Picking Between Undegrad Arch Schools


I'm a California senior who has recently been getting college decisions for architecture school and would like some insight on the schools I've been accepted to or am still waiting on. I've been accepted to Cal Poly Slo, Cal Poly Pomona, and USC (all for B.arch) and I am waiting for University of Pennsylvania and UC Berkeley (BA) . Since I'm low income, I will most likely get a lot of aid by the private schools and yearly cost for cal states will be around 10k-ish. I have a good amount of info about each school but would definitely want some opinions from people who either attended one of these schools or know of people who have. Thanks. 

Mar 24, 19 10:11 pm

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oof. this is a big question. so many things to consider... out of curiosity, by when you do you have to notify these schools? we might do a podcast episode with advice about this...

Mar 26, 19 12:48 am

I have to make a final decision by May 1st. Would definitely give the podcast episode a listen!

Hi devorar, So we just published the episode to help soon-to-be students choose the right architecture school. Have a listen and good luck! And congrats! the link is below


I have to make a decision by May 1st so I still have a litte over a month to decide.

Mar 26, 19 4:14 pm

Cheapest. Don’t saddle yourself with debt.

Mar 26, 19 5:28 pm

+1, you will need money after college for the ARE exam and many other expenses. Avoid heavy student loans. I would also be a little wary of being a poor kid at a rich kids college.


That’s what I’m ultimately gonna bass my decision off of but realistically, most of the schools i applied to should be around the same price (after looking at some of my financial packages)


Have you considered expenses besides tuition, such as rent and travel/moving/storage costs. Also co sided where you would like to work after graduation, as it’ll be easier to get started if you are already there.


Agreed, especially for undergrad. Some people get into architecture undergrad and find it's not for them. I'm not sure about your situation and your relationship to architecture. I would second the "be wary about being a poor kid at a rich kids college"...having gone from a public undergrad to a private grad. At the right school, Architecture is a phenomenal education. One of the best in terms of creative thinking, which is a highly valued skill and highly applicable to other professions.


I forgot to premise this but architecture isn't just a major that I happened to stumble on. Since 10th grade, I've been a part of the ACE mentorship program so I've been exposed to fellow architect mentors, learning how the industry works and doing design competitions. I also did a 6-week intensive summer architecture program at SCI-Arc (40 hours/week) where I got to use 3D software such as rhino, Autocad, grasshopper and become fluent in those programs (still use them now on my free time) I've sort of known that I've wanted to do architecture for a while and I doubt I'll change my major ( I know I'm saying this before I even get into architecture school but I've never felt so strongly about pursuing architecture as a career goal). I've considered other expenses and I have financial support from scholarship programs. Thanks for all the advice guys!

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The Midnight Charette podcast is discussing topics brought up in this thread, on their latest episode, #104

This week David and Marina discuss choosing the right undergraduate architecture school, quarter vs semesters programs, universities vs architecture-only schools, architecture curricula, faculty members and school leadership, study abroad programs, if a 'name brand' institution degree will get you more money when you graduate, school sizes and location and more.


Watch on or YouTube
Listen on iTunes and Spotify

Apr 5, 19 12:00 pm

If ultimately you would like to obtain your masters degree, and Berkeley accepts you I suggest going there.

With a lot of hard work this will allow you to attend a more prestigious graduate school because many people believe Berkeley to be a great undergrad and grad school.

Apr 7, 19 10:37 pm

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