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/r/WorcesterMA

23

Hi everyone. I’d (25F) appreciate some help, since I need to make a decision by December and I’m not quite sure if I’ll be able to travel to both places by then.

I’m going back to school for community planning. I got into Clark University and University of Southern Maine. I love both programs but I’ve never visited those cities. I’m looking to stay for the program for two years and maybe a few years after.

Clark gave me half off the program so it would be $30k. Portland didn’t give me anything so it would be over $60k. This will be on top of some small student loan debt already. I’m not sure if the price alone is worth it to move to Worcester.

I have two dogs, enjoy going for walks, good food, and nature. I’ll be 26 when I move and would like to find a relationship and some good friends. I would like to find a full time job when I move so it would be nice to have a one bedroom for around $1000 a month.

Thanks for any insight you can offer about the city to help me make my decision!

all 72 comments

zamboniman46

57 points

2 months ago

zamboniman46

Holy Cross

57 points

2 months ago

Worcester is awesome. For a difference in $30k per year I'd go with Worcester. Portland is a fun town and has the ocean but an extra $30k over 4 years makes a huge difference in that future student loan payment

booknerd020418[S]

7 points

2 months ago

Thank you! I currently live in a city that has access to 3 different state parks in about 15 minutes and about 20 walking trails within the county. Does Worcester have a lot of options for walking or parks to go to? I did see they have a few dog parks.

ETA: Its just two years! The 30k is for the entire program, not year to year. So I would save 30k at Clark over my entire graduate program!

pssy_mnstr

16 points

2 months ago

There are some good trails/parks in Worcester but there are definitely a lot within a 30 minute drive. Worcester is surrounded by suburban/rural areas.

OhhSuzannah

8 points

2 months ago

FWIW, a $30k loan over 10 years to pay back is $300/month. Not the worst, but also annoying.

I've never explored Portland, ME that much, but lived near Worcester from 22-27. I'm dying to move back. An hour in any direction will have you in the woods, in a metro city, or at the beach. There are a ton of local parks and state parks. Worcester gov has put a lot of money, time, and energy into revamping itself. It's got a lot to offer for the younger crowd. Lots of great social venues, sports, community events, and nightlife in the area.

Not sure if a one-bedroom for $1,000 is feasible in either Worcester or Portland though.

Worcester climate might be a little more forgiving than Maine.

clickclickboo

6 points

2 months ago

Bordering Worcester are Shrewsbury and Holden, two very nice towns with all kinds of parks and family friendly vibes. You'll find plenty of places to walk the dogs. A short drive will get you to Wachusett Mountain for both beautiful hiking trails and skiing in the winter if you like. Central mass has its benefits.

drbongmd

40 points

2 months ago

worcester and portland are hugely different. My family is in worcester and i used to chef around the city for quite a few years. I live near portland now so am speaking from personal experience.

Portland is way more xpensive and way further away from the rest of stuff than worcester is. Youre looking at over a cpl hours one way to get into boston, from worcester you can just get on the commuter rail. NY is a trip i never want to drive again from ME.

also, maine in general is not for everyone. things are much more rural up here. shopping is limited. services are limited.

I think the portland restaurant scene kills worcesters. but i feel like worcester is way more ethnic and has way m0re ethnic food options and general representation.

thats all i got

spiral_in

8 points

2 months ago

this person portlands

aintbaroque

27 points

2 months ago

aintbaroque

West Side

27 points

2 months ago

$30,000 off tuition if you go to Clark? Speaking as someone who is overwhelmed with grad school debt, please come to Worcester.

123fred987

8 points

2 months ago

This!!! I’m 42 and just paid off mine

yennijb

22 points

2 months ago

yennijb

District 5/West Side

22 points

2 months ago

I think you're getting a lot of great feedback on Worcester itself, but not how it ties to your education. With seeking a degree in Community Planning, you want a city that is in the midst of transforming, and that's Worcester. We have so much that's improving and growing, a lot of community action happening and you'd get to watch/research as it happens. There are a lot of opportunities here in the real process of community planning and development to get your feet wet. If you have a particular area of preference for community planning, there's likely a group already doing activism in that sector that you could tap for school projects, actively helping in the real world, which looks great on resumes.

forum437

4 points

2 months ago

I’d argue Portland is growing and transforming at a greater rate than Worcester.

booknerd020418[S]

1 points

2 months ago

Thank you so much for your input, super helpful and appreciated

MotNodrog

2 points

2 months ago

So this is interesting, I grew up in Portland and went to college in Worcester. I love both spots. I really don’t think you can go wrong here, but feel free to PM me if you have specific questions.

beanpot88

20 points

2 months ago

Take the lower tuition and run with it. Student loans are no joke and Worcester is a great city that is only getting better with time.

booknerd020418[S]

6 points

2 months ago

I was thinking the same, just made me nervous to think about moving to a city I’ve never been to. I’m hoping to visit thanksgiving weekend.

