Tuesday, October 4, 2011


One of the things I love about SCI-Arc is the exposure to technology and software. For the past 5 weeks I've been here I've learned Maya, Rhino, 3Ds Max, Adobe Illustrator and Indesign. I've also been using AutoDesk and Photoshop as well.

Though I am still very new to Maya, I played around with it enough to be unafraid and I've been using it quite a bit in my design studio class. Maya, according to my Visual Studies instructor, was originally used for designing ships. It is widely used now for animation and modeling. If you spend enough time understanding the logic behind the commands, it is not that difficult to figure it out. It must be mentioned that Maya is very different from AutoCADD and Rhino. I am taking Visual Studies 1 class now and we are using Maya. I made below using Maya in my summer transfer digital design class.

Ducky by Manori Sumanasinghe (c) 2011

I've been introduced to Rhino and everyone uses it much more than I do and I plan to polish up my Rhino skills as well. Rhino works pretty much like AutoCAD and the commands are pretty similar. Can do accurate and precise drawings unlike Maya which is great for free forming and can do pretty accurate as well.

3Ds Max is a software that my current studio professor said he uses the most. He did a quick demo that really impressed us. It seems like a good balance between Maya and Rhino. I played around with a bit and I am still not using it for any classes but I plan on using it this semester for my studio classes as well.

I think its quite important to learn different software to be able to have the freedom to use different tools when we research and experiment various design ideas. I don't think we should stop making physical models but I think its very important to try it out in a software for accuracy and precision.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Ambivalent Phenomena of Projectiology

There is a great article that gives a good introduction to Projectiology that I want to share with you. This article is published in the IAC Blog.

Ambivalent Phenomena of Projectiology

by Nanci Trivellato & Wagner Alegretti

There are many types of phenomena and paranormal activities, but some of them, like regression and clairvoyance, for example, are subjective phenomena. Thus, they cannot be seen and occur inside of the person’s own microuniverse. We have previously analyzed these intimate phenomena of the consciousness, so we will concentrate on the objective, or ambivalent phenomena, which can be seen or proven. We can cite several of them. For example:

Materialization: This is a well known phenomenon in which a paranormal performs the materialization of objects which were before “non-existent,” and turns them totally visible. There are various registered cases studied on the topic of materialization. Some of the names that are better known in this field are: Rudy Schneider and Madam d’Esperance. To realize a phenomenon such as this one, the psychic should have control over a type of bioenergy called ectoplasm.

Telekinesis: Telekinesis is a phenomenon in which the person is able to move objects and transform the structure of physical things without touching them, in other words, using only the strength of its bioenergies. Diverse laboratory experiments, primarily in Russia, have been performed in order to verify this phenomenon which is today accepted. One of the best known psychics in the field of telekinesis is Uri Gueler, seen often on television, bending spoons, moving the hands on a watch, etc. Nevertheless, there have been many others who perform telekinesis which have been studied with results greater than those of Uri Gueler.

To read the full article, click here

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bioenergies: A Vital Component of Human Existence

I haven't had much time to write for the blog lately but I want to share some cool articles. These weren't written by me but they are excellent for anyone interested in learning about the consciousness (ourselves) more and related phenomena. You can find more articles like this in the IAC blog

Bioenergies: A Vital Component of Human Existence
by Sandie Gustus & Nanci Trivellato

What is bioenergy?

Bioenergy is one of many known terms used to describe the energy field that envelops every living being. A non-physical energy, it has nevertheless been identified and acknowledged throughout the ages by different cultures in different parts of the world. The yogis in India call it prana , Chinese acupuncturists know it as chi and modern day psychics refer to it as aura. Other expressions commonly used to describe this type of energy include immanent energy, subtle energy, vital energy, magnetic energy and universal energy.

Many studies have already been undertaken and others are currently in progress to better understand bioenergy (prana, chi, subtle energy). Attempts have also been made to develop instruments and other means of registering it. Kirlian photography for example, a technique that was discovered by accident in 1939, shows that when a high-voltage electric field is applied to an object placed on a photographic plate, an image of the signals emitted by the object is generated. This image is said to be a physical representation of the object's aura.

