Excuse my thread if this has been mentioned before.

I am going to apply this upcoming fall for M.arch and I have been trying to aim for Princeton, MIT, Yale, Cornell, Columbia, Harvard, Upenn, Berkeley, UCLA, and etc.

I know people have stressed this a lot already, and I know people said portfolio is the most important, but I want to know if any body or if you know someone that got into any of these schools with a
graduating from UCLA architectural studies this following spring.

Mar 18, 10 4:57 am

I don't know anyone personally, but I've heard some anecdotes. However, if your GPA is on the low side, then your portfolio will need to be even better than those with higher GPAs in order to give you a fighting chance.

Mar 18, 10 6:30 am

depends on the year. on slow application years, admin folks can stand to be a little more open and liberal in how they look at what's submitted. this year, i hear, there are more apps than in the past years, so gpas and test scores will start to matter more.

Mar 18, 10 7:22 am

3.2 is not that bad.

i have a freind that was accpeted (this year) to two ivys and the AA with about this, definetly south of 3.5.

Great portfolio, good leters of rec, good essay, and a decent gpa/gre seems to be a good recipe.

Mar 18, 10 7:47 am

i just got into Columbia with a 3.0, also into Pratt with a pretty nice scholarship.

Mar 18, 10 8:54 am

thank you for all the responses.

Please post if anyone or yourself got into any of these schools with a low gpa, and etc.

I know that the portfolio should stand out under this circumstance, thus I want to talk to people and see how their work is so I can get a good sense of what is a "good recipe" from a bad one.

Mar 18, 10 1:10 pm

Not sure what you consider good schools, but I got into Columbia, Penn, UT Austin and Rice with less than a 3.0. Also, in spite of my low gpa I have zero debt incurred from graduate school.

Mar 18, 10 2:15 pm
le bossman

i would say that your recommendations are more important than your grades. when reading your file, admissions review committees will take a lot of stock in what your teachers think of you. but grades do still matter.

Mar 18, 10 2:37 pm

^ ok, so grades matter, but not as much as letters of recommendation and Portfolio; is what you were saying.

Please continue posting! thank you in advance for your inquiries.

Mar 18, 10 4:19 pm

the story i have read by some sociologist-y person or other is that the ivies used to be very strict about who they took in, straight A students only...then, because the bar was raised a lot of A students suddenly became C students and spilled their blood on the campus grounds (dropping from straight A's to straight C's must damage the psyche perty good). so policy was changed and they began to accept less obviously good students who were just happy to be there and quite happy with C's. and the ground no longer was so red.

can't remember who was writing that. some ivy guy who writes in the new york times or something. it may even be apocryphal. but it does explain george bush.

don't worry about the grades. if you have something else to show you still have a shot.

Mar 18, 10 8:11 pm

I'd rank Portfolio > Resume > Letters of Rec, > GPA/GRE...

Anything that actually shows what you have to offer/what you've done in practice is more important that a number on a piece of paper. In an undergraduate studio I received a "C-" for the quarter because I got a little loose with the requirements but that same project is the "anchor" in my portfolio and has always been a topic of conversation during interviews. Admissions is the same way, you have to wow them and a sexy section perspective is always going to stick out more than a number at the end of a transcript.

Mar 18, 10 8:13 pm

Agreed LITS. If the 'requirements' are quite rigid, but your project is unconventional, its a game of choosing which 'deliverables' are valid and neccessary to work towards, and which are best left ignored.
Generally, tutors are aware of this and grade accordingly, but every now and then, you get a crit (or committee of crits) who evaluate by going through the checklist.
My best studio project landed me a B.

Mar 18, 10 9:16 pm

I should add the caveat though... There is a difference between the odd low mark here and there pulling down your GPA; and a just generally mediocre average across the board.

While it's certainly not impossible to get into good schools with a less than stellar GPA (as evidenced in this very thread), I think we'd all agree that your position is that much stronger if you're in the 3.5+ territory.

Mar 18, 10 9:23 pm

If you don't directly get accepted maybe they may allow you to take classes as a non-matriculated student and if you do well on those classes you can get in.

