help help help!!!!!


I am a junior in high school right now and it is time for me to start thinking about colleges and what I want to major in. I really like architecture and the idea of planning the construction of a building really interests me. In school I excel in math and science. I have really liked history. I have never been a great artist even though I did want to be an artist when I was younger. I would really like to major in architecture in college but I don't know if I would be good at it. I have searched the web trying to find answers  but I thought this might to it. do you have to be good at drawing to be a good architect? when should I start making my portfolio? what has to be in it? can I double major? how will I know if this is really for me? what can I start doing now to ensure that I wont be a total failure at architecture? anything else you think might help me I would be more that happy to hear from you! please help me I am stressing out at the moment. becoming an architect would be a dream come true because it has been a fantasy of mine for some time now.

Sep 12, 13 8:22 pm

some of us around these parts are old and bitter.  just a head's up.

i'll answer my perspective on the drawing part.  you have to be able to translate an idea in your head onto some sort of medium to communicate it to others.  there are all sorts of tools that might be able to help you with this, but the ability to communicate is very important.  if you have a great design in your head, but can't draw it in such a way as to let others know what's in your head, it won't do you any good.

Sep 12, 13 10:18 pm

Hey this will really help you. Google life of an architect. He will clear many things up for you about architecture. However, I think that he has a very optimistic view for architecture, and that might not be true for everyone. Why don't you call up an architecture program at a university near you for a tour? And see if you can also shadow an architect in your area? Make sure that you try to get tour and shadow a few different types because I don't want you to have wrong perception based on one program or architect. I am a student, so I do not know so much about the industry. However, in terms in schooling, you would really need to love architecture to make it. It's not an easy major, you really need To put your time in. But Working hard in architecture school is not bad at all, you'll have a lot of fun just being in studio with your classmates. There is someone that is very active on this site that gives really great advise, his name is observant. Hope he'll say something to you. Lol good luck. 

Sep 15, 13 4:49 am

A portfolio for B.Arch programs (the undergraduate professional degree) would usually consist mostly of art work rather than architecture, since that is a field which you generally have more access to before college and they mostly are looking for evidence of your creativity. Another option would be to go to a college that just has a non-professional architecture major (BA or BS) which might not require a portfolio, and try architecture classes to see if they are the right fit for you while also getting more of a general liberal arts education. You would then have to get a professional masters degree afterwards.

You could also do a high school summer program - I did the one at Cornell after my junior year and that really helped me decide and build more of a portfolio. If you are interested in history and you think that you might be interested in history/theory within architecture, make sure that you go to a school where those aspects of the field are supported - some of them just want to teach you how buildings are built without encouraging you to think critically and conceptually about your work.

I think that you should be able to draw or engage in some other kind of 2D visual expression, but that is a skill that can be learned - try taking a continuing education art class at a local art school or university. High school art classes, if that is all that you have had, were generally a joke in my experience and they won't really show you your range of artistic abilities.

Sep 15, 13 8:32 am
If its a dream of yours you will probably be fine. Drawing is important, but just being careful and working hard will set you apart from your classmates anyway. Drawing is something that can (sorta) be learned with lots of practice. Drawing is just one component of what architects do.

If you can double major depends on the university you go to. It will make your undergraduate time be longer.

Start now taking art and design classes to build a portfolio. The suggestion to go to a summer program like Cornell is a good one. Also look at portfolios of people on here to get some ideas.
Sep 15, 13 9:12 am

If you excel at science and math, look at structural engineering as well.  Really cool field.

You say that you are interested in planning the construction of buildings - construction management might be the thing for you.

I have always thought that the best undergrad education for someone wanting to do architecture- or at least the best preparation for grad school- would be an engineering major with an art minor.  Do that well, and grad schools would be drooling over you.

Sep 15, 13 11:15 am

^I'm not sure I agree with your last statement. What exactly makes an engineering major an enticing candidate? It seems really overkill for someone who wants to be an architect, and in the end I think the "art" part of that would be more enticing to a school than the engineering part.


Sep 15, 13 2:07 pm

Like yourself I was really good at math and science in school but unlike you I loved art, loved to draw, and that's why I chose architecture. Now to answer a few of your questions from my perspective. 

By the way, I have Dual Master's degrees in Architecture and Business administration. In my opinion drawing is very important. It's a dying animal as far as the industry is concerned but I think it is still an essential skill to become an architect. Grab a writing utensil and just start sketching all day and make yourself good enough for now, then keep practicing some more.

