M. Arch Applicants Fall 2018


Hi everyone! So I noticed new applicants are posting on the 2017 forum but aren't getting responses.. so I just wanted to start a new one for us 2018 architecture school babies!

Let's begin discussion!

22/ F / Indian / 

Currently: Working as Project Architect (corporate)

PAST: BFA Architectural Design 

Applying for M.Arch I fall 2018, possibly dual with MLA

GRE: taking sample tests.. first test (q 151, v 151)

GPA 3.4

INTERNSHIP/WORK: 2 years (3 internships), one job

Schools interested in: GSD, MIT, YSOA, UPENN , GSAPP

LORs: need to request, 5 total, mix of professors and supervisior (should I have my internship boss right one?)

SOP: 70% 

Transcripts: 100%

Portfolio: 70% need to revise and review with past profs

I wish everyone good luck and perseverance in this tedious process!

Sep 12, 17 10:12 am

22/ F / U.S./ 

Currently: Finishing up my last semester of undergrad, looking to intern for 6-7 months before graduate school next fall. B.Envd. at Texas A&M.

Applying for: M.Arch I fall 2018

GRE: taking next week. (diagnostic gave me 151 verbal, 160 math)

GPA: 3.8

INTERNSHIP/WORK: 1 internship summer; work in college of architecture

Schools interested in: GSAPP, Pratt, Princeton, UT or Rice, RISD

LORs: need to request. One GSAPP alum (a past professor of mine), current studio professor (formerly worked for Michael Graves), past studio professor (worked with Herzog & de Meuron and OMA), current boss.

SOP: 0% - not really sure how to start, if anyone has any advice! 

Portfolio: 20% - under construction.

Sep 14, 17 11:08 am

25 / M / EU / 

Currently: Working as junior architect in Europe  

Applying for: M.Arch I/II fall 2018

PAST: BFA in Architecture in the US

GRE: need get that going pretty soon, I guess

GPA: 3.22..

INTERNSHIP/WORK: 1 year as an intern and 1 year as employed at the same firm. 

Schools interested in: Pratt, GSAPP, & Parsons 

          - Yes, I'm only going to pay for education if it gives me a way to live in the big apple. Sounds pretty pathetic, but its on that bucket list. 

LORs: 2 former professors, 1 close supervisor, and my CEO. 

SOP: 80%  

Portfolio: 60% - under construction, will have my first draft done in a couple of weeks. 

I do understand that my grades are crap, due to varsity sport and loss of parent during my years of undergrad. How personal am I able to be in my SOP without looking too damaged? Is it here I explain why my first two years' GPA were 2.5 and that my last two were pretty okay? 

If the school only requires two LORs, should I go with my CEO or my supervisor together with a professor? 


Sep 17, 17 4:12 pm
GP Burdell

24/ M / American 

CURRENTLY: Project captain at small architecture firm

PAST: B.S. Arch Georgia Tech

APPLYING FOR: M.Arch Fall 2018

GRE: 168 V, 166 Q, 5.0 AW

GPA: 3.9/4.0

INTERNSHIP/WORK: 2 years at same firm

SCHOOLS INTERESTED IN: Tulane, Rice, UVA, Clemson, GA Tech, Utah

LORs: need to request, will probably ask 2 professors and current boss

SOP: I have some early thoughts, but I haven't written anything yet

PORTFOLIO: I have my portfolio from when I graduated from Tech, but it could definitely use some work

Can anyone help me understand to what extent I should be concerned about the DI and other similar rankings? I'm interested in Utah's Design/Build Bluff, but I'm hesitant because the school is not highly rated. 

My ultimate goal is to work in the field of public interest/non-profit architecture and on the one hand, it seems that going to a school like Rice or UVA will open up more opportunities for me post-graduation, but on the other hand, I think I should try to study what I'm passionate about. Does anyone have any helpful thoughts?

