10 Myths of Architecture Schools

myths of architecture schools

I’ll be honest, when I was looking at architecture schools, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into.  Ending up at my alma mater is what I refer to as a “happy accident”.  To spare you the trouble of worrying about these myths when choosing an architecture school (or perhaps to help you reminisce about the days of old…) here are 10 myths about architecture schools debunked.

10 myths of architecture schools

  1. You have to pull all-nighters all the time.

    architecture all-nighterI have no idea how this idea has permeated throughout the profession with such success.  Throughout my entire architecture education I think I only pulled 2 or 3 all-nighters.  The fact of the matter is, you don’t do your best work when you’re sleep deprived.  Plan accordingly and decide what the most important things are to get done.  Put yourself in control and realize you make the decision of whether you want to pull an all-nighter or not.

  2. After you graduate you’re going to make a lot of money

    rich on architecture
    I’m not sure why people think architects make a lot of money.  For the amount of education I have, my wage is pretty laughable.  My fiance, who’s a school teacher, makes about the same as me and gets summers off.  If you’re in it for the money, you’re in it for the wrong reasons.

  3. Only the quality of education varies between architecture schools

    There are huge differences in how architecture is taught at different architecture schools.  I love the type of designer I’ve become because of my education.  The school you go to is going to shape the kind of designer you become, don’t just apply to ivy league schools because they’re prestigious.  Do you want to be more practical?  More artistic?  Do you want to push the boundaries of architecture?  The school you decide on may have a resounding yes or no to those questions.

  4. Your friends will only be in the architecture program

    Of course you’ll probably spend most of your time with other architecture students so you’re going to tend to make friends within that group.  You choose your friends though.  I had plenty of friends in college outside of the architecture program.

  5. You won’t have time to party.

    Whenever someone says they don’t have time for something I tell them, “You make time for what’s important.”  If you want to party, you’ll find a way and make the time.

  6. You’re going to do a lot of CAD work.

    I can’t speak for all architecture schools, but my alma mater didn’t have us really touch computers until our 4th semester.  Most of your design career is likely to be spend with CAD so savor the time you have to work with your hands.

  7. You need to be good at math.

    architecture math
    You certainly don’t need to be phenomenal at math to be an architect.  You only need to know how to do basic math.  That’s it.  I promise.

  8. You need to be able to draw well to go to architecture school

    I was never terrible at drawing but I don’t really tap into my drawing skills as an architectural designer.  I sketch to communicate ideas but those are never going to make their way into an art gallery.  Knowing how to draw might make things easier, but the only fundamental is being able to communicate an idea on paper (and even a 2nd grader can do that).

  9. You’re going to be able to change the world with architecture

    change the world
    I don’t want to trample your dreams, because I think that architecture is a noble profession and it DOES give you the opportunity to make a difference in the world.  Don’t put all of your eggs on changing the world though.  The amount of people in architecture who will change the world is comparable to any other major industry.

  10. Architecture is like any other degree.

    False.  Architecture is like a 3-headed teddy bear.  Sometimes you’ll love it, and sometimes you’ll think it’s weird and kind of scary… Like maybe you should just drop it off at the dumpster around back and forget about it.  You’ll get used to the love-hate relationship if you have enough passion and drive.

Have any additional myths of architecture schools?  Leave them in the comments below!


  1. Taking the Architecture Registration Exam | An Interview with Tony Gushanas from DesignerHacks.com - July 8, 2015

    […] There’s also this weird culture that surrounds architecture.  It’s like… lets see who can get the least amount of sleep.  I wrote an article about the lies of pulling an all-nighter.  I fell into that trap my first few years, but really put limits on what I was willing to do towards the end.  Don’t sacrifice your health for a project, in school or professionally.  One of the major reasons I started designerhacks.com was because I think that if designers become more efficient at using their tools they don’t have to pull all nighters.  Work smarter not harder.  I’d also recommend checking out these 10 myths of architecture schools. […]

  2. 10 Myths of Architecture Schools - September 30, 2014

    […] 10 Myths of Architecture Schools […]

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