Can you double major? If you are a genius and want to spend every single waking hour for the next 5-6 years on school work then yes you can double major. If you aren't already, you will HAVE to learn how to manage time or you will not make it very far.

When will you know if architecture is right for you? When you've been up for 30 hours working on a project and you still love what you're doing and keep coming back for more.

If it's what you have always wanted to do, then you have to give it a shot, but If doubts start creeping in, I would say get out before you get to deep. You have to have a passion for everything that comes with the field because it will work you like you have never been before. If you are both a creative and technical person you are on the right track.

I hope I was helpful in that answer. I didn't want to sugarcoat any part of my answer. It's hard work but if you love it then you'll deal with it and feel great coming out the other end. It's not for everyone but you will learn a lot!

Sep 15, 13 4:02 pm

^In my experience double majoring tends to be less time consuming than architecture alone, because it spreads out your architecture classes with less time consuming non-arch classes. You will have an extra year or two of these classes, but still, the work load doesn't seem to be heavier... ? (My experience is limited to three dual major roommates and about four friends, so maybe that is not the typical case?)

Sep 15, 13 4:49 pm


Undergrad level engineering is "overkill" for architecture?

The better one understands how things work, the more likely it is that one will design meaningful things...

or you can just get yourself some bullshit data set and grasshopper that fucker up-- architecture!

Sep 16, 13 1:31 am

The better one understands how things work, the more likely it is that one will design meaningful things...

100% agree; however, I don't think that the thing to focus on understanding is engineering. I mean, we already have engineering classes in arch school anyway and they tend to just float off on their own loosely connected to the rest of the education. Architecture school requires but does not promote anything beyond a basic application of engineering, so I think four years of engineering is going to be wasted in an MArch. I really feel like you'd get more out of another design field or something in the social sciences. I also have no problem with people just doing architecture. But maybe i've just missed the people doing E to A well. Have you seen people do this with great success?

or you can just get yourself some bullshit data set and grasshopper that fucker up-- architecture!

I agree, this is stupid.

Sep 16, 13 2:29 am

some of us around these parts are old and bitter.  just a head's up.

We're not old and bitter.  We're just realistic, caustic, and even a tad humorous.  Read on, OP.

if you have a great design in your head, but can't draw it in such a way as to let others know what's in your head, it won't do you any good.

Yes, this about indicates the reality of architecture, both in school and in the work world.  OP, most people drawn to architecture are because they have both artistic and "engineering type" abilities.  However, the convenient thing is that you have to excel at neither for a couple of reasons.  This sounds like a  "jack of all trades and master of none" but it really isn't because the architect is pulling together the work of engineers and any really unique detailing may employ an artist or designer that is also brought on to be part of the project team.  Also, the drawing is largely sketching, though it has to convey spatial ability somewhat realistically and proportionately.  It doesn't need to be exquisite fine art.  I was taking a painting class while a teen and did poorly, and my dad thought this meant architecture would prove to be difficult.  Well, they are different types of graphics, and now the computer is a major ally for you.  Also, there are architects in larger firms who are more focused on the construction aspects of the project and managing it.

You are asking some good questions.  That you are thinking of double majors is also forward thinking.  The combinations are varied.  The best thing to do is try to insert some design courses which don't have a fine arts bent, and which can be inserted while you fulfill the minimum subject coverage requirements to get you into college.  Your graphics abilities, in manual terms, can get better by working on them.  Mine did.  And so did those of most of my peers in school.

Sep 16, 13 9:59 pm


I did complete two master's programs simultaneously and overall the workload or I suppose the time required to complete all of my work did go down but this was because graduate design studio wasn't as tedious but more free-flowing than undergrad.

Perhaps all universities are different but my studio class alone most semesters of undergrad consumed 95% of my time, the other classes were neglected to begin with. Even eliminating some architecture classes for non-arch classes wouldn't have mattered. I can see your point that the work load would decrease because of it being spread out. I suppose it comes down to whether or not another undergrad degree is worth the extra couple of years.

Sep 18, 13 12:01 am
ACSA National

Hey Alexis, you may want to check out the ACSA's Guide to Architectural Education and our online Guide to Architecture Schools. There are also architecture school college fairs coming up in San Fransisco and Boston where you can meet people from various schools and workshops, etc.:

Sep 19, 13 3:20 pm
Dr. Architecture

There is also an event dedicated to architecture in Chicago --

Chicago Architecture + Design College Day

Another great resource is - everything you need to know about becoming an architect.

Sep 20, 13 6:57 am

Block this user

Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

  • ×Search in: