Statement of Purpose Critique

This statement of purpose draft is in application for UC Denver Master of Architecture program. A critique would be appreciated. Criticism is not taken to heart negatively, I am looking to improve.

*Questions: Do you suggest refraining from personal pronouns? Should italic typeface be removed?*

                                           Statement of Purpose                                                                  (750-1000 words required, word count: 752)

      Entering undergraduate studies at the University of San Diego as an aspiring student of architecture, I naturally drew towards the history, theories, and conventions of architecture. Undergraduate Studies focused on the bonds between form, function, and materiality to form spaces with practical value. Studying abroad in Italy, a career path became apparent in the surreal environment created by the duality of San Siro Stadium design and user response when attending an AC Milan soccer game. After returning to the university from Italy began an internship position with Studio E Architects. The professional internship experience provided a foundation for moving into a seminar for undergraduate thesis proposals, research methods, and design process. The undergraduate thesis focus came from Rem Koolhaas' manifesto on Manhattanism outdated erotic masculine position exhibited in New York's Downtown Athletic Club. While the undergraduate thesis proposal was an overall success, personal architectural design strengths and weaknesses became clear. Pursuing a Masters Degree at the College of Architecture and Planning offers architecture knowledge in a professional environment and opportunities to strengthen these weaknesses. 

      Seeking to become a licensed architect knowledgeable on the ARE 5.0 six divisions of current architectural practice is an academic focus. The program prepares for licensing by "the discovery, communication, and application of knowledge in the discipline of architecture by integrating theory and practice." The integration of theories and professional practice is essential for constructive critiques and responding to the practice's evolution. Enrollment in technological and professional base lecture courses will provide chances to learn the in-depth history of architecture, LEED Certification process for sustainability, and manage Building Information Models. Design studios will develop comprehensive designs form program analysis and critical stances on programmatic issues in architecture. The ARE 5.0 Practice Management Business Operations discusses staff utilization rate and the importance of junior staff possessing billable skills for a high percentage rate. In the internship experience with Studio E Architects, most of the work revolved around preliminary design and construction documentation using architecture design software like AutoCAD, Revit, SketchUp, and Adobe Creative Suite. With an introduction to the industry-standard software programs, the graduate program design studios will advance personal skill sets in these programs. The Four Studio Track curriculum balance of design studios and lecture courses will sharpen billable skills, provide knowledge on the six divisions of current architectural practice, and expand networking opportunities with practicing professionals in the Denver Metropolitan area.

      As a Colorado Native, obtaining a Master's in Architecture from the College of Architecture and Planning will expand networking through hands-on training and real-world engagement in Denver's architecture community. Joining the AIAS CU Denver Chapter will provide more networking events and opportunities to compete in design competitions. The program's liberal arts structure, in collaboration with Denver's metro, provides a means of research and network for career success with an opportunity to focus on sports facilities, arenas, and convention centers. 

      After attaining a Master's, the initial short-term career goal is to become a licensed architect with passing the ARE 5.0 exam and accumulating AXP hours. As an avid sports enthusiast, a long-term goal is a position with a firm specializing in sports facilities and arenas similar to Populous. A firm like Populous requires a keen eye for details from applicants and employees; thus, application resumes and portfolios must consistently convey their design methodology and exhibit a unique personality through architectural design. As a goal-oriented individual, the final result is a motivation for completing tasks toward a set purpose. Motivation thought setting goals also produces a high-quality Standard of Care in both professional work and academic environments. Enrollment in the Master's program is a step toward achieving both career goals. Understanding BIM and advancing Autodesk software comprehension is a short-term academic goal for improving portfolio quality, which assists long-term academic goals like an internship and mentorship program. Along with Architecture, the Japanese language and culture is a longstanding interest, which will be further studied during graduate school to open opportunities abroad. 

      A career in architectural design for sports arenas, facilities, and convention centers has been inevitable since childhood. Youth sports coaches often said, "keep your head in the game," for I was preoccupied with design thoughts inspired by the environment of sports entertainment. Attaining an NCARB-accredited Masters Degree from the College of Architecture and Planning is an essential step towards a license and increasing the 2% of Black American architects. Career advancement opportunities will open to the competitive edge of a licensed Black American Architect ambitious to provide refreshing cultural awareness and innovative program design theories for architecture. 

