Architectural Association (The AA) First Year Application Tips


I am an international student and got in the AA first year this year, and I will start in September. below are some tips for anyone out there who is preparing to the AA. 

But keep in mind that I am just another 18 year old who hasn't studied at the AA yet, so don't take everything I say as true, I may be wrong.

- during the application process the AA staff were incredibly helpful and from the very beginning to the interview day they made sure I could find the answers to my questions -- I think you should trust them because they are the ones who know the school the best. they are also very welcoming so I think calling up and asking them about the procedure is okay.

- one of the qualities of a portfolio I think they appreciate is one that includes a lot of experimentation with different mediums, I did etching and casting in mine which they acknowledged. I don't think they expect you to be an expert at architectural work.. but they definitely will want to see you being able to produce models, in other words handcraft skills, and gather a portfolio that has a flow to it. (sketches, photography, ink drawings, casting, etching, and body paint were some of the mediums I had)

- the format of the portfolio they expect is ambiguous, that's because they leave It to the applicants creativity. even at this stage they value and want to see you making choices as a creative thinker. I recommend learning to use InDesign as it saved me a lot of time and gave me the ability to play around with the layout so that I could choose among a lot of options. my portfolio had one paragraph per page and around 3-5 photographs that were related to the same project. I mostly dedicated one or two pages per project. also, you probably know this but I will remind you anyways. any work you complete in a group or a pair, you should be giving credits and outlining which part of the project is your work. it is the ethical way to do so and I strongly think they will value your integrity. also make sure you write the size, medium and the year you completed the project somewhere.

- please, please save your original work. The AA states in the website that they will expect to see the original pieces of your portfolio if you are invited to interview. You won't want to be going there empty handed.

the interview process for first year was as follows: 10 mins of you speaking about your own works and the rest is them asking you questions. you should be able to present your portfolio because presentation skills are very crucial since you have to do many presentations in architecture school. I was asked if I knew what made the AA different from other architecture schools and what would be the next step if I had more time to work on my portfolio. The two tutors both seemed calm and friendly, which calmed me down as well. Jenny, who is responsible with first year applications I think, is very very sweet so I recommend going there early for your interview because when I was waiting Jenny and I had a chat which made me feel more comfortable in the school.

- sketchbooks that clearly portray your thought process are very much appreciated at the AA because they value their students' ideas. I had a full on research sketchbook which was majorly hand written. I personally have trouble making sketchbooks so mine was more of a scrapbook where I gathered some of my sketches from other pages into a one A3 book. 

- grade-wise all I know is that their condition with IB is 29. 

I am happy to answer any other questions you might have, I know I had a lot when I was preparing my application.

Jul 12, 19 10:36 am

Hello there, 

Hope you're well and healthy. Applied to AA as well. Got an interview on the 27th. I must state I'm quite anxious. Could you maybe tell me more about the questions you were asked? Were the questions mostly on a portfolio or personality questions?

I would really appreciate your help, 

Many many thanks in advance **

Jan 12, 21 1:51 pm  · 

hi, how long did it take for them to get back to you with an interview? 

Nov 20, 22 8:20 am  · 

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