What's it really like to be a practicing planner? Planning students who join the American Planning Association find out and get ready to take their place among the pros.

Connect to peers and pros

APA membership fosters connections among planning's emerging professionals: students, recent graduates, and others just starting their planning careers.

APA-registered Planning Student Organizations strengthen students' connection to their local chapter and foster relationships among planning students on campus.

Chapter-based Young Planners Groups sponsor social, outreach, and educational events where emerging professionals network with each other and with more experienced planners.

Many employers take advantage of free listings for open internship positions in APA's Jobs Online. Savvy student members look there first and reach out to employers by posting their resumes and other professional information in their My APA Profile.

Opportunities for leadership

APA's Student Representatives Council promotes student participation in APA and represents students' interests within the organization. Each APA-registered PSO elects or appoints a representative to the SRC who keeps classmates and faculty up to date on APA activities and programs.

One PSO representative from one of APA's six electoral regions is elected to serve on the SRC Executive Committee. Running for one of these regional positions is a sure way to make professional connections and learn key leadership skills.

Scholarships and awards

APA awards two scholarships to student members each year: the Charles Abrams Scholarship and the Judith McManus Price Scholarship. The application deadline for both is April 30.

Many of APA's chapters and special-interest divisions also offer scholarships, fellowships, writing competitions, or grants to their student members.

Every year, APA's professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, honors AICP Outstanding Students and recognizes outstanding student projects or papers with AICP Student Project Awards.

The Student Representatives Council gives an annual award to APA's Outstanding Planning Student Organization.

National Planning Conference

APA's annual National Planning Conference, held each spring in a major American city, is a must-attend event for many emerging professionals. In addition to student-focused workshops, sessions, and social activities at the conference, student members look forward to nonstop networking, mentor meetups, career guidance from veteran planners, a Resume Clinic, and more.

Students also have opportunities to showcase their work through poster or capstone presentations and to take part in a timed case competition.

The conference registration fee is extra-low for everyone in the Early Career Membership Program. Student members also have the opportunity to work a day on site. In return, they get a unique, behind-the-scenes look at conference operations and earn enough to cover most of the cost to register. Applications to assist at the National Planning Conference are made available the preceding December.

Get started in APA's Early Career Membership Program

APA student members are full participants in our worldwide community of planners and others committed to making great places to live, work, and play. Students benefit from networking that connects them to the world of frontline planning, top professional publications, student-focused programs that complement academic studies, expert career guidance, and much more.

Learn more about APA's Early Career Membership Program.

How to join the Early Career Membership Program

For students in many planning programs the first year in the Early Career Membership Program is absolutely free! Enrollment for those students is managed by the school's APA program administrator.

Learn more and find out which schools participate in APA's free student membership program.

If your academic program is not a full member of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, you must be younger than 35 to join the Early Career Membership Program. Students who attend ACSP full-member programs may enroll in the Early Career Membership Program regardless of age. Join as a student member.

See a list of participating ACSP full-member schools