Undergraduate student help: LSU, ULL, or Tulane School of Architecture?


I am currently a home schooled junior from New Orleans interested in studying architecture. I want to stay in-state and I am interested in University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Louisiana State University, and Tulane University. 

I have toured both ULL & Tulane and have a tour of LSU scheduled for this summer. I found that Tulane has a more technical approach while ULL leans more toward artistic development . It seemed to me that all three have good programs and faculty so it is very hard for me to figure out which program is the best. 

Can anyone -  alumni of these schools would be awesome - share:

1) Their opinions and/or experiences of these schools, specifically related to the architecture program. 

2)  Which one will prepare me better to land a job?

3) I heard Tulane is urban studies heavy, will that help me if I plan to work as an architect within New Orleans? 

I am also interested - if you are alumni of these three universities - where you are today in the industry and if you think you would be in the same position had you attended a different school. 

Thanks so much! I am stoked to study architecture and want to make the best decision. 

Jun 7, 13 8:18 pm

I don't know much about the programs but if you want to see Tulane's program there's a TV show that was on the Sundance Channel called Architecture School that follows a studio in the Urban Build program.  I quickly searched YouTube and found the series (it's in multiple parts): there might be a better resolution somewhere else.  Good luck!     

Jun 8, 13 11:13 am

If you plan to settle in New Orleans, you will probably lean toward Tulane, all else being equal (which it never is).  I would imagine the major firms are still overwhelmingly dominated by TU alums.  Plus, just being in the city itself is going to be a plus in meeting and knowing the players.

Tulane is, however, very pricey.  How does that compare with the others?  You don't mention it, so maybe it's not a big consideration for you.

Can't comment on the program.  It's been way too many years since I attended.  :-(

Be sure to research thoroughly before deciding on architecture as a career.  Many posts on the subject.  Many problems with the profession, so don't go in blind.

Jun 8, 13 11:59 am

I'm actually a bit surprised you think Tulane has a technical approach. When you visit LSU you will see there is quite a bit of difference (unless LSU has shifted their program a bit). Tulane is definitely oriented in Urban Studies, which is needed. If you are wanting to stay and work in New Orleans, the alumni connections are the way to do so and as long as the economy is going well, it is very easy to get a job. Even in a tepid economy, my classmates who stayed (minus one or two) all found jobs fairly quickly. Even those of us who moved away had jobs within 6 months or so.

1) Tulane for me was the absolute right place. I learned so much, and I still keep in touch with some of my professors. The back and forth I had with a couple professors in particular (you can email me if you'd like, and I can give you more information) was nothing short of amazing. That said, this can happen at any school. Tulane, and the state of New Orleans after Katrina, was the right place for me to find my voice.

2) All of the schools prepare you in different ways. I've met great people from ULL and LSU. ULL most likely has the smaller alumni collection of the bunch, so it might be a little tougher, but if you show potential and skills the school you go to doesn't matter as much. There are plenty of alumni from all three schools in the New Orleans area.

3) Urban studies will help you no matter where you end up. I ended up in Chicago, and the study of cities in general is helpful in placing your designs within the context of a city.

As far as where I am and if I'd be at the same place if I went to a different school: Currently working for LBBA here in Chicago and working on obtaining my license. Oddly enough, had I went to a different school I'd still be here in Chicago because I made my choice between IIT and Tulane. I might have been able to take advantage of the vast alumni network for IIT here in Chicago had I gone there, but once I started looking here in the city I was employed in about a month. I'm helping organizes TSA's (Tulane School of Architecture) Alumni group in Chicago, which we are hoping starts to rival that of UIC, UIUC, and IIT as far as creating a pipeline into Chicago for new grads.

Jun 8, 13 2:55 pm
vado retro

bobby jingle has decimated the louisiana public university system during his reign of terror. budgets are at 1950's level. i would look at louisiana tech which has a strong program and is funded by some wealthy individuals. of course, you'd be in ruston which is a bit of a snooze.

Jun 8, 13 4:28 pm

Disclaimer - these are generalizations only, based upon living in the area for a while and meeting/working with many grads of all the schools:

LSU - Pros - great alumni network throughout state, seen typically as most "technical" of all the schools in state, #1 landscape architecture program in country if that's also an interest of yours, far cheaper than Tulane.   Cons - not as many alumns in NOLA as Tulane, usually seen as "practical" instead of exciting for design philosophies

ULL - Pros - most design oriented of the state public schools, smaller school than LSU so possibly more focused attention, reputation as a "fun" school to attend, far cheaper than Tulane.  Cons - much fewer alumns within NOLA than either LSU or Tulane, Lafayette not the most exciting city to live in

Tulane - Pros - emerging regional reputation, more emphasis on design than LSU, wonderful network of alumns within NOLA and around rest of country (but not much around rest of state), current professors and Dean seem to be better than any in memory.  Cons - easily the most expensive option within LA, even with typical financial aid - and most Louisiana residents have a difficult time chasing scholarships at TU as they really prefer out of state students to local residents. 

Given the current economy and the state of intern saleries, I would have a real difficult time advising any prospective arch student to take on debt for school - if $$ not a concern, Tulane is a great choice for a future NOLA resident.  If $$ is a determining factor, I suggest a hard look at ULL and LSU.



Jun 9, 13 5:54 pm

Thanks for your input! Its great to hear some opinions of these schools. 

Jun 21, 13 8:06 pm

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