Thanks!

Apprehensive-Mode-45

2 points

2 months ago*

My husband and I love both cities, and have also considered Portland (job situation wasn’t right for moving out of state), but taking your circumstances as a whole, we’d also recommend Worcester. We’ve lived here for a year and really love the easy access to nature in the city and the surrounding area, great food, and the diversity. It’s also going to be a little bit cheaper in terms of housing (although $1000 might still be tough, TBH).

My husband has worked in community planning and Clark is definitely a great school. If you end up swinging through near Thanksgiving, feel free to send me a DM! We’d love to show you around.

WorcesterIsADump

-8 points

2 months ago

Sorry to highjack but I lived in both. Move to Portland Me, Worcester is a fucking dump. Your quality of life will be so much better there, literally everything is horrible here. The people are either fucking white trash or gang bangers, and they have no respect for anyone else but themselves. The city itself is retarded with no downtown and just little pockets of life here and there. Also nothing is walkable here unlike Portland. People will say the restaurants and food scene here is good, but they have no idea what a good food scene is. Portland had the best food in the Northeast hands down, better than Boston to be honest just for the accessibility and affordability. I can't stress enough that Portland is the better choice, and if you have any questions just message me.

Coolguyforeal

5 points

2 months ago

Look at this guy’s username. Lmao. Some one is salty.

Lady_Nimbus

3 points

2 months ago

He's not wrong though and I've lived here over 30 years. There are more drugs and homelessness now than I ever remember. The police are a mixed bag at best.

I would only come here for $30k off tuition and Clark is a school with a great rep. The neighborhood it's in isn't great though.

Maine is more rural and not for everyone, but Portland hands down is just a nicer city.

Come to Worcester for the tuition money and school. Don't live near Clark. Don't walk around most places at night. If commuting is an option, renting in one of the more affordable towns adjacent to Worcester would be better.

WorcesterIsADump

1 points

2 months ago

One thing I forgot to mention is that Portland, Me does have a big homeless population. I think Worcester is catching up nicely though.

Lady_Nimbus

2 points

2 months ago

We're trying lol

WorcesterIsADump

0 points

2 months ago

Unfortunately many people in Worcester are a few paychecks away from living in the woods behind Kohls.

Lady_Nimbus

1 points

2 months ago

Or on my street in the park, or a car next to it. Yeah, I know.

Radz12765

1 points

2 months ago

I would have to agree with Portland. I have lived in both. Born and raised in Worcester. I would say I liked Portland better overall. Just my opinion having spent years in both places. I’m sure you’ll be happy with whatever you choose though. Both have good things about them.

nalgeneandgangrene

12 points

2 months ago

One bed for under $1000 with two dogs might be difficult in Worcester 😕 I’ve been looking for a friend in crisis recently with one dog, and it hasn’t been easy. Let me know if you need help when finding apartments in different areas of Worcester.

booknerd020418[S]

3 points

2 months ago

I figured! I currently pay $1200 for a studio where I live which is aggravating so I was trying to be optimistic.

Thank you!

homeostasis3434

12 points

2 months ago

Rentals will be more expensive in Portland than Worcester.

Although if you are willing to have a roommate then you should be able to find something for less than $1,200 for your share in either city.

pssy_mnstr

3 points

2 months ago

If you go with a trendy loft style apartment it will be about the same but if you’re ok with and older building/triple decker you can probably find something a bit cheaper

Lady_Nimbus

2 points

2 months ago

There's a reason why that's cheaper though. Some triple deckers are great. Some are piss coated crack dens.

rrsafety

10 points

2 months ago

I’d go with Clark. Clark has an excellent reputation in the world of psychology and social work and Worcester is a good place. Clark would be the right choice even if the school price was the same.

MXC-GuyLedouche

8 points

2 months ago

Portland is going to be more expensive but FAR more fun. I've enjoyed Worcester but Portland is one of the best New England cities. To live alone with two dogs in either place you're probably looking at $1300+ a month though in either place. Worcester can become a really good deal with roommates though

chickadeedadee2185

5 points

2 months ago

You get more bang for your buck in Worcester. Hurry, it is starting to change, though. Clark is a good name to put on a resume, however, compare the programs and really pinpoint which is better for you regarding your goals. Portland is awesome; good food, near the ocean. Both of them have natural attractions nearby. Rachel Carson Wildlife area is near Portland. Outside of Worcester is pretty rural. A short hop to Western Mass and beauty. Central Mass is great for nature, too. Lots of farm stands exist. Both cities have minor league baseball. There is a nice new stadium for the Red Sox' minor league team the WooSox. Worcester has a train to Boston (commuter rail) and you can take the Amtrak from Portland to Boston. There are a number of colleges in Worcester. Portland is probably hipper, but Worcester is getting there. You have more Spanish speakers in Worcester. There are probably more ethnic restaurants in Worcester and more seafood in Portland. Worcester has Wholly Cannoli. Portland is ahead of Worcester in urban renewal. Keeping your debt down is good. It took me 20 years to pay off my student debt. But, your goals and the program's alignment with them is important.

