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Jritch

Advice on Urban Planning Graduate School

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Hello, y'all,

I have applied for a urban planning masters with the urban design concentration for Fall 2018 and I am trying to decide on my choices. As for my background, I have recently graduated with a BS in Architecture at UT San Antonio and want to become a city planner. I am trying to chose from UT Austin, UPenn, and UW Seattle. I wanted to study outside of TX for a new urban perspective since I always lived inside TX, however tuition is a big issue. UT is affordable because of in state tuition, UW and UPenn would make me take out private loans alongside government loans, while I only need government loans with UT. I would like to hear everyone's opinion if UPenn would be worth the very expensive tuition for the Ivy league connections and other opportunities, or go with UW, still in a different environment and strong design based program but cheaper then UPenn. Although I would need private loans. Or go with UT which is more affordable, while still a strong program. Which school would y'all recommend with connections, and employment, while taking loan repayment and tuition into account. I plan to work for city government, and possibly pursue the public loan forgiveness which could help. Thank you for any comments and help.

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Planner here. It depends on where you want to be after school. If you were planning on staying public sector or in Texas, then a degree from UT would be not only more applicable but also put you in less debt. If you wanted to go into say, consulting, or another industry, then an Ivy name helps. Public agencies are more interested in what you can do than where you read your textbooks. It matters more what you do with your time while in school, factor in the outcomes of various students, are they working where you want to work? I wouldn't count on the public loan forgiveness to stick around much longer, and most loans are paid back within 10 years. 

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Thank you for the advice. I visited the open house at UT and visiting the open house at UPenn on Monday. I was very impressed with UT's public service element which is what I am interested in. I am going to do more research on Penn and UT and talk around at Penn before I make my decision. However, I am more interested in a public sector job in the city vs a private company like a developer.

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