Archinect
anchor

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  ·  2
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

2  ·  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  ·  2
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  · 
mitbos

@Luques I got in GSAPP last year. Defers are only barred after July. There were about 1/4 of the class deferred to this year as they made their decisions early before policies changed. One classmate said we were really desperate last year and accepted 200 waitlist. Not sure if true. I know there were less defers at Cornell because they resumed in person. But It wasn't pretty at all at other ivies and MIT because of online. I was in the sciarc email ring. The tension was there in the last few months before school starts because many people can't decide if they want to apply again.

2  · 
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  · 
 · 
finlaydouglas

Hey so this is late but I thought I might as well post this here cause the these posts in the last few years were helpful

  • Undergraduate Degree/ School/ Year graduated 

Economics and Computer Science / McGill University (Canada) / 2021

  • GPA - GRE  - TOEFL 

3.85/4.0 - didn't do - didn't do

  • Letter of recommendations 

2 from profs at my school; Economics and Architecture prof, two from past employers; President of a tech market research company and president of an interior design firm

  • Personal Essay/Statement 

I focused mine a lot on why I am where I am now, harping a fair bit on my brothers and mums battle with cancer over the course of my university education. I was originally going to do a Bachelors of Arch but after talking to some other architects they suggested I try a few other things first to then really confirm this path so here I am. I've had to pay for my own way through school so I've always had a job (which required design work) while working at school which I spoke about as well. 

  • Portfolio

All my design work comes from work experience where I've designed advertisements and websites / draw in my free time so this is definitely lower quality than the rest. I don't have my portfolio on issuu but for reference here is one of the websites I developed and included in my portfolio: https://www.wyngit.com. I included some sculptures as well as I really wanted my portfolio to have a little bit of everything seeing as I'm coming from a relatively different background than most. A big fall back of mine is I laid out my portfolio in a very minimal way as though it was a pamphlet which lacks display of my process for each piece. 

  • Schools 

M.Arch I:

Columbia, UC Berkeley, UBC (Canada), U of T (Canada) 

  • Open house impressions 

Didn't go just read about them here lol.

  • Results 

TBA

  • Tips

As has been repeated so many times already, start early. I left my essays to a week before their due date each time. They were all due around the time of my final exams which made December a very stressful month. 

Jan 20, 21 11:48 am  · 
 · 
Afriendlyguy
  • Undergraduate Degree/ School/ Year graduated 

BA in Architecture / UCB / 2019

  • GPA - GRE  - TOEFL 

3.1 - Waive - Waive 

  • Letter of recommendations 

4 Studio Profs 

  • Personal Essay/Statement 

Basically talked about architectural elements in the city where I grew up and how those inspired me. 

  • Portfolio

https://issuu.com/vietnguyen7/...

  • Schools 

UCB, Yale SOA, GSD, Upenn, GSAPP

  • Open house impressions

 I didnt go to any of them, I wish I could, it always conflicts with my work hours. Tho, I did join GSD InDesign Bootcamp, and the instructors shared their portfolios, and I think those are pretty beautiful portfolios.  

  • Results 

Will See! Wish me luck I guess. :)

  • Tips

General, I can’t stress it enough is to start early, if you couldn’t start the application physically, start it in your head, think about it, be obsessed with it, and treat it as a year-long design exercise where you have to craft your portfolio and writing. Make your personal statement and portfolio speak with each other cohesively. 

Portfolio: Most important material, it is a process of understanding yourself as a designer, and trust me, if you spend enough time working on your portfolio, you will realize why you design certain things and understand your logic behind the design. I looked back at my old sketchbook years ago, and I was trying to compare those final products with my early sketches, and I realized a lot of those sketches are basically my final idea with just more refined graphics. So sometimes, you got to have to look backward to move forward. Schools give you full of deadlines, parties, events, and sleepless night studies, and certainly, we just forgot about the most valuable elements hid behind the early pages of your sketchbook. So keep your sketchbooks, don’t throw them away. Include sketches in your portfolio, and not all but some that speak out the most. 

After you think you are at a stopping point with your portfolio, ask people to judge it, sure they will give plenty of comments base on their preference, all are valuable to look at the different set of eyes. You can treat it as Quality Control ( Spelling and Grammar mistakes, Color Balance, Layout ). I have asked many people on this forum to help me with that, and I felt grateful and thankful for all of those comments. The final portfolio is not perfect, still have some layout issues but I am quite happy with it for now. Just do the best you can.

