I'm not going to lie, the process of applying to architecture school can seem daunting if you are just skimming through architecture programs offered at various universities. But getting into architecture is definitely "do-able."
So I'll break it down into 4 simple steps:
1. Plan, plan, plan!
This is the most important step because the process of getting into architecture school can be a long one. I have seen some students take up to two years to get accepted into an architecture school, due to poor planning. A well-developed step-by-step plan is necessary, because many schools have certain deadlines for turning in application packets. I'll give you the breakdown of some of the basics, in order: 1-Begin working on portfolio pieces; 2-Schedule and take SATs; 3-Request recommendation letters from teachers; 4-Apply to University; 5-Apply to University's Architecture Program; 6-Complete FAFSA.
(For more information on this breakdown, a good resource is Get Accepted Into Architecture School, which can be found on Amazon. It takes you through a more in-depth process of how to go about completing each task.)
2. Find out which schools are NAAB approved.
An NAAB approved degree (sometimes called an accredited NAAB architecture program) is necessary to obtain an architecture license in majority of the US states. There are only three NAAB approved degree types: Bachelor of Architecture, Master of Architecture, and Doctor of Architecture. If the University you are looking into does not say one of those specifically, then it is not an NAAB approved program. You can find a list of accredited architecture programs by state on My School of Architecture. Again, this is extremely important.
3. Search for the best architecture schools in the U.S.
DesignIntelligence puts out a book each year that rates the top architecture schools. You can find their book on Amazon, as well. Every major architecture website uses their rating system for publishing the top schools. The name of the book for this year is 2013 America’s Best Schools of Architecture and Design.
4. Try and try again.
While it would be wonderful if we could all get into an Ivy League school or the top DesignIntelligence rated school, it isn't necessarily feasible. Remember what your goal here is...to become an architect. If a program is not good enough to produce architects, it will not be accredited by the NAAB. So what's that mean? That means that you should apply to the school that you are most likely to be accepted into. If you have a 2.5 GPA, you may have troubles getting into Harvard; that's just the reality of it. But, again...your goal is to become an architect, and you don't need the BEST school to do that. Shoot for the BEST school for YOU. Apply to schools that inspire you to be creative. Apply to schools that will help you to become the best architect that YOU can be.