Parsons or NJIT for MArch



I was accepted to Parsons and NJIT for their MArch programs and I dont know which to pick. Both programs are 3 years. NJIT is significantly less expensive (NJIT I would pay 2K out of pocket whereas Parsons I would be paying 16K out of pocket).

I will be commuting to whichever school from central NJ (because I cannot afford to live in manhattan). To NJIT would be about a 30 minute drive whereas to Parsons it could take up to 2 hours on public transport (I would be taking the train then subway).

Based on the above information I think NJIT is the obvious choice. My only concern is the networking. My goal is to live and work in manhattan after I graduate and I think that will be easier if I go to Parsons (I dont know if this is actually true, but thats what I think). So ultimately I guess I'm just looking for reassurance that I will make equally good connections at NJIT as I would at Parsons.

I also love Parsons a whole lot more than NJIT but I don't know if my love is worth the extra cost and the extra commute.

Thanks to anyone who can give me any advice! I really appreciate it!

Mar 23, 19 6:22 pm

In my head Parsons is this really amazing school that is really well known so I'm afraid that I will be missing out on a really great opportunity just because I'm wary of the commute. But I don't actually know if Parsons is as great as I think it is. If someone could tell me that it's wrong of me to place Parsons on such a high pedestal then maybe it would be easier for me to make peace with choosing NJIT.

I think I'm just trying to convince myself that a degree is a degree no matter where it comes from and that I'll end up in the same place after graduation regardless of where I studied.

Mar 23, 19 6:38 pm

I think I would be more comfortable at NJIT (financially and in terms of the commute) but I think Parsons is where I really want to be, mainly because it's in manhattan. But I already know that I will be SUPER stressed about the commute and I don't know if Parsons is worth that stress. Maybe it's better just to stick it out in NJ for the next 3 years and then move to manhattan afterwards (plus I would have more money for rent because of the money I didn't spend on Parsons).

But again, I don't know if not going to Parsons is a missed opportunity.

Mar 23, 19 6:57 pm

I don't know much about the grad program at NJIT, but I have actually met a lot and work with some graduates of their Bachelor's program.  And from talking to them it seems like their classmates have gone on to work in the NJ/NY area pretty seamlessly. I think their network is good and large as well because for a long time they were the only feasible architecture program in NJ. 

I have a friend who is planning on going to Parsons but I think she's going to eat the cost of living in the city since she's originally from down I haven't much asked her about specifics of the program and why she chose it though

My suggestion, if you want to go to Parsons still but want to commute find a place to share somewhere in Jersey City area or Bergen county or a place where the modes of transport are regular, even into the early hours of the morning (if that's not already your situation.) You don't want to sleep in Port Authority or Penn after missing ur train/bus.  Plus that honestly sounds like an arduous commute, it will get old real fast.

Manhattan is always alluring and obv you're flip-flopping about this but NJIT makes sense here imo. 

Mar 24, 19 12:12 am

NJIT B.Arch Alumna here. First question, what is your undergrad background? 

If you have a Bachelor in Architecture or a related degree, I would not recommend NJIT for Masters. Majority of the M.Arch program at NJIT is made up of people who do not have any previous architecture knowledge/experience - they're changing careers - so even though they are M.Arch students, they're at the level of a first year B.Arch student. If you have a previous Architecture education, this puts you at a disadvantage because you're working and learning in an environment with people who are taking their first steps into the field whereas you're trying to enhance already acquired skills and delve deeper into the field.

On the flip side, if this M.Arch is your first venture into Architecture education because you're changing careers, I would definitely suggest NJIT. It will provide you what you need to enter the NYC market. 

Mar 24, 19 1:37 pm

i taught at parsons for a bit. the masters program has some legit faculty members, if I recall correctly. I would definitely look up the teachers of both school and see how 'big time' they are--this will have an impact on networking and the education itself. because the school is centrally located, it felt like it was even more a hive for networking and 'being in the mix'. it's hard to beat union square. it might be a good way to get to know manhattan as well. have you had a chance to visit the schools? definitely visit both, if you can. The parsons architecture building is really teeming with creativity since interior design, architecture, lighting and i think urban design now are in there (undergrad and grad). It's a fantastically typical urban building with creaky wood floors. My guess is that parsons probably gets more well-known guest lecturers, critics and event and etc more often because its so central, i could be wrong on this though.

many people who grad from NJIT work in manhattan. But i don't know much about the school, so i couldn't say what it's like. regarding networking, consider also the size of the schools. not sure which school is larger.

the $14k difference is a big. One thing to consider is which school are you least likely to regret going to? if you attend NJIT, will you always be wondering what parsons was like? or visa versa?

"I also love Parsons a whole lot more than NJIT" As much as i hate the student loan system, i'm still an advocate for going to the school you love and the one you will enjoy the most / get the most out of. it's kind of a once in a life time opportunity.

Mar 26, 19 12:34 am

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