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Old 09-26-2012, 03:13 AM
 
7 posts, read 12,898 times
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My wife and I are looking at attending graduate school in Illinois. Our predicament is that she is going to Northwestern and I am going to University of Illinois, Chicago. We need somewhere to live in between the two! I really like the feel of Evanston, but the housing prices are a bit out of budget for us. We want somewhere safe that has family activities. Although we currently do not have children we are planning on it in the future. We will be renting at first until we can afford a decent home. Our current budget is max $900 a month, preferably one bedroom apartment.
On a side note. What is the job market like? We are from Vegas and in my field we are in a complete hiring freeze!
Any help is greatly appreciated, I am unfortunately not familiar with the area.
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Old 09-26-2012, 08:31 AM
 
28,460 posts, read 81,999,380 times
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If your wife will be a full time graduate student at Northwestern and you will be a full time graduate student at University of Illinois at Chicago the amount of time each you has to spend on campus in either classrooms or laboratories / libraries will vary greatly depending on the program of studies you are pursuing. Some programs are designed for LOTS of individual work on your own and being close to campus is not terribly important whereas other programs are designed around a demanding schedule of labs and other "on campus" activities. I would recommend that you first get a handle on that sort of thing and then decide how long a commute each of you can tolerate while keeping your relationship solid.

UIC is pretty well served by the CTA blue line and, to a lesser extent, the pink line. CTA buses are also a decent option from parts of Chicago. Similar utilization of CTA to Evanston is pretty straightforward via the purple line -- CTA: University Services - Northwestern University

Unfortunately the overlap of the Purple line is very poor with either the blue line (Forest Park branch) or the pink line: http://www.transitchicago.com/assets...tatrainmap.png and the way that service works you'd really be extending one or BOTH of your commutes if you had to traverse the Loop and North Loop portions of the CTA system that is a subway so I would recommend that unless one of you REALLY will have a need to be on campus for extended hours that your best bet MAY be someplace around Fullerton and Halsted OR Belmont and Halsted so wife head straight north and hubby doesn't have too miserable a slog of transfers to get to downtown and blue line... The downside is that Fullerton & Halsted is pretty much the most desirable spot on the north side El line and rents may really stretch your budget to its limits for a not particularly terrific unit. Belmont is not going to be a whole lot cheaper either. Either spot will put you SMACK in the middle of a whole lot of other people so safety is non-issue and you will have a very tempting array of dining and nightspots surrounding you. There are certainly a fair number of young families with children in those areas too, though many are higher income couples with nannies and professional degrees. That might be good for networking if you are pursuing the kinds of graduate / professional degrees that NU is known for (MBA) or journalism (but I think Medill facilities are in the Loop now -- Medill - Graduate Journalism) but it might make you a little nuts if you're instead doing a less monetarily rewarding program. Some of these are so unlikely to result in well paying employment that you'd really need to weight the motivation to complete these things" Graduate and Professional Programs: A to Z Guide : Northwestern University UIC has the same concerns -- http://www.uic.edu/uic/academics/graduate/index.shtml

You have not specified what "your field" is but hiring in Chicago is not great for a many industries either...
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Old 09-26-2012, 01:25 PM
 
7 posts, read 12,898 times
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Thanks for the reply! Sorry for my ignorance, I have never used public transport before. Everywhere I have lived has had a poor transit system. Is using personal vehicles more difficult in the chicago area? We will both be moving our vehicles there so we have access to them. However, if it takes longer to get places with personal vehicles we may rethink that. My wife is going into the Marriage and Family Therapy grad program and I am going into criminology/law enforcement. Both fields are not high paying careers, but enjoyable to us. I really wanted a on campus program due to the opportunity for assistantships. However, if I am going to end up spending a lot more time/money to live in between, I may just go with a online option and live close to Northwestern.
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Old 09-26-2012, 02:06 PM
 
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Will your wife be on Northwestern's Evanston campus most of the time or will she also have to travel to the Northbrook family institute location (maybe not this year if it is a two year program, but for clinicals?)

There is parking at UIC. Not sure though how long it would take to get there from Evanston. I know that when I worked on the South side of the city, I took the purple line, then the red line and transferred to the blue line. Transferring takes time and it was not tremendously convenient.
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Old 09-26-2012, 02:08 PM
 
28,460 posts, read 81,999,380 times
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Default Parking and vehicle use...

I would not say that it automatically will take longer to drive than it would to take public transit. Fact is there are some parts of the region that are poorly served with transit and driving is going to save lots of time but the overall level of transit service to NU or UIC is quite good. Neither schools has an excess of parking and spaces that are near the academic facilities are often hard to come by. Similarly many parts of Chicago that hold appeal for younger people are in areas where parking is a hassle.

From a cost perspective the overall operational cost of a paid off vehicle (assuming at least midrange MPG, minimal maintenance and value oriented insurance) is on par with public transit so long as you can get cheap / free parking.

That said it does appear that your wife's program MAY involve field work at some sites out a ways: The Family Institute at Northwestern University - Locations

Your program does not appear to require any extensive travel: UIC Graduate Catalog | Criminology, Law, and Justice

Might make sense to have at least one car for wife...
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