You can also write an excellent essay explaining your "low" GPA and how things changed since you graduated and how ambitious you are.If you started wit a lower GPA and raised it gradually,mention that too.

Mar 18, 10 10:12 pm

Forgot to mention..the more you take time after you graduate to apply to grad school the better the chances you will get in because your work experience will override your GPA 5 years from now.If I were you I'd do that.I don't see the point in rushing to grad school right after college.

Mar 18, 10 10:16 pm

paradox, the problem with that is you might have to retake the gre since most schools only count gre scores that are <5yrs old. which sux if u did really well the first time. my point: only take the gre when you are sure that it, complemented with the rest of your app, will get you into the school of your choice within 5yrs of taking it

Mar 18, 10 11:03 pm

Who cares about the is really not that hard.I wouldn't mind taking it after 5 years.

Mar 18, 10 11:48 pm

accepted at berkeley w/ fellowship covering tuition + $10K stipend for the 2010-2011 academic year.

gpa: 3.125
gre: 490 verbal, 590 quant, 4 aw

i would say that portfolio is the biggest, biggest thing! i was hoping to do better on the gre's since my gpa is weak, but i'm also a really bad test taker. always have been and unfortunately always will be.

the greatest most true advice is to focus on your portfolio. and get letters of rec from people who can speak about your work and who can speak about you honestly and personally. i'd say it goes portfolio - statement - letters of rec - resume - gre - gpa

Mar 19, 10 1:01 am

^ congratz on the acceptance of Berk.

I am myself, a a really bad test taker. I just like to dose off a lot; anything will distract me.

Have you posted your portfolio?

thanks for all the inquiries so far!

Mar 19, 10 1:04 am

paradox, true, the gre is not hard, but i personally don't want to pay the extra fee and dedicate the extra time to take the test a second time when once is sufficient. also, keep in mind that scores can be volatile even if you are generally a good test taker

Mar 19, 10 2:06 am

also, depends on where you scored first time around

i scored 800 on quantitative, 730 on verbal, and 5.5 on writing, and i can't guarantee that i can get these same scores if i took it a second time

on the other hand, if ur scores are much lower (e.g. around average) it would probably be a good idea to retake

Mar 19, 10 2:08 am

but according to the admissions results for march i progs at ivies and other good schools, it seems gre have very little part to play, so don't stress it. just aim for the minimum at ur desired school, which is usually no higher than 600/600/4.5. easy enough

Mar 19, 10 2:10 am

minimum of 600/600?

i would guess it is much lower then that.

Mar 19, 10 7:33 am

minimum for top schools is usually 600/600/4.5, which shouldn't be too hard

Mar 19, 10 7:49 am

again, this is just a guideline and they'll most likely accept someone with 500/500/4 but oustanding portfolio over someone with 800/800/6 but mediocre portfolio

Mar 19, 10 7:50 am

just take a look at the m.arch 2010 commisserate thread and you'll see that most ppl who got accepted to harvard, yale, columbia and princeton didn't exactly have stellar gre scores, and some with stellar scores were rejected

gre scores really are an afterthought

Mar 19, 10 7:52 am

gre is bullshit. gpa is in your past. just bury your head into your portfolio because that's all that really matters. at least all that should matter.

Mar 19, 10 9:39 am

^ Although theres a consensus that the portfolio is worth most, I would have to disagree seeing recent hardvard accepted applicants that I know have mediocre portfolio, but there GPA was almost perfect,and GRE was above average.

They had good letters of recs too. So I guess if you got 3/4 then mediocre portfolio is acceptable.

Mar 19, 10 1:44 pm

I have a friend who scored just above a 1150 on the GRE, had a 3.2 GPA, and got into the Harvard GSD Masters for Urban Design program. What helped him was the fact that 2 references were alumni of Harvard's program, and another knew Machado. His portfolio was pretty good too.... not too flashy (like what you see of Columbia / Sci-Arc hopefulls), but carefully thoughout and put together well.
I have no idea about his statement of interest unfortunately. I hope that helps to put your worries to rest.

Mar 20, 10 12:59 am

^ just a little, congrats to your friend, but not the same program I am trying to go for.

