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Lawrence Tech or University of Michigan?


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This might have been ask before, but what the hey. I have two acceptance letters from both schools and I can't decide which would be the better school for me. I've gone through some of the pros and cons of both but I'm still torn. To start:

MAJOR: Architecture

MINOR: Imaging-Graphic Design

Lawrence Tech:

Pros: Jumps right into architecture classes

Smaller classes

Better living spaces

Can drive a car (I live 3 hours away this is important)

I would be a honor student here

Scholarship offer

Cons: Less known school (hinder my job placement after college?)

Male dominanted campus (I'm a female, not sure if this is a good thing)

University of Michigan:

Pros: WELLL KNOWN. this might be a big help on the resume?

Put into a special program for people that come from messed up situations (so more focus on me)

More people = more variety of people in different majors = better social life

Cheaper (but not by much to make a difference)

lots os extra-cirricular programs for students

Cons: Doesn't jump right into architecture...but this could be a pro too?

Small dorms

Big lecture classes

on the intelligence scale i would be a "dumber" person compared to everyone eles (the only reason i got accepted it because i'm a special case)

Can't have a vehicle for TWO YEARS?!?!?! (harder to visit family, my father is expected to only have 4 years left)

ANYWHO. Any input would be awesome. Or if there are actually students from both school?

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Well let's see if this helps you out. I'm in my senior year at Lawrence Tech (sort of obvious from user name). As far as gender ratios go, the architecture school is more balanced than the rest of the campus. I'm not sure if this is true but if you looked at the ratios for just the engineering and architecture schools at U of M, you will probably find that they are similar to those at LTU.

Also, I'm not sure that Lawrence Tech really is a lesser known school for architecture. I believe that the arch. school is actually larger than that at U of M and I can think of several professionals in Michigan firms that graduated from here.

If you have any other concerns I may be able to weigh in on them and maybe someone from the University of Michigan on here will be able to offer their opinion on the other side. (I'm not especially knowledgeable about their program so I don't want to say something that may not be true)

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I graduated with a BS-Arch degree from TCAUP @ U of M ( Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning :) ) as did 'golscorer' in 2005. A number of co-workers at my office are LT alum.

I would disagree with ^^^ that LTU isn't a lesser known school. Regionally, that may be the case, but on a national level, a University of Michigan degree will give you more opportunities. In my experiences, Michigan people hire Michigan people and Michigan alumni stretch far and wide. I can tell you I got 2 of my 3 jobs purely because of the block M on my degree and it gave me an edge at my current position. The school has some amazing connections and internship programs that will basically find you an internship anywhere in the nation. In regards to the school and the Architectural program, the curriculum is on par with the top programs in the nation. The new Dean of the school was an Associate Dean at Harvard ( Monica Ponce de Leon ) Size wise, the Undergraduate program was about 220 ( Junior / Seniors only ) and Graduates were around 140 when I was there. I have heard those numbers have flipped slightly recently ( More Graduates, less Undergraduates )

In response to some of your Cons:

) I spent my first two years @ Adrian College then transferred to CAUP. No regrets but my classmates that went to U of M first had a leg up because they did have some design and drawing classes that were Architecturally related. Yes you'll do a lot of the general ed type classes, but you will still have a few design/architectural classes thrown in

) You don't HAVE to stay in the dorms and most people don't after their Freshman year. Incredible stock of off-campus living around the University. If you do live in the dorms, you probably won't spend a lot of time beyond sleeping in your actual dorm room...

) In regards to the vehicle, the two year rule is only if you live in the dorms. If you live off campus, no one can stop ya from bringing a vehicle.

) Don't assume you'll be "a "dumber" person compared to everyone else". Your College education is what you make of it. The brainiacs in the school can also be the biggest slackers and flunk out if they aren't dedicated.

My family was a 4 hour drive from Ann Arbor. The truth is, once you get into the heart of your Architecture program ( and I would bet this is true @ LTU also ) you won't be going many places on the weekends. Architecture in general is a VERY intense program ( some would argue more so than doctors and lawyers ) and requires unbelievable hours of work. The first semester is intended to 'weed out' the ones that don't really want to do Architecture. We had something like 15-20 drop out from the work load.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask! I'll surely answer the best I can!

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Alright, I guess I was thinking mostly of Michigan when I said that. And I can see how U of M would be much more widely known on a national level than any of the other few schools in Michigan. In that way, U of M would give you a leg up.

And to add to what jbr said, just because U of M has higher standards on its honors program than LTU, doesn't make you any "dumber" by comparison. Really, architecture isn't a field where you need to be a "braniac": you need creativity, problem solving skills, and more than anything: dedication. Although the programs are different, you have the opportunity to do well at either school.

