by ASR Staff
In the process of assemblying your B.Arch. or M.Arch. applications, try thinking of each component as a chance to tell your story to the Architecture School admissions committee.
This means that you should try not to simply reproduce a list of points from your CV into your application forms. Try offering new information as you are developing your answers on fields that relate to accomplishments, challenges that you have faced, or experiences.
Similarly, if one of your essays focuses on your volunteer work, try highlighting some activity (extracurricular or not), that would be a fit. Also try not to have all your recommenders tout the same achievements that you have already discussed somewhere else. It is important to use different opportunities to provide different snippets of what you can do and what you have done, as long as you can somehow connect these references to your overall architecture school admissions strategy.
Stuff like your GRE and your GPA and transcripts are aspects of your application that function 100% as data points. Other than them, everything else offers a possibility to tell another side of your story. The essay and the portfolio are particularly well suited for this purpose. In fact, each project of your portfolio should somehow discuss several points about your personality and background that you would like to get across. In the same way, each paragraph of the essay must state and explain a set of ideas that must be communicated to make your overall story undertood and to make sure it resonates.
As soon as the admissions committee has completed the review of your admissions materials, they should be able to understand your personality, your achievements, your goals, and your value proposition for the program.
Your test scores, your transcript and your grade point average will give the architecture school admissions committee a sense of your ability to manage dealing with their curriculum. Your CV or resue demonstrates the progression of your career, as well as the process of increasing your ability to manage responsibility. Reference letters, on the other hand, offer a great opportunity to discuss your leadership, your potential, and provide insight on the things that excite you more than anything else.
Overall, it is important to understand that the architecture school admissions committee will be making their selection (or not) based on the full picture that your application paints. Every paragraph, every sentence even of the essay, every image, every page of the portfolio, and every sentence of each reference letter is a brushstroke on this picture. It is in your hand to use these brushstrokes to create an exciting, creative, yet harmonious and sophisticated composition, or end up with a picture that is either incohesive, or simply boring.