Essay, not an expert in writing because English is my second language. But just think about it when you are free, layout your idea when you are free, I usually did it in the shower, so sometimes I take a 30-minute shower and wasted a lot of water. Definitely write a genuine one and don’t try to impress any school, I think they just want to see an applicant’s unique perspective toward architecture. Do some research on the school you apply, to have a general idea of the strengths and focuses of the program. I am still improving on my writing so...

Good Luck to everyone :)

Jan 21, 21 12:04 pm  · 
3  · 
autocat

Love the portfolio! Best of luck, did you apply for advanced standing?

 · 
Afriendlyguy

I didn't apply for AP, I think the committee will decide that I think. I am coming from a BA so technically I don't think that I am qualified for AP or M.arch II.

 · 
autocat
  • Undergraduate Degree/ School/ Year graduated 

B.S. Environmental Design, Minor- Studio Art/ Arizona State University / 2021

  • GPA - GRE  - TOEFL 

3.31, Junior/Senior GPA- 3.98 - N/A - N/A

  • Letter of recommendations 

Two professors, my boss

  • Personal Essay/Statement 

Different for almost every school, especially the GSD one. I took some different approaches with those smaller, sectioned essays that were more about specific experiences, and relayed it back to why I love architecture. Went a little off the wall/avant-garde with some of the essays for GSD, but I don't think it hurt me? Fingers crossed. Overall in the other ones I discussed my cultural background, background in engineering, why I transferred to design, what I aim to do with it, why I will never look back. 

  • Portfolio

I transferred to Environmental Design my third year of undergrad, and I've been in this degree for two years. ASU doesn't have the best EnvD degree, so most of my projects have been reliant on first year architecture studio, metalsmithing, sketches I have done, paintings. It's not perfect, there are definitely things I wish I changed, but overall I am happy with it. If anyone requests I'll post. 

  • Schools 

Harvard GSD

IIT

Columbia GSAPP

ASU

Pratt

  • Open house impressions 

Most of my investment was in GSAPP, so mainly attended those and their online lectures. I already attend ASU so I am pretty familiar with their mission and facilities. Overall: love ASU's focus on Indigenous design, they have a great biomimicry center here and very diverse class range so you could explore other interests as well. But it's just really, really hot, but it's "a dry heat". GSAPP was also great, very comprehensive sessions. It's also NY, and their lectures have been really well-structured and informational. 

  • Results 

In: ASU

Waiting on the rest

  • Tips

Start as early as possible. I know everyone says this, so I won't go over it too much. I would also recommend taking time away from a project, and coming back to it, even redoing the project completely just for the portfolio. We tend to get tunnel vision, I find that putting the laptop down, taking a break and coming back will help a lot with the creativity block. 

Many of us don't have an architectural background. So if you are showing your art projects, show your progress, even if it means you have to go back to make up some progress. Don't underestimate sketches that you have buried away, they show design prowess. Don't worry about making your portfolio look like an architecture portfolio, they would rather see your amazing underwater basket weaving as opposed to your mediocre CAD drawings. I didn't have a single CAD drawing in my portfolio. Yes I did some in undergrad, but they are faaar from my best work, so I won't include them.

For the essay, don't be too generic. Don't tell them how you were always meant to do architecture and you built with LEGOS since you were 7 and that somehow means you are meant to go to Yale. Be honest, but don't be too TMI. I honestly may have been a little too TMI about my mental illness in my essays. 

For those whose English is not their first language: have someone whose is proofread your essay(s), I would also be happy to read over them if you ever want to DM me. I believe those on the admissions board are understanding to some degree, but this isn't just about grammar. There might also be topics or just ways you structure sentences that seem off, pretentious, or inappropriate that can be avoided if you have someone who speaks English as a first language check your essay. 

This may seem like an unnecessary tip, but this isn't just a tip for grad school, this is just a tip for real life: DON'T BE A CREEP. I've been hit on during open house sessions and guess what? You get reported to the head of admissions, and your name is blacklisted. Don't make women (and people in general) uncomfortable, seriously can't believe I need to say this. This is grad school, we are grown ass adults. And don't make a Zoom call uncomfortable for everyone, we are here to get information for admissions, not to be stalked. 


Good luck! 

Jan 26, 21 5:39 pm  · 
2  · 

Block this user


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

  • ×Search in: