Archinect
anchor

2011 M.Arch applicants, commiserate here!

1336
CThomas

Hi,

Im considering applying for 5 MArch schools this coming December. I thought i should aim high and go for Harvard, UPenn, Yale, Columbia and Princeton. I'm also applying for some good schools in the UK including the Bartlett and AA. I was just wondering if anyone could shed some light on applying from an international students standpoint?

I have to say im quite taken aback by how competitive it is. I've just looked through some sample portfolios and there are just so many good ones! Applying as an International student is also daunting as i don't have a GPA so it is hard to know where i stand. Are international student places more competitive? Is Financial aid alot harder to gain aswell?

I have a BA from Cambridge University, with a high 2:1(uk system). This was solely in Architecture. Also 5A's at Alevel (preuniversity). I'm coming up to two years in architecture practice, where i have worked on varying projects and i am currently on a project for the 2012 olympic site in London. On top of this i've been on numerous courses and competed in arch competitions ect. Is there any other experience i should try and aim for by december? Also is this enough to apply for AP?

I've just taken the GRE- and recieved a 680 Verbal and 630 Quant (im usual quite good at maths but massively neglected it in favour of the verbal). Is the quant score too awful? The programs are so competitive im wondering whether to take it again? Even though i really don't want too- it was so hellish!

Sorry for the essay! Any information will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Sep 3, 10 3:15 pm  · 
 · 
Pythagoras

CThomas - your GRE scores are good enough to get you into those schools you mentioned, and I don't think GRE scores are that important. i neglected my verbal in favor of maths, and I ended up with a V 510. Darn! But I m not going to retake my GRE, unless I am thinking of applying to an MBA program, in addition to M.Arch. Like many of us, I dread going thru the whole GRE experience again, and honestly speaking, what's GRE gotta do with M.Arch?? Anyway this was a hotly debated subject in Archinect. Do a search for it and you will know what I mean.

Yes, you are right. MArch is indeed a very competitive program! I didn't know that it was that competitive when I applied. And you forgot to mention how expensive it is, esp since you are an international student. In-state tuition fees are so much lower at some universities with equally good M.Arch program. BTW, if you havent noticed, there are some schools with 3.5 yr program, while others offer a 3 yr program. Half a yr more in school means that you gotta budget an additional 6-mth tuition + living expenses, and half a yr less of income and experience (assuming you get employed right out of school).

You can consider putting your portfolio up here, and from the response you get from fellow archinecters, you'll know where you stand !

Sep 4, 10 10:17 pm  · 
 · 
hellraiser

CThomas, according to anecdotes and stats I've seen, as long as you hit 600 or above on the GRE, which is pretty easy if you know basic maths and memorize a few vocab words, you should be fine.

@jk3hl's comment ("i'm calling bullshit on 5% placement from Harvard, Yale, Columbia - cite your source. im see droves of new hires at my firm and most of them are from those three schools").
just wondering, why are the new hires at your firm mostly coming from these 3 schools? is it that more people from these 3 schools apply there, or do the recruiters presume that students from these 3 schools produce better work than students elsewhere, which of course obviously isn't necessarily the case?

@therebyfar's comment ("I don't think it's necessarily common sense that artistic competence can't indicate any aptitude for architecture. It really depends on what you produce, so yeah if you've got nothing but portrait paintings I doubt that's very impressive. I have mostly abstract geometric stuff that spans a few different mediums.")
I didn't have much geometric work or work that significantly illuminated crucial relevant strengths such as 3D spatial awareness.

Sep 6, 10 9:26 pm  · 
 · 
vyan

if i don't have any internships before applying will it hurt my application?

i have competition work but no professional work. should i find internship experience before applying?

Sep 9, 10 12:36 am  · 
 · 
alexstitt

imwei-
I just started my grad program @ rice, and love it so far. it has the same methodology of the other elite-ish programs I was deciding between, but the small scale allows more intimate/friendly interaction. also, there seems to be an interesting faculty culture (starting with dean whiting herself) of young energetic minds that havent yet been burnt out by monotony. we seem to get the koolhaas's, kwinter's, etc., in their first stint in academia before they move on to the glitz and glamour of, gasp, 'the ivies'. sometimes it's almost too theoretical, but you're not forced into it, and that could have to do with my embitterment via three years of professional practice. i've only been here a few weeks, so this could be a gross generalization or it could be something that's changing, we'll see.. but yeah, it's a great place, message me if you want more details.

