How to Find A Highly Ranked Accredited Architecture Program
Architecture continues to be among the most popular art and design degrees among students and their parents. It's exciting field that promises employment at great salary amounts that can bring your opportunities around the world. The profession is well organized and has an established hierarchy. Attending a highly ranked university with a full spectrum curriculum is very important for both your education and your career.
Please see the above Selecting the right school is important and can be a daunting task.
It is important that Canadian (and American) students take CACB (Canadian Architectural Certification Board) or USA NAAB (National Architectural Accreditation Board) accredited architecture programs. It's a requirement for becoming a licensed architect in North America. For information about Canadian accreditation visit this site http://cacb.ca/en/accredited-programs/ For a comprehensive accredited program list of American Architecture schools visit http://www.naab.org/home Overseas programs may be recognized by the accreditation bodies through the Canberra Accord.http://canberraaccord.org/
Once you are aware of which schools are accredited you will have to select your preferred university. Going to a higher ranked program does make a difference in a successful career in architecture so study over your options carefully.
Below are some links to some of the most reputable websites where you can find out which schools are most highly ranked to help you in the selection process. For a list of the highest ranked accredited programs in American go to: http://www.di.net/articles/americas-best-architecture-schools-2016/ DI or Design Intelligence is the foremost authority on architecture school rankings. If you are considering architecture programs in Canadian Architecture schools then you will find this link very helpful https://raic.org/raic/canadian-university-schools-architecture
Academic standing matters! It is of major importance and you need to find out about the required grade point average or percentage average each architecture program is looking for in successful applicants. Be aware that the advertised minimum average is not a true indicator of the typical cut off grade! Talk to the administrative assistant, a professor or program coordinator to find out what the true or typical cut off percentage is. While 75% is often the published cut off on university websites the fact is that most architecture programs are looking for students with a minimum of 80% with most only seriously considering students with an 85% or higher average. If you do not have an average of 85% or greater I strongly advise you to take an additional year of senior high school to increase your average while you work on your architecture portfolio skills.
Open your portfolio with a strong artwork that has a design feel or relates in some way to architecture but is more creative. Relate any creative artworks to design in some way. Avoid including all artwork. You want to been seen as a designer not as an artist. If you include only art they will reject you thinking that you belong in a fine art or illustration program. Be sure to include design sketches and ideas, perspective drawings in various media ranging from loose to more exact and refined. Be sure one of the designs is shown in all stages of development and with several different types of drawings as well as 3D models of some type. It's important that you have some items that are 3D in some way. End with a strong image to help the portfolio review committee remember you. Start with a bang and end with a bang. Be sure there is a strong graphic design flare.
Show some ingenuity and sense of design for how you make your portfolio. Perhaps you will make your cover or book rather than just buying one. Perhaps you could make a design scroll or design a cover page for a purchased portfolio. What if you get your book printed and bound professionally. Maybe you could use a portfolio box or other clever way to present your work. What if you made a pop-up architectural book or sculpture? What if you included a video or 3D animation? Show a design flare and original thinking, pride and professionalism in your presentation.
Show the review committee why you feel passionate about architecture. Explain how you hope to serve humanity and the planet via the spaces you will build in your future as an architect. Share your ideas and commitment to solve problems for the world. Show them who you are and what interests other than architecture you have as well. Be well read and well rounded. Show an awareness in the world around you.
When interviewing present your work with an extra flare. Do something that will impress them and get their attention right away. Use some ingenuity and show them how thoughtful you are about the design process. Maybe there is something you could come up with that would help your reviewers experience your designs and ideas in some way. Practice! Ask trusted mentors to go through a trial run with you. Watch similar interviews on line or go talk to professors at universities or established architects to help you prepare and build your confidence.
Go in with a feeling of excitement and anticipation of an exciting career and education in architecture. Feel your passion for design instead of feeling fear. Failure is not the opposite of success fear is! So go into an interview with joy in your heart and acknowledge your successes to yourself before your interview commences. Success requires that you validate your success in order for it to be actualized. When you do not acknowledge and validate your successes you risk falling into failure. So take a few moments to honestly give yourself the credit you deserve for all the hard work and great ideas in your portfolio.
Research the university you are applying to. Find out if there is a drawing test and what is typically the nature of the test. Look up postings from past students who have been accepted to your school of choice to find out what sorts of things they were asked to draw. Each year may be different so be sure to find advice from students over several years. Most schools will cycle through the assignments over the years. Some consistently ask for the same drawing test.
Practice the drawing types that you anticipate being asked to produce. Typical examples are the following: still life, a perspective of the room you are in, a perspective of a room you were in earlier that day or a perspective of the room you are in but from a different point of view than you are sitting. So have your wits about you and be observant. Practice still life drawing and point of view perspective drawings. Go visit the university if possible and draw typical spaces you might see in the area of the school you will be interviewing in. Often the design studios or lecture halls are used as spaces to draw. Look up on line what lecture halls and university design studios typically look like and familiarize yourself with how to draw that type of space.
Do you know how to draw tables and chairs? Do you understand how to find your eye level in a room? Do you know how to draw the sloped or raked floor of a lecture hall? If you are unsure about any of these skills you can ask to rent tutorial videos from PortPrep to gain the skills you need.
Be aware that the amount of time allotted to the drawing test is short but ample if you use your time well. Get the set up or rough done quickly avoid lingering too long on rough construction. Watch that you allow yourself enough time to complete it. If you practice you will be able to get it done more quickly. Students often lament that they took too long on their rough drafts.