Among other experiments performed in this field, many noteworthy investigations into bioenergies have been led by the Russians. Results of their research showed that individuals can utilize their own bioenergies for self-healing or to heal another person, to move an object without touching it, or to engage in a telepathic or mental transmission of information.

Other researchers into parapsychic phenomena have concluded that this type of energy is an essential component of a whole range of occurrences such as acupressure, acupuncture, the bending of metal at will, dematerializations and rematerializations, ectoplasmy, homeopathy, poltergeist activities, teleportation and psychic surgery.

Despite some modest success in creating instruments capable of recording bioenergy (prana, chi), it remains largely too subtle to be measured with any precision by scientific equipment. The most efficient tool for this purpose is the sensitivity of the human being. Given that humans have the inherent capacity to detect and analyze the bioenergy fields (aura, energetic body, etheric double) generated by others, they are invaluable research tools in experiments of this nature.

To read the full article click here

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Student Tips: Paying for school and student loans

A few students who applied to SCI-Arc as transfer students, couldn't make it here even after they got accepted, because of finances. I thought of sharing some experiences that could help you organize yourself financially so you could receive a very good education.

I can't stress enough how important it is to apply to multiple schools. My friends I spoke of above were all ready to move to LA. They were looking for car movers and places to rent. Then something unexpected happened. Their student loans got rejected. If SCI-Arc was the only school they applied to, today they would be without a school. Thankfully they had applied to UF and got admitted there as well so it worked out for them.

The second thing I can't stress enough about is to have a strong application along with a very good letter of intent, an excellent portfolio and very good recommendation letters. This will increase your chances of winning a scholarship from the school. If you are eligible for academic scholarships or any scholarships for that matter, you should apply. You should aim for a scholarship that will cover most, if not all, of your tuition.

Next step would be to apply for federal aid - FAFSA. One of the most important steps in applying to college is filing your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). You will need your tax information from the previous year to file the FAFSA. All details about filing for FAFSA can be found in their website here. If you want help filing your FAFSA usually the school financial aid office can help you with this. But trust me, you can fill it on your own online, just read the instructions carefully.

Then you should apply for financial aid with your school. Usually, all schools have a set of documents they would require you to fill for financial aid. These documents can be found at the financial aid office of the school and there will be staff who can help you with this. You should talk to them and don't be afraid to ask questions until you have absolute clarity. Remember, when in doubt, and that you will be, ask for them. Financial aid applications and the process can be confusing. Take time to do it. Don't miss the deadlines because money gets allocated pretty fast.

Between federal aid and financial aid with school, you should get a combination of grants, scholarships and loans. There are various grants like Pell Grant and grants from the school that you don't have to pay back. There are loans from the federal government such as the Stafford loans and PLUS loan. Based on if you are an independent student or a dependent student, you should get a combination of these options that should cover a good chunk of your tuition and other study expenses.

I fit in the category of an independent student because I file taxes on my own and I'm married. Your financial aid from the government and the school will vary greatly upon your dependent status.

Until I started at SCI-Arc, I didn't have any student loans. But, like any private school, SCI-Arc's high tuition required me to seek loans to pay the tuition. I'm taking all the Stafford loans they are offering me and I had to take out a private loan to pay the Summer tuition.

As far as I know, there are 3 types of federal student loans. The subsidized Stafford loan, the unsubsidized Stafford loan and the PLUS loan. Click here to read more about the Stafford loans & the PLUS loans.

Private loans are a bit tricky. Usually your school can provide you a list of approved or preferred lenders. This list will usually consist of a few banks and specialized student loan providers like Sallie Mae. I went with Sallie Mae because they know the drill about student loans, that's their specialty so they know the kind of problems you face and they know how to find solutions faster. They are pretty quick in processing the loans too.

