Transfer back to SCI-Arc or stay in WUSTL?


Hi everyone, this is my first time using Archinect and I desperately need some help and advice.

I am currently a sophomore at WUSTL in their BS architecture program and I transferred from SCI-Arc after first year. The reason I transferred was that I want a college experience. However, the second semester at WashU I regret my decision constantly. Right now, I may transfer back but it might put me in the second year again.

I do enjoy SCI-Arc's approach to architecture. It is much more cutting edge and diverse. The studio atmosphere is much stronger and people are passionate about architecture. However, at washu, students seem to be spending more time on other courses and do not spend too much time on studio. The works produced are also less exciting. Washu is also quite traditional in a sense. I am more interested in technology and software and may want to do films or animation after I graduate (or just architecture). I think sciarc has a better grasp at the digital field.

As for me, I am not so interested in other fields and classes anymore. I want to have the better architectural education and apply for a good graduate school or job after I graduate. Which school would have a better shot? I feel like I would have a stronger portfolio if staying in SCI-Arc but the name recognizance would be stronger for washu. Does anyone also know about the job market differentiation or does it just depend on different individuals? 

Please comment on suggestions if possible. Thanks!

Apr 10, 19 7:13 pm

Transferring back and forth is a red flag for employers and graduate schools. It indicates that you don't know what the fuck you're doing.

Apr 10, 19 8:41 pm

Yea, transferring back and forth would be a mistake. While Sci-arc places many people in the GSD every year, WUSTL is a good school. If like you say your classmates don’t spend as much time in studio, work harder and stay longer. Make the connections with the professors and win the school awards. You can easily be the big fish in a small pond and become highly competitive for admittance to grad school.

Apr 10, 19 9:05 pm

Hi @aaaaa.... I respectfully disagree with the two comments posted.  If you can go back to Sci-Arc - DO IT! - as a 5 year degree you shouldn't have to think about doing a MArch in the future but could do a specialist 1 year masters anywhere and this door opens up lots of adventure including International such as Stuttgart or MIT - the faculty at SciArc is far more adventurous and LA v St Louis is no comparison unless you plan to stay in St Louis/Midwest after graduation -  your gut instincts are correct

If I were to put my 'futurist' hat on - you are much more valuable to a practice by bringing in specialist skills through advanced degree (urban, digital, real estate, environmental, economics, landscape etc. etc) to your expertise rather than 2 Architecture degrees.

Apr 11, 19 5:14 am

It is your education we are talking about. Worrying about what some unknown future employer or grad school admissions officer might think of your educational path is no different than people making decisions about the design of their house based on what they are guessing some unknown future buyer might prefer.  I think you should pursue the education that YOU want and it sounds like your time at WashU has taught you that SCI-Arc is the better school for you. 

Apr 11, 19 12:01 pm

A future employer is never even going to know that you transferred back and forth, unless you list both schools on your resume.  Most people don't do that - they only list the university from which they actually graduated.  If you did choose to include the other one on your resume, you would say "selected coursework at..." or "academic year 2018-2019 at..." and nobody's going to overthink that.

It's not going to make any difference for a grad school application either, assuming that you complete a full roster of the predictable core courses and grad school pre-reqs.  If they notice one year spent at another university they're most likely going to assume you did an exchange year there, or that you had some personal circumstances for which it made sense to be in that geographical area that year. 

Your future job prospects may suffer if your goal was to work within WashU's local job market, or if you happen to apply to firms that have WashU alums as principals or hiring directors.  Otherwise it's not likely to matter a hell of a lot one way or the other, and if anything SCI-Arc tends to have the better name recognition and respect within the big-name firms that imagine themselves to be great design hive-minds. 

Apr 11, 19 12:55 pm

I see no issue with you transferring back.  Many college students spend a year at another institution or abroad as part of their regular program.  Very few architectural employers are going to ask to see transcripts, and grad school admission is going to be mainly portfolio-driven.   Sci-arc and LA seem much more aligned to your professed interests.

Apr 11, 19 1:18 pm

So grateful of everyone's input. They truly helped a lot. Just talked to the admissions at SCI-Arc to submit an application. 

If placed in a second year position (I should be entering third year 2019 fall), would it still be worth-while transferring back? This is probably my biggest concern. 

SCI-Arc 1 year+WashU 1 year+ SCI-Arc 4 years +(maybe graduate school 2 years) VS SCI-Arc one year+WashU 3 years+some graduate school 3 years.

Apr 12, 19 12:52 pm

None of the career interests you expressed would require an M.Arch. So, 6 years to a B.Arch at a school you like located in a major architecture, film, and animation market seems good to me.


Agree - in 20 years you will look back and be thankful you returned to Sci-Arc. While WashU is good, there are hundreds of Unis with similar programme (including East coast ivies) - Sci Arc and west coast offers much more to what the future architect will need to address the crisis we face today

It is difficult to take step back and redirect your future when you are living it now.

Every person has the potential to make changes that can be exponential and increase potential in an exponential way. Education has an extraordinary ripple effect

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