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Advice for Applying to M Arch I Programs

cwestpvb

Hi everyone.

I am going into my final year as a Civil Engineering major at UF and planning on jumping into M Arch applications this fall. I have gone through many threads trying to gather as much information as possible, but would love some insight based on my individual experiences.

For context:

Civil Engineering Major with a Certificate in Engineering Project Management, GPA around a 3.2 (should go up now that I am not longer doing engineering classes entirely online due to the pandemic), internship experience with major engineering firm, Disney, and residential construction/design.

I feel like I am on the wrong path with CE. My parents heavily influenced my undergrad program decisions, and while I find what I am learning to be very practical for where I see myself long term I struggle with the lack of creativity I can express.

I am mostly concerned about the portfolio aspect of the application. To an extent, I feel like my creativity has been somewhat suppressed in my engineering classes. I tend to express creativity through photography, but worry that would not be enough. My only real project based experience is through a competition through Walt Disney Imagineering, but I was not the sole contributor despite how high we placed. My plan was to create a portfolio of my photos that explore color, form, texture, materials, and then include the competition project at the end. Would that be good enough? 

I also find it hard to gauge where I would stand with admissions. I am currently looking into programs at UF (probably a CityLab Program), Clemson, Pratt, Berkeley, IIT, UT Austin, and USC. Part of me wants to go for programs like Columbia, Harvard, or Princeton, but I do not know if I would be considered competitive enough. I think branching out of Florida would be ideal, and the idea of being in a big city seems challenging, yet inspiring for a degree program centered around creative problem solving.

I know this was a lot, but I would appreciate any advice towards the portfolio, admissions, and programs. Thanks!

 
Jul 9, 21 11:56 am
Jay1122

Why would anyone not want to be an engineer after they are done with the degree? I have to beg the consultants with multiple follow up emails for the drawings and submittals. They seem to be doing not much work yet making big bucks. And you always have to babysit and coordinate things for them. I am pretty sure architecture is not the profession for "creativity". Well architecture school is though, so you can have some fun there.

Anyway, back to your topic. You can include drawings in your portfolio. Even if it is from engineering class projects or firms. hand sketch or drafted.

Jul 9, 21 1:19 pm  · 
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cwestpvb

The grass is not always greener on the other side (but I am sure that can also be said about Architecture) lol. I don't feel passionate about where my Civil degree will take me to. Thank you for your input and answer to my question, I appreciate it!

Jul 11, 21 6:49 pm  · 
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ham17

If I were you I would take a summer design studio to make sure architecture is for you. Having a civil engineering degree and experience puts you in a great position for consulting + working with architects on a regular basis while making good money. I know GSD, Berkeley, and Columbia have good summer programs that are looking for people just like you to admit (I'm sure there are programs in Flordia that are similar but it gives you a leg up if you can get your portfolio looked at by faculty at top programs). 

For reference, my boss studied premed in college because his parents forced him to. One of his professors recommended he check out GSD's summer program and he ended up loving it. The next year he got into Yale's March program and he's never really looked back. 

You're in a good position, just dip your toe in first before you jump all the way in. 

Jul 11, 21 8:18 pm  · 
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cwestpvb

I'll have to look into those! Really appreciate it!

Jul 19, 21 10:13 am  · 
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RJ87

Unless you're really interested in URP or just a big fan of Orlando I wouldn't do City Lab over the main campus. I also hate Orlando so that could be part of it. Might as well be on a college campus if you're going to be at a big state school though.

Jul 12, 21 4:41 pm  · 
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cwestpvb

I see what you're saying. Just not too sure I want to stay in Gainesville for an additional 3 years, I think I'd rather have some sort of change in environment. I've done multiple internships in Orlando at this point and don't hate it, but I definitely need to try to look at the City Lab itself to gauge things a bit more.

Jul 19, 21 10:15 am  · 
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baboo.fei

About the more “prestigious” schools:


You are right about a 3.2 from UF is close to non-starter territory. Won’t hurt to try, though - you will never know if you do. Work hard on those essays/recs/portfolio and shoot your shot.

Jul 21, 21 11:43 pm  · 
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cwestpvb

Thanks! Definitely the plan, and hopefully admissions committees may recognize the rigor of my program lol

Jul 24, 21 1:47 pm  · 
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