Arch School sees jump in apps

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Photo by Carol Hsin.

Although the job market for young architects has suffered in recent years due to the tight budgets of developers, applications to Yale’s School of Architecture rose by nearly 6 percent this year, the school’s admissions administrator Marilyn Weiss said in an email Thursday.

While the school would not release official admissions statistics, Dean Robert A.M. Stern said the total number of applications for the school’s professional programs increased by about 50. Stern and three students agreed that Yale’s position as an elite architecture school had mitigated the effect that a slow job market had on the number of applications to the school, which administrators processed late last week. But Stern said the difficult economy might strain the school’s already tight budget for financial aid.

“I was terrified that we might not have a significant [number of] applications, but they were all there,” Stern said. “Applications are going down in many disciplines [at other professional schools], and there has been a certain amount of publicity about architects not being able to get jobs.”

Stern added that despite negative perceptions about the job market, a recent survey of all 2011 graduates from the school revealed that nearly all had obtained jobs in what Stern called “incredibly good offices.”

Yet the school did not release job placement data to prospective applicants, Stern said, adding that he felt that Yale’s architecture students are very desired in the marketplace. Weiss added that she believes architecture will always be an attractive professional discipline.

“People will always be passionate about architecture and will continue to pursue advanced studies in the field, regardless of the economic times,” Weiss said.

Three first-year architecture students interviewed said they applied because of longtime desires to study architecture at a high-ranking school like Yale and that these feelings were largely unaffected by the current economy and their salary expectations.

But two of the students said the dearth of architecture jobs available to professionals when they applied meant they would have been more likely to pursue a different path had they not gotten into a top architecture program like Yale’s.

“With money being tighter, grad school may not be worth it unless you can get into a top program,” Scott Parks ARC ’14 said. “Things like prestige end up playing a significant role [in your job prospects].”

While the recession has not affected the School of Architecture’s application rate this year, it may impede the school’s ability to meet students’ increasing financial need.

The School of Architecture follows a need-blind admissions policy so that students are not discriminated against in the application process if they require financial aid, Sharon DeLuca, assistant director of financial services at the school, said in a Monday email. But the school has a limited source of funding from which it provides aid, Stern said, and is unable to completely match need if the collective aid required by the admits exceeds this amount. Compared to Yale College, the school does not have significant resources devoted to the purpose of financial aid, Stern said.

Stern added that the financial aid packages offered by Yale usually match or exceed those of competitive architecture schools. Unlike many others, Yale also provides need-based aid to international students using the same formula as it does for American students, DeLuca said. She added that Yale acts as a lender for international students taking out loans, since foreign students often face difficulty obtaining loans on their own.

Stern said one of his goals as dean is to increase the amount of financial resources devoted to aid.

Weiss said that applicants will receive admissions decisions by no later than April 1, and that the school expects its acceptance rate to remain unchanged.

This year’s applications were due Jan. 2.

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