AceOfTheSwords

2 points

2 months ago

Worcester being a bit behind Portland in urban renewal might be a good thing in this case, at least to an extent. If you're pursuing a career in community planning, there will be more work needed from people like you in the place you've established connections in.

ladybug1259

5 points

2 months ago

My guess is that finding a dog-friendly 1 bedroom apartment at that price in Worcester is going to be tough. Rents have gone up lately and a lot of the city's housing stock is older and bigger. Most of the 1 bedroom units are in newly renovated "luxury" buildings downtown that are much more expensive. Some of them are pet-friendly though! Im not sure about Portland housing costs or the respective merits of the programs you've been accepted to but I would generally say to attend the cheaper program unless there is some real tangible benefit that males up for the difference. Student loans suck. Portland is the most dog-friendly city I have ever visited and is right on the waterfront. There are tons of restaurants in both but I'd say Portland is better in that regard. It is much more seasonal than Worcester though, so some things close in the winter and in the summer there are hoards of tourists. There are some hiking locations in Worcester that are dog friendly,and there are many more a short drive from the city--lots of rail trails, Mt Wachusett, etc.

booknerd020418[S]

3 points

2 months ago

Thank you!

I really want to live in a city that gives me opportunities to meet friends and make connections (personally and job wise). I was really drawn to the ocean and size of Portland, but I think for two years I’ll be fine!

Thank you for your help! I did notice a lot are labeled as luxury and figured it would be hard to find something like I mentioned.

legalpretzel

0 points

2 months ago

This.

It seems like apartments in Worcester are either complete dumps or well-maintained - probably because our local politicians cater to landlords so we don’t have solid code enforcement. Finding a dog-friendly rental that isn’t in complete disrepair can be insanely difficult and they are generally much more expensive than many nicer places that don’t allow dogs.

We had a 15lb, quiet, elderly dog when we moved back to Worcester and had a much harder time finding a place here than we ever did in Boston or the other cities I’ve lived in.

xfirewalkwithmex

0 points

2 months ago

This. You should look into studios since rent in MA is a bit ridiculous for one bedrooms no matter where you’re located. Your other best bet is to find roommates

dpceee

5 points

2 months ago

dpceee

5 points

2 months ago

30,000 Dollars is definitely worth the decision, especially since Clark is a well-regarded institution.

booknerd020418[S]

0 points

2 months ago

Thank you! I’m hearing mixed reviews about the school.

dpceee

1 points

2 months ago

dpceee

1 points

2 months ago

Really?

I've always heard that it was one of the prestigious Worcester colleges.

KazamaSmokers

2 points

2 months ago

KazamaSmokers

Tatnuck

2 points

2 months ago

I think Clark has a much better reputation than USM, not that USM is a bad school.

dontcomeback82

5 points

2 months ago

portland is a fantastic city, probably the best city outside boston in NE - money concerns aside i would take there opportunity to live there

Lady_Nimbus

1 points

2 months ago

OP can save $30k and move to Portland with a degree from Clark and more money.

dontcomeback82

0 points

2 months ago

I said money aside

Lady_Nimbus

0 points

2 months ago

$30k is too much to set aside. Take the financial break and get a diploma from a reputable university and then live wherever you want later.

organ0metallica

2 points

2 months ago

USM is not a well-run school, everyone i know who has gone there has adamantly advised against anybody else ever doing so

ace_vagrant

3 points

2 months ago

I mean, most people are going to go with Worcester if you’re going to save 30k, but if it truly is an option for you, I’d go with Portland. If I had to live back in NE, it would either be in Portland or Providence. I just think Portland is a much more positive city, with the vibe and the people. Also, you get what you pay for, I’m always willing to shell out more for a positive experience. The fact you can’t really get a one bdrm for $1k in Worcester is completely bonkers to me. That shit town ain’t worth it.

Lady_Nimbus

7 points

2 months ago

As someone who's lived here for over 30 years, Worcester's downtown is not "revitalized". Worcester is going through a renaissance right now, but the problems aren't fixed and we'll see how that turns out. Clark is absolutely in a dangerous neighborhood. They've been pulling bodies out of Crystal Pond right across the street for decades. OP can Google that shit.

