I really appreciate it... i'll definately post my final decision by tomorrow
 
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Cardinal

Cyburbian
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10,080
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34
I will buck the trend (set by those posters from the DC metro area ;) ) and say that I would be more intrigued by the Penn option. I confess that I don't know very much about either program, but I do always look for a school with a program that is heavily involved in its community. That is why I strongly favored PSU over USC in another thread, and would tend to lean toward UPenn over UMar. It has nothing to do with one being an ivy league school while the other is not. As Seabishop said, employers really don't care.
 

Dharmster

Cyburbian
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440
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Cardinal said:
I confess that I don't know very much about either program, but I do always look for a school with a program that is heavily involved in its community.
Umm, Maryland current program awards a Master of COMMUNITY planning. It is very community oriented and the studios produce some good stuff (go to the website and click on "research" and the "studio reports").
 
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boiker

Cyburbian
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3,889
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26
Dharmster said:
. It's simply not worth borrowing to get a urban planning degree.
For some me, borrowing was necessary for any degree at any school. But, saving 20k a year is huge. Go to Maryland.
 
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Basis for choice

I really don't know too much about the Penn program, but I've heard very good things about it, for what it's worth. I think it all depends on what you want to do with it. Professional colleagues have told me that the top Ivy planning programs, of which Penn is one, can be the better choice if you want to go straight into international or private sector consulting work, but are generally not worth it if you want to work in the domestic public or not-for-profit sector.

This being said, my choice of shools (my top choices were MIT and the GSD) was not primarily influenced by their Ivy appeal but rather by their international orientation, their competence in physical planning discourse, their pedagogical approach (the CDD workshop system at MIT and the studio system at the GSD) and, very importantly for me, their real estate development/project management programs... unusual combinations in planning programs, regardless of Ivy status. After going back and forth for awhile between MIT and the GSD, I've decided to go to MIT, because of financial considerations and because of the strong international focus and the joint degree program in real estate, which will allow me to earn two degrees in fields I care about, for the price of one.
 
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ChevyChaseDC

Cyburbian
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190
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7
Dacia0117 said:
Maryland it is

I too will buck the trend here. I actually chose Penn over other, cheaper schools. They're giving me a significant chunk of financial help over there, which lessens the cost difference. I mostly chose Penn for a couple of reasons, though - the program's location in and commitment to Philadelphia are huge factors for me. Though my focus will be transportation and land use, I'm interested in how those two aspects pertain to development and revitalization in big, dense central cities, not just suburbs and greenfield development (though that's important too.) Also, Penn tends to send more of its students to the private sector, which I am interested in. So for all those in this thread who say a place like Penn is not worth the cost, I'd say that's not necessarily true. It depends on what kind of graduate school experience you want to have, and what you want to be doing when you graduate. I visited the school with much skepticism about its cost, but was well convinced by talking with current students and faculty that Penn is the place for me. And the grant and scholarship money helps too.
 

Dharmster

Cyburbian
Messages
440
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13
Alfie said:
I really don't know too much about the Penn program, but I've heard very good things about it, for what it's worth. I think it all depends on what you want to do with it. Professional colleagues have told me that the top Ivy planning programs, of which Penn is one, can be the better choice if you want to go straight into international or private sector consulting work, but are generally not worth it if you want to work in the domestic public or not-for-profit sector.
Not really. Penn's program while now strong and vibrant is not in the same category as say MIT's. MIT basically has a lock (along with Berkeley) on planning positions at the International Financial Institutions. If you are a foreign student who intends to return to your country then yes a Penn degree will likely give you higher dividends (but then since foreign students can't take out loans, they are having someone else pay the bill). The sad reality is that in planning Berkely is very selective, MIT is highly selective and then after that most programs are selective at most. That's the unfortunate reality of being in a field where salaraies are low.

ChevyChaseDC said:
I visited the school with much skepticism about its cost, but was well convinced by talking with current students and faculty that Penn is the place for me. And the grant and scholarship money helps too.
It's important to note though that on average programs at private universities cannot give out generous financial aid. If they did, the whole point of charging high tuition to offset their lack of state subsidy would be mute.

Alfie said:
Professional colleagues have told me that the top Ivy planning programs, of which Penn is one, can be the better choice if you want to go straight into international or private sector consulting work, but are generally not worth it if you want to work in the domestic public or not-for-profit sector.
A couple of points:

1) MIT is not an Ivy League school. Ivy League schools are members of a athletic conference and are Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Cornell, Princeton, Columbia, and Penn. Even among the Ivy's there is a pecking order with Harvard/Princeton/Yale at the top and Penn/Cornell at the bottom

2) Planning like other professional disciplines where the pay is poor (education, social work, etc.) and unlike medicine or law an Ivy league degree doesn't always pay off. In fact one could argue that the strongest planning programs (as measured by the size of and quality of their faculty and student body) are outside the Ivy League (MIT, Berkeley, UCLA, and USC). Harvard's planning program lost its accreditation at some point in the 90's I believe and Penn's was almost eliminated in the mid 1990s. The bottom line is its hard to run a program where you have to charge $30K a year in tuition where the average starting salaries are not that much higher.
 
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Lack of Bashing

I won't go into my education is way overpriced speech....go to Maryland. Nobody cares where you went to school, whether you are a 4.0 student, or captain of the football team. If you can't be a productive individual in the office or get along with the people you are going to work with, your not going to get hired.
 
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Dharmster said:
In fact one could argue that the strongest planning programs (as measured by the size of and quality of their faculty and student body) are outside the Ivy League (MIT, Berkeley, UCLA, and USC). Harvard's planning program lost its accreditation at some point in the 90's I believe and Penn's was almost eliminated in the mid 1990s. The bottom line is its hard to run a program where you have to charge $30K a year in tuition where the average starting salaries are not that much higher.
Harvard and Penn currently have very strong planning programs, and both are accredited. Along with UCLA et al, Harvard and Penn are considered to be among the top planning schools in the US.
 

Dharmster

Cyburbian
Messages
440
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13
rmulrew said:
Harvard and Penn currently have very strong planning programs, and both are accredited. Along with UCLA et al, Harvard and Penn are considered to be among the top planning schools in the US.
But rankings don't really matter that much in planning. Sure, if you are an overseas student planning on returning after your studies an Ivy League degree helps. If you want to work for an international financial insitution then you better go to MIT or Berkeley. However, the vast majority of planners are not foreign students or trying to get into a International Financial Institution. For those that go work in consulting or government a Illinois, Georgia Tech, UCLA, or North Carolina degree would serve them just as well as a Harvard or Penn degree.
 
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