Finding schools for B.Arch


Hi I'm an aspiring architect and I graduated high school in 2012. I was admitted to Pratt and Georgia Tech but couldn't attend due to medical reasons and of course, economic reasons. 

I really wanted to go to Pratt since New York was always the city I was aiming for but I can't and now I have to look for schools again. Since graduation I haven't had any experience in the field so I'm just applying as a highschool graduate. Im more interested in studio-based architecture programs. But I believe that debt isn't really worth it. I've looked at BAC, Wentworth, and Community Colleges. BAC I'm dubious because it is a 7 year program and Wentworth a 4. I'm looking for a 5 year BArch course and not planning for a masters afterwards. So my question is do you have any suggestions on which economically reasonable and rigorous schools to attend? Also, what's your take on CCs? Is it worth taking 2 years there and transferring? because I know the difficulty when transferring to an undergrad and my credits may not be accepted. Also, I'm looking for good reputable colleges, my high school gpa is 3.8


Thank you so much, any response would be helpful!

Sep 7, 13 11:45 am

umass Amherst or mass art or RISD is really good in the Boston Area

Sep 7, 13 5:50 pm

Georgia Tech does not offer a 5 year B.Arch.  They are 4+2.  As for UMass, they are also 4 + 2.  In fact, finding the "4" in their website didn't reveal one.  I think they primarily offer graduate instruction in architecture.

Are you an Easterner?

There are B.Archs. at Virginia Tech, Penn State, Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, NCSU, Tulane, and Auburn, to name a few.  I know very little about NYC area B.Archs.

It's amazing just how many schools now follow the 4+2 model, and my opinions of it are mixed (pros and cons)

Sep 7, 13 7:35 pm

observant>> I prefer to be in the east coast but still taking Western schools as options. I need schools that are reasonably priced /:  also, do you think 4+2 program is better than 5?

Thank you so much for the response btw

Sep 9, 13 8:47 am

Oh and how about CCs?

Sep 9, 13 9:01 am

Argh on the reasonably priced part, because they're either private or you'll get slapped with out of state fees.

Some well-known 5 year choices in the West:

USC-Los Angeles (private, very), Cal Poly SLO, Univ. Oregon, Wash. State Univ. and U. Ariz.

Some well-known 5 year choices in the Midwest:

Oklahoma State, Iowa State, and Kansas State

I can't say with certainty if 5 or 4+2 is better.  It all depends on how you can make it pencil - what the cost of the whole endeavor turns out to be.

The good thing about 5 is that you spend 5 years in school and I have seen some tight bonds form in these programs where people forge long-term friendships, if they're sociable and they value that.

The good thing about 4+2 is that you can sample two schools and get a broader education, and I think a more skill-based 4 followed by a well-known and more visible 2 is a great combination.  On the flip side, if you +2 at a school, the experience may be more fleeting because you don't spend as much time with the people you meet and at that school.

Personally,  I would pick 4+2 of these 2 options, but that's just me.  I'd want to go to 2 different schools and see different things.

As for community colleges, it seems that every major urban area has 1 or 2 community colleges that have good and viable articulation agreements into architecture programs.  The thing is that the ties are more aligned with certain colleges since there's a history of transferring to a select few schools, that if you came up with a completely different B.Arch. school somewhere else, the transition might not be as smooth.  The other thing is that, in architecture, community colleges are for the most disciplined people who won't get distracted by the fact that the students who sat around them may not be there 11 weeks later.  Some people need a more competitive environment to be at their best.

Sep 9, 13 10:15 pm

Hi Ellez3,

I think community college is a good option. I went to Miami Dade College and then transferred to NCSU. I think the key to CC is to make sure they are accredited and you really need to do well. Make sure you have a great portfolio when its time to transfer. You should browse the galleries of the Universities you would like to go to and other's online portfolios to get a sense of the competition out there. 

This was back in the 90s but I recall looking at BAC as well. I seem to remember that you earn work experience along with your studies. If that's still the case and hence, the 7 yrs, then I would seriously consider it. I think job prospects aren't great these days but if you can graduate w/work experience and IDP under your belt, then you will be in a great place. 

I have to say NCSU was so great! I loved it there and wish I could go back. My Professors were inspiring and now that I'm taking the ARE, I feel the program was well balanced between theory and practice. I would say it was a studio based program and we had great facilities. I sometimes go to the Arch library at UofMiami and NCSU is so much better and about 1/3 the price! I'm not sure if its still true today but NCSU offered 4+2 as well as 5 yr, and you have until 4th year to decide if you want to go for the B.Arch or M.Arch. I wanted to stay for 5th yr but wasn't able to for personal reasons. I later transferred to FAU for my 5th yr which was solely a practical decision as it was close to where I live and work.

Lastly, I've always thought of the Master's as only necessary if you plan to work in Academia. I mean its great on paper but probably not worth it if it means going in to debt...

Good luck!

Sep 10, 13 9:17 am

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