Friday, January 4, 2013

Where to attend for school?

My son is getting ready to go to college.  His goal is to become an architect and he would like to work for a large firm.  He has applied to several universities and has been accepted to 3 so far.  He has been getting conflicting information about what employers might want regarding the type of degree.  He has been told that most firms would rather have someone with a 5 year professional degree rather than a 4 year pre-professional plus a 2 year masters.  

He has already been accepted to Penn State (but the cost is high) which has a 5 year program.  I has also been accepted to University of Arizona and Texas A&M (AZ offered him a $10,000 a year scholarship).  He is  waiting to hear from Syracuse, Drexel and Cooper Union (my top picks).  Drexel is a 6 year program which includes a 4 year apprenticeship.  He is a hard working straight A student and is very goal driven.  I know that no matter where he attends he'll do well, I just want to make sure he has options.

Can you give me some advice so I can pass that on to him?

As for advice, I truly think a student should pick a school because of what the school/program has to offer not on what potential employers might want.

For education, there are two basic degree paths - 1) 5 year Bachelor of Architecture and 2) 4+2 year Master of Architecture.  The biggest advantage of the BArch is the time it takes to complete the degree - shortest.  For the MArch, it provides the student an opportunity to attend two programs (undergraduate and graduate) as well as take time between two degrees to work.

All of the schools you list except Texas A&M are 5 year BArch.  Thus, he seems to be leaning towards the BArch.  

One option is to contact employers in your area to see what they would prefer.  Most will tell you that it is not the degree that matters but what the graduate can do.  Which program will best prepare him for the profession.

Where are you in the country?  I would suggest you have attend the school/program that he feels is best for him and worry about the work after graduation for later.  Obviously, if possible have him obtain summer internships in a firm.

I hope this helps!

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