Sep 11, 10 11:06 am  · 
 · 
blankman

I am 26/M with construction management Degree, 3.0 gpa
-3 years experience in construction, including 1 year of BIM coordination, primarily modeling in Revit and a-cad.
-designer by night, mainly furniture

Applying to 3-year program at:
Havard
Columbia
UCLA
SCI-Arc
Oregon
UC Berkeley
Cal Poly Pomona

I applied to 3 schools last year, but was not well prepeared, and was only accepted to CCA. So decided to try again.

My portfolio consists of furniture design, 2 mediocre bldg designs, hand sketches, watercolorings, and a group project from a recent grasshopper workshop. I have Letters from two undergrad faculty and one practicing architect. My gre scores were low last year, so I am retaking it again in two weeks, and am aiming for 550v, 650q minimum. I am mainly interested in urban infill projects.

1) Any advice on how to improve my portfolio and application?
2) Any suggestions for other schools to look at.

Any comments are much appreciated. Thanks

Sep 17, 10 9:31 pm  · 
 · 
gregarious

@ blankman

1)What works in your favor is that you seem to have some solid work experience and works from outside school.

2) Your GPA might be too low for some of the schools you're applying to.

Have you looked at Arizona State? I graduated there with an undergrad degree and they seem to be 'catching up' with what everyone else is doing. They don't have Ivy League prestige but they have some solid professors and travelling studios.

As far as your portfolio goes it might not hurt to include some of your professional work.

Sep 17, 10 9:49 pm  · 
 · 
vyan

^ i'm sure someone on here will say that GPA's don't matter.

Sep 18, 10 2:06 am  · 
 · 
Le Courvoisier

Well, I think for the most part they don't but when they are deciding between two people they may. Also most that I have been looking at (MArch II/MSc Post-Professional degrees) have a 3.0 minimum to get in, so with that GPA you should probably have a really damn good portfolio and references to have a chance at one of the big schools.

Sep 18, 10 2:37 am  · 
 · 
mitboi

hey guys, i m just starting to create a list of schools to apply to.

I'm just wondering, aside from the US/Canadian schools that offer M.Arch w/o prior background in architecture, are there any schools in Europe/Australia that offer the same thing and teach in English?

I'm not sure where to start to gather this type of information.. thanks!

Oct 10, 10 9:18 pm  · 
 · 
LinkOne

Mitboi - theres definately nothing in the U.K., and im pretty sure there are no courses in Europe that offer the M. Arch degree and do not require an undergrad Arch degree as a prereq to entry.

I did a fair bit of searching to see if there were any such courses, and unfortunately i think north america is pretty unique in this respect. If you wanna study arch in europe, im pretty sure you need to start at BSc / BA level.

Im less sure about Australia, but I know the aussi's education system is recognised by the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) suggesting their system is similar to ours - 5 years of arch education, 3 undergrad + 2 grad.

sorry to disappoint. if anyones heard anything different it would be good to know.

Oct 12, 10 9:50 am  · 
 · 
Sheeks

@Mitboi

Politechnico di Milano
http://www.english.polimi.it/english/academics/english_courses/master_arch.php?id_nav=-291&apri=-13

ETH Zurich
http://www.arch.ethz.ch/darch/master.php?lang=en

Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne
http://enac.epfl.ch/cms/lang/en/pid/2526

These School are among top in Europe...
Good Luck

Oct 12, 10 9:54 am  · 
 · 
LinkOne

I'm pretty sure ETH teach mostly in German and require an arch undergrad...and i doubt a french university teaches in english.

Oct 12, 10 10:06 am  · 
 · 
mitboi

hey guys, yeah i took a quick look.. they don't seem too feasible..

milano polytechnical states "The M.Sc. is addressed to students holding a Bachelor Degree in a subject related to the programme (Architecture, Planning and Civil Engineering)."..

thanks for your help tho!

