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I recently got accepted to Pratt and UMich for the 3-year MArch program. I am still trying to decide on where to go. I figured the best way would be to communicate directly with current students from both schools. Anyone willing to lend a hand? I mainly would like to know what you like about the school program and what are the things you think the school can do better on.
What is the culture like?
If you are involved in any research or special studio, what are the projects you are working on?
I'm about to graduate from M.Arch at Pratt and I also have a good friend who is about to graduate from U.Mich so I can offer a couple points of perspective.
The design studios at Pratt in my opinion are some of the best I have experienced, especially the CAP studio in 2nd year, when you work with a team and outside consultants (from major architectural/ structural firms in the city) to design a comprehensive building with complete construction document set. The culture of the studios connect you with many professionals who offer broad knowledge and first hand experience.
One thing I found I disliked a bit, and this is completely personal, is that I did not fall directly in line with the parametric agenda that Pratt is trying to push. So electives that I was actually interested in were limited to me.
U. Mich is a very reputable and established program, and while Pratt is as well, the graduate program is still technically in its infancy (15 years-ish) so expect some administrative slip-ups.
U. Mich pays tuition for T.A. positions. Pratt will give you $1000 per/ semester.
U.Mich facilities (laser cutting/ 3D printing) far exceed Pratt's from what I have heard. There is constant issues, especially around finals, with equipment failure and just general calamity in terms of schedule and priority structure. (We did just get a new 3D printer which helps, but the resources just aren't as good as Mich.)
Pratt = Brooklyn (Amazing neighborhood) and New York City
Michigan = ... well, Michigan
All this being said, I have met the most wonderful people at Pratt, just got offered an amazing job at a great firm (through a connection made at Pratt) and live in the most amazing city in the world. So I really wouldn't trade it for anything.
Best of luck!
Thank you so much for the valuable comments.
Mind if I asked how you paid your way through school at Pratt? I am a bit concerned about the costs and such at NYC already and if they only pay $1000 for TA positions, don't think my pocket would be quite as happy there as at Mich.
To be fair to Michigan (the school and the state) most people who go to UMich love Ann Arbor.
The TA (or gsi as they are called at UMich) do cover full tuition, however it is not that easy to get a position. I wouldn't count on being able to get one as a means of paying tuition. If you do Michigan you would save a lot of money by getting in-state tuition if possible.