With over 100 schools offering professional graduate architecture degrees, narrowing your search can be a challenge! So, how are you supposed to know which one is right for you? We have outlined a few tips and resources that will help you decide.
Define what is important to you.
What’s most important to you when looking for a school? Is it cost, location, facilities resources, student opportunities, or maybe something else altogether. A great place to start is on our “Where to Study” search page. Here you can identify programs based on location, areas of study, and tuition range. If you don’t think you know yet, try our quiz. It’s a fun way to start thinking about what might be important to you as you study architecture.
Over half of the students we chatted with said that location and cost were their top two reasons for choosing their school followed by faculty. (We will cover Identifying Faculty Advisors in next week’s blog post.)
- Make a Spreadsheet!
- Students and recent graduates have suggested using a program like Google Sheets [https://www.google.com/sheets/about/] to set up a rigorous system where you can compare each school’s information and filter them by what is most important.
- Check out our spreadsheet, save a copy for yourself and get started!.
- Narrow Your Search
- Once you have identified interesting programs through StudyArchitecture’s ‘Narrow Your School Search’ [http://www.studyarchitecture.com/where-to-study/] feature, add the ones you are interested in to your “cart.” From the “My Schools” page you can start request information directly from those schools.
Choosing a graduate school goes beyond rankings. There are many other important factors, including: the studio culture [examples: https://uwm.edu/sarup/learn/policies/studio-culture/ and http://www.northeastern.edu/camd/architecture/community/students/facilities/studio-culture/], faculty research areas, the program’s relationship to other disciplines, facilities and student opportunities, cost, funding opportunities, research opportunities, and so on. To learn about the culture of the school, visit the program websites which are linked at the top of each school page.
On Saturday, November 19th, 2016 from 1-5pm, prospective architecture students from all over the world can log onto StudyArchitecture.com/expo to talk to schools, get their portfolio reviewed, learn about admissions requirements and hear tips and tricks on how to select a program in one of four webinars.
On the School’s Website
School websites are all so unique and organized in different ways. Here are some things to look for.
- Read the Mission
- Checking out their Events Page (go to one if you are in the area)
- Explore Student Work
- Try and find examples of Curriculum
- Find out more about their Facilities and Resources,
- And if you want to get more detail, explore their Accreditation Page where you can find Visiting Team reports. (example: http://architecture.woodbury.edu/accreditation-documents/) The National Architectural Accrediting Board releases an Annual Program Report (APR) on each accredited program after each accreditation cycle (usually 4-8 years). These reports will give you more detailed information on curriculum and student work.
Facility Resources was ranked highly by our student respondents. Specifically, one student noted that if you are interested in digital fabrication, you want to be sure to have access to the right equipment like CNC mills, laser cutters, and a metal shop.
On Social Media!
Follow your favorite schools on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube/Vimeo. There you can learn more about their student culture and the events. Also, follow their AIAS chapter on Social Media (http://www.aias.org/chapters/). Some schools have different social media channels for different programs, too.
Visiting a campus gives you insight into what life would be like if you were to study there. Campus visits can make or break your decision to study somewhere. So be sure to schedule tours, alk to Faculty and students from all years, and engage them with critical questions about what they research and how they do it.
Meet faculty! The Faculty dramatically shape your graduate education and experience. They are also great resources to understand the type of research that is taking place in the school. Don’t be shy!
In the News
It’s as simple as googling the program name and clicking the “News” tab. There you will find what programs are doing within their communities or how their graduates are impacting the world. You can even set up a Google Alert for your favorite school to stay on the pulse of what they are doing.
Like we mentioned, graduates are a great way to see just what kind of students a school shapes. Check out the Alumni by searching “studied architecture at ___insert school name here___”. You may be surprised by who you find.
Once you have your list, reach out. Most schools will send you a package of information if you request it online. If you want specific information, you can contact the schools directly. We have contact information on our school profile pages.
Study Architecture will also do it for you. Once you have added your preferred schools to your “My Schools” list, fill out your contact information and we will get in touch for you. It’s that simple.
Check back next week for Part III: Identifying Faculty Advisors.