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dotWhat to Expect

Time management skills will serve you well in an architecture program. There are a lot of studio assignments to complete.

"Every free moment is dedicated to the completion of those assignments," says Nick Borescu, a product of a master's program in architecture. "That involves weekend work, evening and night work and a very large number of all-night assignments."

The most difficult aspect of the program, however, is dealing with criticism. If you're easily upset by disapproval from others, you may be too sensitive for architecture. Peers challenge and question each other's work.

"Every conclusion of every project culminates in a peer critique," says Borescu. "The first hard aspect is learning to speak in public....The harder aspect is dealing with the negativity and imminent rejection of the project by professors and peers."

One thing that architecture students should be aware of is the cost of producing models and drawings, says Tina Ferguson. She has a master's degree in architecture from Arizona State University. She also remembers long nights and endless work.

Katie Chau was already a registered architect when she received her master's degree. She returned to school to upgrade her knowledge.

She agrees that the program ran at an "exhausting pace." As a part-time student, Chau attended two "really intensive days of lectures, seminars, workshops or tutorials" per week. Some days wouldn't end until 7 or 8 at night.

Survival Tips

Borescu's advice is to separate yourself from the work. Remind yourself that it is only an assignment or a small phase of learning. "Taking things personally can lead to depression," he says.

Peer support is important. "The grad students are generally mature, gifted and supportive of each other," says Chau. She says her classmates really helped her pull through.

How to Prepare

Overall, says Borescu, high school students should be "well versed in the arts. It is not uncommon for prospective students to bring literary creations to the interview or play a musical instrument or show oil paintings. Any creative aspect one may possess should be explored and developed."

To prepare for architecture programs, suggests Chau, high school students should "balance their academics with creative and athletic activities."