Architectural Association Interview

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So today is the deadline for AA's undergraduate applications. I have sent my materials way ahead of time and its only a matter of time until they process it.

I am applying as a transfer into the 3rd year.

my questions are when do these interviews happen? the eariest? the latest?

i read in an another discussion that someone had an interview scheduled around April...

I also applied to some American universities that require a response to whether i am attending or not in April.

So when does AA begin conducting these interviews? how early have you heard them been scheduled?

What usually happens during the interview? how different of a portfolio should the one you bring to the one you sent? should the content be 100% different?

and how long will it take for them to decide your acceptance after the interview?

Jan 15, 10 4:28 pm

Just show your latest bank statement.

Seriously AA is pretty easy to be accepted (i.e. when comparing it with Public-and-way-cheaper UCL-Bartlett).

Jan 16, 10 12:43 pm
From the AA website:

24. What format does a typical interview take?
The interview panel consists of two tutors and a member of the administrative staff, and sometimes an AA student as well. Interviews last approximately 30 minutes. The interview is a two-way process: the panel wants to see what skills and interests the applicant has, so it is important to spend time preparing a portfolio. The applicant has the opportunity to ask questions about the School and to have a look at its working spaces and facilities.

25. What format should the portfolio for the interview take?
There are no portfolio restrictions or specific requirements. The AA is looking for motivated students who can demonstrate a range of skills. You should include a variety of projects with original drawings, photographs of models and sketchbooks. It is important to show the thinking and development behind the work and not just final images. See also:

Jan 16, 10 1:11 pm
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@ Hawkin

your answer does not address my question in any way, shape, of form.

but since this was brought up, how does AA's undergrad program stand compared to the undergrad programs of The Bartlett, and the American Universities such as Cornell, Virginia Tech, Syracuse U, Cal Poly, and Pratt Institute?

I'm guessing Hawkin is just being a little too harsh, but where does AA's undergrad program truly stand.

AA is not ranked not a state funded school so there is really no official comparisons with the Bartlett.

however the alumni and faculty from the AA seems a lot more reputable that those of the Bartlett

I could not apply to the Bartlett because they would not accept transfers, and i did not want to repeat the 2 years i have already done

as for tuition they are almost the same for me. since i am not British, The Bartlett is just as expensive as the AA

Jan 16, 10 2:02 pm

bank statement?? I don't think it's necessary. You just need to bring your check book to the registrar. They will never refuse international students. You shouldn't consider AA if you get offer from cornell

Jan 16, 10 3:06 pm

It's not my intention at all to critize AA, I just was trying to say that I wouldn't really worry, it's very easy to get in.

Seriously I don't know a single person who has not been accepted to AA (and I know a few... and I also know a few who have not been accepted to top-notch US programmes). Obviously some of them at AA are really smart and capable individuals and they do very interesting stuff (they paid for it!!) and I'm sure they could be accepted in any equal program in the States (let's say Columbia, GSD, Cornell, etc.) but for others I really doubt it.

As for the comparation AA VS UCL... I would say that lately UCL is on rise and AA is on the down. But that's the fashion now., maybe in 5 years is the other way around. Wouldn't really worry about that.

If Wang is Chinese... AA have an appetite for wealthy Middle Easterns and South Asians. I guess in the scope they will build something back in Dubai or Hong Kong labeled as "AA Graduate".

Jan 16, 10 3:35 pm
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What you are saying is quite shocking, I am born in Canada and raised in the US... here in North America, AA is perceived as the best if not one of the best in the world.

the Bartlett is known to us as well, but not nearly as well as the AA

I'm assuming you are British? so what is your real take on AA? exaggerations aside...

your recent post make it sound a community college that anyone can get into. but in north america its known as the innovative school that produced the likes of koolhas, hadid, frampton, etc...

thats a very wide gap

on a 1-10 scale what would you rate AA, the Bartlett, and Cornell?

AA has a certain appeal to me because i also would like to see the UK

Jan 16, 10 5:14 pm

Well-I know many students at degree + dip who did not get accepted - ma's. Also accept about 25%

I don't think AA will enter you at year 3 maybe year 2 - AA is a unique program and you won't get it in a year - I doubt they offer you an interview

Jan 16, 10 5:19 pm
job job

It's amusing reading these 'I've heard about' or 'I know someone who'. However it does seem to reinforce the AA as a place of mystery and prestige.

Good luck with the transfer, kid. The Diploma school is doing really good work.

Jan 16, 10 7:39 pm

dont listen to these imbeciles talking about cheque books. you said it yourself; the AA and bartlett cost the same to you. if you feel the AA is more your thing, then go for it.

as for the bartlett being on the rise and the AA in decline. thats another imbeciic, a priori judgement you should probably ignore. they are very different schools and it is impossible to compare them quantitatively.

i dont think the AA will accept transfers to 3rd years though, thats highly unlikely. you will probably have to start from 2nd year. or, wait a year and apply for diploma.

Jan 16, 10 7:59 pm

I havent heard about transfers being that popular either. The schools really want you to learn what THEY teach, not what you already know. Unless their is some kind of arrangement with your school and the AA, you might have to fight it out with them to accept some of your credits. you might end up reaching some kind of middle ground with them, but I'd worry about that after getting formally accepted.

Jan 16, 10 9:08 pm

Also, aren't a lot of students at the Bartlett international too?