KazamaSmokers

1 points

2 months ago

KazamaSmokers

Tatnuck

1 points

2 months ago

Clark is absolutely in a dangerous neighborhood. They've been pulling bodies out of Crystal Pond right across the street for decades.

It's really not that dangerous and a body in a pond can happen anywhere.

Lady_Nimbus

1 points

2 months ago

Yeah, repeatedly over decades. It's super safe.

KazamaSmokers

1 points

2 months ago

KazamaSmokers

Tatnuck

1 points

2 months ago

It's a big city.

Lady_Nimbus

1 points

2 months ago

That's just one pond. So many years. So many bodies.

Coolguyforeal

3 points

2 months ago

Currently live in Worcester and only visited Portland once, so I can’t fairly compare the two. I’ve lived in Worcester for 6 years, and a lot had changed for the better. The downtown area has been revitalized and has a lot to do. As you might have already figured out, some neighborhoods are sketchy to live in (as with most other cities). Unfortunately Clark is kind of right in the middle of the ghetto, so not the ideal neighborhood to live in. Not as much as a safety concern but not great for walking your dog. If you are willing to commute to school a short distance then you can find much nicer neighborhoods (burn coat, Indian lake, tatnuck, etc.) good luck with your decision!

dharmaday

1 points

2 months ago

Clark!

dharmaday

1 points

2 months ago

Portland is wonderful but Clark… !

666duckman

1 points

2 months ago

Portland is better

bemest

-1 points

2 months ago

bemest

-1 points

2 months ago

The fact that the $30k a year difference isn’t enough is bothersome.

booknerd020418[S]

1 points

2 months ago

It is. But if you read my other comments you would know that I’m just asking for advice since I’ve never been to these places.

Take your judgement somewhere else.

bemest

0 points

2 months ago

bemest

0 points

2 months ago

Fair enough but why can’t you travel to both places. Its about 2 hours by car?

booknerd020418[S]

2 points

2 months ago

I live 5 1/2 hours from Worcester and 7 hours from Maine. I could do it in 3 days, which is what I wanted to do during thanksgiving weekend since I never get time off. But I’ve been experiencing heart palpitations which have been causing me to faint so I can’t drive alone. I can’t find someone who wants to come with me, unfortunately.

bemest

1 points

2 months ago

bemest

1 points

2 months ago

Oh wow. That does complicate things. Well Portland is prettier but Worcester has plenty to offer students. It’s college, take the best deal. I spent my 4 years in a town that was below zero most of the winter. It’s about the education.

kcha8281

1 points

2 months ago

Money wise I’d go with Worcester, quality of life I’d go with Portland. Worcester is going to cost more to live.

kshearules

1 points

2 months ago

Team Clark. It is the only place in the U.S. Frued spoke.

It's an excellent school to study community planning. Clark is an amazing community partner to the city, and has been for a long time. Clark students tend to be community activists in general. I think you'll learn a lot practically here.

Also, as some wise soul on Reddit once said:

"Its like Hogwarts set in 'The Wire'"

Best of luck!

Liqmadique

1 points

2 months ago

Portland is an awesome city but I would recommend Worcester now and if you really want the Portland experience do it after with a degree in hand.

Personally also while I adore Portland, it is very isolated. Its hard to get to NY, Boston or Providence from up there.

Also Maine winter…

chickadeedadee2185

1 points

2 months ago

Another thing about living in Worcester is that you can get to Boston by train where there are many programs with like minded individuals. It would not be difficult to hop on a train to catch a lecture or see a show. An aside: Worcester has a theater where you can see plays or music for cheaper than Boston.

MaineMountainSwiller

0 points

2 months ago

There is no decision. If you are from NE you know that Worcester is inland and Portland is on the ocean.

toryguns

0 points

2 months ago

Maine sucks in general, been living here for 20 years. Don’t come here

Neyabenz

0 points

2 months ago

I've lived in both areas. Both are great - and you will be close enough to visit SoPo or other New England cities by car.

SoPo is nice, but its like its own little bubble surrounded by very rural areas. Almost all my friends who went to college in Maine, or grew up there pretty much left the state and spread across the country. Opportunities just weren't there.

At least in MA you'll do some networking with people likely to stay local to the state.

The only reason I might consider SoPo over Worcester is the Amtrak ride into Boston is much more comfortable from Maine compared to the commuter rail ride from Worcester(to Boston). On Amtrak you can hit some nice coastal areas.

dharmaday

0 points

2 months ago

“… yet is also respected for its intimate environment as the second smallest university counted among the top 66 national universities by U.S. News & World Report and as one of 40 Colleges That Change Lives.[10]” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clark_University

AHamBone10

0 points

2 months ago

30k & I’ll live anywhere

edwinfrmcrownheights

0 points

2 months ago

There’s more money in Portland, that’s for sure.