Oct 12, 10 10:13 am  · 
 · 
Sheeks

Question:
Is it ok to ask for a letter of recommandation to the Head of the departement even if you don't know personally the person??
She just know that i had honors...

Oct 12, 10 10:22 am  · 
 · 
Pythagoras

sheeks - i don't think that's a good move. You should try get someone who knows you well enough to put up a strong recommendation for you. If your referee has superficial understanding of your work, it's just not possible for them to write a powerful letter for you. Are you facing some difficulties lining your reference ducks? I had that problem too, and still have that problem. It's annoying to get someone to write letters for you, and it's even more annoying when you are made to feel so subservient by those who are kind to write a letter for you!

The good news is, letters of recommendation are not that important after all. The weightage given by adcomms to LORs is pretty low, as far as I know.

Good luck anyway!

Oct 12, 10 12:29 pm  · 
 · 
gwendolyn


22/F

Graduated May 2010 with a B.A. in a self-designed major combining architecture with political philosophy and critical theory, from a university without grades (no GPA!), and no department for architecture. This is after transferring schools and majors twice. My narrative evaluations are complementary, my prior grades are a farrago.

0 relevant work experience, beyond a program at New York Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies (http://www.institute-ny.org/).

690 Verbal, 640 Quant for GRE, waiting on the essay scores. Considering re-taking them.

As for my portfolio, I've get to compile it (!!!!), and comparing my lack of work to other member's posted portfolios from previous years has got me all in a tizzy. I have maybe three or four architecture/landscape architecture projects to my name, though this includes a thesis project I spent my senior year on and received accolades for. I'm completely unsure if it is necessarily "grad school ready." In addition, there is some bookbinding work, wire/ceramic/mixed-media jewelry, comics and hand drawings, photography, and plates of molecular gastronomy I could include. Also, plenty of writing.

Would anyone be willing to post their portfolios? Especially those who may have a somewhat non-traditional background?

Have barely considered letters of rec., though my thesis and academic adviser from the past three years and director of the aforementioned program will surely be willing to write on my behalf.

Programs which appeal to me most: AA, Bartlett, GSAPP, UPenn, SciArc, MIT, Berlage Institute. Still considering Princeton, Yale, UCLA, Pratt, RMIT in Melbourne.
The more open to cross-disciplinary work, the better. A dual degree is also on my radar- either with Philosophy or Urban Planning.

Is this shooting too high?

Considering a few months remain until those December 15th deadlines, I've been considering boosting my portfolio either by way of a competition or an application blitzkrieg to find an internship.
Today marks changing my work schedule to spend the majority of my time sprucing up my portfolio...though I don't know how quite yet, likely beginning with refining my first projects.

Any feedback/guidance would be fantastic. Thank you everyone!

Oct 13, 10 9:08 am  · 
 · 
mitboi

gwendolyn, your GRE scores are very good already, there is no need to re-take them. spend the rest time on your portfolio. perhaps it would be a good idea if you put up your portfolio and garner feedback on it.

Oct 13, 10 9:21 am  · 
 · 
jetvancake

23 /m/ resident alien

gres: v:690, q: 740, w:4.5 (i knew i screwed up one of the two (the topic was on what is art?! - had too many thoughts and ideas to organize!)

undergrad: BA Art & Art History/Studio Focus; top(ish) liberal arts school; GPA 3.5; two thesis projects.

Schools:
MIT
RISD
Columbia
Parsons
Yale
Pratt(?) - More research needed, contemplating because its in the city.


PORTFOLIO: Currently under construction. I don't have much 'architectural' work. here's a mash up i made earlier in the year/last year. please let me know what you guys think.

http://navajeetkc.carbonmade.com

basically, the work will be the same + a few more - a few less.
I'll try to show 'more process' as in source images etc.

Experience: I worked/interned in a major museum's exhibition design department. I did CAD drawings for mounts/ vitrines/ as well as floor plans and all, and also sketchup stuff. I'm not sure how to show that.
Suggestions would be awesome!

I also interned at an arch firm in kathmandu nepal a few years ago.

Currently I work as a marketing co-ordinator for a full service A/E + Construction firm in Chicago (btw @CMDCTRL, my firm's doing very well despite the economy and is GROWING with more gov contracts)
I do a lot of graphic design work - I just designed the firm's general brochure. Should that go in the portfolio? Please suggest!

Essay: Right. On the to-do list.

Anyways, apologies for the length. Any responses/ critique/ whining, ;) @cmdctrl / suggestions, would be greatly appreciated. In return, I will offer my active participation in other peoples queries/concerns as well.

Nice to meet you all.

Oct 13, 10 11:22 pm  · 
 · 
NYer

:( bombed my GRE's

Oct 18, 10 10:46 pm  · 
 · 
mitboi

what were your scores?

Oct 18, 10 10:52 pm  · 
 · 
NYer

v600 q510

Oct 18, 10 11:06 pm  · 
 · 
NYer

I guess there's absolutely no room for error on the portfolio...

Oct 18, 10 11:06 pm  · 
 · 
NYer

What are people's thoughts on number of projects to include in the portfolio? I intend on presenting 4 projects (2 spreads each) then a sampling of professional work. Should I add to this number or create more work/refine what I consider my strongest projects?

Oct 18, 10 11:20 pm  · 
 · 
CMNDCTRL

GEEZ jetvancake! based on some anecdotal evidence, i will COMPLETELY reverse my opinion! maybe the ABI is wrong and we're actually NOT down to about 10% of the TOTAL billing from 2007. maybe unemployment is really NOT at 40-50%. maybe all my friends from ALL RANGES of schools are lying to me and AREN'T really on unemployment? maybe my office HASN'T gone through 6 (count 'em) 6 rounds of layoffs! maybe i should completely disregard my years of busness experience in the field! EVERYTHING IS HUNKY DORY AFTER ALL because a firm in chicago has a couple jobs!!! THANKS jetvancake!

or maybe, you are cheap labor, working in MARKETING for a reason, and happen to be at one of the luckier firms that has government work. i did not say architecture ENDED. i was warning people (especially new graduates) that the hiring picture is NOT PRETTY. your comment came off as bragging. many people with families and bills and debts are in REAL trouble because of the way the profession works now. i don't mean to get onto this topic again or to come off as too negative, but please at least be sensitive to the lost dreams of others. i know many of you are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and think there is nothing but rainbows and sunshine ahead of you. but any economist worth asking tells us to not expect recovery until at least 2014. some estimates are MUCH later than this. realisim! optimism and pessimism are just excuses for silly behavior.

jetvancake, i would not put the brochure in your portfolio unless it fits the format, and/or is really progressive/impressive. those things tend to be a little dry with the audience of a client as opposed to trained architects. i'd have to see it to give you better advice though.

NYer.....that GRE is not terrbile. it is about average. it will make it more difficult to get into SOME top schools unless the rest of your package is amazing. but at some (some of them even top ranked) it will not break you. that being said, there are quite a few fellowships based on GRE scores, or that at least use the GRE score as part of the equation. it is not too late to study a week or two and retake the test. either way, make that portfolio AMAZING. a good rule of thumb is about 40 hours of work per page. good luck, all.

Oct 19, 10 9:44 am  · 
 · 
Bench

In an effort to steer this away from a flame-war...

Any recommendations on schools with a museum curation/design focus? I've been actively searching with little luck; could this be something to pursue as a thesis?

Oct 19, 10 1:35 pm  · 
 · 
jetvancake

CMDCTRL. Point taken. I have no intention to brag about being hired as cheap labor. Just wanted to point out that architecture is not dead - and people are not going to starve to death as they walk out of their M.Arch degrees. But man can you get sarcastic. End. White flag.

Thank you for the advice though. I probably won't put in the brochure as it isn't anything substantial and is a bit dry.

BenC. I think someone I worked with in exhibition design did some relevant work in grad school in RISD. I believe she was in the Interior Architecture program. Checked their website but didn't find anything. Might be worth talking to the department though.
_________________________

Anyone willing to share opinion/experience about non-architectural portfolios? I've been scanning the portfolios posted in other threads and they all seem to be architectural.