The main thing to remember about student loans is that you have a good credit score and if you have a co-signer, that they have a good credit score and a good pay stub to show to the bank. I would check with the school before applying for the loan just to make sure that your chances of getting the loan approved is pretty good.

You have also remember, you may have to chase the bank and the financial aid office to see through that the loan money gets dispensed on time. So be on top of them.

As you can see, you have to be quite organized with the whole process. Do your research. Read on line, talk to people. Be careful not to apply for too much money in loans than you actually, absolutely need. You don't want to graduate and walk out with $ 150,000 in debt and not know how to pay it off. Loan Payment calculators such as this, can help you figure out how much money you will be repaying over how long.

Good luck and let me know if you have any questions :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

SCI-Arc experience: The move & week 1

So I picked SCI-Arc to finish my degree. I moved to LA 19 days ago. A big change. Miami is a small place compared to LA. And moving was hectic. For about 3 weeks prior to the move was when I finally got all the info from SCI-Arc. Like I said in one of my previous posts, one of the things about SCI-Arc is that their decision making process is very slow and the wait is painfully long. But in the end it ended up being worth it. I got a very good scholarship and good financial aid. Everyone was very helpful in getting the documents processed.

To give you an idea of how I planned the move and everything, this is the time-line. (**Note: I started from week minus seven working up to week zero being the week I actually moved**)

Week -7:
Order packing kit. Think about drawing out an initial moving plan and do the math to see how much money I can spend on the move, etc. Start researching which areas in LA are good to living, read reviews, check prices, look for pet friendly places, etc. Craigslist.com & apartments.com was very helpful for this research.

Week -6:
Schedule appointments for house hunting. Start initial packing & pre-packing sorting process

Week -5:
Trip to LA for house hunting. I had short listed 16 places and actually visited 8 places. But I found a place I like the very 1st day and on the 4th day before I left I went back to this place and we put down the deposit, etc. Make sure to take checks with you for deposits.

Week-4: Looked for movers, car shipping company. Read reviews online. Check with Better Business Bureau to see if they have any complains, etc and address the issues.

Week -3: Decision from SCI-Arc, along with placement & scholarship information received. Time to pack, pack, pack

Week -2: Finalize the movers and sign contracts, etc. Pack, pack, pack!!!

Week -1: Finish packing. Ship the car & the household items

Week 0: Move

Week 1: First week in LA
Took time to adjust - the time change and all. But everything went well. Car movers were ok, household movers were splendid. (if you want references, email me)

Week2: SCI-Arc Summer transfer session started
So the first week at school has been great. I love the instructors we have. I was recommended to take only 1 class out of 4 classes by the application review committee. So my load has been pretty easy. I'm already learning Maya & Rhino. It's very exciting.

keep checking back for more updates... I promise to post more regularly...... :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Student Tips: Picking the right school

After submitting all applications and fulfilling the application requirements, then came the time for waiting.... Finally when I've heard back from all the schools I had to make a decision. I'm sharing a few things about that process.
  • Always apply to more than one college. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. I know a few people who applied to only one school and they got turned down/ rejected and then they have to wait a whole year to apply again.
  • Even if you apply to just one school and get accepted, having a few options to choose from works better because you may get more scholarships or financial aid from different schools.
  • You should visit the schools you are applying to. You have to see if you like the place. Also speak to an academic adviser to see if there are any classes you can or should take before you transfer into the upper division school.
  • Get your parents and family involved in making the decision.
  • Needless to say, financial aid & scholarship money play a big role in the decision.
  • You should research the living expenses in the city your school is at. Consider rent, food expenses, distance to school that affects the gas money, etc.
  • Placement: most private schools evaluate to see which studio class they are going to place you in. You should make a case to them that you don't want to repeat a class you've taken already. This will save you time and money.
  • Before you make definitive plans, check to see if your scholarships and financial aid from school/ federal government fills the tuition, fees, books & materials, room & board & other expenses. If it doesn't, then you may have to get private loans. Check to see if you qualify for a loan and if you would get approved.
  • Research the city you are moving to. It should be safe and you should like living there. Being in a new city, without family and friends, starting at 3rd yr can be really tough. So you have to be mentally prepared to handle all of these.
Last 3 yrs of the Bachelors of Architecture program can be very challenging. So make the decision carefully. After all, you are chasing your dream and you should be able to enjoy the ride...

