I'm currently studying landscape architecture at West Virginia University. I like the program here, the professors are great and I can see why WVU has a top 10 program in LA. The problem is I'm an out of state student taking out loans and having my parents help a lot with expenses. Even with my financial aid, without a bigger scholarship there's a decent chance i might not being able to stay at WVU next year. So I've thinking about transferring to Maryland for Fall 2012. This way I'll save more than $15,000. The thing is that I don't know how good UMD's LA program is. Do they have a good program that competes with WVU's? I know the economy is bad which is why I want to go to a school that will give me the best chance of getting hired. Another thing is that I really like WVU. I've made so many friends and I'm having a great first semester and i'm worried about losing my social life being a transfer student. So i just need some opinions or tips, any information about Maryland's program. Thanks!

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The biggest thing I would be concerned with is how many of your credits will transfer. Often, there is a limit, and it is subjective, so you may have to pay to retake courses. And the courses have to be apples to apples, you might even need to retake the 'core; courses because you are transferring in from an out-of-state institution with different core requirements. Are you graduate or undergrad?? You need to contact the school ASAP before you take the time and money to apply, and just see if you want to go. If you are undergrad, you need to speak with Dennis Nola, for grad, Jack Sullivan. Meet with one of them and bring a copy of your transcript and portfolio with you for a casual conversation and tour the facility.

Great tips, thank you. 

I saw you went to UMD for grad school. How is the LARC program there?

if the program is accredited then you should get a very good education wherever you go.....

the main thing that will get you hired is the quality of your work, not where you went to school...

and that is up to you and how hard you apply yourself....the education is there, it's what you make of it.

there are no guarantees anywhere.

So is education not as important when trying to get an entry level job?
I was an out of state student paying all my own educational expenses.  I wanted to drop out to establish residency but I was facing another dilemma, like immediate deployment to Viet Nam.  Thanks to a one year suspension of drafting I gave up my deferment and went to work with a landscape company.  That was a great choice.  I acquired needed skills and experience, established residency and made many great contacts in the local landscape community.  After a year I went back to complete my degree work and, odd as it may seem, joined the Army and saw the world.    Maybe there is some useful advice there?

Whatever you do really think it out and get a handle on the transfer situation. Is it really going to save money? If you only have one year left it likely would not save you much, but if you are just starting it may help.

 I also would say do not worry about the name of the school on the degree as much, granted that they are both accredited. Some programs have a better reputation with hiring managers, but I don't live in your area so who knows. You could try doing some informational interviews where you want to ultimately work and ask their opinion on that. That contact alone might be enough to overcome a schools lesser reputation.

 

Another vote for not worrying about the ranking of the school. As Alan Ray said, it's what you design that matters, not the name of the school (however there could be an argument for, say, Harvard vs. Maryland). And another vote for transfer credits being a major concern. As far as the social aspect, it does take a lot of extra effort on your part when one transfers. I transferred during my bachelors years ago and found it very hard to break into the established cliques of students that had started there freshman year. It's a much less organic process, but can be aided if you live on/next to campus instead of with your parents. I would make that a priority if you do transfer.

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