The old song and dance... is the GSD worth it?


I currently have a full ride offer from UCLA, with guarantees to work in the Urban Humanities Initiative and at cityLAB, which I am really interested in. I also have an offer from Harvard, which, if I take the current financial aid package, means I'll be taking anywhere from 40-50K a year. Additionally, my goal is to add a dual degree in city planning at either program. I do understand that the GSD's educational offerings in terms of a critically & theoretically enriching architectural education are incredible and something I really appreciate (I have a background in history, literary theory, and environmental studies from Berkeley, so I am very much a champion of a critical education.) And so anyways, I'd like to hear the thoughts of people here on whether they think the GSD is really worth it. A big part of me wants to throw caution to the wind and embrace the GSD education with the GSD cost. Thoughts?

Apr 9, 21 2:10 pm

I currently have a full ride offer from UCLA.

end of story.

Apr 9, 21 2:27 pm  · 
6  · 
Non Sequitur

A wise anonymous wanker here once said "take the cheapest option".  

Apr 9, 21 2:28 pm  · 
6  · 

People usually come into these sorts of threads and are like ... i got $$$ at GSD, and $$$$ at X cheaper school.... what should I do? .... I respect that the OP actually was clear about what they were getting and what it would mean.

It sounds like 150k vs 0k.... UCLA  is a reasonably well regarded school... seems like a no brainer. 

Apr 10, 21 2:50 am  · 
8  · 

Yup, and its not just $150K. The interest on top of that 150k will not be a small amount.

Apr 10, 21 12:22 pm  · 
4  · 

Oh of course. and who knows if the OP is accounting for housing. I think people fail to realize the scaling of school debt. 25k is going to be more of a pain than they think. 50k is a real lifestyle impact. 100k is going to hurt... and 150k..... a lot of people will literally never pay that back.

I know a lot of people here think 0k debt is the only number worth it for a degree in architecture... I still think the adage of "don't take out more than you can make your first year out of school" is a pretty fair stance... but as someone who fit into that category ... it manageable, but not fun.

Apr 10, 21 9:35 pm  · 

Consider the fact that a number of GSD faculty didn't even go to the GSD - heck, some graduated from UCLA when it was run by Sylvia Lavin.

Apr 9, 21 4:02 pm  · 

UCLA is a great school. GSD is also great if you can afford it- if not the debt you will be getting yourself into will only hinder your options in the future.

Apr 10, 21 2:39 pm  · 
5  · 
atelier nobody

There is no architecture degree worth going into that much debt for.

Apr 10, 21 8:08 pm  · 
8  · 

UCLA wins.

Apr 11, 21 1:24 am  · 

I'm a big fan of both schools. The full-ride at UCLA is the best choice. Student loans are a serious challenge and so if you can go without dealing with them while attending a top program like UCLA...I highly recommend. Who knows, perhaps you can then apply to the GSD and get a full-ride later. The UCLA degree would help in that.

Apr 12, 21 12:41 am  · 
1  · 

This is so true. Take the free ride UCLA now and try for a free ride PhD at Harvard later.

Apr 12, 21 6:49 pm  · 
1  · 

Do you want to work in Academia? If so go for GSD and assume a life of self imposed poverty (for a while)  If you want to work in the non for profit sector or in for profit firms do what you can afford.

Over and OUT

Peter N

Apr 12, 21 6:41 pm  · 

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