Ann Forsyth's blog

Ann Forsyth is professor of Urban Planning at Harvard University.
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How Important is Your Graduate Planning Specialty or Concentration?

As students plan their spring semester courses and make early plans for the summer, they often wonder how to choose a planning specialization or concentration. They ask how important the concentration is for their future career as a planner.

Summer Reading for Graduate Students: 2013 Edition

What should graduate students read the summer before entering planning school? For those with some time on their hands the following suggestions can help provide direction.

Writing a Statement of Purpose for Graduate Education

How should a statement of purpose for a graduate school application differ from one for an undergrad program? This post outlines the elements of a compelling graduate school statement.

Making the Most of Being a Student, Part 2

Making the most of being a student requires more than just completing the course credits necessary for a degree. See my suggestions for activities beyond the classroom that are key to getting a great education.

Does it Make a Difference if a Planning Program is in a Policy, Design, or Other Kind of School?

For those wanting to enter graduate school in 2013, applications will soon be due. Students investigating options often ask if it makes a difference where the planning school is located—in a design school, a public policy college, or in other locations like colleges of agriculture or arts and sciences. The short answer is it matters less to students than many think.

How Much do GREs Matter for Graduate School in Planning?

If you are applying to graduate school in planning, how much do GREs matter? Like many things in planning the answer varies with the person and program. Below I provide some general advice.

The Long and Short of Writing

Study after study highlights writing as a major skill that planning employers are looking for in new hires. Two specific kinds of writing seem most challenging to beginning planners.

A Timeline for Job Hunting in Planning

Many students are understandably worried about getting a job once they graduate. The slow economy has made this more difficult and also changed some of the parameters in terms of approach and timing. For example, many employers are hesitant to make early commitments, delaying some phases of the job search. In this blog I outline a strategy for using the academic year to find a job or a summer internship using the North American academic calendar as a base.

Breadth and Depth in Planning Education

A frequent query I receive from students is whether they should focus on gaining a broad understanding of many aspects of planning and places or if they should focus on one topic in depth. This is an important question.

Sticker Price vs. Real Price for a Planning Education

Unless they are independently wealthy, students thinking about graduate school in planning need to consider the cost. Unfortunately this is not as simple as looking up tuition on a web site. The cost paid by a specific individual can vary greatly from place to place, and even from year to year at the same school, in ways that are hard to predict.

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