Friday, May 6, 2011

College Review: A student perspective - University of Miami

University of Miami (UM)

**Please note this review is mainly from a transfer student's perspective.

Location: Coral Gables, Miami

Degrees offered: B. Arch & M. Arch

# of Faculty: 75 full-time and part-time faculty and 7 associated faculty, collaborative associations among faculty and students are the norm. Of the 33 full-time faculty, 72% are involved in professional practice, 75% have terminal degrees in the discipline and the remaining 25% have terminal degrees in related fields, including fine art, art history or planning.

# of Students: nearly 400 students

Class size: small class sizes - around 10 students per studio

Cost: undergrad 2010/2011 Academic year
  • Tuition - $ 38440 / yr
  • Fees - $ 1214 / yr
  • Books & Material - $ 4000 a semester ( from my experience this is actually like $ 6000 a yr but could be more)
Click here for all price details

Financial Aid & Scholarships: Available. Click here

Application Requirements: Application to UM (Common Application), Application to School of Architecture, Application fee, 3 academic recommendation letters, Letter of intent, resume, Portfolio, Letter from the dean of student services, transcripts. Click here for detailed description of transfer applicant requirements

Deadlines: Undergrad transfer Click here , Undergrad freshman click here.

Pros: Small class sizes, professional degree, aimed at professional practicing. Very convenient and beautiful location, the real college experience, experienced professional faculty

Cons: I loved the school setting so I am going to be bias. The biggest drawback would be the high cost.

Notes: Set in beautiful Coral Gables, a wonderful and a convenient location, UM is a school that offers small class sizes and probably the best Architecture undergraduate experience in Miami. A good place to study if you are planning to become a practitioner. Make sure to meet the dean of student affairs and find out what classes they will accept and what classes you can take before you transfer there. Their staff is very, very helpful.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thought of the day

It is important to be informed so you can make up your own mind and form an opinion. Not just any opinion, an educated opinion that YOU made and not an opinion made FOR you by someone else. It is also important to be open to new possibilities. All around us we see there are infinite possibilities in life. So your opinions could change over time. It is OK. We are all evolving all the time.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

College Review: A student perspective - SCI-Arc

I'm in California right now with a group from my school. We visited SCI-Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture) yesterday. After the visit, I got an idea to review a bunch of schools I've visited. So let me start with SciARC


Location: Downtown Los Angeles, California
Degrees offered: B. Arch & M. Arch
# of Faculty: 85
# of Students: 500 (50% B. Arch 50% M. Arch)
Class size: 15 - 18 students undergrad
Cost: undergrad 2010/2011 Academic year
  • Tuition - $ 15,125 per semester ($ 3o,250 / yr)
  • Fees - $ 200 ($ 400 / yr)
  • Books & Material - $ 4000 a semester ( from my experience this is actually like $ 6000 a yr but could be more)
Click here for all price details

Financial Aid & Scholarships: Available
Application Requirements: Application, Application fee, 3 recommendation letters, Letter of intent, resume, Portfolio, transcripts
Deadlines: Click here

Pros: Small & close knit architecture community, latest technology - equipment and software, lots of visiting lectures, All the professors are practitioners so you can land on internships and actual projects easily. Did I mention latest technology? You can bring your pets to school. They bring in the big guns to do the final thesis reviews like Thom Mayne.

Cons: Hmm... this is a tough one because I loved it there. But not everyone may like the warehouse-look of the building. It's a quarter mile long old warehouse building, nothing fancy on the outside. I would say looks definitely are deceiving - its like a nerd's dream school :) One more thing is that it's located in the warehouse district so not your fancy-neighborhood school. But most architecture students care less about stuff like these - I didn't find this a reason why I wouldn't go there. It's a private university. So it is a bit expensive. This is a bit of a draw back considering the high cost of living in LA. But it would be an investment in your future.

Notes: Like I said, I loved it. Los Angeles is full of architecture and SCI-Arc is definitely the place to be. I was there at SCI-Arc when the finals were going on, so it was intense. You can feel the intellectual intensity in the air. They have a bunch of installations inside the school and in the parking lot - made by students with faculty's help. They have a gallery with exhibits. They have their own library, supply store, print shop, workshop with industrial grade wood and metal tools, many 3D printers, etc. (Read more about the full list of resources here). They are bringing in 6 or 7 robotic arms that will be installed in May 2011. So latest technology ! You get to work with software like Rhino, Maya, 3D Max, Grasshopper and more. Very computer intensive environment. Students work hard - almost every single one I met and I like that about SCI-Arc. If you are serious about architecture, you want an experimental design experience, and a non conventional educational institute then you should check them out.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Student Tips - How to write a letter of intent

Blogger has a very useful tool that shows me what keywords people are searching for and other useful statistics. So I saw someone searched how to write a letter of intent and I thought what a great idea, let me write about that !!

Writing doesn't come naturally to me but I am somewhat articulate in my verbal communication. So I'm using that strong trait and I'm writing as if I'm speaking. Writing this blog definitely helped me get comfortable with the whole idea of writing. I sometimes have my husband or my friends read over and give me feedback so I'm becoming more and more confident on my style. I suggest everyone take up at least writing a journal so you get used to expressing yourself well.

Getting back to the point, a letter of intent (or a statement of purpose) is something most schools require you to do as a part of the application documentation. They want to hear what you have to say, why are you studying what you are studying, what makes you unique and what should they take you.

When SciARC visited our school in February, they said don't be afraid to show who you really are; it's better to go on the bragging side. Show why and how you are unique. One of the most common "cheesy" reasons student give as what got them into architecture was playing with Lego as a kid and SciARC said, stay away from that.

I had trouble writing down all the accomplishments without sounding like bragging. I like to be modest and that totally felt wrong. So one day I got an inspiration to write it from the third person's perspective - meaning referring to myself as she and her. In the end, I produced a pretty cool letter of intent. Some people felt it was a bit flamboyant - some loved it. Most importantly, I found a way to express everything i wanted to say and who I am in a single piece of paper and I love how it came out.

The thing about writing is, from the little bit I know, you have to find your own voice. I guess this is true about many things. We, as architecture students, constantly look to find our own unique style. Creativity has a lot to do with the unique language / voice / style.

Take time to write the letter of intent. Don't try to wing it or come out with it in 2 hours. Some people naturally have this ability - but I think most architects do not. So ponder on what you want to say (you can't tell your entire life story in it) and how you want to say it.

Here's a link on some general tips: http://www.ehow.com/about_5068239_letter-intent-college.html

Good luck..!!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Student tips - What is a good resume & why is it important to have a good resume?

A resume shows who you are at a glance to a potential school or an employer. A resume is useful not only when you are applying to schools or for a job but also you need a resume when you apply for scholarships, awards, when you want to submit an article to a journal, if you want to have a book published, if you want to get an interview with the media or simply to impress an important contact.

A resume should capture your qualifications, your strengths and your character. It should display your skills, your abilities and should give an idea of the person who you are. I have realized over the years that resume formats differ from country to country. So you may want to do a search on the web or buy a resume writing book to pick the best format you like.

At the top of your resume, basic information such as your name and your contact information should be listed. When you put your email, make sure to put a formal or a professional email address. I have seen some people have email addresses like lovebug@email.com**, etc. While this may seem funny, it doesn't reflect professionalism. In my opinion its always better to give an impression of professionalism and maturity and then expose the fun / funky side of you at the interview, etc.