Oct 3, 17 9:35 pm

Design Intelligence does a good job of ranking the current trajectory of architectural schools. From what I have seen, employers don't care about Design Intelligence rankings as much but generally they do have certain schools where they know good work comes from and work better with. I think there is a lot of wisdom in pursuing something your interested in.

(Sorry about the Double Post, hit enter too soon) Have you looked into UTSOA? I am a current graduate student in the program and one of the main reasons I chose it was because of its Professional Residency Program. Its a six-month term of employment at a firm of your choosing. The faculty and professors at UT work with you on communicating with the firms you choose and open up a working relationship between you and the firm. Some of my friends have gotten positions at public interest firms like MASS as well as Kieran Timberlake, Lake/Flato, Oslon Kundig, etc... I hate throw yet another school in your pool, but wish you the best in your decision!

23 / F / American 

CURRENTLY: Architectural Designer in Princeton, NJ

PAST: B.S. Arch. Studies at Norwich U in VT

APPLYING FOR: M.Arch I Fall 2018

GRE: 164 V, 155 Q, 4.0 AW

GPA: 3.7/4.0

INTERNSHIP/WORK: 7 mos at a small firm

SCHOOLS INTERESTED IN: UT Austin, GSD, UPenn, Princeton & Syracuse

LORs: Current boss, will need to ask 2 professors

SOP: 100% - may revise

PORTFOLIO: 100% - may revamp entirely

This is my second round of applications to some of the schools on my list.  Does anyone know if that will help or hurt my chances?  Will they notice if I reuse my previous portfolio & SOP?  Should I be starting from scratch?

Also, I would love to get a copy of the full 2017-2018 DesignIntelligence graduate rankings if anyone has it.  I may consider adding RISD or Pratt.

Oct 3, 17 11:30 pm

22 / F / Georgian

CURRENTLY: Project architect at small architecture firm in Tbilisi

PAST: B.S. Tbilisi State Academy of Arts

APPLYING FOR: M.Arch Fall 2018

GRE: have not passed yet

GPA: 3.1

INTERNSHIP/WORK: 4 months in the same firm where I work now

SCHOOLS INTERESTED IN: KADK, GSAPP (RED), IAAC, TU Berlin, Polimi. (in that order)

LORs: Will ask 3 professors and the current boss

SOP: 90% done

PORTFOLIO: Have something but definitely needs work (30%)

Oct 4, 17 2:49 pm

24 / F / US 

Currently: Not working in arch atm

PAST: BS Architecture UVA

Applying for M.Arch I Fall 18

GRE: taking 10/18

GPA sub 3.0 

INTERNSHIP/WORK: 2 years post grad in 3 offices

Schools interested in: UMich, Berkeley, UVA, UWash, UT Austin, Penn? Parsons? 

LORs: asked 3 profs (2 from GSD, 1 from princeton) 

SOP: 0%

Portfolio: 80% if I keep the one I have, planning on trashing the whole thing so 0% 


Oct 6, 17 5:32 pm

25 / F / US 

Currently: working as a construction project manager

PAST: BS Architecture UTSA/ MS Construction management UTEP

Applying for M.Arch I Fall 18

GRE: taking 11/12

GPA sub 3.0 

INTERNSHIP/WORK: 4 months in china international firm as architectural designer, +1 year as construction project manager 

Schools interested in: UCLA, UMich, Berkeley, Cincinnati , sci arc, need a safe option?

LORs: 2 design studio proffersors and dept chair of architecture 

SOP: 0

Portfolio: 20% need to work on it NOW.

Oct 8, 17 6:08 pm

GPA: sub 3.0

what the fuck happened that led to such abysmal grades? 

"need a safe option" is definitely true in these cases. the lack of portfolio completion is wholly unsurprising. this does not bode well for your applications.