I've been told that it isn't necessarily a disadvantage, might even score you some extra points. But opinions seem to vary.


Oct 19, 10 1:58 pm  · 
 · 
iamjena

I'm going to piggy back off of jetvancake's question about the brochure..
I'm working on my portfolio and would like some advice as well.

I graduated with a BA in architecture in 2008, and haven't done any architectural work since then. I spent a year in China working with a non-profit (not arch related) and studying Chinese, and the past year I've been working as an office manager :/
Needless to say, I don't have much to show in my portfolio for the past 2 years. In the past year, since being back in the states, I've been experimenting with a bunch of new craft techniques, taught myself to sew, knit, crochet, bind books, etc. I've also been working on a illustrated planner/organizer from my time in China.. titled "52 weeks in asia" with a different drawing/design on every page varying from abstract forms, to details, to street life.

In the portfolio, I have 4 main studio projects and my undergrad thesis (which is mainly text and hand-drawings).

My question: should I add some of this extra work to my portfolio? I am not sure if it dramatically helps my portfolio, but it shows I haven't been drooling and wasting time in the past 2 years. I was thinking of just adding sample pages from the planner.. what do you guys think?

Hopefully I'll have a new version of my portfolio up for crits soon.

Oct 19, 10 2:39 pm  · 
 · 
NYer

iamjena,

The organizer sounds very intriguing. I think you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you did not include it in your port.

Oct 19, 10 2:48 pm  · 
 · 
mayainclck

@jetvancake - I dont know if you looked at non-arch background portfolio from the 2010 applicants. Here are some links to their portfolios.

http://issuu.com/aa.sun/docs/portfolio?mode=embed&layout=http://skin.issuu.com/v/dark/layout.xml&showFlipBtn=true

http://pepto.carbonmade.com/projects/2608344

http://issuu.com/kennanrankin/docs/kr_portfolio

http://issuu.com/its.bird/docs/bird_m.arch_portfolio

http://www.issuu.com/loremipsum/docs/final-12-15

http://issuu.com/ncro54/docs/march_rosenbergnaomi_portfolio

(from this thread - http://www.archinect.com/forum/threads.php?id=96972_0_42_0_C155)




@CMNDCTRL - OMG! I will ALSO COMPLETELY not apply to GRAD SCHOOL, after reading ALL your post here. OMG! YOU ARE SO SMART! OMG! YOU HAVE SO MUCH EXPERIENCE! OMG! OMG! ARCHITECTURE is so NOT HoNKy DOrry! OMG! OMG! YOU are the PROPHET of THE PEOPLE,! jetvancake you are SO CHEAP LABOR! jetvancake, YOUR OPTIMISM IS SILLY, just SILLY BEHAVIOR! OMG! I LOVE CAPS! CAPS CAPS CAPS.

Oct 20, 10 1:00 pm  · 
 · 
mayainclck

Oops, some of the links are not non-architecture background. I apologize.

@jetvancake - the book "Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis: Opportunistic Architecture" http://www.amazon.com/Lewis-Tsurumaki-Lewis-Opportunistic-Architecture-Paul-Lewis/dp/1568987102
might help in figuring out how to show the exhibition stuff.

Oct 20, 10 1:10 pm  · 
 · 
CMNDCTRL

wow, uram. you're clever.

Oct 20, 10 2:04 pm  · 
 · 
CMNDCTRL

trolling? i am disenfranchised. i am A using these posts as therpy. and B genuinely trying to warn young people. perhaps i am too cyncial, but at least my posts are MEANT to be constructive. good luck with the attitude in the INCREDIBLY small world of architecture, too. see what i did there? ANOTHER all caps usage to emphasize a word.

Oct 20, 10 2:08 pm  · 
 · 
jetvancake

Thank you uram.


CMDCTRL. I DARE YOU to not reply to this.

Oct 20, 10 2:17 pm  · 
 · 
CMNDCTRL

i like your reverse psychology. in all seriousness, i am done though. you called ME out, remember? i said my peace, so go ahead and fret over which schools might let you in (incidentally, i happened to SIT on one of those elite admissions panels, and might have been some help to you). i am sure you'll be happy to see me gone from this thread. but i hope one day, when you are adults, you wil realize why i was offering the advice, and that i was sincerely trying to help. good luck.

