What makes a good architecture school? Clearly there is no single factor that comprises a good, or even a great, architecture school. Different aspects are important to different people. Students often cite access to well-known faculty members—otherwise known as “starchitects”—as an important feature. Professors and instructors mention their school’s outreach programs, pioneering studios, technologically innovative labs, and exchange programs. All of these are valid and important.
Of course, these factors must be weighed against practical considerations that include tuition, the cost of housing, and other expenses. Why? Because in Western Europe and North America, tuition can be measured in the tens of thousands. What’s more, in the U.S., student loans aren’t forgivable which means your survivors can inherit up to US $90,000 worth of debt. And if the current economy has taught us one thing, it is that it’s cyclic.
So before investing all that money, it’s important to determine how a school will help you succeed. What are the practical and critical skills the school’s curriculum will impart to ensure a) your professional success, and b) your personal success (that means your overall quality of life). Because upon graduation, the goal is to gain skills to support yourself well while doing what you enjoy.
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