Help me choose between UMiami and Rensselaer for Architecture

Hi, I’m a senior that’s in the process of choosing a school for architecture. The decision date is coming up soon and I have narrowed my choices down to 2 schools. UMiami and Rensselaer. I got a full tuition scholarship from UMiami (50k/year) and 28k/year from Rensselaer. The money isn’t too important, I want the best education possible that will set me up to be successful. I also want to grow as a person so I want to go somewhere with a bit of freedom. Here’s my analysis of each factor at school after attending each of their architecture tours:


UM wins, but Rensselaer is not that expensive


UM wins. UM is near Miami which is a fun place to go to college and Rensselaer is in Troy, NY which is the opposite. I’m from the Northeast so I can withstand Rensselaer’s cold weather if needed.


Rensselaer. Both have good facilities and are committed to spending money to better their facilities, but I would say Rensselaer at the moment is more technologically advanced.


Rensselaer wins. They cover a lot of abstract and creative ways of thinking that I admire, but I still question the practicality of a lot of their work. They also seem very computer focused whereas UM has more drawing and hand model making. UM is definitely behind imo, as the freshman student work from Rensselaer was a bit more impressive than UM’s.

Social Life-

UM by far. Rensselaer seemed fairly depressing and while the student body was nice, they seemed contained in their respective areas. I’m not a jock by any means, but watching sports is a huge part of my life(if u lurk my profile u’ll see) and I’ve always wanted to support a college sports team. UM gives me that opportunity to have a more normal college life that will be more enjoyable than Rensselaer.


Rensselaer wins (based on what I’ve gathered). Rensselaer seemed to really push that they’re very well known in the world of architecture, which is why I’m here to confirm that. UMiami is a bit more of a rising school, not as good of a reputation.

Job Opportunities-

Tie. Both are similar in terms of actually getting students to get jobs. Both encourage internships and have job fairs, but neither put you into a firm.

In conclusion, I’m pretty torn between these two schools. My parents want me to go to the closer and higher ranked Rensselaer, while the teen in me is leaning towards UM. Please give any advice on what I should do because I’m pretty lost right now.

@Nandhathebeast, I think you have to put DI rankings to the side for a moment, while you consider which school is a better fit for you personally. UMiami’s school of architecture is in essence a design school, though of course they teach the required foundation courses in structures and tech. RPI is a tech school, though of course they teach design as well. Neither is better than the other, just different. You would be stretched and challenged at both, but in different directions.

UMiami has made enormous inroads in establishing itself as the go-to destination for urban architecture. RPI has a long standing reputation as a leader in technology. Both are essential aspects of architecture today, but one might appeal to you more than the other. Some firms value hand-drawing and model making, others are all CAD all the time. Ideally your education should expose you to both, but one may be more meaningful to you than the other.

As far as the overarching culture of the parent university goes, UMiami is more of a “full-service” university and your classmates’ interests will reflect that breadth, while RPI students will be focused on the STEM influence on their areas of study. Again, no judgement here. Just points of differentiation. You will be spending an enormous amount of time in the studio so feeling simpatico with your classmates is an important consideration.

I believe that RPI is well known throughout the country, especially in the northeast. While UMiami’s reputation while good and getting better is still being established and is probably more regional. If this concerns you then I would take a look at the education and careers of each school’s faculty, visiting lecturers and critics. These are the people who will help you make the connections that will propel you into internships and jobs after graduation. Ask where their students have held internships and where they ended up after graduation.

Lastly, I would note that today many architects working at prestigious firms hold MArchs, even if they already have BArchs. That USD100K difference between these two schools will really come in handy in funding an MArch down the road.

Curious, which school did you select? Are you happy with your choice? My daughter is currently applying to BArch schools. Thanks for any info you can share!