March 20, 2011 at 3:17 pm #164129David KornmeyerParticipant
It seems like a great program!! I am going for sure. I am from that area kinda in Utica area so I really enjoy Upstate New York, even though I have been out in Utah the las few years not much beats the Adirondacks! So I might see ya there, the price is not bad I have not got my papers yet only a call so do not know about $$ yet.March 20, 2011 at 6:04 pm #164128Dotty DalyParticipant
Hi, I am a Penn grad. The program has improved immensely from when I was there, which was I think what you would call, a transition time. I have sat in on the first year reviews and provided portfolio reviews for the last 2 years. Penn is Penn, you have an ivy league education that you can put on your resume. Now, here are the questions, did you visit any of the schools? Did you talk to any of the students? Have you looked at the curriculum? Have you asked any of the firms that you want to work for where the graduates are coming from and finally, are you paying for it yourself?
I am paying for mine. I put myself through college and undergrad and a few years ago had to consolidate to make a payment I could afford. Penn was cheaper then but I will be paying student loans until I am 63. Jobs are hard to find and even with a Masters Degree, salaries aren’t going to be what you hope they are in most cases. Someone at Temple U asked me if I realized how much debt I was taking on before I left there to go to graduate school. I thought I knew and really didn’t.
Good luck with the decision and congrats on getting into all 3 schools….March 20, 2011 at 6:08 pm #164127Ann EnglishParticipant
I see the focus on financial in your analysis but I don’t have a sense of what your LA aspirations are or how that english degree background has been applied (i.e. – what have you been doing and for how long?) nor how many years you would be looking at paying back the debt vs. saving for the future. A big decision for sure – Cornell in-state might split the difference between Penn/RISD & CCNY but you are still looking at an aggressive payback on (estimate) 95K. You have to need to be a landscape architect like nothing else to justify it – and the program you select should be one with good ties to firms, have faculty you want to work with and be able to show you how their recent grads are doing — not just what the cost to get the education is — the network of alums. is v. important — as is the opportunity to learn business skills in addition to design skills while you are in school. When I graduated many years ago, the economy was in a very bad condition and 50% of LA grads left the field within 5 years. So you have to ask, if I should turn out to be one of the 50% with a degree and no job, what would be some options for yourself – would it be a disaster or a bump in the design road? This is being pragmatic, not negative. It may behoove you to defer for a year to the school you really want to go to and see how much more you can save or see if they typically will offer scholarship to high performing second year students so that your debt wouldn’t be as much as you anticipate.March 20, 2011 at 6:09 pm #164126Dotty DalyParticipant
Geez, when were you there? I got nothing!March 21, 2011 at 5:47 pm #164125macsurfParticipant
Good luck — I would stay with City and try to grab an assistantship or job. I’m currently in school, finishing my 5th semester at UF – 2 more to go. I work 2 jobs (one at the university and the other as a teaching assistant) and I still racked up $35k by having to pay two semesters out of state. The other 3 semesters I have worked and had 9 credit hours waived, and given an in-state tuition waiver. Granted I’m not at UPENN, but I doubt I would have landed a teaching assistantship there.
Luckily, I have 3 years of planning and GIS experience, but I’m still nervous about the loans I owe. At this point education comes second to paying my rent, tuition, and living expenses – well, not entirely, but pretty close. Two years in and you seriously question why the h@ll it takes 3 years (at UF it’s 3.5) to get an MLA. Total joke and waste of time — you can get a master of transportation engineering here with 30 credits and no thesis. To put that in perspective – I’m taking 16 credits this semester as required per the curriculum. I’m not knocking the program here, but LA education in general. CLARB or whoever needs to climb out of their ivory tower and enter reality world. I’m all for the extra year of school (whether BLA or MLA) if we’re getting signing bonuses when we graduate. But unfortunately that’s not the case.March 21, 2011 at 6:35 pm #164124Pat S. RosendParticipant
Take the cheapest. You will never pay back the other loans.March 21, 2011 at 6:38 pm #164123Pat S. RosendParticipant
Great points.March 22, 2011 at 1:17 am #164122Grace NgParticipant
I’m in the same boat: City College vs. Cornell, I would love to go back to Cornell in a heart beat but 90k min in debt seems crushing and all this feedback from actual LAs is making me swing towards City College alot more. I’m visiting the school on Thursday, will report back on what I think of the program!March 26, 2011 at 2:36 pm #164121shawnParticipant
I live in RI and can attest to the wonderful lifestyle here…the city is small, but funky. Access to NY and Boston is easy. Arts are huge here. RISD is situated in one of the most beautiful urban residential areas — very historic. Can’t really comment on the MLA program, but I don’t see alot of RISD grads working here in RI…March 30, 2011 at 2:29 am #164120Grace NgParticipant
Hi Ann, you’ve brought up really good points…in regards to the alumna connections. I know as an Cornell alum that Cornell’s network is vast and strong …whereas City College just graduated its 3rd class and there is a lack of strong alumni networking -however the prof’s are practicing in the city and I’d presume have connections in NYC firms.
What is your perspective on how important I should weigh ‘college/alumni’ network in job prospects? Is this something that should be weighted heavily?
A little about myself: I graduated from undergrad at Cornell with a major in Policy Analysis and have been working in market research for 3 years now. Anyhow, after much soul searching about life/career – I came to Larch, and I since I have no background for it, I applied for a 3 yr MLA…got into Cornell and City College.There is a severe price difference and obvious strengths within each program. I’d honestly love to go back to Cornell…but I’d be 90k in debt, whereas if I go to City College I can live at home in Brooklyn and have much less debt (30k). If I am one of the 50% with the degree and no job in the field, I can see myself being OK with going back to market research/business to make ends meet.. but if this is a probability – then should I even consider Cornell (since it would put me in severe debt)?
Sorry in advance if this is convoluted, this is a really tough decision.March 30, 2011 at 1:55 pm #164119Jon QuackenbushParticipant
Man, that is expensive. I went to SUNY ESF, amazing school, top notch professors and great local restaurants. 8k tuition a year without fellowships, which a lot of grad students got, so around 4.5k plus cost of living. Even with the realative affordability of the program, upon graduation my debt was around 50k, which is $350 a month for the next 25 years… that is $4200 a year… Given that our profession isn’t lucrative (unless your earn your way to be a partner in a successful firm), paying off 90k of student loans seems insane and impossible.
Your student loan each month could be $500 to $600, which is $6,600 a year, which translates to that much less is salary for your pocket book. If you are lucky enough to get a job when you graduate, your starting salary is expected to be in the low to mid 40’s, so with student loans taken into consideration, your salary will be mid to low 30’s…. is that acceptable to you? Could you make that work? Do you ever want to own a house? Save for retirement?
I hate to be a downer, because grad school is really an amazing experience, but it isn’t worth $600 a month for the next 25 years (to me).
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