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We are proud to announce that Forster-Thomas’s own Evan Forster and Ben Feuer were featured in this month’s IECA “Insights” publication. 

The Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) is a not-for-profit, international professional Association representing experienced independent educational consultants. Chartered in 1976, the Association's headquarters is located in the Washington, DC area. IECA sponsors professional training institutes,workshops and conferences, publishes a directory of qualified independent educational consultants, offers information to students and their families regarding school selection issues and works to ensure that those in the profession adhere to the highest ethical and business standards. Evan is a professional member of IECA, and Ben is an associate member.

Evan wrote a piece on architecture admissions, explaining in detail how to separate your personal statement out from the pack. Ben covered the ins and outs of crafting a top-notch MFA portfolio, including personal statement, writing samples, and visual samples.

You can read the articles in their entirety at this link, along with tons of other great articles about law school, medical school and the new SATs. If you have questions or want to know more, feel free to contact Ben and Evan directly by calling Forster Thomas’s office.  You can also see them in person at IECA’s annual conference from May 6th to May 9th.



Thursday, October 09, 2014

Top Architecture Graduate Programs – Yale

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Yale's outstanding graduate architecture program offers remarkable flexibility for students with previous work experience, as well as opportunities for those interested in environmental impact.

WHY TO GO

•  Ranked #2 overall in DesignIntelligence’s 2014 top architectural program rankings.
• Offers several program options, a three year pre-professional and a two year post-professional M. Arch as well as a joint M. Arch / MBA and a Masters of Design
•  A fundamentals-driven approach — Yale believes that architecture is a palpable art form, not a CAD tutoring program.
• Collaboration with the school of forestry and environmental studies for sustainable design.
• A dedicated urban design workshop, founded in 1992.

HOW TO GO

Start by registering for an open house to become better acquainted with the program.  You can choose which faculty members you would like to meet.
The application is available here.   Deadline to apply is January 2, 2015.
The application system is online only.  Do not send materials to the school directly.
You must submit transcripts, GRE, a current CV, and three letters of recommendation.  At least one recommender should have direct knowledge of the applicant’s professional potential and academic ability.  For international students, TOEFL is required.  All programs except M.UP require a portfolio — an optimized PDF of under 64MB, 150DPI.  No video.
An essay, not exceeding one page, that includes a brief personal history and reasons for applying is required and must be uploaded to the online application.  Take note that this is also where you mention if you are a minority.

For more information, check out Yale’s website or contact us.



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Well regarded in the rankings and in the hearts of applicants everywhere, Harvard's GSD inaugurates our new series of top Architecture Graduate programs.

By Ben Feuer



WHY TO GO

•  Ranked #1 overall and #1 in design in DesignIntelligence’s 2014 top architectural program rankings.

•  History.  The world’s oldest landscape architecture program (1893) and urban planning program (1900) are both Harvard.

•  Strong focus on design and theory

•  Experiential learning opportunities and recruiting visits from top firms.

•  Programs and initiatives including a Joint Center for housing studies, a program for Islamic architecture, and nine labs.

HOW TO GO

Start by filling out an inquiry form.  It’s a great way to introduce yourself to the program and formally announce your interest.

The application will be available in the fall.   Deadline to apply is December 15, 2014.

Submitting through the online system is required. Applicants may not send application materials to the GSD through the mail.

You must submit transcripts, GRE, and three letters of recommendation.  For international students, TOEFL is required.  All programs except M.UP require a portfolio. 

Students may concurrently pursue two degrees offered by the GSD. Often concurrent degrees are completed with two of our professional degree programs (MArch I, MLA I, MUP). If you apply to more than one program, you will need to submit a separate application fee and form for each program and must be admitted into each degree program independently.

An applicant may apply a maximum of three times to the same GSD degree program.

The GSD does not accept transfer credits for work completed at another institution.

For more information, check out the GSD’s website or contact us via the links above.


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Architecture personal statements can be challenging.  Forster Thomas educational consulting shows you how to write a perfect one.

By Kirsten Guenther

No matter what name it goes by -- statement of purpose, statement of interest, or plain old personal statement -- architecture school statements are challenging.  They often want you to cover a whole lot of information in only 500 words. For instance, Columbia University’s prompt this year was: In a statement of approximately 500 words, describe your background, your past work in your intended field of study, and your plans for graduate study and a professional career. All of that in only 500 words or less? Oy.

“So…by ‘background’ do they mean my entire life story plus all of my work, school and internship experiences?” my candidate, Kara, an aspiring architect, asked. “It says ‘personal’ – does that mean I should tell them about my parents’ divorce?”

Here’s the thing: It is important that after the admissions committee has read your statement of purpose, they feel that they know who you are. They need to know what you want to do (your goal)—Kara’s was opening her own architecture firm one day—why this is important to you, what you have done thus far in regards to pursuing your goal or taking an interest in the subject matter, and what you still have left to learn and/or explore. And right there is the outline for your entire 500-word, statement of purpose.

The break down:

Paragraph 1: This is where you get personal. No, this doesn’t mean empty the contents of your diary. This means write about the moment you realized you wanted to pursue your goal. For instance, perhaps it was when your family moved from a sprawling home in Greenwich, Connecticut, to a 1200 sq. ft. apartment in Manhattan. Perhaps you found yourself wishing you could move the walls around, and reconfigure the space to be more open. There, you have your “ah-hah!” moment—the moment you realized that architecture would be a part of your life. Write about that. Be specific.

Why? Graduate programs want students who are passionate about what they want to do, not students who are just looking to avoid the real world for another few years. This is your opportunity to show them why you want it.

Paragraph 2: What have you done thus far to pursue your interest in architecture? Did you explore classes in college? Did you take art or art history classes? When you studied abroad, did you take an active interest in the city’s architecture? This is an opportunity to discuss specific classes you’ve taken as well as experiences—talk about a particular professor you learned from, clubs you started or joined. Discuss internships or observation hours. But do not simply list them; you don’t want to regurgitate your resume (remember, they have it!). Tell them what’s not on your resume. For instance, discuss specific moments within your internship where you learned something significant and how you plan to apply what you learned.

Why? Graduate school want students who have already been seeking knowledge; show them what you’ve learned so far.

Paragraph 3: Why do you want to go to grad school? What do you still have left to learn? Discuss skills that you need to obtain, improve or expand. For instance, you might be looking to strengthen your foundation and design skills with a Masters in Architecture. You might be interested in expanded your knowledge of technology and how one can use it in the design process in order to achieve greater innovation. Look at your goal, and then ask yourself, “What do I need to get better at in order to improve my chances of achieving my goal?”

Now here’s the part where Kara asks, “But, Kirsten, don’t I want to appear confident? Won’t it make me look weak to admit that I still have stuff to learn?”

No. Schools want students who are self aware–they know their strongest and weakest areas. You want to show the school that you know what you need to work on and what experiences you need to gather in order to accomplish your goal. This also demonstrates that you actually will benefit from graduate school—and proves to the school even more that you are a serious candidate.

Paragraph 4: The school-specific portion of your essay. Why Columbia, specifically? Here, it is important to be extremely specific in order to show enthusiasm for a particular school. Research classes, professors and clubs, and discuss how they will help you accomplish your goal.

Why? You must prove that you want to go to the school. By getting specific about the school you also demonstrate your ability to research and gain knowledge—good traits for a prospective student. Additionally, when you get an interview—you’ll have lots to discuss.

Last paragraph: Your conclusion. A few short sentences about how Columbia is going to help you, and you are going to help them, change the planet (by using your masters in architecture).

 Need more help?  Request a free candidacy assessment!