Oct 8, 17 11:11 pm

Not to be that guy, but I thought grad school was pretty much out of the question if you got a sub 3.0 GPA. (Unless you had a reason for emotional/mental upheaval.) Maybe that's changed now with these money hungry schools.


was Misspelling , I have a solid 3.3 major and 3.4 last two years..


you misspelled “3.3” as “sub 3.0?” hmm.

then why did you just post this in another thread: 

"I am saying a safe option as get accepted! I am afraid of the 3.0 GPA... "

"solid" though you seem to think it is, 3.4 is still an absolutely terrible GPA. and at UTSA no less, holy fucking shit you're in for some disappointment.


and in yet another thread you say: 

"My Upperdivision GPA is 3.7  BUT with only 12 credits ( I read somewhere that they count 21 credits ) , I will be graduating this may 2016 but still doing my final studio in summer..  my Overall gpa is 2.9 and I am afraid i wont be taken into consideration because of this.."

so is it sub 3.0, 3.3 overall with a couple of years at a whopping 3.4, or 2.9 overall with 12 whole credits that you didn't completely tank? 


close to 3.0 and a solid portfolio/recs/GRE scores stand a decent chance at the non ivys


3.0 is standard as an absolute minimum, but with grades that awful you’d still need a very impressive portfolio to get accepted to even a second-tier school. this person’s is 20% done; I doubt very much that it will make her competitive with other applicants that have good portfolios
*and* gpas that aren’t embarrassing.


24/ M / U.S./ 

Currently: Graduated from a university in Tokyo. Due to the lack of my English skills, studying for my GRE and TOEFL right now.  

Applying for: M.Arch I fall 2018

GRE: taking first exam in this month. Maybe another try in next month.

GPA: 3.6

INTERNSHIP/WORK: Total of two years of internship experience at 4 Japanese architect firms. 

Schools interested in: SCI-Arc/UCLA/GSAPP/SOA/EPMA

LORs: Ongoing. 1: UCLA Alumni, professor from my university. 2: ETH Alumni, Studio professor. 3: TU and Berlage Alumni, boss of my internship frim.

SOP: 0% - On going...

Portfolio: 80% - Still have some contents and comments that I have to write on.

Oct 9, 17 9:53 am

29 / F / Singaporean / NYU with a  B.A in Individualised Studies (which basically meant I designed my own course of study around sustainable urban planning and architectural studies)

Currently: working as an urban planner for the Singapore government. 

Applying: M.Arch I Fall 2018 + MSRED or certificate in real estate, depending on the school 

GRE: 170V/162Q (also did the gmat because I was planning to apply to bschool at one point, but I can't figure out if I should include it or not)

GPA: 3.58

Work: a year doing land policy for the Singapore government (related but different from my current job), and a year as an animal rights policy activist 

Schools: Berkeley (top choice), GSAPP, UT Austin, USC, UCLA, maybe Pratt/sci-arc? (trying to figure out which safety schools to apply to that's in a city)

LOR: 2 from former profs (one is a practicing architect from gsapp), 1from former supervisor 

SOP: 0% (lots of bullet points, nothing actually written)

Portfolio: 20%? I know what I plan to do, I'm just in the process of actually doing the work. Started pottery a year ago, not sure if I should include my work. Also can't decide if I should include sketches, because I'm not naturally gifted in freehand drawing the way other applicants seem to be

Why Archi: I actually planned to apply to grad school straight out of college, but I've always wanted to work around affordable housing and disaster relief/developmental architecture, and I wanted to get exposure to the policy and business side of things first. fast forward 6 years later, I really miss designing spaces (urban planning in Singapore is more policy work and very large scale planning than detailed spaces), so back to school I go. 

I'm concerned that my age + excess experience + lack of design background may work against me. I took some studio classes and did the gsapp summer programme, but my portfolio still feels woefully inadequate compared to the quality of work I've seen on issuu (why are all these people with amazing architecture experience all applying to M.Arch I?! stop spoiling the market guys...)

Oct 15, 17 5:15 am

I don't think age or excess experience would be a problem, why would abundant knowledge of real working would be a problem? :) I guess your background might not be the issue since M.Arch I is for those who have multidisciplinary background. I know a business major guy got into Sci-Arc last year. As long as you got good quality works in your portfolio and you'll be ok. :)


Thanks for replying! I guess my worry is that people might expect me to have more design content in my portfolio based on my work history, buuuuut I don't really have that much.