Oct 20, 10 2:32 pm  · 
 · 
NYer

For what it's worth, I appreciated the advice CMNDCTRL offered. I hope you'll reconsider leaving the thread.

Oct 20, 10 2:41 pm  · 
 · 
LinkOne

snap

Oct 20, 10 2:50 pm  · 
 · 
LinkOne

snap

Oct 20, 10 2:50 pm  · 
 · 
mayainclck

(think daniel tosh)

@NYer and other people: I want to apologize to everyone here who would've benefited from CMNDCTRL's further advices, truely. I might have disenfranchised everyone here, because I truly believe that CMNDCTRL would've given good advices, since being on the elite admissions panel after all.

@CMNDCTRL: I am not happy you are leaving. You make me giggle. Its not just your needlessly arrogant, sarcastic, and condescending comments, but your choice in words. I thought you liked me because I wowed you with my cleverness. I have faith though, I am not afraid you will leave us young ones because I know your ego will pull you back to read my comments. You see what I did there? I just made a constructive comment.

Oct 20, 10 5:36 pm  · 
 · 
aag2022

Hey all,

I Applied to a few snooty schools last year and got rejected. Attended the GSAPP program this past summer and now I'm reapplying, much more broadly. Does anyone know how/where to list the GSAPP program in education history?

Any advice would be appreciated. Good luck everyone!

Oct 24, 10 6:52 pm  · 
 · 
wahwoah™

uram is so horny...he is so horny URAM is so horny

Oct 25, 10 1:37 am  · 
 · 
vyan

does anyone know if columbia offers any money to tuition?

Oct 26, 10 9:16 pm  · 
 · 
ext architect

I am 24/F from India. I took GRE and fouled co's I mismanaged time in Verbal section. I am planning to apply to Rice, UPenn,U of MI Ann Arbor, Berkeley.

Are there any remote chances of getting into above schools with portfolio/SOP/Reco coping up with a pretty bad GRE. 470V & 640M.

And forgot to add I have 1 1/2 years experience of work.

Can anyone suggest other Schools I can try.

Thanks.

Oct 27, 10 3:47 am  · 
 · 
ext architect

I got a quick link to thesis portfolio -

http://www.flickr.com/photos/arshiyasyed/sets/72157622722885957/

Oct 27, 10 4:26 am  · 
 · 
jetvancake

@vyan,

I was at their open house last year and overheard one of the lecturer's telling (what I presume was) a columbia undergrad to apply to other schools as well because columbia tends to 'spread the wealth, so little bit of money for more people, less money for one single person'...

This is unverified info though. Anybody else have any idea? I am curius too.

Oct 27, 10 10:33 am  · 
 · 
ADavin

Hey guys:

I figured I would add to this year's commiserate thread with this piece of info that will surly influence your application choices:

2011 Design Intelligence Rankings:

1 Michigan
2 Harvard
3 Yale
4 Columbia
5 MIT
6 Cornell
6 Cincinnati
8 UPenn
9 Wash U St Louis
10 UT Austin

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!!!!! [very happy i'm not in your shoes] :)

Oct 31, 10 9:11 pm  · 
 · 
vyan

^ those listings will not sway anything at all.


can anyone comment UCLA vs UCBerkley?

Nov 1, 10 4:14 pm  · 
 · 
Laurem

This question is kind of late but...

Is anyone attending to Yale (today) or GSD (tomorrow) open houses? Also, would any current students mind talking about the MArchII programs?

Nov 4, 10 8:05 am  · 
 · 
Laurem

This question is kind of late but...

Is anyone attending to Yale (today) or GSD (tomorrow) open houses? Also, would any current students mind talking about the MArchII programs?

Nov 4, 10 8:05 am  · 
 · 
Endooo

I'll be attending the GSD open house tomorrow to get a feel for the school. I'm not an m.arch applicant though... not an applicant yet anyway.

Nov 4, 10 10:09 pm  · 
 · 

Block this user


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

  • ×Search in: