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M.Arch Fall 2021 Application Status

cbkrmr

Hey everyone,

Found this thread super helpful last year so figured I'd revive it for this round of applications. Feel free to share and we'll get through this (exceptionally) stressful time together.

  • Undergraduate Degree/ School/ Year graduated 
  • GPA - GRE  - TOEFL 
  • Letter of recommendations 
  • Personal Essay/Statement 
  • Portfolio
  • Schools 
  • Open house impressions 
  • Results 
  • Tips
 
Dec 18, 20 3:52 pm
archi_gram

I heard this year is going to be the most competitive year in history because of all the deferrals. So Good luck to all! 

Dec 26, 20 8:34 am  · 
1  · 
Luques

can you expand on this comment - from whom did you hear this? is this in reference to a particular school? are you saying that applicants who were accepted last year deferred starting their Masters programs to this year so there will be fewer seats for this year's applicant pool? I was under the impression that (some? many?) schools did not allow deferrals.

 · 
kidomega

OP posted the same comment in another thread exactly like this. Probably just trolling/intimidating/stressing applicants. There were definitely deferrals in the previous cycle, but that doesn't guarantee that they're re-applying again for this coming cycle and/or get automatically accepted. No one is even assured yet if schools next year will be back in campus or still be remote/virtual.

1  ·  1
archi_gram

You probably just don't want to accept the fact. Here are some data from Harvard's EA to give you some insights on this application season "Havard College today accepted 747 students to the Class of 2025 from a pool of 10,086 who applied under the early action program. Those students will join 349 others who deferred admission to the Class of 2025 this past summer. Last year, 895 students were selected from the 6,424 who applied." And I think you have some misunderstandings about the word defer

1  ·  1
Afriendlyguy

I mean not everyone here only applies to Harvard, some people just want to apply to an M.arch program that suits their interest, you know... But well if you are talking about Harvard, it is competitive regardless.

 · 
ax_d

I don't know about all the school but some (GSAPP, Yale, GSD, Princeton, Cornell) did mentioned on their open house events that they didn't allow people to defer the past cycle. Regardless, I do agree with archi_gram that this will be a more
competitive circle.

 · 
kidomega

That's Harvard COLLEGE, not even the GSD which does not have the same student intake/population in terms of age, experience, etc. (nor any graduate school or school of architecture/design/etc. that the people in this thread are applying to). That is a totally different demographic and the statistics of that sample doesn't automatically equate nor translate with the other institutions. The issue here is that you seem to be spreading this comment of yours across the application status t hreads with no basis (as Luques is asking you). Generally speaking, by default, Harvard as a whole has always been competitive, but so are the other Ivies, UCLA, UC Berkeley, etc. Do you have the figures of these institutions (and the others) that also prove that this cycle will forecast a more competitive selection/even lower admissions rate than ever before (specifically for graduate school)?

3  ·  1
deathbydesign

Maybe what OP meant by "competitive" is that there's a broader pool of applicants this year because the application process and requirements were more lenient? Thus setting a higher bar in the selection criteria for admissions. Possibly what used to be the hierarchy of requirements (portfolio, essay, recommendations, GPAs) will now share equal value, making it more challenging to craft each requirement equally as important and as provoking as the other. There's great talent out there that don't get to apply to their dream schools, or the big schools, due to restraints in even complying with what is asked during application, so this cycle gives them that opportunity. Let's face it, certain admitted students, even while having a stellar portfolio, essay, recommendation, and grades to get admitted into their choice of programs, have the extra advantage of accessibility and privilege that some, if not many, equal to their talent don't. So with a few extra doors opened for this cycle making it possible to apply without hesitations, there's definitely a higher level of competency that this cycle of applicants are setting.

1  · 
growingblockuniverse

I'll start:


University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign - Class of 2020


GPA: 3.31 


Letters: Two past studio professors and current boss (founding principal architect)


Portfolio: https://issuu.com/andrewjerryf...


