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Thread: How hard is it to get into a Canadian MLA school?

  1. #1

    How hard is it to get into a Canadian MLA school?

    There are only 4 schools in Canada that offer a MLA. Each school probably takes only 20 or so students so I'm thinking my chances aren't very good. I was thinking of applying to a safety school in the US but tuitiion in crazy expensive for international students.

    I only have a 3.0 GPA but I graduated 5 years ago and it was in a relatively difficult major (computer science). I also don't have any academic references so they will all be professional. I just missed the deadline this year so I have about a year to prepare. I plan to take some art classes to help with my portfolio. So what do you think my chances are of getting accepted?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian RubberStamp Man's avatar
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    Talk to the admissions coordinator (the prof, not the admin staff) and ask about their criteria and what they would like to see in an application. Its mostly dependent on your competition as well, but there is an outside chance they will also be looking for applicants other than straight out of undergrad to help round out the intake. Good luck.

    Also, creativity is the key so don't take art classes just b/c you think it will help show you can communicate design when you really are not a fan of art - it will show like a kid who is only in gym b/c its part of the school curriculum rather than b/c its fun. Is there anything else innovative you can provide? Any fancy applications/web pages you wrote during your undergrad that show you have a flair for creativity or design?

  3. #3
    I did take a computer animation class back in undergrad and I do plan to use that project for my portfolio. I have some other items I plan to use but nothing that is "art" (i.e. drawings, paintings, sculptures). I know they are not looking for artists but i can't help but think that the committee would be swayed more by a nice piece of art than a piece of construction, writing, quilting, etc.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    >>i can't help but think that the committee would be swayed more by a nice piece of art than a piece of construction, writing, quilting, etc.<<

    I thought the same thing when I was applying and turned out to be completely wrong (although, I'd consider leaving out the quilting). I was a professional for 3 years in environmental consulting with a mediocre GPA. The strengths of my application were the writing, project experience, and professionalism. I got into all of the schools I applied to. My only regret was that I eliminated schools from consideration based on my own perceptions of artistic elitism.

    Take the appropriate amount of time to prepare your apps, and you'll be fine. In the meantime, you can get a leg up by playing with hand graphics and the Adobe Creative Suite.

    One more thing I wish I knew then that I know now, is which profs & practitioners are at the cutting edge. Charles Waldheim's name (at the U of Toronto) is associated with all of the cutting edge literature coming out about landscape urbanism.

  5. #5
    Thanks for the advice. I don't have any quilting . I only saw that in an example portfolio on the University of Washington website.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    yeah i guess along the same lines, how do the canadian schools stack up against their american counterparts? i get the feeling UBC and UoT are the best MLA programs - are they anywhere near UC Berkeley, UVA, UPenn, Harvard quality wise?

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    U of Washington quilting

    foureyes - I know exactly the portfolio you're talking about. I saw the same one .

    smapty - I'm not sure. The only thing I know about the Canadian programs is what I mentioned about Waldheim. You'd probably be best off doing your own legwork. Some criteria that I wish I was evaluating programs on last year: class sizes, international programing and financial assistance for it, quantity of design charettes, etc.

    Honestly, Harvard is fairly incomprable to pretty much every other program.

    I'd really look forward to going to design school in a city. Tronoto gets brownie points for that.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    MLA? I am assuming that is masters of landscape arch? I am currently wrapping up my MCP (city planning) at University of manitoba. We dont have a whole lot to do with the architects/land architects, but i do know that there is a 'pre-master' 2-year program (for architects at least, and I would assume land-scape architects as well) in order to prepare, and get students 'up to speed' with those who have already done an undergrad degree in design. I would imagine it is quite the leaerning cure, design school seems pretty intense, and definately not somthing I would be interested in doing. However, like i said, Im not entirely sure, but I would look into it a little more before applying (as it isnt cheap). It might be worth some e-mailing to inquire with the different schools as to the requirements for admissions.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    On Design School

    It is intense. If you go after a design degree, MLA or MArch in particular, and half-ass it, you'll be mowing turf instead of designing with it when you graduate.

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