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Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (3rd year transfer)

Feb 19 '13 12 Last Comment
elainehuang_314
Feb 19, 13 7:21 pm

Hi, I'm a undergraduate student decide to transfer into Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

What I heard from others is: Cal Poly SLO having a better architecture program than USC, UCLA, UC Berkeley and Sci-Arch. Is that true?
PLUS, Architecture has the highest Unemployment Rate in the United State. So I think I should to go to a better school, or else I won't able to find a job after I grad?!

My application is going to be this Sep, which mean I'll still have time to think, but I wanna start with my portfolio now. What should I do to put on my portfolio for Cal Poly SLO?
All the archi model I did in class? Some art pieces? ( I actually want to show them my art skill, I used to take AP-studio art in High School. So i had a pretty strong art skill ). 

What should I do to stand out myself? (bigger chance to get in) 
(My GPA is 3.9 so far. I'm living in San Diego, internship is hard to find, but I did some other activities like math tutor, caring group leader at church, and I lead songs for workship.....more) 

help me, wanna read some different opinions :]

THANK YOU!! 

 

snail
Feb 19, 13 7:27 pm

From an east coast point of view: UCLA, Sci Arc, and Berkeley are the best schools in California, with USC following them. I have barely heard of Cal Poly SLO. If you're going off of the DesignIntelligence rankings which their website seems to brag about, those rankings are about as accurate as if you pulled random school names out of a hat.

Nick LaddNick Ladd
Feb 19, 13 7:52 pm

I'm a bit biased as I went to Cal Poly and found the education to be world class. It is (or at least was) a bargain at the time when comparing the quality of the education versus the price I paid for it. It is consistently ranked one of the top undergraduate programs in the country. The validity of these rankings can be debated. The survey comes from a massive number of working architects which seems to lead some credence.


Cal Poly offers a 5-year B-Arch accredited degree. If you want an accredited degree from Berkley or UCLA, you'll need the M-Arch, which basically turns 5 years of study into 6, not too big of a deal, especially if you're wanting to go for a graduate degree anyways. I believe USC and Sci-Arc offer accredited B-Archs, and M-Archs (with a high price).


If you're working on the west coast, there are a ton of people in the profession that came through Cal Poly --- it has a stellar reputation in the industry. I've recently relocated to NYC, and while the program isn't nearly as well-known on this coast, I am not having any trouble finding work (although, your school doesn't matter as much in this arena as I think a lot of people seem to think).

It's hard to guess what the employment outlook for architects will like be like in a few years. This latest downturn has been unlike any others; I don't know if anyone can predict where the demand for architecture graduates will land.

observant
Feb 21, 13 12:17 am

Cal Poly SLO is the best architecture school in California.

UC Berkeley, before it was applicable to me, used to offer the B.Arch. and trained more conventional architects.  Their curriculum is much looser in that they require fewer practical courses, though I believe they are available as electives.  How Berkeley shares a campus with one of America's better engineering schools and is not even minimally flavored by that is beyond me.

Beyond these 2 schools, and possibly Cal Poly Pomona, I would not look at other CA architecture schools, especially if you don't have oodles of cash.

Znaika
Feb 21, 13 1:33 am

It depends on your career goals. I work at an office where 85% of the people attended Cal Poly and they would eagerly hire anyone with that education (if there is an opening). It is accredited (a major plus by not requiring you to do an M.Arch) and located in a very nice coastal area. If you get in, then go. 

observant
Feb 21, 13 1:14 pm

^

True.  It is the most employable architectural alma mater among CA employers who need well-rounded practitioners at an early stage of their careers.

Xenakis
Feb 21, 13 1:49 pm

that also goes the other way too - all of the best  PAs from the first 2 years of my career where also from Cal Poly SLO - there was one exception and he was an ex-Marine before going to Cal Poly - then again that was my problem, not his.

Znaika
Feb 21, 13 2:18 pm

But then again, there doesn't seem to be any notable architects/ arch alumni that come out of Cal Poly (at least I don't know of any). Doesn't mean they're not good, just that they are of a different mindset. 

Well, except for this guy: 

phonts
Feb 22, 13 2:45 am

I went to UC Berkeley for undergrad arch, and to be honest you will not learn any skills there to make you marketable right out of college. UCB is much more theory based, and is known to teach design rather than construction (which is what Cal Poly is known for from what I hear). 

I was fortunate enough to have a position waiting for me when I graduated in 2010, but most of my colleagues struggled to find work in the Bay Area for some time. If you are concerned about finding a job right out of school then Cal Poly would be the best bet. However, I would not change schools if I could go back in time because UCB taught me how to think more like a designer, rather than a worker, which I prefer.

Median
Feb 22, 13 6:15 am

My philosophy on architecture programs is that you would be wiser to choose a program in a large urban setting. Programs in large urban settings tend to be more relevant to the discourse on architecture, they have a vast networks and connections with many firms, and those firms vice versa have connections to the program and show up at many events the programs host. 

SLO is a very good school, but it is in a rather remote location and that to me is a rather huge negative. (then again maybe some people would enjoy the serenity) 

observant
Feb 22, 13 2:40 pm

But then again, there doesn't seem to be any notable architects/ arch alumni that come out of Cal Poly (at least I don't know of any). Doesn't mean they're not good, just that they are of a different mindset.

True, they don't produce stars.  The people going there aren't looking to be stars.  They just want to be architects.  They are the worker bees who then head up small to medium sized firms that do regional work which doesn't make the coffee table books.  They are fine with that.

observant
Feb 22, 13 2:45 pm

I went to UC Berkeley for undergrad arch, and to be honest you will not learn any skills there to make you marketable right out of college. UCB is much more theory based, and is known to teach design rather than construction (which is what Cal Poly is known for from what I hear).

Agreed.  This is the big grumble against Berkeley.  They are very ivory tower, and I saw how sketchy their technology base was for their M.Arch. 3.  Yet, because it's Berkeley, there were 10 applicants for every spot.  I didn't apply.  (That made for another "interesting" telephone conversation.)  Berkeley once had a much more traditional B.Arch, with all the "normal" courses and its graduates designed most of the buildings in the Bay Area.  When they went 4+2, they lost it, it seems.  Berkeley is fine for the +2, after a 4 year from a school that taught you construction and structures.

elainehuang_314
Mar 9, 13 4:04 am

thanks so much,everyone :]
understood more now~
but i was wondering what should i put on my portfolio? should show off my art works? and with some archi model?

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