Schools:

Architectural Association (early application)

UCLA

UC Berkeley

Washington University in St. Louis

UPenn

Columbia

GSD

University of Hong Kong

Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts


Open House Impressions: None in-person. Most attracted to the AA for its mix of computational experimentation (AADRL) and prioritization of realistic architectural prompts in its studios' assignments. Columbia and AA have very impressive shops/resources for fabrication.


Results: Awaiting decisions from all (as of 12/29/20)


Tips: 

Portfolio - "Finish" your portfolio weeks before the first deadline. While many of the applications have roughly equivalent requirements for the portfolio, slight differences (such as page length, file size, spreads vs, no spreads and whether a spread counts as a single page, credits to collaborators and professors, etc.) will become time-consuming to adjust. 

Personal Essay - Like the portfolio requirements, the prompts and word-counts for this submission often vary slightly from school to school. Give yourself plenty of time to make adjustments to accommodate these differences. Like any writing assignment, my final products came by writing and revising a number of drafts. Space out working on these between days/sleep levels/moods. What felt like a brilliant sentence might be completely different to you three days later. Send for proofing to people whose writing and intellects you trust/respect (in and out of architecture) for proofing.

Letters of Recommendation - Send the requests to each referee as early as possible. I would recommend jumping straight to this page on each application and then returning to fill in the rest. Give your references as much time as possible to complete the submissions.

General - Applying to Graduate School is a serious time commitment, and the entire process has required consistent work since early October (for me). Start earlier than you think you need to. Start earlier than you think you need to. Start earlier than you think you need to.


Good luck to all!

Dec 29, 20 1:25 am  · 
1  · 
natematt

If you're interested in fabrication you should check out the University of Michigan.

Good luck!

1  · 
cbkrmr

Portfolio link doesn't seem to be valid anymore but looked great when I flipped through a couple days ago, and couldn't agree more re: most of your tips.

We're applying to many of the same places, so good luck!

1  · 
growingblockuniverse

Edit: Invited for a Zoom interview at the Architectural Association

1  · 
cbkrmr
  • Undergraduate Degree/ School/ Year graduated 

B.S. Arch / University of Cincinnati / 2018

  • GPA - GRE  - TOEFL 

3.5 / N/A

  • Letter of recommendations 

One former professor, two current supervisors (design principals with corporate firm)

  • Personal Essay/Statement 

Took a more personal approach in describing a unique upbringing and the ways in which that background has come to elucidate my current perception and future ambitions for architecture. More or less kept a consistent format for each and heavily modified one/multiple paragraphs toward each school.

  • Portfolio

https://issuu.com/connorkramer...

  • Schools 

Harvard GSD

Yale SOA

Columbia GSAPP

Rice

Cornell

Penn

MIT

Michigan

WUSTL

  • Open house impressions 

Attended virtually but wasn't exceptionally impressed by any of them... Placing more stock in current student/alum experience and past personal visits.

  • Results 

Awaiting

  • Tips

Recommendations: Make sure to have a backup recommender that you trust to pull through if/when someone else flakes. A former professor that agreed to write my third letter months ago went silent days before deadlines, so I decided on a second professional recommendation instead. Most schools prefer two academic references but in the end they want someone who knows you well and will give an honest opinion, especially if you've been out of school an extended period like I have. That being said, give them plenty of time – I sent requests in September and each of them submitted only a few days ago. 

Portfolio: This is undoubtedly the most significant part of the application, so treat it as so. Make sure the information is clear, concise, and easy to follow. Let your main images pop (hero renderings, drawings, etc) but don't be afraid to show dirty process work as well. Schools want to know how you think critically and why you approached a problem in the way you did. Rendering and graphic skills are no doubt important but the focus should be on the overall story you're intending to tell. To this end, allow text to serve as a supplemental narrative to the imagery - outline a problem and how/why you chose to solve it, rather than simply verbally explaining what's being shown in the visuals.

Essays: Allow for more time than you think you will need for these. Writing always came relatively easy to me so I wasn't too concerned going in, but found these to be much more difficult and time consuming than I anticipated. Treat the statement as a companion to your portfolio - a written account of who you are and why these schools should accept you. Rather than simply listing the things on your CV, use it as a chance to explain how you've come to form the position you inevitably possess and wish to further develop with graduate study. 

