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Which school is right for me?

ivystateofmindivystateofmind Registered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
Im a sophomore from greece and currently searching for possible colleges in the us. My goal is to make it to an Ivy. I know they are really selective, im not here to ask for chances i just would like to know some basic characteristics of each school, so that i bear in mind which would fit me best. Unfortunately i cant visit the campus of any school, and thats why i need your advice! Some facts about me are that my prospective major is most possibly architecture, im not a huge fan of greek life (kind of an irony), i would like the school to be in an urban area, and i dont really care about the nubmer of students. Please help me! :)

Replies to: Which school is right for me?

  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 1,728 Senior Member
    Two rather important questions:

    1. What can you afford?

    2. Are you the strongest student in your high school, and one of the strongest students in Greece?
  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 1,728 Senior Member
    To add a bit to my previous post, and to actually answer some of your questions:

    Harvard, MIT, UC Berkeley, and Columbia all have very strong architecture programs, and all are in urban areas. You will need to be a very strong student to get into any of them (basically, you will need to be the strongest applicant from Greece). Berkeley and other state universities in California give very little financial aid for out of state students, so you would need to plan on paying the whole thing (something like $65,000 per year). The others *might* have need-based financial aid, but are not likely to have any merit based aid. Note that only two of these are "Ivy's", but that the Ivy League schools are only 8 out of a very large number of very strong US universities.

    There are also strong architecture programs at several of the top universities in Canada (McGill, Toronto, UBC, Waterloo). These are mostly in cities, and would be quite a bit less expensive (probably about half the cost) unless you get great financial aid from the US schools. McGill of course has the unusual (for North America) feature of being right in the middle of a bilingual city, but you don't need to know any French to go there.
  • ivystateofmindivystateofmind Registered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
    edited August 13
    I didnt mention that I am applying for financial aid. In my school, I am the second strongest, but it's one of the best and most competitve (probably the very best one) in my country, so speaking nationally, i think im one of the strongest students for sure. Thank you a lot for the reply!
  • sheepskin00sheepskin00 Registered User Posts: 57 Junior Member
    Your desire for an urban environment automatically cuts down your Ivy list to Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Penn, and Brown. You could study architecture at all of them. To figure out which is the best for you academically, you ought to spend some time looking at the websites for these schools' architecture departments and compare the number of faculty, faculty specialties, breadth of course offerings, requirements for arch. majors, etc. It might also be a good idea to ask the departments where their graduates end up after graduation (i.e. how good is their placement in grad school and employment).

    As for campus culture, these schools are all intense places with super competitive and able students but there are differences. Penn probably has the most active Greek scene. Penn and Yale are probably in the least attractive environments. Harvard and Columbia are probably in the best settings. Harvard is in the Boston area, which is a great place to be a student. Columbia is in New York, which offers amazing off-campus resources and opportinities. Brown is the smallest, the most "bohemian," and the one with no "core" or distribution requirements.

    You should also make sure you understand what each school requires of applicants to its architecture program. Are you treated like any other prospective student or will you need to have certain coursework in order to be considered? Can anyone major in architecture or is there an application for the major (as at Harvard)?

    You've got some homework to do.
  • MrSamford2014MrSamford2014 Registered User Posts: 232 Junior Member
    At the undergraduate level in the US, Cornell and Rice combine overall academic excellence (currently, these schools are tied for #15 on the much-cited USNWR list) with a top-5 ranking--by various industry publications--in architecture. Cornell is a member of the Ivy League, but its campus is very rural. Rice is located in one of the largest and most diverse cities in the US.

    At the graduate level, Harvard is generally regarded as having the top program, with Cornell right behind it.
  • ivystateofmindivystateofmind Registered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
    Thanks a lot!
  • ivystateofmindivystateofmind Registered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
    Thank you!
  • Penn95Penn95 Registered User Posts: 1,649 Senior Member
    edited August 14
    @ivystateofmind From my understanding, Harvard, Cornell, Yale, Columbia and Penn are the ivies with really strong architecture departments, probably in the order mentioned.
    For undergrad however I think it is important to consider both the overall standing and quality of the school and its resources, in addition to the strength of the specific department.
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 29,759 Senior Member
    edited August 14
    You have to consider that standards to practice architecture are national and thus getting a US architecture degree may not allow you to work in Europe.
    Are you interested in other subjects that may be more "portable"?
  • pupscotchpupscotch Registered User Posts: 154 Junior Member
    Another possible option if you're set on architecture would be to apply for the dual degree program from Brown and RISD.
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