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Is it stupid and selfish of me to not go to Cooper Union?

djang798

Hi, I am currently a high school senior from nyc. I was admitted to both umich and the Cooper Union. With one left week till my deposit deadline, I am freaking out because I can't seem to persuade my mom to let me attend umich. In all honesty, I personally feel I am a better fit at umich and it's been my lifelong dream school so I feel that I am going to regret it by not going there. However, umich has a 4 year program for a bachelor of science in architecture while cooper on the other hand, is a 5 year bachelor's program for architecture. Am I able to find a job after graduating from a 4 year b.s. architecture program? If I do, do you think it's possible to get work experience for a couple years then go back for a m.arch degree? I noticed that you needed 3,470 hours of experience through AXP to become licensed, would the working gap between my b.s arch school and m.arch school account for those hours? 

 
Apr 25, 20 1:21 pm
Non Sequitur

are both degrees accredited? If not, choose the accredited path. Always. 

Apr 25, 20 1:38 pm  · 
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BulgarBlogger

Consider your “fit” once your opportunities are opened after graduating Cooper. You are foolish to even be asking this question.

Apr 25, 20 2:38 pm  · 
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liberty bell

Bulgar this comment is opaque and dickish. You’re talking to an 18yo. Try to explain *why* s/he is being “foolish”, in your opinion. What is your reasoning?

Apr 26, 20 9:20 am  · 
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BulgarBlogger

Financially speaking, Cooper is half the cost of most other schools. They offer half the cost of tuition as a “scholarship.” Granted, it used to be free entirely free, but it’s better than nothing.

Apr 26, 20 10:45 am  · 
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BulgarBlogger

Also, you would probably learning from the professors of those professors teaching at UMichigan. Why not learn from the teachers, rather than the students? (That was a metaphor). Architecture school is supposed to teach you how to think creatively about spatial problems. Why not surround yourself with people who are equally as talented and “rare” finds? It sounds like you are drawn to the party school, and that is understandable for someone at 18, but a) you can have fun anywhere and b) the lost souls at UMich who are partying now will pay for it with missed career opportunities later.

Apr 26, 20 10:49 am  · 
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BulgarBlogger

Rather than having to “apply” for a position at reputable firms like Diller Scofidio or Libeskind, you’d just be responding to a school ad through an alum. Most of these people graduated Cooper so you’d take advantage of the network.

Apr 26, 20 10:51 am  · 
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proto

BB, you are making a lot of assumptions

Apr 28, 20 2:27 pm  · 
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BulgarBlogger

Who cares? I bet you I am 80% right.

Apr 28, 20 4:27 pm  · 
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BulgarBlogger

Your friends and hobbies will change. Education lasts a lifetime and in this very superficial world, school name may not matter all the time, but why shut out your opportunities?

Apr 25, 20 2:40 pm  · 
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Wood Guy

.

Apr 26, 20 10:32 am  · 
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autofireunit

To answer some of your questions. If you work at a firm and getting paid, you can accumulate AXP credits. So yes, you can log in hours before your MArch.

Both programs are reputable. Yes, you can find jobs from both programs. I chose a 4 year program + MArch path. I would say if you are certain you want to get a MArch degree (which is the right thing to do as now the degree bar needed for this field is going up), maybe a four year program is a better option, since the MArch I s in most of the architecture grad school are the "most focused" as they teach students the core of a school's approach, while in MArch II s only provide option studios. 

Apr 25, 20 2:51 pm  · 
1  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

You apply to Cooper Union, get accepted, and you're not sure? Cooper Union, as far as I'm concerned, is the school. You go anywhere after Cooper. I'm not shitting on Michigan as a school, but Michigan.

Apr 25, 20 4:09 pm  · 
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liberty bell

IMO Cooper’s reputation was so severely tarnished when they started charging tuition that the idea that their grads can “go anywhere” no longer holds true.

Apr 26, 20 9:23 am  · 
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b3tadine[sutures]

Undergrad is still free, thanks to motivated students.


My bad:

Starting in the Fall of 2014, all students enrolling for the first time at Cooper Union receive a half-tuition scholarship currently worth $22,275.00 per year ($11,137.50 per semester). Additional financial aid is provided to eligible students to help cover tuition, housing, food, books, supplies etc. The amount of additional aid is based upon a student's demonstrated financial need. Students must file a FAFSA to be considered for additional financial aid. Please note that Cooper Union offers merit scholarships to exceptional students. Also, Cooper Union uses a need-blind admissions process, meaning that a student's ability to pay does not impact the admissions decisions.

Undergraduate students first enrolling at Cooper Union prior to the Fall of 2014, receive a full tuition scholarship valued at $44,550 ($22,275.00 per semester) for the 2020-2021 school year.


Apr 26, 20 11:20 am  · 
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JawkneeMusic

I'm a dropout. You're going to get trapped by red tape @ UMich. Look at what Cooper has--can you take classes in engineering?  You're young, if you're not 18 yet, you have NO idea that things actually change at that age.  The civil @ Cooper (isn't that good) not comprehensive.  BUT you'd probably be in the lab.  And in that way you could make it comprehensive.  I'm really sorry but I'm guessing Michigan has bad facilities & worse professors.

