The following are resources to assist you in making a decision on an architecture.
First, contact each of the programs in which you are interested to receive promotional materials both from the university and the academic unit (architecture program). I fully understand that each institution will have a website but sometimes having materials in your hands can be helpful.
All of these materials are helpful in learning more about the university and its architecture program; however, recognize that they are designed to persuade you to select the institution. Review the materials alongside materials not produced by the program or visit the campus to see for yourself.
Maintained by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), StudyArchitecture.com is a valuable resource for researching programs. Its primary content is a compilation of descriptions of the over 125 institutions offering professional degree programs in architecture.
The website provide you the ability to search the institutions and programs by a number of different criteria, including location (school, state, region), degree, population (female, minority, international, and out of state), curriculum (related disciplines and specialization), and financial factors (scholarships, tuition, residence, and degree level).
NAAB accreditation is the primary means by which professional degree programs in architecture assure quality to students and the public.
Like ACSA’s StudyArchitecture, NAAB maintains a list of accredited architecture programs.
CAMPUS VISITS / OPEN HOUSE
A very helpful resource is the campus visit. Campus visits are an absolute must, especially for your top choices. When arranging one, consider spending the night with a current student to get an inside feeling about the institution. If possible, request that you stay with an architecture student. In addition, visit with a faculty member or administrator within the architecture program, ask for a tour of the facilities of the program, and attend a class.
In the fall, most schools host open houses as an opportunity for prospective students to meet with faculty and students and to learn more about curricular opportunities. While these are excellent opportunities, recognize that they present the campus at its best. In addition to these planned events, visit unannounced to see the campus, including the design studios, in its normal setting. Many graduate programs in architecture host an open house in the fall for prospective candidates and a parallel one in the spring for admitted candidates. Take advantage of these opportunities to learn more about a program and make an impression.
In the spring, schools again host open houses but they are reserved for admitted students. Visit again if your schedule allows, but sometimes visiting on your schedule may be more helpful.
ADMISSIONS COUNSELOR ADMINISTRATOR
As you narrow your choices, one of the best resources is an admissions counselor or an administrator (director, advisor, or faculty member) from the architecture program. Remember, the task of these individuals is to assist you in learning more about their university and the architecture program. Develop a personal relationship with them to obtain the information you need to make an informed decision. Do not hesitate to keep in touch with them throughout the admissions process.
STUDENTS / FACULTY / ALUMNI / ARCHITECTS
An often neglected but important resource is conversations with individuals associated with the architecture program—students, faculty, and alumni. During campus visits, ask for an opportunity to speak with students and faculty. Request the names of a few alumni in your area, both recent and older graduates, to ask their impressions. Finally, seek out architects in your area and ask them their opinions about the schools you are considering for admission. If you are unable to visit a program, request the email addresses of students or recent alumni to ask questions.
ARCHITECTURE CAREER / COLLEGE DAYS
While many high schools and community colleges host annual college fairs, these events do not usually focus on the architecture programs. Fortunately, there are a handful of annual events that are specifically about architecture!
Held in the fall, the architecture Career Days/College Fairs are a great opportunity for you to learn more about pursuing a degree. You can interact with representatives from a variety programs and ask specific questions (see examples below); you will connect with faculty, program administrators, and possibly students and alumni. Having these conversations will help you gain a better insight and help make a decision about which program is right for you.
Below are the events slated for Fall 2018.
Boston, MA – Saturday, September 29, 2018
Boston Society of Architects – Architecture / Design College Fair
Philadelphia, PA – Saturday, October 6, 2018
Temple University – Philadelphia Architecture + Design Fair
Dallas, TX – Saturday, October 13, 2018
AIA Dallas – 2B an Architect
Chicago, IL – Saturday, October 20, 2018
Consortium for Design and Construction Careers – Chicago Architecture + Design College Day
New York, NY – Saturday, November 3, 2018
Center for Architecture – Architecture & Design College Fair
Seattle, WA – Sunday, December 30, 2018
American Institute of Architecture Students Expo 2018
Finally, feel free to contact me with more specific questions on the process.