Jan 16, 10 9:11 pm
chatter of clouds

AA is almost all international. the Bartlett is much less so. yes, there are many international students who attend the bartlett...but its also the Brit student's "version of the AA" i.e. their version of London/UK's top school. this is probably due to the lesser tuition paid by the the UK student. the AA imposes the same tuition irrespective of nationality.

also its completely idiotic to belittle, as opposed to intelligently criticizing, the AA. its quite a unique place. gritty yet also posh :o)

Jan 17, 10 7:51 am

My comments on numbers is based is accepted based upon tutors i know at aa - not scientific -

also if you look at FAQ they do say they will consider year 3 entry as that is the way you will get Part 1 to entry dip - so if you're thinking to do undergrad + dip then it might make sense -

it is worth visiting the schools - i've been a student at both - the real difference to me is that the money you spend in AA gets utilized in school development / exterior folks and one senses the whole energy of the school every second your there -- knowledge is open- this in NO WAY happens in any way at the Bartlett -

Jan 17, 10 8:32 am

actually thats right, people do get accepted into 3rd year but they tend to be ones that apply for diploma and dont quite make it or they dont have part 1 like TED said..

Jan 18, 10 3:48 am

this issue has been debated several times before on various Archinect forums.

It is relevant to note (as related to the 1st year, Intermediate School and Diploma Schools):

1) The AA survives solely by tuition from students. No State support, very small endowment, few revenue generating activities. Therefore, it is in the interests of the School to accept as many people as possible to the various programs. This has to be balanced with getting good, strong students, but it is a historical fact that the AA is often wiling to accept weak students, under the hope that they will improve with exposure to the AA itself. If they don't pass a year, then they are asked to repeat or to leave.

The open, almost "marketplace" status of accepting students should not be confused with "community college" conditions.

2) The interviews are not difficult - applicants just need to show a sincere interest in architecture and a degree of self-motivation and ambition. The more one is able to show a degree of maturity, interest in some aspect of architecture, awareness of current trends and an ability to pay the tuition, then you are very likely to get a position.

3) it is very unusual for a student transferring from outside the school to be granted placement into the year above where they have come from (i.e. if you have completed 3rd year elsewhere, it is unlikely that you will come into the AA in 4th year.). in fact, there are many cases where students who have completed a year level elsewhere, will be asked to repeat that year level or even repeat the year before. This is particularly true if there is an assessment that the previous school is not "of the level of the AA". Part of this is typical institutional arrogance ("a student couldn't have done what we would have done at the AA"), and it is partly based on a long history of students from outside the AA not making the grade when placed in a level based on their position elsewhere.

4) the AA and the Bartlett have many similarities and some equivalences, but at the end of the day, they are distinct and unique. The education received at either is not directly transferable. You have to decide which one you want.

Jan 18, 10 7:18 am

well said.

Jan 18, 10 7:27 am

from a purely practical sense ...when looking at uk part ii dip...
Uk/eu - value = Bartlett
overseas = AA
oversease + wish to stay in the uk on a visa=bartlett or any uk school that offers a 'm' level qualificTion (AA is not this - undergrad)

My opinion: AA is the school to go to - for dip it doesn't give the m level degree so you need to plan on doing either a part iii m level qualification at London met or ma housing + urbanison at AA ....

Jan 19, 10 4:21 pm

going back to the interview thing
interviews take place depending on whether you applied on time or late - both have the same chances to get in

i'd say it'll be no sooner than 25th february and no later than 1st may
you go with your portfolio -altho i kno one person that forgot to take it and still got in don't ask me why- and you discuss your work for a bit, not too formally i'd say, no need to give a lecture about the work, just discuss in a relaxed way

i'd say the portfolio you take with you has to develop further the work that you sent - maybe add a little bit more stuff but not too much
max max max 30 pages - according to the time slot you're given, that's as much as i can imagine someone going through (amount-wise)

they tell you whether you're in or not very quickly - about 2 days in the email, then you get a letter in the post (the latter takes maybe 15 days, a month)
hope this helps

Feb 1, 10 5:23 pm

Didn't Zaha Hadid go to the AA and didn't Reem teach there? I always thought it was the best place to learn architecture in the world!

Feb 3, 10 5:15 pm
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Should the portfolio that i bring to the interview... contain some of the same or many of the same content as the one i sent them?

im thinking if they bring the portfolio that i sent them to my interview... it would be unnecessary for me to put the work i did in that portfolio in the one that i am bringing...

will they bring the portfolio that i sent them to the interview? is it ok to have some overlap in content between the 2 portfolios?

Feb 3, 10 6:57 pm

i wouldn't count on them bringing your submitted portfolio to the interview.

i would suggest that you bring a complete portfolio - and have it arranged in an order you want to present.

you should think of the portfolio as a narrative - what story do you want to tell about your work, your way of working, your interests and what you see as your strengths and weaknesses.

you should try to cover your passion for architecture and what you have to give to the school - as well as what you hope to gain from the school.

this is not so much a "sale job" as it is an exposing of your sincerity to be at this school at this time in your life.

Feb 4, 10 5:14 am

i agree with dlb
build a narrative for the portfolio you're going to take with you, something that reads on its own without counting on the previous portfolio you sent

you may even change size (you may wanna bring an a1 portfolio this time - i dunno) ..

maybe not everyone present in your interview has had the chance to look at the portfolio you sent, or maybe they don't remember clearly because they look at many during one day

Feb 7, 10 6:35 am

Hi, I have also be asked for an interview at the AA for the First Year. I am a little confused here on what to really put as I don't really have a wide exposure for architecture, I've already covered the architecture passion in my previous portfolio, I was thinking to put something as a whole design and not focusing it to architecture only..

Mar 27, 14 10:37 am

good luck interview is not that difficult as you think

May 24, 19 11:25 am
Non Sequitur

This is 5-years ago. I'm sure the OP's interview went well.

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