Could I gain admission into a Landscape Architecture Program?

As I narrow down my application focus, I’ve started to become very interested in Landscape Architecture. I’ve had experience within the field—I’m a part-time GIS planning technician for my town—but I’m wondering if my academic record would line up with Landscape Architecture.

I only took one year of art courses—freshman year, I took Graphic Design (full year class). I’ve taken lots of performing arts, but that’s the only studio course I’ve taken.

My transcript is strong in the social sciences and humanities, but weaker in the mathematics courses (but I performed well in geometry, and I’m doing fine in pre-calculus).

My EC’s are full of music, but I’m also working on my Eagle Scout award. I have a few large projects (Eagle and non-Eagle) that are related to cartography and urban planning, but nothing directly relating to landscape architecture.

Would I have a shot at Landscape Architecture? I would be looking at non-portfolio required schools, including UConn, Penn State, SUNY-ESF, Rutgers, etc.


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It’s hard to “chance” you for any specific program without more specifics, but the whole idea with non-portfolio programs is that they’re not going to reject you for a lack of discipline-specific experience. And your GIS experience is something a lot of applicants don’t have at your age. If you apply to schools that fit your stat profile, you should do fine.

Additional programs you might consider: Cal Poly Pomona, U of Oregon, URI, Virginia Tech

Also consider CU Boulder ENVD Curriculum | Environmental Design | University of Colorado Boulder It’s a really nice small school within the larger university. Students start out with a common ENVD core and then choose their track - architecture, landscape architecture, environmental product design, or planning & urban design. It’s a pre-professional program but really great for exploring your options if you’re not 100% sure about your professional path.



For a quick rundown, I have a 3.6 unweighted GPA with a HUGE upward trend (3.4—>3.9).

Out of all my classes, mathematics tends to be my weakest, but I have a B+ in pre-calc, so it’s not awful-awful.

I have five AP’s scattered throughout my schedule (social sciences and humanities, mainly).

I got a 1260 on the SAT without studying, but all my local testing centers are full because of COVID….so I might have to apply test-optional to some schools.

Thanks for the other schools!

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Well, Cal Poly Pomona might be a good target, as they don’t consider freshman grades and they’re also test-blind this year. If the 45K/yr OOS price tag works for you, it could be a good one to have on your list, as I’m pretty sure you’d get in - the acceptance rates for undergrad LArch are pretty high - over 80% most years. (The better-known Cal Poly campus in San Luis Obispo does consider 9th grade and is a much tougher admit generally… but it’s all one application so you have nothing to lose by applying to both, other than the extra application fee. Although, do note that LArch at SLO is a five-year program, vs. 4 years at CPP.)

Good luck; I’m sure you will have good options. SUNY ESF could be a really nice target for you, as you could participate in Syracuse U music ensembles as an ESF student, plus ESF has its own active Music Society SUNY-ESF’s Music Society reaches membership peak for 10-year anniversary - The Daily Orange



Do landscape architecture programs tend to be more competitive than general university admissions?

I ask because I come from a very academically strong public high school in the Northeast, and my counselor has listed SUNY-ESF as more of a safety for me (based on Naviance).

(Compare to UConn or Rutgers as a match, and a school like Northeastern as a reach).

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Not necessarily. It all depends on the size of the program and the demand. It’s not super competitive at the Cal Poly schools, for example - less competitive than architecture or engineering, for example. At URI, though, it’s a small program and sounds more competitive than baseline for the school. I really don’t know about which majors are more competitive at ESF. I didn’t really mean “target” in the “more competitive than a safety” sense, just in the “good program that you’d have a good shot at getting into” sense.

Northeastern would be a long shot, and it’s also a 5-year program after which you’d still need a 2-year MLA, so that’s a long and expensive road. It’s a cool program in terms of the content, though. USC would be a big reach too, but you might really like their geodesign and global geodesign majors, which blend GIS stuff with Arch/LArch stuff.

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