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SCI-Arc vs. Princeton

nNnNnNnNn

Has anyone been admitted into either of these schools? Which program do you think is better or more worth attending in the long run? 

Even though Princeton is more prestigious than SCI-Arc, is it a better school?

- Princeton Grads vs. SCI-Arc grads reputation?? 

 
Mar 7, 21 10:09 pm
natematt

If their is a substantial monetary difference... the cheaper one will make getting out of debt much easier, which is my vote. 

Mar 7, 21 10:25 pm  · 
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nNnNnNnNn

I got a full tuition scholarship to SCI-Arc and 90% of tuition at Princeton - so financially they are about the same!

Mar 8, 21 11:33 am  · 
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natematt

I'd echo everyone else and say Princeton then.

I'm not nearly as impressed as a few people below by the name itself, but generally it does actually have better name recognition. Though I do think most people know sci-arch in the US.

If you really prefer the work you see coming out of one school over another, just go to the one you want, in the long run, it may have impact on your choices, but if not it probably won't be a big thing one way or another with your pay scale. 

SA is very production heavy yes, but it's also not exactly "practical" So if you're looking for the best place to learn how to go work in a firm, idk if you're really getting an advantage with one or the other. 

Mar 8, 21 12:46 pm  · 
4  · 
thisisnotmyname

Princeton without question.  Ivy league credentials have amazing sway over people in the USA.

Mar 8, 21 11:00 am  · 
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nNnNnNnNn

what do you think about the fact that Princeton is mostly theory and SCI-Arc is more about production?

Mar 8, 21 11:33 am  · 
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thisisnotmyname

It does not change my position. For many, what you did in the university classroom and studio becomes somewhat unimportant after a few years of practice. The Ivy name on your resume and the connections you made are much more lasting.  The Princeton alumni network could be an amazing resource to meet successful people in business and the arts.

Mar 8, 21 12:20 pm  · 
2  · 
nNnNnNnNn

I see what you're saying, the way I look at it, school is the perfect time to learn all sorts of skills and practice them, while building a network!

Mar 9, 21 10:54 am  · 
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natematt

To be fair. I think you will impress non-architecture people with a degree from Princeton. I don't think architects are nearly as wowed by Princeton as is being suggested here.

Apr 1, 21 12:55 pm  · 
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sameolddoctor

If you are spending so much money, obviously Princeton. Sci-Arc is very isolated in its setting, and lots of firms on the east coast do not even know about it...

Mar 8, 21 11:33 am  · 
1  · 
nNnNnNnNn

Both schools are basically offering free tuition! I'm surprised firms in the east coast don't know of SCI-Arc.. I thought it was pretty world renowned...

Mar 8, 21 11:53 am  · 
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SlammingMiruvor

Would you rather work in LA/CA or NYC after graduation? Both schools are prestigious enough where you would have your pick, but I'd imagine there are some regional bias that still exist, especially in NYC. 

Mar 8, 21 11:36 am  · 
1  · 
nNnNnNnNn

I am not sure where I'd want to go after... It's hard to predict the future. I would like to have as many doors open for me and to gain exposure to different disciplines within the field during my time at the school. I worry that due to the radical nature of SCI-Arc, the reputation of the grad students is not ideal in the field. They are often seen as art school graduates, which isn't a bad thing... but something to think about

Mar 8, 21 12:09 pm  · 
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SlammingMiruvor

It's really hard, especially if you're wrapping up high school. I personally went to a smaller school with a strong reputation regionally, but otherwise unheard of. It turned out to be inconsequential and I no longer live in New England. I think with Ivy Leagues though you're operating on a different tier, and that respect transfers nationally. On top of that, I feel like Sci-Arc is inherently technology focused, and limited in that fashion. I think I'm saying what a lot of others are, that Princeton should be the choice.

