Friday, March 16, 2012


I am faced with a huge dilemma and am looking for insight. I am currently a senior at a small liberal arts college studying architectural studies (an interdisciplinary approach to arch education)

I have applied to several MArch programs and have heard back.  My dilemma comes down to the money.  I have been offered an essentially full ride to a state public institution for a dual degree in architecture and historic preservation. Essentially I would be able to graduate in four years with no debt. On the other hand I have been accepted to two prestigious ivy league graduate programs for similar dual degrees but offered almost no scholarship money.

Should I accept the free ride at an institution that may not have the opportunities a top program the two ivy league programs can offer or do I swallow the upwards of $120,000 in debt to go to the top institution?

First, congratulations on your offers of admission and full ride from the public institution.

I suppose what you are asking is the million dollar question.  The easy answer is to be practical about it and take the free ride at the public institution and graduate with minimal dept. 

On the other hand, do the two ivy league programs offer you something that the public one does not that is worth the added expense?  Have you been in touch with both to determine if financial aid is possible further into the program - assistantships or scholarships.

Finally, what is a top program?  What others consider the best or what you consider the best?  As you make this decision, I would consider the criteria by which you will make the decision - i.e., cost, location, facilities, faculty, etc. and grade each program against those criteria.  From that vantage point, which is the BEST program for you.

I am eager to know what you decide.  As is possible, let me know and I wish you the best.  Feel free to contact me again.

Dr. Architecture

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