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Graduate School Already? But, I'm Only A Freshman!

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Believe it or not, graduate school should be considered the very minute you step foot on campus as a freshman. Although you may not know specifically what graduate school you want to choose or if you even want to go to graduate school after you obtain your undergraduate degree, but it is wise to utilize your time as an undergraduate to begin researching potential graduate programs. As a senior, I have spent the last few months researching schools and I certainly wish I had given myself more time to make my decision. I attended a graduate emissions session today with University of Minnesota Graduate Program professors Mark Swackhamer and Jim Lutz. The session provided some great tips:

1) when on vacation schedule a time to tour the local architectural college (many students can decide if it is the right college for them based on the first 60 seconds of the tour).
2) Location. choose a collage that is geographically right for you. Do you want to attend the East Coast? West Coast? Go South? Or stay in the Midwest?
3) Areas of Interest. Take note of what architectural subjects interest you (historical preservation, sustainability, etc.) and research what campuses offer these areas of focus.
4) GPA. If you want to attend a top ten school, your GPA is very important. It is recommended to apply to one school that you think is out of your "reach", one school that you are certain you will get into and others that you want to apply to. Undergraduates typically apply to 5-7 graduate schools.
5) Cost. Think about the cost of tuition, fees and living for the school(s) you choose to apply to.

You can order a published guide to architecture schools, which has all accredited graduate programs and the above information listed in one resource for you. I just ordered mine and cannot wait to get it. This publication will save lots of time from researching online. Find the book here:

Remember, it is never too late to begin researching graduate schools! There are lots of wonderful resources to help you - don't be afraid to ask your professors and peers too!

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Jen, Architecture major

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