George P Burdell

Does anybody know how much professional work I should show in my portfolio? I've been working for 2 years at a small architecture firm since graduation, but we mostly do tenant fit-outs for dialysis clinics based on a prototype. It's good experience, but it's not anything that will really stand out. I've done CDs for a couple of ground-ups, one of which has completed construction. Should I show a few photos and drawings (elevations and wall sections) from this project? If I do, should I just ask my boss for permission to use this work?

Oct 22, 17 3:42 pm

sounds like garbage, so none


Remember the goal is to convince the admittance committee that you're an ideal candidate who is prepared for a rigorous workload, a creative thinker, and have the skills to backup those ideas and commitment. If your work doesn't show that to a committee, leave it out. If you don't find the work intellectually or visually exciting, you're probably going to find it hard to convince someone else that it's something to be passionate about.


25 / F / U.S. 

Currently: Working as Drafter / Designer for structural insulated panel manufacturer (SIPs) on fully custom residential/ag/commercial projects.

Applying for M.Arch I (advanced standing) for Fall 2018. Likely to apply again for Fall of 2019 if the price and place isn't right. 

GRE: Took once, got 161V and 161Q, 4.0 AWA.

GPA: 3.75

UNDERGRAD: BSD @ U. Nebraska-Lincoln, Distinction, Honors College Grad

INTERNSHIP/WORK: 3 years at current design/drafting job. Thinking about incorporating some custom projects I designed, but focusing on actual breakdown of SIPs, their effect on lean manufacturing, increased insulation, etc. for custom builds.

Schools interested in: UPENN, UMICH, GSD, Yale, Berkeley, Pratt

LORs: Requested (2 profs, 1 employer/manager)

SOP: 20%, a work in progress

Portfolio: 30% (I do my best work under pressure...heh...)

Oct 30, 17 10:47 am

31 / M / U.S. 

Currently: Working as an Art Director at the NYTimes

Applying for M.Arch I for Fall 2018. 

GRE: Took once; 158V and 150Q, 5 AWA. I've been out of school for almost 8 years. How much does this score count for and do admissions committees take into account the time since schooling considering my age and work experience outside of daily school math? This test seems to test your ability to take the test more so than it does test your ability to understand the content.

GPA: 3.5

UNDERGRAD: BFA Graphic Design, School of Visual Arts, NYC

WORK: 4 years at the Times. Started as a Product Designer, then Graphics Editor, now an Art Director. Previously worked as a senior product designer at Google, Rdio, and Squarespace, on work ranging from a Google design overhaul in 2011 to designing mobile apps for Rdio, Squarespace, and other freelance projects.

Schools interested in: GSD, GSAPP, YSoA

LORs: CCO of the Times, Creative Director at Google, and former Dean

SOP: 20%, work in progress

Portfolio: Working on it. My only experience with architecture is in 3D modeling and some art direction for an article concerning a possible building re-use project of Madison Square Garden and Penn Station. I plan to include design of different interfaces at Google, Squarespace, and Rdio, as well as interaction and motion graphic work for the Times and others.

Oct 31, 17 12:51 pm

To my knowledge, it depends on how the school reviews your application as to how important the GRE is.  Some schools review at the overall Graduate School, then at the Architecture department.  If this is the case, the larger Graduate School may use the GRE mostly as first level cut off before handing your app to the Architecture department.  If this is not the case, you may get a more holistic review including the portfolio and your essay.  Check ETS for typical scores for architecture majors.  (It's a chart you can find on their website.)  If you're aiming for ivy league, I'd say shoot for above the average score.

Your current job sounds like way more fun than being in architecture school (or an architect) btw.


21 / M / UK

CURRENTLY: Looking for an Internship.