Apr 25, 20 4:49 pm  · 
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Gloominati

If you take the 4-year BS route, you'll either need to get an M.Arch afterward, or you'll be limiting your possibilities for states in which you'll be able to get licensed as an architect.  It is possible to have a career in the profession without ever becoming a licensed architect, and it is also possible in some states to get a license without a B.Arch or M.Arch (with as much as 9 extra years of experience) - but you only need to look through this forum to get an idea of how much this limits and frustrates many, many grads of 4-year programs who don't want to spend 2 to 3.5 more years getting an M.Arch.

Apr 25, 20 6:23 pm  · 
1  · 
archanonymous

Go to Cooper Union.

Apr 25, 20 7:11 pm  · 
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midlander

cooper advantages: accredited b.arch in a top city for the practice of architecture, excellent faculty. you'll learn from everything and everyone around you and be fully immersed in architecture.


michigan advantages: i have no idea. maybe you're a big football fan, or you live in-state and get a good deal on tuition. it's respectable, but will require an additional master's to get your license. the closest major center for architecture practice is chicago, which is great, but you won't be particularly well connected to there.


finding a job isn't going to be the major factor in this - either way it's possible and for architects it's always challenging. the only obvious advantage to umich is if you aren't totally certain about architecture as a career in which case being in a top public university will give you access to many other possibilities. otherwise assuming costs are comparable cooper has all the advantages for an architect  (now that cooper charges tuition i don't know how it compares).

Apr 25, 20 11:22 pm  · 
1  · 

It's now where you go to school, it's how you apply yourself.  And you only need to go to a program with a professional degree if you want to be licensed without going to grad school. And these days more and more are not getting licensed because it is not necessary if you don't plan to run your own office. Once you get into an office, work hard and learn. You will always have a job if you are reliable and efficient. Seek knowledge, and seek out those around you who can teach you things. It's all about becoming indispensable.

Apr 26, 20 1:34 am  · 
1  · 
justavisual

Cooper, BArch trumps the 4 year program any day.

Apr 26, 20 5:41 am  · 
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archinet

Go to Cooper- you can always do a post professional M.Arch if you want to later or go and work to get your license. Cooper gives you more options.

Apr 26, 20 8:08 am  · 
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liberty bell

There are two questions here:  What are my employment prospects, and what do I want out of my education? Why are you so drawn to UMich? The culture of these two schools *could not be more different* - they are total opposites! If you want to be 100% immersed in architecture as a philosophical calling while living with a small community as a monastic academic in NYC, which is a legendary global city, go to Cooper. If you want to be exposed to a huge swath of thousands of different kinds of people all pursuing education in widely various realms, all within a gorgeous campus encompassing every kind of specialty that might pique your interest, go to UMich.  IMO you should be thinking about what you want out of your educational experience first.  *Anyone’s* job prospects 4-5 years from now are frankly unpredictable right now.

Apr 26, 20 9:16 am  · 
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OneLostArchitect

cooper is free. No brainer

Apr 26, 20 10:33 am  · 
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OneLostArchitect

Wow no longer free... what happened?

Apr 26, 20 10:36 am  · 
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b3tadine[sutures]

Undergrad is still free.

Uhhhh...I guess not:


Starting in the Fall of 2014, all students enrolling for the first time at Cooper Union receive a half-tuition scholarship currently worth $22,275.00 per year ($11,137.50 per semester). Additional financial aid is provided to eligible students to help cover tuition, housing, food, books, supplies etc. The amount of additional aid is based upon a student's demonstrated financial need. Students must file a FAFSA to be considered for additional financial aid. Please note that Cooper Union offers merit scholarships to exceptional students. Also, Cooper Union uses a need-blind admissions process, meaning that a student's ability to pay does not impact the admissions decisions.

Undergraduate students first enrolling at Cooper Union prior to the Fall of 2014, receive a full tuition scholarship valued at $44,550 ($22,275.00 per semester) for the 2020-2021 school year.


Apr 26, 20 11:20 am  · 
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placebeyondthesplines

yes, you are.

Apr 26, 20 11:59 am  · 
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square.

cooper by far is the better choice; what you think is your dream school now might be a nightmare down the road. a bit dramatic, but the point is you really don't know, as a high school student, what is the best path for you. trust the experienced people on this forum; as many have said, you'll have a barch from a better program (imo) with less debt (although i thought they had made cooper free again for new students).

Apr 28, 20 11:20 am  · 
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randomised

Maybe pass up on Cooper and give that opportunity to someone that really would like to study there ;)

Apr 28, 20 4:53 pm  · 
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apkouv

Have you thought about quitting your job to allow a more disadvantaged architect to replace you so that they can have a better career? Think about the others too, don't just be selfish and egocentric.

Apr 28, 20 5:44 pm  · 
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randomised

It’s not about being egocentric, it’s about dedication...anyone considering passing up the opportunity to study at Cooper maybe just shouldn’t go there.

Apr 29, 20 1:18 am  · 
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Koww

"Get In Where You Fit In"
-- Too $hort

You need to make connections with other people while you are in school. If you don't fit in, it's going to be very hard to do that.

Apr 29, 20 2:14 am  · 
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archinine
This is a no brainer. Cooper union. Better (real) degree, no grad school required, better city/connections/networking, higher ranked, even if it’s not free it’s still not as absurdly expensive as most private schools, better program that’s widely known by most American architects and many abroad, you’ll have far greater employment prospects after cooper in a much larger swath of the country than going to Michigan. It’s not like Chicago is that close and even if it was, it’s far from a nexus of design these days. Unless you want to live breathe and die at SOM (you don’t) and even then you could still do that thru cooper. ‘The degree is what you make of it’ to an extent, but after a certain point it’s your career that counts. The degree is on your resume for life. Contacts you make at school, you’ll keep for life. It’s not ‘selfish’ to go to Michigan it’s shooting yourself in the foot to not take the far better opportunity.

As for the work gap between undergrad and grad, and axp counting for that, it depends on the state. Some allow it others will not count my axp until you’ve completed the accredited degree.

Why is Michigan your dream school? Are you from there? Do you want to live/work in the Midwest for the rest of your life? Are you sure you want to spend 7+ years in school vs 5, doing more or less the same things at both?
Apr 29, 20 3:58 pm  · 
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liberty bell

archinine, with due respect for your contributions to this forum, I feel your comment betrays a pretty severe inability to see a world beyond NYC. Do you live there, are you from there?

Apr 30, 20 8:50 pm  · 
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deathbydesign
archsurf1

Cooper arch alum here:    Unless you are 'all in' about going to Cooper Union and NYC, you likely won't survive the 5 years.     I'm not going to sugar coat it.   It's not easy and having a passion about the program, the work, and the city it what will get you through  and appreciate the experience.   It's always best attend a school where you WANT to be and in a location where you WANT to live. 

Aug 17, 21 11:44 am  · 
3  · 
vi_d

I just want to say that being based in NYC I have met and worked with many Cooper alumni and I am/was impressed every time. It is clear they received stellar Arch education and, in addition, every single one is extremely bright and talented. Each in her/his own way but I have not met a mediocrity with the Cooper degree. Clearly, Cooper knows something about selecting and educating young talent. 

Having said that, all Cooper grads I talked to agreed that the 5-year education process is rough, very demanding, and highly competitive. Apparently, a good number of students either get eliminated after the first year or leave on their own accord, unable to deal with the pressure.

Being admitted to Cooper is an honor in itself but, I guess, it is about an individual. Her/his level of ambition, priorities, and expectations for what that college experience should be. Regarding job prospects, in my experience, Cooper degree is rated pretty much at the same level as reputable Masters degrees with an exception of few Ivy League ones. At least on the east coast.

- My 2c

Aug 17, 21 1:47 pm  · 
1  · 
ham17

As someone who is graduating from Michigan's 4-year program in 2022 who also had a mom that went to Cooper, I'd say it comes down to how sure you are that architecture is for you. 

Going to a big school that provided the classic "college" experience (sports, school spirit, huge campus) was something I really wanted in high school so it was perfect for me. I wasn't totally committed to architecture yet so the degree path was ideal. Obviously, I ended up loving it and am applying to grad school soon, which is the only way to get accreditation in America without a BArch. 

My mom, a NYC native, went to Cooper and had a very different experience. She was in the art school but was close friends with a handful of the architecture students (the school is pretty small so the programs are tight). At a 5-year BArch, there isn't any wiggle room for academic interests, it's extremely cutthroat, and the dropout rate is pretty high. Cooper is known as one of the best 5-year programs in the country and is cheaper than Michigan out of state. If you know you want to do architecture and don't mind being in a small program, go to Cooper. If you don't, go to Michigan. 

There's no shame in not being sure of your future. You're 18. Most people on this forum are clueless and 25. Whichever school you go to will be a great choice. 

Aug 17, 21 2:22 pm  · 
1  · 
vi_d

djang798 ,

Just had a thought:

Why not ask UMich whether they would accept you as a 2nd-year transfer student with Cooper credits? That way you could give Cooper a try for a year and transfer if you feel it is not for you. Also, universities compete for talented students, so when UMich learns that you have been accepted to Cooper with a more generous financial aid package they may step up and offer you a better package as well. Happens pretty often and is worth asking. That may make your mom feel more comfortable about sending you to UMich :)

Aug 17, 21 2:34 pm  · 
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b3tadine[sutures]

Just a thought, but have any of you considered that this thread is over a year old?

Aug 17, 21 2:42 pm  · 
1  · 

For what it's worth, it's impossible to know precisely whether you're "a good fit" for any specific architecture school. You might have a hunch, but part of growing up is adapting your plans for the future as new information becomes available, while at the same time learning to be happy wherever you're at.

Aug 17, 21 8:38 pm  · 
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Another part of growing up: when people pay for things, there are always strings attached.

Aug 17, 21 8:40 pm  · 
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