Remember that you know yourself better than anybody else does. The college you choose should have a balance of your priorities- academics/social life. Choosing a college is stressful and making sure you make the right decision can often feel like a daunting task. To help out with the process, here are some common factors to consider along the way.
Start with who you are and why you are going. You must think about your ideal environment for learning. B. arch is a pretty rigorous course. A large college might offer a great diversity of programs and studio offerings, while a small school might specialize in one or two things, such as sustainability or community design. Whether those schools are in a city or small town, might also matter to you. An urban university can offer better access to internships, while the one in a small town might offer a quality of life better suited to you. College rankings can be one tool in the decision process as well.
Most importantly, you want to find out what the school’s outlook is. What is its specialty? What does it emphasize? Some institutions, especially bigger ones, might have more than one specialty. Try to find out what an institution is known for and see if that appeals to you. You can start by exploring college websites. Most have videos or galleries showing student work. Visit to see students and faculty work from a variety of architecture schools and decide what appeals to you. This gives you a flavor of what the various institutions are all about. Don’t forget to look at a college’s catalog and read some of the course descriptions. This is where you will find out what the school’s real focus is. Here are some other questions you might ask: Does the college provide opportunities to design and build real structures/ site visits? Are there connections with alumni and local communities? Does the school have an internship program? Is there a program for study abroad? If so, where and for how long? Understanding each of these opportunities gives you a better idea of what the school’s ideology is.
3. THE PEOPLE
We often think of a college or university in terms of the location, the buildings, the classrooms, and the professors. But the students are what bring the campus to life. You’ll be amazed at how you can pick up on the vibes of each campus just by watching students walk around. When you visit, try to talk to as many students as you can. Get a feel for how large the student population is and how diverse they are. It is often said that you learn as much from your classmates as you do from your professors. Explore the school’s social media to see what students are doing and talking about.
Though it is hard to find who will be teaching you in particular, we can get a general idea of the faculty. One perk of top colleges is that it draws working professionals from a wide range of backgrounds. This might be adjunct professors who teach one course or studio. These professionals bring the very latest practice approaches and might expose you to the widest range of ideas. A college in a smaller town might have a higher range of new professors who each bring a specific design or research interests. You might have the opportunity to intern with them. Some of the schools might bring in faculty for short but intense bursts of activities. These individuals will have a significant impact on shaping your future.
Architects are shapers and keepers of the physical environment. I recommend visiting the college you are applying to, Spending some time in the facilities if you can. Look at what kind of other facilities there are in the proximity. Schools increasingly include more digital tools and shops. Ask about their availability and if there is a cost associated with using them. Some architecture schools have relationships with other university departments and their resources. Ask how accessible those might be. Architecture school is going to be your home away from home for quite some time. So think about whether it’s a good fit.
Architectural education involves digital media as you advance. It’s best to know and ask these questions and be combat-ready. Will you have to rely on your laptop, or will you have access to a computer? Does the school teach you to produce elaborate renderings or does it also focus on its practice? What kinds of software are available? Building information modeling often referred to as BIM, is increasingly becoming a necessary tool in the profession. Based on how and where you want to practice, you may want to find out a school’s approach to BIM. How a school teaches awareness of digital tools can significantly impact your future.
This is where investments come into play. Few universities are designed to be affordable, especially if you qualify for the scholarships. Many universities publish their return on investment to put the cost in context. You might want to look at those. Other institutions have a higher cost of living, but they will always have their benefits. You should find out what kind of assistantships it offers and what sorts of scholarships, loans, and grants you can apply for. It’s wise to look beyond the tuition and see what other fees apply.
8. FOCUS ON YOUR ENDGAME
In the end, architecture is a profession and the university you choose will guide you towards it. Each university balances the technical and the artistic in different ways. The syllabus that an architecture program surrounds itself with tells you a great deal about it. You might want to ask what the circle’s connection is to opportunities and placements. Are there interior and industrial design programs that share faculty, and can you take one of those electives?? Some institutions allow you to customize your degree. It’s a good idea to find out what your options are before applying if that is important to you.