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Admitted to 5 MArch Programs

blasé

Hello,

I am finished up my final year of undergraduate design studies and have been admitted into every school I applied to for Masters in Architecture. This has left me in a position in which I have to make a difficult decision. I admit that this is a phenomenal problem to have and I never could have imagined that I would find myself in this boat. I thought I would ask the opinions of this forum, because letting a crowd strangers influence major life decisions is always wise. ☺ Here is the list:

  • University of Toronto Daniels ($)
  • Sci-Arc
  • Columbia GSAPP ($$$)
  • Harvard GSD
  • Yale SOA

I currently am leaning heavily towards either GSD or GSAPP. Harvard has the reputation and a seemingly unmatched opportunity to network with some really influential people. However, as of right now they have offered no financial aid and their program is a semester longer. But Columbia is also a very strong and prestigious school, and also is in New York. I would love to live there. They also have offered a solid amount of aid and have a shorter program. I am super conflicted because it seems crazy to me to pass up Harvard (have been dreaming of going there for years) but Columbia has so much to offer. What's your vote?

 
Mar 17, 20 4:58 am
gksrnrdls

GSD is GSD

Mar 17, 20 5:56 am  · 
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juju1992

When GSAPP gives you $$$, take it. But sounds like you REALLY want to go to GSD, if that's the case, then GSD. GSAPP is ranked #2, second only to GSD. Either way you would get a great education.

Mar 17, 20 6:11 am  · 
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Non Sequitur

take the money. 

Mar 17, 20 6:13 am  · 
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joseffischer

It's honestly your decision, but you've asked the internet.  If you're talking about the difference between $5000, then choose your preference.  Any more than that and I'd say money has to come into your decision.  Definitely take a $25,000 savings, considering that'll be half your annual salary when you finally get out.  Oh and the GSD is an extra semester longer...so how much is GSD a semester added to the $12,500 you're throwing away by not being able to work those 3 months.

TL:DR The extra semester at GSD alone makes it not worth it.

Mar 17, 20 6:33 am  · 
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Chad Miller

I'd go for the program that is offering you the most finical assistance and would reduce the amount student loan debt.  Even with an ivy league education your starting salary for an architectural intern will only be in the $38K range (depending on location).  

Mar 17, 20 12:51 pm  · 
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monosierra

Its in the $60K - $70K range for M.Arch grads unless one goes to a starchitect sweatshop.

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flatroof

Maybe 60-70k in NYC/LA/SF, which is 38k everywhere else.

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monosierra

Really? That's the same pay as a B.Arch grad. Surely it can't be that low unless you're working for a academic architect without real commissions. The majority of grads in the schools Op listed tend to work in NYC/LA/SF/Boston/Chicago anyway.

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flatroof

I'm saying that due to the high cost of living in those cities, even if places like Gensler/SOM are offering 70K to M.Arch grads, it would have the same purchasing power as 38k would have in Houston or Dallas working for the same firms in the same position. Just because they're getting paid that much in those cities, doesn't mean they're getting paid more overall.

 · 
monosierra

Fair point. The last time GSD did a salary survey, the range was $55k to $140k, with median $62k if I remember correctly. The outlier went to work for a tech company.

 · 
Chad Miller

As I said in my OP it's dependent on location. For example in the Denver area starting salary is around $38K. Regardless if you have a M.Arch or a B.Arch.

On a side note, I don't know of any employer that cares if you have a M.Arch instead of a B.Arch as long as you have an accredited degree and are on a path to getting your license.  The only thing an M.Arch allows you to do that a B.Arch doesn't is teach at the college level.

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monosierra

Wow does $38K go a long way in Denver - Its one of the faster growing job markets in the US now isn't it? I've heard of a major corporate firm offering that amount to B.Arch grads and about $20K more for M.Arch grads but that's in NYC.

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Chad Miller

Yeah, NYC is rather egotistical. Giving a M.Arch $20K more for the same education as a 5 year B.Arch is just silly. Oh and $38K goes no where in Denver. You have people with ten years experience in architecture needing to get several roommates and still paying $1,500 rent each for a bedroom in a 3 bed, 2 bath home. That's why I live in Grand Junction, CO. A bit more redneck but way less expensive and there is no traffic .

 · 
Archlandia

I would take the money if I were you

Mar 18, 20 8:29 pm  · 
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JoeyTheGiant

Hey Blasé. Follow the money, not just because of the obvious savings value but also because when a school like Columbia offers you $$$ (and I mentioned this today in the M.Arch 2020 thread) it means they actually want YOU. They see you fitting in with what they're about. If a school doesn't show you the money but admits you, yes, they see your potential, but it makes me think they've admitted me to fill the places of the students who decline their admissions offer and have me pay tuition for the ones they really wanted there. 

For example, I really loved the idea at first of attending SCI-Arc and was honored to get accepted but they didn't offer any $ (though I did get waitlisted for scholarship funds, something I hadn't heard of), but UCLA surprised me with a full-ride Fellowship and is considering me for a stipend. UCLA showed up with $$$$. This is their way of saying they really want me to be part of their program and what they're about. It's a HUGE compliment – one that GSAPP has given you and GSD did not. 

Having said that, you could always go back to GSD and find a very respectful and compelling way to appeal, and ask them to match or beat GSAPP's offer because XYZ reasons you can ONLY accomplish your goals at GSD. Just my opinion. Both are amazing programs! and New York kicks Boston's ass as a place to study architecture any day ;) 

Congrats!!! 

Mar 18, 20 10:09 pm  · 
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blasé

This. This perspective has completely changed the way I am looking at things. Thank you. I am trying to negotiate with GSD as we speak, but with all this COVID-19 stuff going on response times are slow. I'm likely to follow the money in the end.

2  · 
archinet

Listen to JoeyTheGiant- I think he is 100% correct go to GSAPP

 · 
blasé

Wow, thank you so much for weighing in so far. I am starting to lean a little bit harder towards Columbia. However in my time of quarantine I plan to make an objective spreadsheet balancing cost of living, program length, tuition, and the scholarships money offered so that I can see what the cost difference truly is. I also am going to do all the virtual open houses to see how I feel after that. I’ve respectfully appealed for financial aid at GSD, so maybe they will offer something more but I have heard that they are pretty difficult to sway. These comments are super helpful - I love hearing different points of view that I haven’t considered. 

Mar 18, 20 11:11 pm  · 
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Chad Miller

I'm glad this was helpful. Sounds like you have a good process to figure this out. Good luck!

1  · 
blasé

Update: YSOA just offered even more funding than Columbia did. I’m thinking of seeing if the other ivy’s will match or surpass.

Mar 19, 20 11:14 am  · 
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JoeyTheGiant

Fantastic! Another amazing program!

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Lostboy1

First off: congratulations, you talented person. 

As a practicing architect making peanuts and from a middle-class family, I personally agree with the previous posts suggesting to follow the money.

At the same time, one cannot deny the allure of an Harvard education; and I'm unsure about the strength of the GSAPP program. Based on the people I know who are currently studying there (from my undergrad school), Columbia has a reputation for taking anybody in as long as they show up with the $$ [this doesn't apply to you since they're rolling out the red carpet for you -- but would you really want to be surrounded by mediocre rich kids?] And AFAIK, this is a recent (last ~5 years) development wherein they've really ramped up the international student intake.

I saw your update and had to comment: I think GSD>YSOA>GSAPP, again based on people I personally know who've studied/ are studying in those programs.

Disclaimer: please don't bash my Columbia shit-talking, this is an internet rando voicing his opinion based on his life experiences.

Mar 19, 20 5:53 pm  · 
 · 
proto

[retracted]

 · 
joseffischer

Well now I'm curious, can you post the portfolio that garnered so much attention from the ivies?

Mar 20, 20 9:56 am  · 
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blasé

I just emailed it to you! I'm not keen on posting it publicly just for privacy reasons.

 · 
Lostboy1

Could I have a look at it too? thank you :)

 · 
archanonymous

Other posters have touched on it, but the only thing you are getting from Harvard that you aren't at the others is the name recognition. 

I work at a fairly prestigious firm and whether someone attended Harvard or any other Ivy has almost no bearing on if they are a good designer or architect. 

That said the Colombia grads In our office stick out in my mind as generally better architects and more valuable team members than the Yale and Harvard people. Yale better than Harvard though. 

Sci Arc is kind of a wildcard - are you really interested in computation and digital fabrication?

Mar 20, 20 10:06 am  · 
1  · 
blasé

Interesting.

I went through a SCI-Arc phase. A representative came to my school last year to schmooze us undergrad design students, and it worked. I am interested in how adventurous and non-conventional they are, but it's way too expensive of a school for me.

 · 
thisisnotmyname

I would take the Yale offer and be done with it.   The recent Harvard grads I have worked with have been a very mixed bag, so much that I question what they are teaching there.  

Mar 20, 20 10:18 am  · 
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anaisziwei

I agree, u should post and share ur portfolio to show us how talented u are to get so much offer from all these schools! 

I mean, if u can send to all these schools it will not be of any disadvantageous to u by show casin' it to us :) Since u already got accepted right? :P
Thanks u in-advance! <3

Mar 20, 20 11:46 am  · 
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blasé

Emailed!

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kenchiku

mind sending it to me too?

 · 
manalalg

I’m working on my portfolio right now, and I think you’re background is similar to mine. It would be a great help if you could send it to me. If not I understand.

 · 
kenchiku

Remember to take CAD to USD into account...even with the scholarships you're getting.  If you're still looking at $15k USD out of pocket a year...that's $21.5k CAD at the moment...

