2022 MLA Vibe Check


I'm at a crossroads. I've been admitted to several prominent East Coast MLA programs and now have to make the decision if the hefty tuition and fluorescent box politics are worth the squeeze in order to level up in skills and network.  

e.g. is 2022 expensive academia better than going head-down for an equivalent number of years in self-directed study?  (potentially in low cost-of-living locales with equivalent computer hardware and bandwidth)

Mar 4, 22 11:12 am
Non Sequitur

Pas as little as possible, you'll thank yourself later.

No arch degree is worth the tens, if not hundreds of thousands kids are spending these days... I can't imaging landscape is any better.

Mar 4, 22 11:48 am  · 

Agree with NS. If they don't offer you funding, they don't really want you. They just want you to fund them. 

It's not worth it especially if its prestige and value is just going to dissipate after you graduate. 

And don't fall for the "good for skills-building and networking" catchphrase at the expense of putting yourself in debt. These things shouldn't cost you a dime, but rather should be available to you freely through diverse experience. 

Mar 9, 22 4:15 pm  · 
1  · 

A job in a top office can be a form of graduate school.  It allows you to see how the top people in the field produce their designs and network you with the best consultants and suppliers.

 In today's climate of busy offices and plentiful jobs, maybe you should go to work for the absolute best landscape firm you can find.  Relocate if you have to.

For me, the only reason to invest in a prestige masters degree from an Ivy would be if you wanted to attempt to get into the teaching game.

Mar 14, 22 10:31 am  · 
1  · 

What's the range of scholarship for 'we actually want you' amidst GSD, UPenn, UVA, Cornell?

Mar 14, 22 2:31 pm  · 

Ideally, at least 75% scholarship and up (or $$$-$$$$ whatever that means here). If that's what schools are offering you, it means they want you so bad for being so good that they're going to make it entirely accessible for you.

Another factor of scholarships that not everyone knows, aside from being need-based, it's based on an evaluation that you're still able to continue the program in the event you'll lose it. Because you have some capacity to pay for it through a sponsor/parent or loans, I mean, that's why they also ask for your financial background in the first place.

Whether you come from a state school or ivy, you'll still end up taking the same licensure exams or applying for the same jobs with salaries that reflect your collective experience and what education you've attained. (By education, the kind of degree you've earned, and the courses you've taken, not the name or reputation of the school where you took it).

Mar 15, 22 12:26 am  · 

This needs repeating. 

 No employer cares about where a fresh grad went to school. 

They typically only care that you have an accredited degree, how good your portfolio is, and if you have any student internships.


Mar 15, 22 2:41 pm  · 
2  · 

The schools should be able to tell you the range of their merit scholarships - check your prospects for salaries post-graduation and see if the loan payments are within the range of where you are comfortable.  Other thing worth doing is asking around offices where you aspire to work at and see what they look for.  For some practices your education matters (there is an assumption that certain programs educate in a way that aligns with how they work: that is to say the pedagogy aligns with their design process).  It's somewhat of how soon can the firm turn a profit on you (and not spend too much time mentoring and getting you up-to-speed) - currently the market is so hot firms may not care, but back in 2009-2011 it sure mattered a lot.

As others noted, if you have a degree that allows you to get your foot in the door at a good practice, working for a couple of years may help identify if a graduate degree is needed for what you want to do.

Mar 15, 22 2:36 pm  · 

I'm trying to make a decision between UPenn and Temple MLA programs and this conversation is very helpful. If anyone has further thoughts on these two schools, I'd appreciate it.

Mar 17, 22 10:09 am  · 

Go with the less costly of the two. Make sure you get an accredited degree or don't bother.

Mar 17, 22 10:20 am  · 

Temple is indeed accredited even though they are very new (started in 2010). They were initially accredited in 2013 and reaccredited in 2019. The curious thing is that they call their degree an MLArch degree, instead of MLA, but they say it's the same thing, and the ASLA webpage on accredited programs by state also calls the Temple program an MLA program.

Mar 17, 22 12:33 pm  · 
Tina Lee

Has anyone heard back from uc Berkeley? I have applied to MLA 3 years program, and haven’t gotten any response yet….

Mar 17, 22 7:27 pm  · 
K Way

@diospyrosvirginiana What did you decide!?

Aug 4, 22 1:03 pm  · 


Aug 8, 22 9:24 pm  · 

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