Mar 8, 21 1:08 pm  · 
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nNnNnNnNn

I should have mentioned this earlier, but the programs I've been admitted into are M.Arch! I see what you are saying about SCI-Arc being limited as they are tech focused, but I feel the same can be said about Princeton [theory focus]. The question what will be more helpful in the long run, learning theory and writing essays or experimenting with different designs and design technologies?

Mar 9, 21 10:56 am  · 
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square.

these are just broad generalizations and stereotypes, and not very useful ones. though i'm biased, i live and work in nyc and know many graduates from princeton that work in traditional arch firms, "avant-garde" ones, structural engineer offices, and many other experiences that defy the "theory" bias you're assuming.

of course there are some who are writing and theorizing, whatever that means, but many more are doing regular work in architectural offices.

Mar 9, 21 10:59 am  · 
1  · 
Jay1122

How is that even a question. Of course Princeton wins when money is the same. Does not matter where you are, USA or Oversea. What you learn in those schools likely wont matter much in practice. You learn most skills in actual Practice. Although it is much better to have solid theory foundation, in case later in the career you have the actual opportunity to design $100M project without much restrictions from clients. But for most people, not likely to have that opportunity.

If you tell me you went to Princeton. Me: Respect.

If you tell me you went to Sci-Arc. Me: How is the Mars project going. When are you moving there?


Mar 8, 21 11:50 am  · 
6  · 
dsh_

I think it would be incredible to work on a mars project ;) It's just a matter of specific interests...

Mar 8, 21 12:59 pm  · 
1  · 
square.

like i said, niche.

Mar 8, 21 2:13 pm  · 
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Jay112 - going to Princeton will not give you the opportunity to design $100 million projects. Being a good architect and going to Princeton will help you do that.

Then again I went to North Dakota State University and am designing a $100 million project.  I omitted your 'without restrictions from clients' as that never actually happens.  

Mar 8, 21 2:38 pm  · 
1  · 
square.

agreed chad- but the choice is between these two schools, and in some ways princeton is the lesser of two evils. i'm trying to be polite about the other one that operates, most definitely, on another planet.

Mar 8, 21 2:43 pm  · 
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Good point.

Mar 8, 21 3:37 pm  · 
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Jay1122

Chad, not sure how did you link Princeton with doing $100M projects from my comment. I am talking about design theory foundation. It is a discussion about whether the design skill and design philosophy you learn in school will end up being useful in practice. You could easily "design(arrange program boxes)" $100M building working for big corporates, some big developments are $1B. The thing is, most of them are just simple utility boxes in big footages. I am talking about creative & expensive projects with a large degree of freedom and custom works. Like those starchitect's projects. Not so many of those clients, but they do exist. Believe it or not, I have actually experienced architects that can't do creative beautiful projects. Done too many small boring projects, the creative juice is all gone. But that is the story for another time.

Mar 8, 21 4:32 pm  · 
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Sorry, I miss read your post. I thought you where saying that going to Princeton allowed you to get to design $100 million dollar projects. I now see that you're saying going to Princeton provides you with the architectural theory to design $100 million project.

Mar 8, 21 5:49 pm  · 
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I still disagree with your statement Jay1122.

Also most $100 million projects are still big design projects for most architects, myself included.  

Mar 8, 21 5:57 pm  · 
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nNnNnNnNn

Thanks for all the feedback!! This is super, super helpful. The way I see it, I am personally very excited to do my thesis and I wonder which school would provide me with the most resources and skills to make the 'best' thesis. I worry that Princeton is too deep in theory and SCI-Arc is too deep in tech. I worry if I go ahead with Princeton, I won't have much skills in practice. I can see how Princeton's network will be beneficial in the long run but to be honest, SCI-Arc's also. Ideally post masters, I'd open my own multidisciplinary practice and perhaps teach afterwards. I personally am not interested in "working" in architecture, more in academia/curation/sculpture/arts.

Mar 9, 21 11:00 am  · 
1  · 
square.

see my post above- i think this probably boils down to an east cost west coast thing. there is a huge network for princeton grads on the east coast, but not for sci-arc. and vice-versa.