Aug 13, 20 12:46 am
Non Sequitur

I’m having a difficult time reading more that 2 sentences in a row since I find the structure here very awkward. Have you ever read a SOP before? 

Pro tip: avoid the destiny is to be architect clichés.

Aug 13, 20 6:29 am  · 
1  ·  1


Aug 13, 20 12:25 pm  · 
 ·  1
Non Sequitur

It needs a solid re-write: It's super generic with confusing sentence structure and does not really say anything useful.

Aug 13, 20 12:28 pm  · 
2  · 

Thank you for the surface level critique.

Aug 13, 20 2:31 pm  · 
Non Sequitur

it was not surface-level.

Aug 13, 20 3:23 pm  · 

Seeking to become a licensed architect knowledgeable on the ARE 5.0 six divisions of current architectural practice is an academic focus.

where are you in this? reads impersonal and generic, more like a memo summarizing the outcome goals of the program. this is a personal statement, it's ok to use "i." breath some life into this thing. your bio is much better.

and don't use passive voice.

Aug 13, 20 2:42 pm  · 
1  · 

The SOP is supposed to tell reviewers about you, so yes, you need to use personal pronouns.  Part of the reason this is so confusing is that it reads as though you are going out of your way to not use 'I' or 'me' and everything is in the passive voice. The way it reads now, it sounds like your education just kind of happened, and there was nothing good on tv so why not become an architect *shrugging* when in reality, we all know it is something you have to really work for!  Using an active voice, "I pursued an internship..." for example, will help show that you are actively seeking out opportunities to get to your end goal.

Most of what you have written here can probably be gleaned from your CV.  The fact that you had an internship or studied abroad should be listed on your CV.  The SOP is your chance to expand on how you got to where you are and why you need this program to achieve your goals. You talk about some influences and your interest in sports.  See if you can expand on those things, while removing some of the filler.  Consider your audience and write to them.

Aug 13, 20 2:50 pm  · 
2  · 

There's a lot of passive voice. Entering... Seeking... etc...

The last two paragraphs are not helping at all and you are probably doing yourself a disservice if you have such rigid pre-conceived notions of how and what you want to practice. Would be much better to talk about academic curiosity, exploration, and what you hope to get (and give) out of an education at this school. You can lightly touch on your post-grad hopes and aspirations, but I would keep it more vague.

The third paragraph is a more suitable place to talk about your past and your identity and how it will affect your approach to education, collaboration, and interaction. 

Aug 13, 20 2:58 pm  · 

It reads like a list of ideas you have about what you might include in a statement of purpose.  But it doesn't read like a statement of purpose.  There's very little feeling of purpose in it - at least not beyond the purposes for which most people pursue an M.Arch, which really don't need stating.  Also you've thrown in a ton of undergrad architecture school cliches - you have to remember that all the other architecture majors you're competing among have very similar backgrounds and think about whether it's going to make reviewers' eyes glaze over!  (Hints:  nix form and function, Rem Koolhaas, and everything about the structure of your undergrad curriculum, the words "surreal" and "duality", the structure of the M.Arch curriculum, everything about the ARE, LEED, BIM, Autodesk, software in general, NCARB, AIAS, and design competitions!)

I suggest writing yourself a list of short essay questions.  Then write the answers to those.  Then look at those answers, and see if one or two themes emerge, then draft a statement of purpose based on those themes, and work on refining it from there.

If you need some questions to start, here are a few:  1. What is the ONE experience from my education, travel, childhood, or work that best explains my unique interest in and/or aptitude for architecture, and why? 2. Why am I applying to this particular school and program?  3. What do I bring to that program that will be uniquely beneficial to that program and to my classmates? 

Aug 13, 20 3:02 pm  · 
2  · 

Elijah, you produced a thorough first draft, mechanically hitting all the points you thought were important.  Now that that's out of the way, you can leave it in a drawer and write about yourself, and your sense of purpose.

Your draft says next to nothing about you. And it suffers from a fatal flaw: it's hard to read and almost impossible to finish.  You want to capture (not incarcerate) your reader, and leave them wanting to learn even more about you.

I remember your resume' draft conveying much more personality.  The SOP is your chance to go even further-- to sing and soar as you explain who you really are, what drives you, and how some (but not every) aspect of architecture fits that story.

Aug 14, 20 12:20 am  · 

Block this user

Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

  • ×Search in: