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Thread: How hard is it to get in landscape architecture school?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    How hard is it to get in landscape architecture school?

    While Landscape Architecture is a hot career now, it seems the demand is growing, but barely anyone (outside the urban planning architecture world) knows about it. Meaning, is getting into Landscape Architecture school diffucult? I know Urban Planning is more popular so it is probably more diffucult to get into. Here in Illinois there are two Urban Planning schools but only one L.A. school. Same thing in Wisconsin. Tons of UP schools in Cali, but only handful of LA school in Cali. I think you get my point. I just get the feeling that not that many people apply for L.A. school, so I was just wondering from people's experiences, how hard is it to get into L.A. school? Are they more concerned with your portfolio or your GREs? I just want to get an idea.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    Where I got my undergrad they have Planning and LA programs. LA was just as competitive and difficult as the regular architecture program. First you were Pre-LA, and then you had to get permission to move forward to the LA program, after proving yourself. Students regularly got stalled at the Pre-LA phase, got frustrated, and changed their major to Planning. I'd say half of the Planning students in the department with me, ended up there by that route.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Thanks I apperciate the info, but I am assuming that is for undergrad? I would be going for grad school.

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    Cyburbian
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    I got accepted to the two MLA programs that I applied to and one of them offered me GA. I ended up going to the one that did offer me any money. Bad decision....

    Anyway, back to your point, I would say that the top programs (Havard, UPenn, Cornell, UVA) are difficult to get into while others are relatively easy to get into if your recommendation letters and porfolio look decent. Generally, architecture schools put less weight on GPA and GRE but that doesn't mean they don't use them as a way to screen their applications.

    Let me know if you have any other questions, hopefully i can help answering them but I am still new to the profession after all.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by bozerwong View post
    Anyway, back to your point, I would say that the top programs (Havard, UPenn, Cornell, UVA) are difficult to get into while others are relatively easy to get into if your recommendation letters and porfolio look decent. Generally, architecture schools put less weight on GPA and GRE but that doesn't mean they don't use them as a way to screen their applications.
    I'll echo that. There's a lot of good 2nd tier schools (like UGA) that aren't terrible to get into.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    ^^^^Are you in Georgia's LA school? If you are how do you like it? I have pretty much narrowed down my list to seven schools to which I will apply.

    1. California @ Berekley
    2. Texas @ Austin
    3. Ohio State
    4. Illinois
    5. Georgia
    6. Washington
    7. British Columbia

    Right now my top three Choices are Cal, Georgia, and Wash. I like Texas too, but from a previous post, I have been told it was just accredited, which is not a good thing, so double checking that one.

    How diffiucult are those schools to get into? (I am sure Cal is fairly diffucult, but how about the rest?)

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    your list is good but you might want to include one or two safety schools just in case.

    out of your list, I think Washington is the toughtest to get in. I heard 120 applicants competed for 15 places last year so....

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Would you consider UC Denver a safety? I was thinking of that one as well, I really like their program. What are some other safety schools?

    Others I have considered:

    1. Colorado - Denver
    2. Oregon
    3. New Mexico
    4. Morgan State (I am very ify of that one)
    5. North Carolina State
    6. LSU (I don't think that is a safety, but nonetheless, I have been considering it).

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    It also depends on your interest because landscape architecture is a very board field so making sure your interests are somewhat similiar to departments' strengths or specialities is important too

    I am going to apply for a transfer too hopefully I don't have to redo my first year and get most of my credits transferred. I would limit my school selection to a maximum of 6-7 or even less. I think concentrating on making a few good applications is better than doing many bad ones.

    I don't know how competitive the schools that you listed but one of the safety schools that I had last year when I was applying was Ball State. They give out assistantships too. I went to Muncie and did a visit. The facutly are pretty strong and the program is very design oriented. The only drawback is the location of the school but if you are planning on moving after school anyway I guess that won't matter.

    let me know if you have any other questions, i am still learning about the profession and different programs

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by lucifer View post
    ^^^^Are you in Georgia's LA school? If you are how do you like it?

    <snip>
    Yes, I'm finishing my MLA at Georgia. All things considered, I think it's pretty good. Since UGA has the largest undergrad program in the US there's a large pool of faculty to pull from, so you get a lot of diversity. Good folks.

    Athens is a nice small town, too, with a cheap cost of living to keep the overall cost down.