If you are applying to a school, for a scholarship, award or anything academic:
  • Make sure to include your educational qualifications, starting from the most recent at the very top.
  • List your work experience, even the part time jobs - mention the post / title, duration you were employed there, duties performed (short and sweet), and how many hours you put in a week, if part time.
  • List all your awards, recognitions, honors you have received in and out of school.
  • If you have done any community work, make sure to list them too
  • List your skills, interests
  • Since you are an architecture student, add some graphic work to it to impress the reader. Don't over crowd it, don't make the graphic standout more than content itself. But make it "you".
Good luck on putting together a fantastic resume !!

** Fictional email address. Did not intend to make fun of anyone and used just as an example.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Student tips - College applications & Design Portfolio

I spoke about selecting the right college in a previous post. Find out which schools are the best architecture schools in the USA in 2011 here.

The next step I went through was to apply for colleges. Some things to bare in mind:

1) Submitting the application well ahead without waiting till the last minute. Some schools require an essay. Make sure you have someone else proof read it and revise before submitting.

2) Ask for recommendation letters wayyyy ahead. I would say, at least 2 - 3 months before the deadline. When asking for a recommendation letter:
  • first politely mention to the professor that you are thinking about asking for a recommendation letter from him / her and if they can write one? Most of the time, almost of them will say yes.
  • Then make sure to print out the recommendation letter format from the school, fill in your information
  • Make sure to waive your rights to access the letter of recommendation. This will give the professor more confidence in saying the truthful academic and other assessments about you. Also this shows you trust them.
  • Give the signed & filled format, along with an addressed envelope (or a label) and a stamp to the professor you are requesting the letter of recommendation.
  • These should be with the professor at least 1 - 1.5 months ahead of the deadline.
3) Submit transcript requests at least 3 weeks before the deadline. Some schools do overnight electronic transcript transmission but some schools only do it the old fashioned way.

4) Make a nice resume. Sometimes you can submit it with the application. If not, submit it along with your supporting documents.

5) Most important part of an Architecture student's application is the portfolio. Portfolio requirements from school to school differs. However, there are certain guidelines one should follow. Here are some the general guidelines + some tips to create an excellent portfolio.
  • Take a portfolio making / presentations class if you must. Polish up your graphic design skills much ahead of time.
  • Start working on the portfolio months ahead
  • Document your work - take photographs of your models, scan your drawings. make a database of your work. From experience I found out, no matter how many photos you think you may have, you will find yourself wishing for that specific shot from a specific angle. So take many, many photos from different angles, different light settings, different distances. Keep your models as safe as possible at least until you have a great portfolio. Take high resolution photos.
  • When scanning drawings, make sure to scan them at a 300dpi or higher resolution.
  • Make it personal. Add a lot of your personal work. Add sketches and anything that will make you stand out - in a positive way - among the other applicants.
  • Show process of how you arrived at a final design. The best way to do this is to show progression using a combination of sketches, drawings, process models, graphics, etc.
  • One of the comments I got when a professor from SciARC reviewed my portfolio is that they want to see details. So put photos of different scales of your models, photos that show details.
  • Most schools don't want you to spend a lot of time/money on fancy covers and packaging. Keep it simple, professional and original.
  • Have a strong letter of intent or a statement of purpose. One of my professors always say that we architects are no great readers or writers. So always have someone else proof read.
  • Depending on your choice, you could also include your resume in the portfolio.
  • Personal work - you can add photography, travel, artwork, poetry and anything that shows that you have additional skills you bring in to help succeed in your career.
  • Some schools give a limit of how many pages they want you to submit in your portfolio. When they don't, its ok to call them up or better yet go and visit the school and ask how many pages they think is OK to have in the portfolio. Most schools will say, bring everything you have and more the merrier. So include all your work - as much as possible.
  • Make sure you leave enough time to get it from the printer and have it checked. You will see small details that need to be adjusted. Show the portfolio to your design and or presentations professor before printing. Show the portfolio to at least 3 professors / professionals before turning the final version into the school. The portfolio - most of the time - decided if you get into the school and if you get any scholarship money. Put your best effort into it.
6) Supplemental documents - Some schools require extra paperwork other than the above list. For example, University of Miami won't even open the file until they have received the form from the dean of student services. Make sure to check with the schools you are applying to. Ask them for a checklist.