PAST:  BA Architecture - University of Cambridge

APPLYING FOR: M.Arch I Fall 2018

GRE: (Taking this month)

GPA: Conversion ~3.5 ish

INTERNSHIP/WORK: 2 Summer Internships


LORs: 3 - Former Professors + Studio Leaders

SOP: 30%

PORTFOLIO: In progress - ~60%

Nov 1, 17 9:47 pm

Why not M.Arch II?


Didn't even begin to consider M.Arch II. The Cambridge course is only 3 years and i'm very lacking in industry experience in comparison to most of the candidates I see (and i've also been told that, because it's a BA and not a BArch, it's not rated as highly in the US, but I could be mistaken). At most, i'd apply for Advanced Placement on an M.Arch I course.


Fair point. I'd disagree with the industrial experience you seem to hinge on the institute to provide. Their experience stems from purely that, the industry. Get an internship first or something to level the playing field.


22 / M / International student from China

CURRENTLY: Interior Design student in Indiana University (Will be graduated in this coming winter)

APPLYING FOR: M.Arch I Fall 2018

GRE: 149 V, 154 Q, 3.0 AW (Gonna do it again in December)

GPA: 3.3/4.0


SCHOOLS INTERESTED IN: Cincinnati, Ohio State, UMichigan, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, UVA, Oregon, Sci-Arc, Cornell? GSD? Berkeley? GSAPP? UPenn?

LORs: 3 from studio professors 

SOP: 0%

PORTFOLIO: 60% (Done a draft last semester, need to re-draw some diagrams and rendering)

I kinda worried about my working experience and I see most people here are currently working or have decent internships. Will working experience be a crucial part of the application? Also I am really indecisive about whether I should put those great top schools on the list because I don't really feel I would stand a chance with my GPA and lack of working experience. Any suggestions on schools?

Nov 5, 17 12:55 am


CURRENTLY: Working in a joke of a coffee shop

APPLYING FOR: M.Arch II Fall 2018

GRE: 154 V, 145 Q, 3.0 AW

GPA: 2.3/4.0


SCHOOLS INTERESTED IN: Northeastern, Pratt, Temple, Penn, Maryland, UNC Charlotte, UDC, SAIC

LORs: 3 from former bosses

SOP: 100%


Crazier things have happened.

Nov 16, 17 11:30 pm
jpeg dot jpeg

23/ M / USA 

Currently: Finishing Undergrad

Education: BFA Graphic Design, Lamar Dodd School of Art (University of Georgia)

Applying for M.Arch I fall 2018, possibly 2019 (see below)

GRE: taking sample tests. I am confident in 80-90 percentile scores with a little bit of practice.

GPA 3.4

INTERNSHIP/WORK: 2 years 3 internships, one job. Only one internship is relevant to M.Arch, a mapping tech startup in NYC this past summer.

Schools interested in: GSD, MIT, YSOA, Georgia Tech, GSAPP +

LORs: need to request, 3 total, mix of intern supervisors and professors

SOP: 70% 

Portfolio: Not optimized for M.Arch, but it's online at

I'm still wrapping up undergrad. With deadlines rapidly approaching I'm considering whether to rush and get applications out in time for fall 2018, or take my time and intern with an architect, compete in design competitions and produce a more polished effort for fall 2019. Does anyone have any recommendations about this?

Nov 19, 17 2:08 pm

this has a long way to go to be competitive at the schools you've listed (other than Georgia Tech), and the 3.4 isn't helping. if another year is an option for you, I would take it

I was in a similar position last semester applying for graduate schools. I considered waiting an extra year before applying but ended up going ahead and applying regardless of the lack of time. I found that having a physical application deadline with the pressure of time on me actually really helped me settle on decisions that needed to be made. A year could also prove to be a difficult amount of time to try and secure an internship as well. On the other hand, if you can find work, there is certainly a lot of wisdom in working more- especially if this means the opportunity to save more money for your time in grad school. If you were to wait a year or no,I would also recommend visiting the schools, this helped me out so much in making a decision! I wish you the best in your choice, 

Nov 24, 17 7:35 pm

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