Architecture Schools on the West Coast

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Discus: College Search and Selection: March 2004 Archive: Architecture Schools on the West Coast
By Nick87 (Nick87) on Saturday, March 27, 2004 - 03:23 pm: Edit

Wondering what the best architecture schools are on the west coast. Im from Oregon and so far I have looked at USC, Cal Poly, and Oregon. I also looked into UMich, but it might be too expensive. Are there any others that are highly esteemed? Also is there anyone who has prepared a portfolio? I need ideas on what to include.

Junior at a public high school.
GPA 3.92 (UW)
PSAT 69 math 57 verbal
will take SAT in June and (depending on score) again in Sept/Oct. Should I take the SAT IIs during my junior year or early when Im a senior?
No AP classes yet. Will take 2-3 next year.
Have taken lots of drafting classes.
Work full-time during the summer at my dad's engineering firm.

By Tigerstyle (Tigerstyle) on Saturday, March 27, 2004 - 04:26 pm: Edit

I'm not sure of the schools, all I know of is that Berkeley has one. But it's pretty competetive. As far as SAT's, take the SAT1 and SAT2 by the end of this year! That way you will have experience with the test. Next year you have two chances, and one special condition chance, to take the test for the colleges. Good luck!

PS: Good job on the drafting classes. However, you will need some AP classes if you want to go to a UC. Try to take any math, physics, art, or english courses in your senior year. And so far your GPA looks okay.

By Nick87 (Nick87) on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 02:42 am: Edit


By Uschicka (Uschicka) on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 04:58 pm: Edit

The only school with a good architecture program that I know of is USC (my roommate transfered from UCLA in order to pursue architecture).

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 06:43 pm: Edit

And if you think UMich is too expensive, whoa...wait'll you look at what USC costs!

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 06:46 pm: Edit

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo also has an architecture program with reasonable tuition, even for out of state students. Other choices on the west coast:
the University of Washington and U of Nevada Las Vegas.

By Nick87 (Nick87) on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 08:34 pm: Edit

What are the chances I would get financial or merit aid at a private school like USC? My parents told me that they most likely make too much to qualify for financial aid.
Also, Ive been looking at some websites of west coast architects and Cal Poly shows up very often as a place where they pursued an undergraduate degree. In fact, when I visited, they claimed to have a very highly respected architecture program among professionals in the business. I also am interested in the University of Oregon, although it seems their program is not very well known outside the state.

By Nick87 (Nick87) on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 08:36 pm: Edit

What are the possibilities of gaining residence for an out-of-stater at U. of Michigan?

By Cheers (Cheers) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 07:15 pm: Edit

Berkeley has a reknowned school, much better rep natioanlly/internationally than USC. (sorry trojans).

The most reputable school on the west coast, in terms of snazz and attracting the most talented students ala Cooper Union, is SCIARC or Southern California Institute of Architecture. Check out the website.

btw, Cooper Union is one of the most prestigious schools on the East Coast and it is FREE for all students.

Many architecture schools want a portfolio so if you're very creative, it might diffuse lower SAT scores. But take a Princeton Review course to boost those SATs to give yourself more options!

By Musefinity (Musefinity) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 07:35 pm: Edit

I think pretty much Oregon and USC are known to be best in architecture on the west coast. My friend is going to be an architecture--I'm a senior from Washington--and those are the two she's deciding between.

By Mattca (Mattca) on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - 01:31 am: Edit

Just thought I'd add, are you 100% sure you want to be an architect? I've heard that B.Arch programs are really rigorous (you have to juggle both architecture accreditation AND general education requirements). The dropout rate at many schools is very high. (For example, at Cal Poly SLO, it has ranged from 50-70%).

At Berkeley, the degree is a B.A. in architecture, not a B.Arch. You'll have to go back to school for another couple years to get your master's in order to be licensed (I think). That could be your kind of thing. You could work maybe for a year or two, and then after gaining some professional experience, go back to school to get your masters.

Sci-Arc might seem interesting, but it's also very different from most universities. It's a 1/4 of a mile long freight building in downtown L.A. The school focuses solely on architecture, there's not much in the way of conventional student life, and you're on your own for housing (no dorms).

There are a lot of other programs on the west coast. See the NAAB website ( ) for a list of accredited programs.


By Magoo (Magoo) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 10:00 pm: Edit

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
UC Berkeley
CSU pomona
I think UC Riverside or Irvine has a program

U. of Arizona
Arizona State U.

Portland State University


By N750il (N750il) on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 - 08:38 am: Edit

you need to define "best" more clearly if you want a real answer.
big vs. small?
rural v. urban?
preceptive reputaiton v. reality?
go talk to local 'tects to get perceptions. ironcially in asking around you'll find that prestige of one's insitution has little deciding factor in wealth or status. brute talent does. so many peeps dont know what they are getting into when they declare architecture. drop out rates attest to that.

i reccently studied WSU, UO. both have great programs.
UO has a reputation for "green" architecture.
WSU's location sucks
WSU has a richer endowment.
non-resident costs for ither school are crazy.

when/if you do a portfolio try to get your hands on what other sucessful apps encluded.
most of the time they dont want working floorplans or models of your attempts. they want to see a broad range of talent. pottery-sculpture-furnitchure-graphic arts-painting-sketches.
make a point of trying these mediums in the comming months or years and buy the time you assemble that portfolio youll have a bunch of cool stuff and hopefully found one or two areas you developed or grew.

oh... and i highly suggest you go to the NAAB site. its filled with ideas

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