General: Treat the portfolio, essays, CV and letters as a cohesive, single package. Aim for each to complement and build off one another, but still maintain the ability to adequately portray your qualifications independently. And above all else, start early. 

Good luck!

Dec 31, 20 3:48 pm  · 
3  · 
hellion

Great portfolio! Neatly laid-out as well. Good luck!

 · 
lmaccora

Hello, M.Arch Fall 2021 Applicants!

 My name is Lisa and I am currently working for UTSOA's grad office as a student assistant. I would be more than happy to help or inform anyone who has questions about our M.Arch program or its application process! I have a BS.Arch from OSU and will be graduating with my M.Arch from UT Austin in May 2021! I also will be graduating with a certificate in Historic Preservation if anyone has questions about that as well. 

Best of luck to all applying for grad programs this year!

Dec 31, 20 4:56 pm  · 
5  · 
emselyyy

Hi! I'll go since last year's forum has helped me a lot: 

  • TCU 18' Studio Art/Art History, 3.6 
    • No Architecture background but I took LAIAD's Grad Prep Program and i would recommend it to any non-arch background entering grad school. 
  • Took the GRE because UCLA needed it, didn't do great 
  • 3 Letter of recommendations from LAIAD Professors 
  • Portfolio https://issuu.com/landshark/do...
    • would love any critiques! 
  • Schools 
    • UCLA
    • UC BERKLEY
    • GA TECH
    • UT AUSTIN
    • COLUMBIA
  • Open house impressions 
    • really wish we could do these this year. 
  • Waiting on Results (as of 1/10/21) 



Jan 10, 21 5:01 pm  · 
 · 
michaeldchang

Neat portfolio! I felt the descriptions were easy to understand and the work is pretty cool. Though on the 10-11 spread, I think the title block is a bit hard to read over the photo. Also with the line running underneath, I notice some of the drawings bleed over it to the bottom edge and sometimes not. That's really a minor peeve though.

1  · 
lmaccora

Hi! I see that you have applied to UT Austin. I am currently in the M.Arch program there (graduating in May 2021) and would be happy to answer any of your questions about the program or give you insight into student life! Feel free to reach out if I can be of any help! - Lisa Maccora

 · 
michaeldchang

I've been a ghost on this forum for a long time. I recently made an account for this graduate admission cycle.

  • Undergraduate Degree/ School/ Year graduated 

professional BS Landscape Architecture/Cornell University/2021

  • GPA - GRE  - TOEFL 

3.7/4.0 - 165V/164Q/5.0 -  no TOEFL

  • Letter of recommendations 

2 Studio Instructors and 1 Professor/Employer

  • Personal Essay/Statement 

Focused on my research interests, my career aspirations and how I began to pursue them through my undergraduate studies. It's crazy where I am right now. Originally, I went to Cornell to study Physics. Interests lie in climate resilience, new design materials and collaborative design research projects.

  • Portfolio

I'm definitely not the most technically proficient and I focused a lot on the layout to keep things relatively easy on the eyes. Converted a lot of data into graphs and diagrammes. I tried to keep the pages succulent and edited out a lot of drawings that weren't too great. I honestly had a lot of great sketchbooks in storage back in school. With the travel restrictions, it's too bad they didn't make it in.

https://issuu.com/mdchang99/do...

  • Schools 

M.Arch I or M.Arch I/MLA II dual-degrees:

MIT, Harvard GSD, Cornell, Yale, Columbia and UPenn

  • Open house impressions 

MIT, GSD and Yale most align with my current research interests. I have my fingers crossed and hope for some scholarships too. I definitely can't afford to pay it all.

Would also love to return to Cornell as an MLA grad. Ithaca might be cold and drab but the people at Cornell are lovely!

  • Results 

TBA

  • Tips

All of these programmes are so competitive and any acceptances should be celebrated. The times are so unprecedented and I wish everyone the best of luck!


PS If anyone is applying to Cornell MLA or any Cornell school, DM me if you want to know more about the studio culture (or Ithaca).

Jan 13, 21 4:03 pm  · 
 · 

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