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Hi all! Dd16 (10th grade) is interested in an architecture major. Any universities we should look at? Things to think about?

She’s looking at a list of NAAB accredited schools and researching the various emphases. She is most interested in historical preservation. Her stats are quite good, though not tippy top, and her grades so far are excellent. She is advanced in math and loves drawing/art in all its mediums.

Tips? TIA!

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My dd looked at architecture when she was younger. One of the conclusions we came to was that it may make sense to major in Civil Engineering and then go to grad school for architecture, possibly in a 4 + 1 type program. 

Obviously we didn't pursue this very far, but I guess architects often need to hire out the engineering aspect of a building project, so someone who can do both (or at least understand both sides) has something of an advantage. We had good in-state options for both the architecture and the civil engineering.

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Just for clarity, from a licensing perspective (and this sometimes varies by state), there are certain parts of design that must be done or supervised by a licensed architect & certain engineering parts that must be done or supervised by a licensed engineer. Just having the understanding doesn't matter legally.

Both degrees are tough!! 

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All I know is that architecture is one of those fields that can really suffer when the economy has a downturn. Just anecdotally, we have a family friend who was a great student and got an architecture degree from a big name school. He doesn't work in architecture, however. He had to take a job running a non-profit after-school and summer program that gives golf lessons and life lessons to underprivileged kids. (He played golf in high school.) My cousin also got a degree in architecture and enjoyed it but ended up going back to school for training as a dental hygienist bc that gave her more steady employment. A civil engineering degree might provide better/safer career options.

Edited by TarynB
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I am an architect in a mid-sized architectural firm in a major Midwest city. My firm hires graduates from a variety of schools. We do a variety of work including historic preservation. Finding a school with a focus on historic preservation, if one exists, would make the projects while in school more interesting but a person is in no way hindered in getting a job with a focus in that specialty if they don't have that focus. Firms expect to train their new hires in that firms particular specialty and typically an expressed interest backed up with some type of exploration in that area of interest is sufficient.

Most architectural schools have multiple degrees. It is important to determine which degrees are NAAB-accredited. These in our area range from 5-year undergraduate degrees or 2 1/2 year master degrees. Some schools only have one accredited degree. Make sure that the accredited degree program meets your student's goals.

In looking at our local programs, I would also look at the size of the program. We have an extremely small program in the area. As Architectural school is based on a studio structure, it is important to have a school of sufficient size to offer a variety of studio critics or instructors.

Finally architecture is dependent on the economy with some market sectors being more volatile than others. In addition, architects are the lowest paid of the professional degrees.

That said, I would not discourage anyone from going into architecture if that is what their passion is. My brother is a mechanical engineer in a major manufacturing corporation. He has had significantly more layoffs than I or any architect I know have had. In addition, architects earnings put them solidly in the middle to upper middle class, Architecture is a unique profession with its combination of art and science and is incredibly rewarding.

I wish your DD the best of luck.

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Thank you all for the info! Lots to chew on. Dd is most interested in a BArch followed by a MArch. Dd has also been looking at engineering to combine with architecture. (Oh, to be young again and have boundless energy!!😂)

I think it’s the combination of art and science, @Arch at Home, that dd really loves.

Thanks again! 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm a little late coming to the conversation, but my oldest is a BArch student, so feel free to PM me anytime if you have questions. The architecture forum on College Confidential doesn't get a lot of activity, but there are a couple very helpful and knowledgeable parents there that can give some guidance too. 

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Even later to the conversation.

I would recommend that she visits (somehow in Covid!?) architectural offices and see what they do everyday.  In school we do a lot of drawing and designing with some technical classes. Then you get to the office.  Not everyone can be drawing.  Buildings need to get built - so a lot of people are reviewing shop drawings or answering the contractors questions.  Just good to go in knowing the full width of work you might end up doing! 

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I think the biggest thing to keep in mind from a high school planning perspective is that she'll need a portfolio to apply to most undergrad programs and many of them are significantly more competitive than the overall universities they're in.

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My dd is studying architecture (undergrad) and there a few fields she can chose from within the major. She’s quite excited and loves the blend of science and art. It’s the perfect fit for her. She applied as a Classics major but quickly switched to architecture, so some schools allow you to switch once you’re enrolled/admitted. 

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My daughter is in the Arch program at KU.  It’s great!  They are NAAB accredited.  It’s a five year master’s program (straight to M.Arch out of high school-no bachelor’s required).  It’s a great school.  If you happen to be in KC, you can even get a head start by taking the first year studio classes in high school at JCCC. First year studio classes are killer, though.  Crazy amount of work.   Not for the faint of heart.

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Thanks, everyone, for the additional replies!

@shelleysboys, I wish she could visit an architectural firm and shadow someone for a day/week. I think that would be very helpful. My area recently went purple/level 5/DEFCON 1; so, I doubt such a thing can be organized. But we’ll check it out.

@Farrar, we’ve talked about portfolios. She’s mainly painted/drawn. I advised her to research what is required or recommended for an architect student’s portfolio.

@Mrs.W, @East Coast Sue, @Amy in KS, Wow! Nice to read about other architecture students! KU is on dd’s list of potential schools. We don’t live in Kansas, though. 

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brehon, as she in only in 10th grade, I am hopeful that she will be able to shadow prior to needing to apply.

I don’t know where you live. Missouri and Kansas have a reciprocity agreement which allows Missouri students to attend either KU or K-State to study architecture paying in state tuition. In addition, I believe there is a similar arrangement in the KC metropolitan area for attendance at JCCC. 

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We’re in Texas, @Arch at Home. So, unfortunately, she won’t be able to take advantage of what sounds like great opportunities. We’ll have to investigate our local CC. I might suggest she write to the head of the architecture department at the nearest Big State U. (It’s just down the road.) That department is NAAB accredited and they might have some ideas for her, too. 
I am also hopeful that in the next year shadowing will be possible.

Thank you so much for everyone’s info!

Edited by brehon
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One thing I was going to mention is to dig into the demographics of architecture programs individually for realism.  I actually was pre-arch for a year in college.  The architecture program at our big 10 school is open to undergrads.  But the average student accepted was 27+ years old and already had a bachelor degree and professional experience.  

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