  11. #11

    Landscape Architecture- From a high school student

    How great does your GPA/ACT have to be to get into a fairly competitive Landscape Architecture school, such as UVa, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, or University of Wisconsin-Madison? My grades actually have been very good up until this semester (I am a junior). Freshman year I think my gpa was 3.6 or something, sophomore year I managed straight A's along with 2 honors courses (4.0 gpa, 4.2 weighted), and this year unfortunately I have a collection of three B-'s and three A's; one honors course and one AP course. This, however, is only for first semester, and I plan on getting those grades much higher with tutoring or whatever I can do. I have pretty good extracurriculars; I am in color guard, marching band, yearbook, and I have a job as a florist and floral designer at a local high-end grocery store floral department. I actually plan on joining one or two more school clubs and possibly doing tutoring. I have not officially taken the ACT yet, but on my practice one, when I had never taken it before and had not prepared at ALL, I got a 26; which is not fabulous but I think under the circumstances it was okay. Im going to take an extra ACT prep course so Im hoping to bump my score up to a 28; that is my goal. I am very creative and art-oriented and I believe I could really excel in the field of landscape architecture; I have extensive gardening experience and exposure to architecture as my father is a good architect. I am also looking in to taking some courses as an intro to design or architecture at UWM or Miad school or arts in Milwaukee over the summer. Does anyone think that this temporary fluctuation in my JUNIOR (most important year!) year grades will significantly affect my chances of getting in to a selective school? And is there anything else I can do to improve my chances? Am I on the right path, and does it sound like I could get in to UVa or anywhere else, I guess? Thanks so much!

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Q. Anybody consider Utah State University ?
    Oddball
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    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
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    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
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  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by madeline53092 View post
    How great does your GPA/ACT have to be to get into a fairly competitive Landscape Architecture school, such as UVa, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, or University of Wisconsin-Madison? My grades actually have been very good up until this semester (I am a junior). Freshman year I think my gpa was 3.6 or something, sophomore year I managed straight A's along with 2 honors courses (4.0 gpa, 4.2 weighted), and this year unfortunately I have a collection of three B-'s and three A's; one honors course and one AP course. This, however, is only for first semester, and I plan on getting those grades much higher with tutoring or whatever I can do. I have pretty good extracurriculars; I am in color guard, marching band, yearbook, and I have a job as a florist and floral designer at a local high-end grocery store floral department. I actually plan on joining one or two more school clubs and possibly doing tutoring. I have not officially taken the ACT yet, but on my practice one, when I had never taken it before and had not prepared at ALL, I got a 26; which is not fabulous but I think under the circumstances it was okay. Im going to take an extra ACT prep course so Im hoping to bump my score up to a 28; that is my goal. I am very creative and art-oriented and I believe I could really excel in the field of landscape architecture; I have extensive gardening experience and exposure to architecture as my father is a good architect. I am also looking in to taking some courses as an intro to design or architecture at UWM or Miad school or arts in Milwaukee over the summer. Does anyone think that this temporary fluctuation in my JUNIOR (most important year!) year grades will significantly affect my chances of getting in to a selective school? And is there anything else I can do to improve my chances? Am I on the right path, and does it sound like I could get in to UVa or anywhere else, I guess? Thanks so much!
    Hi Madeline -

    It sounds like you're trying to get into school as an undergraduate, right? If so, getting into the university itself is the first step. If you can do that, then most places allow you to enroll in whatever major you like.

    In most 5-year BLA programs, the freshman year is considered "pre-professional" in that you're not actually accepted to the program. That happens after your first year - you then apply to the professional program, and they accept the top candidates. Frankly, at most places if you can make it through the first year you'll get into the program.

    I don't know the specifics of each program you're interested in, but your school counselor is probably the best place to start.

    Good luck - I highly recommend the field.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by JNA View post
    Q. Anybody consider Utah State University ?
    From what I know, it seems to be a good, solid program. I've got a friend that has a degree from there, and he seems to know what he's doing.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    From someone that JUST did this...

    Quote Originally posted by JNA View post
    Q. Anybody consider Utah State University ?
    Utah State was on my list for an MLA. Heard good things.

    Quote Originally posted by madeline53092 View post
    How great does your GPA/ACT have to be to get into a fairly competitive Landscape Architecture school, such as UVa, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, or University of Wisconsin-Madison? My grades actually have been very good up until this semester (I am a junior). Freshman year I think my gpa was 3.6 or something, sophomore year I managed straight A's along with 2 honors courses (4.0 gpa, 4.2 weighted), and this year unfortunately I have a collection of three B-'s and three A's; one honors course and one AP course. This, however, is only for first semester, and I plan on getting those grades much higher with tutoring or whatever I can do. I have pretty good extracurriculars; I am in color guard, marching band, yearbook, and I have a job as a florist and floral designer at a local high-end grocery store floral department. I actually plan on joining one or two more school clubs and possibly doing tutoring. I have not officially taken the ACT yet, but on my practice one, when I had never taken it before and had not prepared at ALL, I got a 26; which is not fabulous but I think under the circumstances it was okay. Im going to take an extra ACT prep course so Im hoping to bump my score up to a 28; that is my goal. I am very creative and art-oriented and I believe I could really excel in the field of landscape architecture; I have extensive gardening experience and exposure to architecture as my father is a good architect. I am also looking in to taking some courses as an intro to design or architecture at UWM or Miad school or arts in Milwaukee over the summer. Does anyone think that this temporary fluctuation in my JUNIOR (most important year!) year grades will significantly affect my chances of getting in to a selective school? And is there anything else I can do to improve my chances? Am I on the right path, and does it sound like I could get in to UVa or anywhere else, I guess? Thanks so much!
    Check out a summer program for high school students at UIUC with the School of Architecture. A few of the current sophomore BLAs here did it and it really helped them. bdaleray is spot on with regards to needing admission to the school itself before gaining admission to the program, especially the state schools.

