Is this a good list/I need more match schools!

Hello! I’m a senior this year, and as I’m applying to colleges, I’d love to get some advice on my list! I’d also like to have more match schools on my list (and to know which schools are actually attainable for me!)

Gender: Female
Ethnicity: White
Single parent
Fairly competitive public high school, ~2000 people

Parent’s income: ~110k/year
Have grandparents who are willing to pay for part of my college tuition

UW GPA: 3.9
W GPA: 4.68
Class rank: N/A, probably in the top 10-15%
SAT: 1480, 740 Lang, 740 Math
Should I retake the SAT in October? I could possibly get a 1500+, but I don’t think it would be worth all the stress

AP Classes- AP US Gov (9th), AP US History (10th), AP Lang, AP Enviro, AP World (11th), AP Lit, AP Bio, AP Psych, AP Calc AB (12th)
Besides APs, I’ve taken almost all honors classes
Completing the PLTW Engineering Pathway (so 5 engineering classes throughout high school)

(Don’t really have many yikes)
AP Scholar with Honor
National Honor Society
Science Honor Society

*I’m not going into much depth with these so bear with me
A few leadership roles that I’ve been dedicated to, founder+president of a club, wrote a bill, 250+ volunteer hours from a few organizations

Intended majors and preferences:
Major in architecture, with a focus/minor in environmental studies/science (environmental design major if possible)
I’d really prefer schools with an architecture program, but I’m still somewhat open to schools without one
In general, I prefer city schools in the northeast (but open to schools in the suburbs and out west)
I’m open to women’s colleges, but I’d like for them to be connected to co-ed schools as well

My List:

UPitt (accepted), Drexel University, UMD College Park

Need more recs!
Bryn Mawr, Scripps (not sure if this is a match or reach)

Barnard (top choice), Northeastern (2nd choice), Case Western, WashU, Middlebury

*Also, if there are any schools that would give a good amount of merit aid, that would be great

What will your yearly budget after all aid be? What’s your home state? (No, no one on here will figure out who you are).

If you’re willing to be in CA, I would look at Cal Poly, if it will come in under your budget. Architects routinely rate it #2 or #3 in Architectural Record (2020 fell to #8, but was #1 in 2014, things don’t really change that much in reality year over year) with Cornell the perennial #1. It is a 5 year degree, so no graduate work is required. They have several angles on ESci, It’s in an idyllic community. It is attractively priced for a CA public. Worth a look.


So i’m guessing with a 3.9, 4.68 you’re higher than the top 10-15% - but if your school doesn’t rank, it doesn’t rank. If you provide an estimated rank, you are making up info - so don’t worry.

Don’t worry about no awards. Awards, to me and there’s debate on this, aren’t a big deal. If you walk dogs, have a job, or aid immigrants, you don’t get an award. What is important is what you do - what impact you make - not what you win. I’ll take your ECs as strong - based on what you were getting at.

If you want architecture, why would you be open to schools that don’t offer it?

Let’s remove geography and get to aid which you need:


  • Why not apply to #1 for architecture - Rice - and don’t submit your test. You can run the NPC - net price calculator. Meets 100% of need.

  • UVA - same thing - meets need - run the NPC. Meets 100% of need.

  • Wellesley - women’s school


  • VA Tech - while not in a city, it’s huge - it is a city.

  • Miami - meets 100% need


  • Syracuse

  • UT Knoxville - big merit opportunity

It’d be smart to run the NPC because while you have a single mom, if you have a dad, a lot of schools will require financials from them as well.

You got into Pitt - it’s in a city, in the NE and it’s a wonderful school - so you can apply anywhere if Pitt works for you.

One other school - a public school or two in your state - you didn’t mention which is yours.

Good luck.

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Thanks for the advice! I’m in Maryland (the main reason I’m applying to UMD), and I think my yearly budget after aid is around 55k.
As for Cal Poly, I’ve never considered it, but it does seem like a great, fairly affordable, school for architecture. I’ll definitely look more into it!

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Thank you for the advice!
I was open to schools that don’t have architecture because:

  1. While it is what I want to major in, I’m not positive that I want to go into it as a profession, so I am looking for schools with good enviro programs as well (and just to get a good education in general)
  2. For some schools that I love (like Bryn Mawr, which only has urban design), they don’t have architecture- but I’m still willing to consider them

I have been using the NPC for my schools, and I’ll definitely use it for potential schools as well.
I’m in MD, and don’t love UMD, but it’s in-state and has a pretty good architecture program, so it’s a good option for me
I thought of Rice, but took it off my list because it seems overly “tech-y” and competitive (also I wouldn’t be happy in the deep south, except for maybe UMiami, if you consider Florida+Texas part of the deep south)
I’ll definitely look into Syracuse, Miami, UVA, and UT Knoxville.
Also, I’m less concerned about having no awards now, so thank you for that!

Remember, if you choose a 4 year option (BS Architecture), it isn’t really an Architecture degree. It is a pre-Architecture degree. You won’t be able to practice independently or command a higher salary, until you get a Masters in Architecture (M.Arch.).

If you chose a 5 year Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) you will immediately have professional status. You’ll still need practical experience through AXP, and to pass the ARE, but B.Arch and M.Arch make the same money. Pay is determined by experience.

None of the schools you listed, save Drexel, offer B.Arch. They are all pre-professional degrees, or not architecture at all.

I agree wholeheartedly with @tsbna44, if you want to be an architect, pick a school where you’ll walk out as an architect. It makes no sense not to do it in 5 years, if you can.