I was also accepted at both schools. I chose LTU partially because they are covering my full tuition, but also because I liked their campus, and I continue to like (most of) their program. The location in Southfield leaves a lot to be desired though. You are going to need that car because there is nothing worthwhile (except your class) within walking distance.

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I did architecture undergraduate at U of M. There's also a few other forumers here who have completed or are currently pursuing their architecture degree at U of M.

Class sizes: Class size can reach up to 110 students, but they are accompanied by discussion sections not exceeding more than 15 students. Since that group of 110 students are always together (your overall class size) you can rely on one another for help, and by a few weeks, you will know everybody personally in that auditorium. I remember instructors not having any problems with students raising their hands in class.

Studios: Studio faciilties have recently been upgraded, they are all on one floor and completely open. TCAUP believes open conversation between students is beneficial although it can get a bit rowdy sometimes :) I can confidently say I enjoyed everyday of studio, being able to see your friends and walk around freely.

Financial aid: There are various forms of financial aid available either through awards for your work (plenty given out) or work-study. I've done work study at the lower level print shop and cafe (same building). They offer $3000+ /year but it's rare anyone ever takes it. Alot of people decline this free money because they choose not to have a part time job. Hours are made by you. Can't go to work because you are too busy or have an exam to study for? No problem, schoolwork comes first

Intensity: The "no free weekends" thing may be a bit of a stretch. Don't get me a wrong, I was a workohollic in studio and never scored lower than an A in any of my studios but you will make time, you just need to be focused. The problem with people not getting work done was because they talked with friends and walked around during studio instead of actually working. I would see people watching movies on their computers instead of getting their projects done before the night they were due. I'm not discounting the fact that architecture is rigorous, because it is. But I was still able to party it up on Fridays, go to football games, travel places on weekends, and manage to get some decent sleep. Typically it's right before crits/reviews that things get hellish and you wish you never did architecture, but that's universal at all architecture schools. Looking back, you'll love what you did and entirely forget the bad moments.

Job Placement: U of M offers a spring break internship program in architecture. Pick the city you desire to work in (or hope to work in the future). You then write in a company or let the University choose a company/firm for you. You go work for that firm for a week during spring break, and in most cases, that job becomes a permanent full time position upon graduation or at least a summer internship between terms. It's a really great program if you worry about getting a good job, or just need some experience.

Parking/driving: I realize parking in Ann Arbor is a premium. I've parked in the Old Fourth Ward where it's an extreme premium. But the street parking is free. I rarely drive, but own a car. It stays for weeks on end unused, but it's there if I need it. U of M has an excellent (and free) bus system that stops every 5-10 minutes. Or you could live at Northwood housing later on near the arch school on North campus, but then you'd be far away from the activity and urbanity that central campus offers. Regardless, if you live near Central campus, you are only 15 minutes from the architecture school via bus, guaranteed. If you decide to drive to the arch school, well that's okay, but it's $1.10/hour in red spaces by the building. If you upgrade to an orange pass for lots 350 feet away from the building, it's $60/year. The blue lots right next to the building are $200/week, but those aren't available to you. I lived in Couzens Hall for three years of my undergrad. Some people there did own cars but they rented garages for $40/month or just used street parking. You can also rent spaces in parking structures for an affordable rate. I believe they are $135/month.

Intelligence: LOL, don't worry about this one. :) Seriously you will be fine. People transfer here from schools everywhere and don't have any problems. As long as you go to class and pay attention and do assigned readings you should have great success.

If you have any other questions, feel free to pm me here on u/p.

Photos: 2005-2006






Pre-arch studios (freshmen and sophomores) Since the program has grown, I think they are going to phase out studios in this crampt space (it's on central campus btw)



Laser cutting services are within the building, and FREE. You are permitted up to 90 minutes of cutting/day (although in non-peak times, you are permitted more hours)


Typical class-section size


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  • 2 months later...

Thank you for the responses. This is very helpful advice. I did end up deciding to go to Michigan.

Just a few questions regarding Michigan:

How many people in the arch program at Michigan actually from Michigan? Do most people get accepted?

For anyone that has a job after the program.. do you feel like you got the education you needed to fulfill your job? If you had to go back, what would you do differently?

How do people treat arch people on campus? Is architecture their own cult? By the amount I'm gonna be spending in the studio.. will I still have a chance to meet people in different studies?

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There are a lot of people from the state of Michigan, but also a lot of people from other states, and there are also a few people from abroad. Somewhere on the TCAUP website are a few demographics about accepted students.