    Lucifer, I JUST went through this process a year ago. You're pretty spot on with what I've seen of your assessment, although I wouldn't consider LSU a safety school whatsoever. LSU has a great reputation nationwide. I'd group GSD, Cornell, Penn, UVA, and Berkeley in the top tier. I'd expect those to be very competitive. However, there are ALOT of great schools offering accredited MLAs (accreditation is extremely important). Off the top of my head, Illinois, Georgia, LSU, SUNY-ESF... Depends upon what you're interested in. I ended up at Illinois because of their financial aid offers and the opportunity for a dual MLA/MUP among other things. Since you're from Chicago, I'd highly recommend making a trip to Champaign to visit. The department website is here: www.landarch.uiuc.edu. Carol is the program coordinator. Great person, great instructor. Her contact info is on the website. Let me know if you have any more questions!

    It's very important to note that a portfolio is not necessary for admission to an MLA program. It's very common for the bulk of the students in a given MLA program to lack a design background prior to admission. The programs are structured accordingly. BLAs really have no need for an MLA due to the demand for LA's anyways. We have a few architects and artists by profession enrolled in the program, but most of us don't have design backgrounds.

  16. #16
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    summer program for h.s. students?

    Anyone have suggestions for summer LA programs for hs students? Many seem to be overall design and not focused on LA. Should I be concerned about that? I am a rising senior considering LA as a profession.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by rdnichol View post
    Utah State was on my list for an MLA. Heard good things.



    Check out a summer program for high school students at UIUC with the School of Architecture. A few of the current sophomore BLAs here did it and it really helped them. bdaleray is spot on with regards to needing admission to the school itself before gaining admission to the program, especially the state schools.

    Lucifer, I JUST went through this process a year ago. You're pretty spot on with what I've seen of your assessment, although I wouldn't consider LSU a safety school whatsoever. LSU has a great reputation nationwide. I'd group GSD, Cornell, Penn, UVA, and Berkeley in the top tier. I'd expect those to be very competitive. However, there are ALOT of great schools offering accredited MLAs (accreditation is extremely important). Off the top of my head, Illinois, Georgia, LSU, SUNY-ESF... Depends upon what you're interested in. I ended up at Illinois because of their financial aid offers and the opportunity for a dual MLA/MUP among other things. Since you're from Chicago, I'd highly recommend making a trip to Champaign to visit. The department website is here: www.landarch.uiuc.edu. Carol is the program coordinator. Great person, great instructor. Her contact info is on the website. Let me know if you have any more questions!

    It's very important to note that a portfolio is not necessary for admission to an MLA program. It's very common for the bulk of the students in a given MLA program to lack a design background prior to admission. The programs are structured accordingly. BLAs really have no need for an MLA due to the demand for LA's anyways. We have a few architects and artists by profession enrolled in the program, but most of us don't have design backgrounds.
    Don't base an MLA program on just financial aid (or any program for that matter). Talk to alumni from the program and find out what they are doing. This might take a little digging, as all of the alumni might not be found through the school's alumni association. If you don't want to have a heavy coursework in landscape construction, then K State isn't going to work for you. If you don't want to deal with landscape/ ecology restoration, then University of Michigan probably won't be a good fit either. I can't agree more that almost ALL states require graduation from an LAAB accredited program in order to take the LARE. However, I don't know if Colorado requires this.

    Don't diss the portfolio's either. Plenty of schools still require them for admissions (UGA, the Ohio State, CU-Denver? etc.) and you should still put a considerable amount of thought into them (just like you were applying for a job). I don't think UIUC places nough of an emphasis on construction courses or CAD work. I would recommend Iowa State, Ball State, or Purdue if you want to say in the midwest.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Max6 View post
    Anyone have suggestions for summer LA programs for hs students? Many seem to be overall design and not focused on LA. Should I be concerned about that? I am a rising senior considering LA as a profession.
    Glad you're not a sinking senior.

    Could you elaborate on what you mean by "overall design"?

    Introductory courses are likely to take a broader view of the landscape architecture field.

    I do know that the handful of undergraduates that did take a summer LA program enjoyed it and appreciate the leg-up it gave them.

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