There are lots of good ones out there, including aforementioned (Edit: scratched Rice due to being in the South) and Cal Poly. How about Syracuse, RISD, Cooper Union or Virginia Tech if you want to stay East. Arizona, Oregon and USC are nice schools in the West.

With the schools on your list, at best, it’s a longer route. At worst, you won’t be an architect at all, no matter the focus.


Odd that it’s set up like this. I was not aware

As usual, @eyemgh you are well versed on the subject. I wonder why these other schools offer an architecture degree?

Is it false advertising or are there other career routes that work with an exposure to architecture vs. the fully required capabilities needed??

Great question! I really only know what I do, because my son attended a school with a 5 year program. Finding that strange, I dug a little deeper a while ago. I found it wasn’t Cal Poly that was odd, but all those who offer a degree called “Architecture” where you can’t practice as one with said degree. Truly weird. Below is what UCLA requires for consideration to their M.Arch. program and it isn’t a BS in Architecture.

“Master of Architecture: Accepts applications from students with a broad diversity of backgrounds. Although no formal training in architecture is required, first-year classes assume some familiarity with the history and culture of architecture, possession of basic graphics skills, and understanding of fundamental concepts of mathematics and physics. Applicants are also strongly advised to become familiar with basic works in the history and theory of architecture before entering the program. Therefore, applicants must have taken at least one college-level course in each of the following areas: Newtonian physics; mathematics (covering algebra plus geometry or trigonometry); a university survey of the history of architecture (minimum one semester or two quarters) encompassing examples from antiquity to the present; and drawing or basic design. Applicants should contact the graduate adviser for further information on these prerequisites.”


William Smith offers excellent programs in architectural studies and environmental studies. Additionally, it offers merit scholarships.

As general reading, this article profiles a student whose interest in sustainable architecture seems very much like your own: From Architecture to Zoology, a Tailor-Made Major - News - Hamilton College. Note that he studied broadly, across “art, art history, environmental studies, and physics.”


Unfortunately, they don’t even offer a BS in Architecture, so the OP would be required to do a 3 year M.Arch in order to practice.

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From the article cited above “America’s Top Architecture Schools”:

Top 10 Undergraduate Architecture Programs:

  1. Cornell
  2. RISD
  3. Rice
    4.Cooper Union
  4. Syracuse
  5. Virginia Tech
  6. Pratt institute
  7. Univ. of Texas at Austin
  8. So. California Inst. of Arch.

Top 10 Graduate Programs in Architecture

2. Columbia
3. MIT
4. Yale
5. Cornell
6. Princeton
7. Rice
9. UPenn
10. UCal-Berkeley

Interesting to note that 7 of the top 10 graduate programs are not listed among the top 10 undergraduate programs. There must be a significant reason for schools to offer a graduate degree program in architecture based on the quality of the schools listed in the top 10 graduate programs. Is there a significant benefit in having earned a degree in a related subject (urban planning or environmental planning, for example) before studying architecture ?

P.S. I do not know why the post became jumbled & misnumbered in the first list as I wrote it correctly. This happens frequently on College Confidential when presenting numbered lists. Seems to be a quirk in the new system on CC. I am unable to correct the errors.

This is really a misnomer classifying them as undergraduate and graduate programs. Never is a strong word, but a B.Arch. will never be a M.Arch. They essentially have the same credentials, so there’s no reason for a B.Arch. to go to graduate school.

It’s really a matter of educational philosophy. Think of a B.Arch. like a combined BS/MD. It is the fastest, most cost effective route to the end, but gives up some breadth in general education for the speed.

The programs that offer both probably figure they already have the infrastructure in place, so why not. If you look however at Cornell’s curricula for B.Arch. and M.Arch. they have different course numbers, ostensibly to signify a higher level, and maybe practically to separate age groups, but the class titles themselves are mostly the same.

You might check out NC State. They have a good architecture program offering both BEDA, B.Arch and M.Arch degrees. College of Design School of Architecture

My thought is that classifying programs in architecture as graduate or undergraduate is not a misnomer, but simply a distinction somewhat similar to the difference between an undergraduate degree in business and an MBA.

MBA is considered an advanced degree versus an undergraduate business degree. A M.Arch. is not an advancement of a B.Arch. For all intents and purposes, as far as architecture goes, they are the same degree. There is no more prestige or pay difference associated with either degree, like there is with a MBA. They are simply 2 different ways to get to the same spot. No one with a B.Arch. would get a M.Arch., but people with undergraduate business degrees do sometimes get MBAs. They call the M.Arch. that because it’s for people who already have a BS, not necessarily in Architecture.

Northeastern might offer merit aid, and also offer their “Honors” program - so worth pursuing.

I understand your preference of Barnard (my daughter attends), but those schools don’t offer merit aid. At best you might qualify for a subsidized loan (where interest only kicks in after you graduate), possibly combined with work-study (a small reduction in tuition in return for some campus job).

Kent state has a highly regarded program in architecture and you’d likely get a lot of merit, so if that’s a consideration look into it.

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Lafayette should most likely be a safety for you , certainly a match and you may qualify for merit. They have an architecture minor within their Engineering Studies Program. This program is designed for students interested in pursuing a graduate degree in architecture.

Lafayette also has strong program in Environmental Science. It does not check off the box of being in a city. One consideration with LACs in general is opportunities to do research as an undergrad where at larger universities priority for research generally goes to graduate students. Good luck.

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Regarding environmental studies, this site names some of the nation’s top programs:

Note that generally highly ranked colleges appear to be favored by the methodology, however.

Have you considered Cooper Union? It’s in NYC, it’s affordable, and it offers an architecture degree.

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