7) Financial Aid - again, different schools have different requirements but all schools will require you to fill the FAFSA. Ask your schools for their FAFSA Codes, take your Tax documents and file the FAFSA as soon as possible.

8) Scholarships - Most schools have some scholarship opportunities for both 1st year (Freshman) students and transfer students. Be sure to check with the respective financial aid offices / scholarship offices in the schools you are applying to. Put your name down for scholarships. Don't be shy to ask for the money that is available out there. Every year so much money in scholarships go unused.

I'm still in the process of applying to schools myself. So I will keep you posted about the many exciting opportunities and challenges up ahead.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Exhibit: Atelier - An Education of an Architect

My design professor Mario Ortega put together an exhibit with student work that opens tomorrow at the Coral Gables Museum. Student work from Design studios 1 - 4 will be on display.

If you are in the area please come by the museum. I have some of my studio work there as well...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Education in Architecture

It is that time of the year when lower division architecture students start applying to upper division schools for transferring out.

Finding the correct school can be challenging and time consuming, also many factors should be considered while doing so.

Some schools such as the one I am in right now, has 2 year lower division programs. They offer an Associate in arts or architecture degrees. Then there are 5 year schools. They have both lower and upper division programs. They typically offer B. Arch degrees that are accredited by the NAAB (To find an accredited program click here) . Then there are 4 yr architecture schools that offer Bachelors in Science or Arts of technology degrees. These are not accredited meaning you will not be able to get your Architecture license registration with this degree but with an accredited Masters degree for additional 2 years you will be able to solve this problem. If you are in a 2 yr degree program like me, then you have to search for an upper division school to complete the rest of your education.

The most important factor as I see it, when trying to decide which school I want to go to, is to find out what is it that I want to do with my career - what are my professional goals, where do I plan to end up in 15 yrs?

In my case I want to pursue a career in design research. I do want to be a practicing architect but I also want to be an educator and I think I will be able to continue my research work at an academic background better. One thing about knowing what to do is accepting the fact that what you think what needs to be done changes over time. My idea of what I must do with my life has evolved, but I the basic idea still remains since I was 16. So I am open to the idea that this idea of what I want to do with my career will evolve and transform as I go along.

Once you have the answer to this question, it would be wise to look at programs that suits your career goals - a program that is likely to support you achieving your goals. Of course, the majority of the responsibility is in the student's hands. It is up to the student to work hard and take themselves there. Even though the school you attend may play only a small role in your career, things such as the direction of the program and the focus of the program could be important in giving you the exposure you need to get to where you want. For example, if the school you pick has a program that focuses on historical architecture and you want to study experimental design research, that school may not be the right fit for your career choice. So do a bit of research, look at student work and see if you would like what the school does.

Then I would consider the other factors such as location, tuition fees and scholarship opportunities. Some cities are a lot more expensive than the others. Some colleges offer full scholarships to deserving students. In state colleges are cheaper than the out of state colleges in some occasions. Some private universities have scholarship opportunities that is not known much.

Often architecture is perceived as just designing a beautiful building. This has been my experience with my friends and family who cannot be blamed for thinking as such because even most people who go into studying Architecture start out this way. I must confess, even though I knew to a certain degree my architecture education will involve addressing issues like structural stability and addressing various issues in the environment, until I started taking design studios I didn't know how much critical thinking, design intellect, how much communication skills, how much patience and maturity will be required of me to become an architect. I now know the profession requires me to be a scientist, a philosopher, a designer, a critic, a team worker, show leadership, be innovative. I am glad I picked this profession. But there is a long way to go for me to become an Architect. The next step is for me to find that right school.