M.arch program Sam Fox v.s. Taubman v.s. GSAPP v.s. Parsons

I applied for 3 years M.arch program in the U.S.. Now I got offers from Sam Fox Washington University in St. Louis, Taubman Michigan University Ann Arbor, GSAPP Columbia University, and Parsons. It is really hard to make a decision out of these four schools. I really want advice on what school/program is the most valued/worthy to go regardless of the cost. I do not care about tuition and spending, I do want to go to a great program for a 3-year experience. Some perspectives that I care are as following: I am more interested in architecture practicing and having my own firm more than doing research and teaching. Secondly, I want to have some great study abroad experience within the program to expand my horizon. Third, I want to know nowadays, when recruiters look at architects' application, does the name of their graduated school weigh more than their portfolio/works? Fourth, does anyone know how well is each program's Alumni's network in both national and international base? Fifth, the offer I got from Parsons is dual degree in M.arch and MFA in lighting design. I was drawn to the uniqueness of lighting design program but I know it is a very new program. Could anyone give me more info about its lighting design program and it's significance in architecture study/design? Last, I admire Zaha Hadid but her style or the styles similar to hers are not what I am interested, I am more drawn to Scandinavian/Japanese/Canadian architecture style. I concern more about simplicity, functions, elegancy, and human-oriented concepts. I appreciate all your patience and help!!! It is super tough for me to lean more to a particular program out of these four. Thank you very much!! Sincerely, Yi

Mar 21, 13 1:13 pm

definitely GSAPP.

and I am very curious that why every M.Arch 1 applicants who choose Parsons applied for the dual-degree with MFA. BTW, I also like the Japanese style.

Mar 22, 13 2:56 am

^kaiho, can you elaborate?

Mar 22, 13 5:08 pm

Gsapp has the most recognizable reputation, both internationally and in the U.S.  Think about where you will practice.  Alumni network of GSAPP is probably wider.  Even though Mich has been gaining a stellar reputation, it is still not as well known outside the U.S.  I think you can engage in your specific design agenda at Columbia too.  Granted, portfolio speaks a lot, getting in the door via school name and network connections is the first step.  

Mar 22, 13 8:47 pm

Elan, yes it is very true about GSAPP's international reputation. However, I am now visiting Mich and I met several current Mich M.arch students who rejected Columbia and came to Mich and they love Mich very much! I am also very impressed by Mich's Facilities today!!!They probably get the best facilities in the U.S.. The machines are amazing... Anyway, I wonder how is GSAPP's study abroad program. I am really interested in abroad opportunities.

Mar 22, 13 11:05 pm

Kaiho, I am drawn to the dual degree program because I think it will be a good combination of architecture and lighting design. I also heard that the job scenario for Lighting design students in Parsons is relatively good. I did an internship in Tokyo last summer and felt in love with Japanese architecture since then!!

Mar 22, 13 11:16 pm

If you plan to work in the US at some time in your career or there is alumni abroad:  Michigan, Columbia, WU-StL, Parsons

If you want the NY experience and the Ivy legacy and connections:  Columbia, Michigan, WU-StL, Parsons

Mar 24, 13 1:10 am

I chose UMich over Columbia, penn and WashU.. After two years of three, I definitely feel I made the right choice. The study abroad programs are great and offer a huge variety of places to choose from. last summer i worked in Beijing and Tokyo. I was tempted to choose Columbia because of the name but I've found that if you work hard at any school you'll have great opportunities. Overall I would say that the professors at Michigan are very dedicated to their students and many have just as good connections as you'll find at any school. Also, when I was deciding on schools I had a Columbia professor tell me I should go to Michigan.

Mar 30, 13 11:48 pm

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