Mar 9, 21 11:32 am  · 
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Jay1122

Oh no, Op wants to work in "academia/curation/sculpture/arts", not traditional practice. It is all about networking and opportunities for those niche fields. I don't even know where to find jobs for those fields. Academic is very competitive and requires tremendous solid work to back up the credential. The name of the school matters even more. What program skills you learn won't matter much. I am sure you can learn any programs required for work easily with your high intelligence. You can do thesis any where. Even within the same school, which thesis advisor you got also influences your work. It is your effort that matters. So, still Princeton.

Mar 9, 21 12:44 pm  · 
1  · 
square.

princeton is the easy choice.

sci-arc is a niche school who's experience will become less relevant the more years you are removed.

Mar 8, 21 12:49 pm  · 
1  · 
nNnNnNnNn

Wouldn't you say the same about Princeton?

Mar 9, 21 11:01 am  · 
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dsh_

As an international student (living far away from the states), I have to disagree with the prestige of the Ivy league. There is no doubt that they are prestigious worldwide (but mostly in the states)- but in the field of architecture, to my experience SCI-Arc is much more avant-garde and leading in the field.

I wouldn’t base my decision on whether or not the school is more prestigious in a certain location. Both are excellent choices, you can’t go wrong. I think it depends on your interests. What is your niche in the field? Where will you make more interesting connections? Where do student projects interest you more? What location might offer more relevant opportunities for you? Where do graduates work? - that might give you an idea of job opportunities later on. Basically just figure out which uni will better advance you in your specific interests.

Congratulations on your acceptances! Best of luck.

Mar 8, 21 12:57 pm  · 
1  · 
Jay1122

I heard many Sci-Arc graduates end up in film industry with their Maya/Zbrush or whatever animation software they use. Making those Mars scenes for fiction. Also, just because you have a niche interest does not mean you will end up in that niche market. I took an architectural robotics studio, gets to design and fabricate my own kinetic architecture prototypes and program my Arduino micro computer to control them based on sensors like temperature, etc. Is it fun? Sure, did it help me in my actual job practicing architecture? Hell no. Probably would've been better to stick with typical studio and hone the Portfolio and graphic skills some more. Don't let the short term creative fun ruins your long term goal. Especially in this cut throat competitive field.

Mar 8, 21 4:53 pm  · 
1  · 
nNnNnNnNn

Hey Jay1122, did you go to SCI-Arc? I do see SCI-Arc as the 'funner' option. Also not to mention, SCI-Arc is in LA and Princeton is in a small town in Jersey..

Mar 9, 21 11:02 am  · 
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nNnNnNnNn

I am interested in learning Zbrush and Maya - just for the skill set component but during my undergrad barley touched rendering tools. Mostly CAD, Rhino, collaging and Adobe work.. most projects were more concept focused. I am looking to expand my skill set as well.

Mar 9, 21 11:04 am  · 
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kidomega

Is this for MArch I? What was your undergraduate degree prior? Since you're pursuing a (first) professional degree, it would be more advisable that you get into one that provides you with that equal balance of traditional/practice-standard approaches while being able to hone critical thinking and a profound general sense of the field. Not saying that SCI-Arc can't but you mentioned it yourself in the comments that SCI-Arc is a "niche" school which is not far from the truth. (You could probably do an M.Arch 2 or a post-professional program there, and given you'll have a stellar portfolio and academic credentials from Princeton, there's guarantee that you can still get full tuition when you apply.) 