Mar 20, 20 11:55 am  · 
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JordanNYU

Hey Blasé, congrats on all of your acceptances! 

Would you mind posting your portfolio? I would love to see the type of work YSoA and GSD admire! 

:) 

Mar 20, 20 11:48 pm  · 
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chuckluck

I also got in GSAPP and am leaning towards it, but that's because I didn't get into Yale. Whelp. if you do decide on going, hit me up :)

Mar 21, 20 12:16 am  · 
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blasé

I'll definitely reach out once I make a decision. Congrats on admissions to GSAPP. Sorry about YSOA, but it must mean that you'll fit in better at Columbia. Potentially will see you there! :)

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angie_tangiee

Hey blasé, congrats on the acceptances! I’m kind of in the same boat as you!  I’ve been accepted into the MArch programs at: 


GSD (w/$$)


GSAPP (w/$)


YSOA (w/$$$) 


I am completely vexed. GSAPP was originally my top choice before I really learned about the various programs. I’d love to live in NYC bc I have friends and a sibling in the city. At the same time, GSD is #1 and they have been so attentive toward me during this time. And finally Yale sounds fun bc of the Building Project and the seemingly more laid back culture? I emailed Columbia earlier this week kindly asking if they would consider matching my aid with these other offers.



Which school are you leaning towards now, and why?


Does anybody know anyone who turned down Harvard GSD to go to Columbia GSAPP?

Apr 11, 20 9:46 pm  · 
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Nonononotme

if you go to March Fall 2020 forum, there are some who instead of going to GSD, choose YSOA. I think Yale's distinction is its culture of making. GSD's distinction is its emphasis on space and organisation. GSAPP's distinction is more experimental approach, but not too much. Personally im going to yale

 · 
blasé

Hi Angie, I just accepted GSD's offer today. What a stressful few weeks deciding. I ended up emailing GSD and they matched GSAPP's scholarship offer. YSOA also upped my scholarship without me asking. In the end, my financial breakdown was YSOA $$$$, GSAPP $$$, and GSD $$$. I wasn't keen on Yale because of the lack of ethnic diversity in the school. I have heard they are quite traditional in their design pedagogies and that seemed off from what I am seeking out in a grad school. I also haven't heard great things about the city of New Haven. Maybe I would have loved it but hard to say without being able to visit, so I just had to take my American friend's words for it. The intensity of COVID in New York was a deterrence for Columbia. I don't know if things there will go back to normal for at least another 6 months if not over a year. I just didn't want to enter into that mess.

 · 
blasé

Oops, the rest of what I wrote somehow got cut and I am feeling a bit too lazy to retype it. However, best of luck in your decision making. It is so tough to have to blindly make this choice without being able to go and feel the vibe of the school. Keep us posted on what you decide!

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angie_tangiee

hey blasé, I also accepted GSD’s offer yesterday! I think it will be the best fit for me based on all my research. 

Apr 15, 20 1:01 am  · 
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blasé

Exciting! I will see you there. Feel free to email me... Maybe we can connect on social media.

 · 
KingGizzard

congratulations on your acceptances !! I'm curious to know which programs you have applied to at the gsd, m.arch 1 or m.arch 2 ? Also Would it be possible to take a lot at your portfolio ? Thanks a  lot !!!

May 3, 20 3:59 pm  · 
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blasé

I went into the MArch I program! I've emailed you my portfolio link now.

 · 
rizkypongdatu

hey blasé, congratulations on all of your acceptance.

Would you mind to show your portofolio? I want to learn from you.

Thanks before

Nov 24, 20 12:41 am  · 
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blasé

Emailed!

 · 
Dzidula Kpodo

Congrats @blase!

I'm applying to the these schools and would be great to have a look at your portfolio.

Thank you.


Nov 24, 20 3:27 am  · 
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blasé

Emailed!

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benacheampong

Hey @blasé congrats!

Could you email me your portfolio as well? I'm also applying to GSD, YSOA, GSAPP, MIT this year. I'm from Ghana by the way!

Nov 24, 20 6:41 pm  · 
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uwubdi

Congrats on your acceptance! Super interested in seeing your portfolio as well :)

Nov 29, 20 11:31 pm  · 
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cynthiakuo

Congrats @blasé! Would love to see your portfolio as well if that's possible. I'm also applying for M.Arch this year. Thank you. :)

Nov 30, 20 2:25 pm  · 
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Mimare

Woow congrats!!! Would really love to see you portfolio. Fellow applicant here :)

Nov 30, 20 2:33 pm  · 
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meow1

Hi @blasé, I am actually from U of T Daniels applying to GSD etc., congratulations on the great results! I didn't apply to Columbia because it is expensive, but it's very nice that they are offering you $$$, definitely think about the money but personally I would go to GSD, you're already there, why not!

It would be nice if you could share your portfolio, it must be excellent!

Have you made your decision?

Dec 1, 20 11:53 pm  · 
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