I haven't secured a job yet. But my only marketable job skill is rendering, which I learned completely independently from school. I also learned some AutoCAD (enough to draw my simple plans, not enough to work at an office without being taught things), but that wasn't covered in any classes, and was learned through other students and by google. For me, the school has helped foster the ability to be critical, as well as familiarity with some architectural issues/concepts. I've also learned some things about how buildings are put together.

Most people are vaguely aware that the architecture program exists, but have no idea where the AA (Art & Architecture) Building is, even though many of them pass by it and wait at the bus stop across the street from it every day. A lot of people seem to think that it's somewhere within the school of engineering. During your Junior and Senior years you won't meet anyone from other majors unless you make a point to. But if you're going in as a freshman then you'll be taking gen ed classes, and will be living in dorms, where you'll have the opportunity to meet plenty of people from outside of architecture, which you should do. But just through the sheer size, and because most students live on campus, I think UM has more social opportunities than Lawrence Tech would.

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Yeah, applying into U of M as a freshman opens up, I wouldn't say doors, but floodgates of social opportunities. My pre-arch experiences, along with living in the dorms were some of the best moments of my life. Being in the school of architecture my Junior and Senior years was rather a continuum of the college life I had already built, where someone transfering in rarely ventured outside the progam to meet others.

My peers have done fine as far as transitioning into the work force, although summer internships will definitely help prepare you. You should take the courses offered to teach you AutoCAD or rendering software either before or during your years enrolled in the actual school of architecture.

People going into TCAUP are luckier than ever having all of this new state of the art technology installed. New 24 hour self serve laser cutters, as well as new 3d printing technology. I'm extremely jealous.

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ARCH 211 no longer teaches AutoCAD. They teach drawing and modeling in Rhinoceros. Of course, we should be learning AutoCAD, 3ds Max, SketchUp, and possibly revit, but we're learning Rhino. A lot of students have never heard of some of those programs, and some of the faculty think that using Rhino is normal. But the school's computers do have these programs, so take advantage of that.

My advice is to demand everything you want along the way. Half of the professors are either incompetent or lazy, and if you leave it up to them, you'll have worthless experiences. Don't let them show up an hour late and leave an hour early for studio every day(if they show up at all), don't let them have no expectations of the studio, and make sure their project assignments are well thought out. If your professor's desk crits aren't helpful go to other professors.

Right now there's a student exhibition, and there's a lot of AWESOME work, and you'll need to make sure that you do awesome work too.

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Not to flood things from the UM side, but as far as "not jumping-in right away" is concerned, there are a number of Freshman and Sophmore prerequisites available. Before you get into the school you have to chose two classes out of 201, 202 and 218 (drawing/modeling courses) and by the time you graduate you also have to have finished 313 and 413 (arch history) and 211 (tech/CAD - don't recall if this was required). 212 (Design Intro) is also available to pre-arch students. Personally, starting my second semester, I took 201, 202, 218, 211, 313 and 413 all before I even got into the school of Architecture which made a nice transition and which you might consider if you can't wait to start taking architecture classes (should you choose Michigan). If you do get all of these prerequisites out of the way before you get into the school, you can take more electives your Junior and Senior year or, you can choose not to take any electives and lighten your class load.

I'm on the five year plan (victory lap) and hope to graduate this April. Wish me luck!

Also, Monica Ponce de Leon is awesome and has the most fantastic accent.


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heheh, sorry guys, I was cranky about school this morning. Now I'm happy about school! :lol:

In addition to taking your normal classes, and your pre-arch classes, it would also be worthwhile to do things in your free time, like drawing and reading, as well as 3D modeling and analog (???) modeling.

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Hmmp, interesting. Good thing I took three years ofd AutoCADD. Is there any use for solidworks? also, is there a certain housing area that the arch live at? is it true they get dumped on NC?

I guess I worded my question funny. But do most students that already attend UofM, for those who apply, do most get in? Or is the selection process really cut throat?

Btw, thanks a lot for those pics wolverine. i appreciate it.

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This year there just happens to be a cluster of 10 or so UG4s living near the Ann Arbor Public Library.

As far as Solid Works is concerned, it certainly won't be a liability. Once you start working on projects, especially after your first semester, presentation is often up to you - so you'll want to use whatever skill/programs that work best for you.

I don't honestly know the acceptance rate, but I do know that your portfolio is very important. Go to workshops and spend some quality time (and $) on it.

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heheh, sorry guys, I was cranky about school this morning. Now I'm happy about school! :lol:

In addition to taking your normal classes, and your pre-arch classes, it would also be worthwhile to do things in your free time, like drawing and reading, as well as 3D modeling and analog (???) modeling.

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