Ill keep in mind of these harvard alumnis when looking for letters of recommendation

Mar 23, 10 7:00 pm

I got into UPenn (MArch I) with a 3.3 GPA, GRE: 670 Verbal, 670 Quantitative and 5.5 Writing.

I think I agree with everyone else, however, when they say that GPA/GRE scores don't seem as important in the scheme of things. Perhaps the people you know who were accepted to Harvard had amazing essays or letters of rec. It's always hard to say, but I'm sure if you focus on producing a strong application overall, you'll do well.

Congrats on your upcoming graduation and good luck on your applications next fall!

Apr 12, 10 1:34 am

how about 2.0?

Apr 12, 10 3:52 am

I can't really remember but I think I got a 500 on the Verbal: 700 on the Math and 6 on the writing with a 3.5 GPA and was accepted to Columbia, Sci-Arc, AA, and UCL a few years a go. Rejected from Harvard and waitlisted at UCLA (I always wondered how I got into Columbia and not UCLA... perhaps b/c I am not a CA resident? It seemed odd to me)

Apr 12, 10 6:34 am

"I would have to disagree seeing recent hardvard accepted applicants that I know have mediocre portfolio, but there GPA was almost perfect,and GRE was above average."

you might want to consider that what you and i do not see the potential in, admissions panels do. they are not always looking for the most polished and well presented final products, but instead the potential to develop the underlying ideas presented in the work.

that said,
i did terrible on the GRE and have no GPA, as my undergraduate institution was entirely pass/fail. at least in my case, that sort of proves the point that GPA and GRE are, at the very least, minor factors in acceptance.

i got in everywhere i applied, some "name" schools, and others that i found personally/regionally interesting. i think that was, at least for me, where i was able to gain an advantage over applicants such as yourself vyan.

you mention that you are "trying to aim for Princeton, MIT, Yale, Cornell, Columbia, Harvard, Upenn, Berkeley, UCLA, and etc." christ, seriously? how on earth are you going to be able to honestly tailor a statement for more than 9 schools? i have close personal relationships with the former faculty that wrote my letters for me, and i would be mortified to ask them to write 9+ letters.

what do you want from your master's program? find those that fit you, and tailor your application packets to them specifically. my statement never would have gotten me into a school that wasn't right for me, and that's kind of the point.

my final two cents: portfolio + statement + an understanding of what you want from you education...other than, perhaps, a name?

Apr 12, 10 10:58 am

It’s almost impossible to get a low gpa in architecture school. all you have to do is show up and do the work. that at least will give you a 3.5 gpa. I believe the admissions at graduate schools know this which is why they divert their attention to other matters as portfolio, GRE, and statements. GPA’s are just formalities. No big deal. If your traits are much stronger in design, then you don’t have to worry about a thing.

Apr 12, 10 4:27 pm

yall will kill yourselves trying to figure out this subjective system. Just two years ago I got into sci_arc, columbia, cinci and waitlisted at UTAustin...mean while my good friend didnt get into columbia but got a major scholarship to yale. My friend had a 4.0 gpa and one of the sickest portfolios ive ever seen...i had a 3.8 gpa and a good porftfolio but compared to his not as a good. Goes to show the system is really sketchy. Just put your best foot forward its a craps shoot.

Apr 12, 10 6:01 pm

tuna- That's pretty discouraging. I agree one shouldn't worry too much about gpa but I don't think admission panels are assuming everyone should have a 3.5. Each school is different. The school I attended-which is not a big name school-has a very strict grading policy. Only about 1-2 A's are given out per studio and our valedictorian only had a 3.7. Only 5 or 6 of us even had a gpa above 3.5. So rob(E) I wouldn't worry too much because I think the panels understand there are different grading policies and there are sometimes specific personal reasons why students have lower gpa's- although I don't think a 3.1/2 is low!

