I'm a rising sophomore at Rice University which as you probably know has a great architecture program. Going into college, however it was very important to me to get a general liberal arts education before attending some sort of graduate program in architecture if that was where I wanted to end up. My question is what are the steps I can take to best prepare myself to be a competitive applicant to architecture programs after my undergraduate years? I'm currently planning on majoring in environmental sustainability and political science, two fields that I have a lot of interest in.
I welcome any input you have in terms of courses to take, even taking a few courses in the architecture school, majors, minors, summer jobs to look at, study abroad programs and anything else you feel is relevant. Thanks in advance for your help.
Thanks for the compliment; as I recently noted on the blog, I am reached my five-year anniversary and not quite 500 posts.
Congrats on your path to becoming an architect; some may not understand, but I know that many employers would rather have individuals with the two different degrees like you are planning.
As for the steps, I would start by meeting the graduate director of the architecture program at Rice and asking them what you should do -- not to suggest you must attend Rice, but you are already there. Clearly, you will want top academics (GPA) and a strong portfolio. Thus, do well in your classes, but can you take ART courses to develop creative materials for your portfolio. Develop strong relationships with your faculty as you will want them to write letters of recommendations.
As you are at Rice, possibly take an architecture class, but attend the lectures, visit the reviews each semester and meet up with faculty that make a connection to your majors. Certainly, pursuing a career related position or study abroad can help as well.
Read, Read, and Read architecture journals and books. Study in the architecture library.
Draw, Draw, and Draw to develop the habit.
And ask lots of questions from everybody - become involved with the architecture student organizations or the professional association - AIA.