But applying to SCI-Arc also implies that you're interested (or eventually) in getting into computation/fabrication/robotics, which Princeton also has the faculty and facilities that rival it (Embodied Computation Lab, Stefana Parascho who has taught/done research with ETH Zurich and ITECH). You can get more, especially with that nearly-full tuition, out of your architecture education if you're in a school that can provide you more/beyond it. Princeton is also a very selective school to get into. Probably the most selective given their small class size compared to the other prestigious private schools. They only admit a limited number of students (probably a single class size of 50-ish students a year), and most of them automatically receive 90-95% tuition especially for top admits. Frankly, the (oversold) prestige, for the most part, of any US school only remains in the US (including the network) as dsh_ pointed out. Eventually, you'll probably have inclinations of pursuing academe besides practice and as many here say, "it's good on paper and for the connections" (which I find is the most common description/advantage of coming from an ivy league especially if you're ), which truthfully is an advantage/benefit/consolation if you choose Princeton. 

Congratulations and good luck! 

Mar 9, 21 5:05 am  · 
2  · 
randomised

If you like surfing I'd go for SCI-Arc...

Mar 9, 21 5:30 am  · 
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anekke

Hi, 

I have similar questions regarding sci-arc. I just got in on full tuition as well so it is great to hear about your acceptance as well. I wonder how many others were accepted on full-ride. This was for b.arch by the way. 


I applied to around 14 schools and am still waiting on Cornell, USC, Syracuse, RICE, RISD, etc.  (I had free applications due to my area has free and reduced lunch for all students) 


But so far Sci-arc is the cheapest, I didn't apply to Princeton and now I am slapping myself for that but congrats to you! 

Mar 9, 21 11:58 am  · 
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sameolddoctor

If they are offering you a full ride, go for it. Keep in mind that housing isnt cheap in LA though.

But yes, the price is right. Get your undergrad with zero debt. 

Congrats!

Mar 9, 21 12:55 pm  · 
2  · 
Jay1122

Don't slap yourself so fast yet. Princeton undergraduate arch is not accredited. You can check NAAB list. Honestly, their Arch department is not that strong. It is just that school being prestige and selective. If you get in, usually you get full ride. King of B.Arch is Cornell. I would choose lowest price with biggest name school. As long as it is NAAB accredited, what you learn won't be that far away since their curriculum has been reviewed and approved. 

Mar 9, 21 12:58 pm  · 
2  · 
adesignerdesigner

sci arc undergrad is AMAZING. I wish I would have gone there. Their b.arch program is the strongest in comparison to their m.arch I & II. Their top students usually get into harvard gsd for their masters as well

Apr 2, 21 2:02 pm  · 
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jiaxinzhao1

Emm, I am not sure whether you already decided  or not, but I think I will throw my 2 cents here. 

I currently am studying at Sci-Arc in the graduate program. I do agree you can get quite exposure on different software and hardware, such as maya, catia, vr, ar, robotic arm and so on. However, I think Sci-Arc is kind of limited to its own style, and since this school is only about architecture, it is hard for students get inspired from other fields. 

As much as I like my school, I would vote for Princeton. Just like everyone said above, Princeton also has faculty doing some avant-grade stuff. And you can get a lot of benefits under that IVY name. As for the software, you can learn it by yourself. I can see even in Sci-Arc, faculty did to really train your skills on software, you have to learn them by yourself. As for future jobs, I have not graduate, so I cannot say much. But I do hear quite a lot Sci-Arc students went to other field.  

And I want to congrats you get accepted by Sci-Arc and Princeton. No matter which school you choose, have fun and work hard. :)

Apr 1, 21 12:39 am  · 
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adesignerdesigner

Hello! Are you in m arch I or m arch II?

Apr 2, 21 1:59 pm  · 
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jiaxinzhao1

I am in March I, but I have also taken classes with March II.

Apr 2, 21 10:07 pm  · 
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m.s.a

Sci-Arc!


Apr 1, 21 10:04 pm  · 
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sameolddoctor
If your aim is to go for leadership type positions in your career, Princeton will get u there sooner. If you’re into modeling cool shit, Sci Arc. Unfortunately sci arc is no longer about “making”, which is unfortunate.
Apr 2, 21 10:53 pm  · 
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itiswhatitis

could you elaborate on how sci arc is no longer about "making"? It is one of my choices for grad school and I'm curious

Apr 3, 21 7:57 pm  · 
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