MArch 2019 Portfolio Review



DEGREE: B.A. Psychology

GPA: 3.9

LOR: 1 studio professor, 1 Korean boss, still need a third

I studied architecture for the first two years of undergrad. Life happened, I moved, and consequently switched to psychology. Graduated, taught English in Korea for a year, and have been writing content for a startup this year. Now I'm back and applying for the 3-year MArch track. 

My first go at a portfolio is at about 85-90% completion. Still need to put some resume-ish stuff in the front and some more personal works in the back. I'm a little worried how including my second-year architecture undergrad projects will be seen, but I don't see how I can't include them. I also have some renderings I didn't put in at all? Text is almost certainly too long, but I like it as a graphic design element right now. But it should probably be shortened. And I'm thinking of removing the spread of drawings for Project 3. I could put a fourth project in instead. 

Schools: ASU, NCSU, Penn State, RPI, RISD, U. British Columbia, U. Minnesota, U. Texas Austin, U. Washington Seattle


Please critique and share any thoughts/comments. I have yet to receive any feedback, and it would be incredibly helpful. Thank you! 

Nov 30, 18 5:24 pm

not a bad first attempt. A lot better than some recent ones posted from people who studied (finished) an architectural degree. 

It’s a little too wordy for me, I never read all the text when I reviewed applications. You made a good choice in fonts. 

It’s simple, but well organized. I would probably have images with a black background on a black sheet, but that’s very trivial. 

Out of curiosity, why those schools? There all over the place in terms of ideology. RPI no Syracuse/GSAPP, UT no Rice. I would honestly say based off what I’ve seen you have a shot at some of the usual schools listed here. More than recent people asking for a critique. Just a thought 

Nov 30, 18 5:57 pm

Thank you. This is very encouraging to hear.


I'm definitely going to shorten the text. I could tell it was way too long once I uploaded it.


Why those schools.. I decided not to go after schools on the usual list because of my past. I'm worried how my leaving architecture will look, no matter how well I explain it.


First of all, not bad for the first attempt. 

Secondly, there are several "styles" of March1 tracks nationwide, you need to know what you want first, then make revision accordingly. For instance, UPENN/Sci-Arc(futurism+parametric+virtuosity school) vs UTAustin/Uwashington ( pragmatical) vs RISD (artistic). There are schools in between, but do some work on digging into their website and see student work and studios introduction or annual publications, to understand what they did, and what you want.

Saying this because, in terms of the contents, I can see is similar methodology of design process and conceptual composition articulated by physical or digital model. If you have renderings, diagrams/mappings/ progressive drawings/collages even b/w linework plan or axometrics, put them all on page, then decide what you want what you don't. They are just tools to sell your design and capability, if you don't have any yet, think about it and make(or fake) it out.

Here is a similar (style only, this is definitely a work sample so different criteria from academic application)example on issuu:

Text can be an element of layout, but too many text will not be read at all, because reviewers normally only have 1-2 mins, 5 mins max for one applicant, when sometime argument occurs among reviews. If you refer a story-telling portfolio, tell stories by your images.

Thirdly, if you have time, explore some new little design/projects which are well related with your current major, showing your creativity and potential in design. You must know Rem and Zaha even Ando they were not in architecture school at first but all success because of introducing their knowledge of other area to push architecture forward. So show your "psychological" personality and creativity in your portfolio. Don't be afraid, because their are thousands of applicants from tons of unrelated fields.

Finally, about schools. As I said above, do more research on schools, read recent years DI rank (full version, there are free ones online). Add some for your list here: GSAPP, UPenn, UCS/SCI-ARC/UCLA, , WUSTL, Syracuse, (even RICE, MIT, Cornell, UCBerkeley, GSD(come on! everyone tried once)

Last tips, but IMPORTANT: don't put your ID/photo whatever in your portfolio, never, never. Unprofessional and it may cause some pressure of political correct unconsciously. When I was in the reviewing team with professors/reviewers back in school, we reviewed the portfolio at first without knowing the gentle, then cv/resume may figure the gentle from name but we do not expect any photo showing in your portfolio, especially at every beginning.

Nov 30, 18 6:41 pm

Thank you! This is super helpful. I definitely plan to tailor my entire application to each school. This will the base I adapt everything from. I've been under the mindset that my application wouldn't be strong enough for your list of schools, so this is making me feel more optimistic. and thank you for the ID tip!


I thought it was pretty cool.  A lot of architects would be interested in quitting to join a start-up like you.

Nov 30, 18 11:58 pm

It is interesting to note that you are a psychology graduate but applying for a position in Master in Architecture . Do the universities that You apply for consider you are as an eligible prospective student?

Dec 17, 18 12:33 am

why are you even here if you don't know this

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