Cornell Architecture Grads' Starting Salaries

<p>I was accepted into Cornell University's undergraduate architecture program (ED) and will be attending in fall of 08 (Class of 2013). Woo hoo!</p>

<p>I was particularly worried, however, about the kind of debt that I would graduate with after 5 years at Cornell, even more so if I go for grad school at another private school immediately after (which I think I probably will). My parents make a little over 100k/year, and they said that they think they have the first two years figured out. After that, we would probably have to take out loans - which my father is extremely wary of given the exhorbitant interest rates as seen in my sister's student loans. Luckily, Cornell says they'll give about $10,000 in financial aid out of the ~$50,000 cost per year for my first year, which my parents were extremely happy about after thinking that we wouldn't get any aide at all. I also realize that ultimately, education is a very important investment.</p>

<p>When I told my parents that the average intern architect makes around $36,000 a year, they laughed and thought that I was about 20k off. Also, whenever I bring up salary, the interns at the firm where I work keep telling me that architecture is the wrong field to go in. At first, I didn't really worry too much about the income. But after giving a realistic look at the cost of school, I'm getting second thoughts. I do love architecture, and people tell me to go with what I love, but I don't think I could love a profession that'll make paying student loans so difficult.</p>

<p>So I was wondering....</p>

<p>Do graduates of Cornell's B.Arch program have higher salaries than the average (either after going through grad school or not)? I know that admission is extremely selective (50-60 new freshmen/year), and I keep hearing that it's usually easier for cornell grads to get into big firms like SOM or Gensler (who himself was a cornell grad) assuming you have a good portfolio.</p>

<p>I don't think any school would be worth the $50k a year you might have to shell out. Also keep in mind that it's very rare for your financial aid package to increase as you get to be an upperclassman.</p>

<p>Have you applied to any other schools in architecture that are somewhat competitive with Cornell? When I was doing my undergrad decision I used RPI's offer for me to get CMU to practically double the financial aid they had offered.</p>