Apr 14, 10 9:03 am

ah sorry I meant to direct that last part at vyan not rob(e)...I'm not good at this forum thing

Apr 14, 10 9:05 am
On the fence

I think if you call them or explain to them that you have a lower than allowed GPA but in fact have the loans/money secured for their school, you could buy your position. I say that because, as has been pointed out on this BB, people apply for schools they can not afford and by the time school starts some of these schools may be a few pupils short of full enrollment. Explain that these poor accepted students can't all possibly get in and maybe a rich student with lower grades may be a better fit.

Apr 14, 10 9:36 am

i haven't checked this thread for awhile, but thanks for all the responses. - you make a very good point. But out of the the schools that I listed, I only want to go to two - yale or princeton. Harvard like most people do, just applies for the name. for shits and giggles. am i wrong?

I think I stopped worrying about my GPA and I am more focused on the personal statement and portfolio.

Do you guys have any suggestions on how to start or write a compelling statement?

May 5, 10 5:08 pm

If nobody minds I'd like to jump in here and ask a quick question... does it make a difference if your letter of recommendation is by a known name? Obviously you want your recommendations from the teachers who know you best and will speak most honestly about you, but if one of those teachers was somewhat of a celebrity (either in academia, professional practice, or elsewhere) would an admissions person at any "top" school take it more seriously? I know it's inevitable that if the person reviewing your application recognizes the recommender they may be slightly affected, but do schools/admissions generally acknowledge this helping or hurting any?

May 5, 10 5:21 pm

@ ISMITH: That's a question I often wonder myself. I think you should start a thread topic on Letters of Recommendation to see what answers come up.

May 5, 10 5:23 pm

thats a good question, but i think the name of the person does matter.
most of the people I know that got into "good schools" (harvard, yale, etc) have gotten their Letters of recs from notable professors.

May 5, 10 5:27 pm

3.08 GPA from public university, 1110 GRE, no notable recommenders. Admitted a year ago to GSD, Yale, and Berkeley.

It's not a subjective system imo. Good portfolios are easy to spot and simply stand out from the rest.

May 5, 10 10:06 pm

i wanted to email you harpoon but i got a mail delivery error. can you email me?

May 6, 10 3:28 am

vyan, 3.1 and 3.2 is a pretty solid GPA. I wouldn't call it low at all!

That's what I graduated with in undergrad and got into some good programs.

My GRE scores were nothing to brag about either. Average at best.

You'll be fine!

Good luck!

May 6, 10 12:22 pm

gpa doesn't matter so much when you consider these schools are businesses. You are paying them, after all.

May 7, 10 1:11 am
It’s almost impossible to get a low gpa in architecture school. all you have to do is show up and do the work. that at least will give you a 3.5 gpa.

tuna, where the hell did YOU go to school?

May 7, 10 7:47 am

^ I was thinking the same thing. Just showing up and doing the work definitely didn't guarantee you an A in my studio classes. You had to be one of the best in the class.
So this is exactly why the portfolio holds so much weight. Grades are too subjective in a studio based education.

May 7, 10 1:22 pm

Out of curiosity, how many of you have a NON-architecture bachelors?

Jan 29, 11 12:56 am

Will probably be applying this fall and this thread interests me greatly. I have a 2.86 from CU-Boulder (Econ w/Business Minor) - I started out in engineering and after three semesters decided to tap out. I was left with a 2.1 gpa but was able to bring it up to the 2.86 before graduating--

After school I spent 4 years as an army officer including a year tour in the middle east. --Have spent the last two years workig full time in insurance and going to school at night and on weekends at the local community college. I've been taking art and drafting classes and will get a certificate in architectural graphics at the end of this semester --figure it would show that I'm serious about architecture and not just a whim (proficient in AutoCAD 3DS Max, Revit, Civil 3D) My portfolio will consist of 8 high quality hand drawings, a couple of graphic design pieces and 3-4 architectural renderings using mental ray -- The design is not original in the renderings but we have freedom over the materials lighting camera angles etc - I figured I would put them in to showcase my skills in these programs and I would of course indicate what creative aspects were mine etc. -- I'm not trying to get into any of the Ivy league schools and would be applying to UT Arlington, Univ of Houston, CU-Denver and UT Austin as a reach school.

I would be interested in my chances and how my circumstances could translate.

Feb 9, 11 2:00 pm

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