What happens at the architecture school admission interview? (PART 2)


A couple of weeks ago, I wrote the blog entry, “What happens during the architecture school admission interview?. It was written from an interviewer’s perspective, and this time around, it came from an interviewee himself/herself.  It is written in the most honest and funny way how he/she went through the whole admission processes to “packaging oneself into the intelligent, talented, likable, and ideal candidate for admissions.” Below is the account of what he/she went through….  

Without a doubt, this past month was the most important and stressful time of my life so far: important because the work I was putting into my architecture school application could make or break my dream of getting into my number one arch school; stressful because I was pulling all nighters to finish up my portfolio, talking to the mirror to prepare for my interview, filling out pages of application forms and living off of Red Bull. This process was frustrating and difficult in almost every aspect. I faced the challenge of summarizing my entire life on a few pieces of paper. I had to choose a small selection of works from the mountains of sketches and boxes of acrylic pieces of mine from the past 9 years. I made sure that each and every single one of my selections had to show my technical abilities, my artistic style, my ideas, and who I am. I tried to think of every question that an alumni interviewer could ask me and planned out answers that were thoughtful and sophisticated. In short, I spent the past month packaging myself into the intelligent, talented, likable, and ideal candidate for admissions.

Last night, I pressed the submit button of my CommonApp. It was finally over. As I think back to this application process, I realized that the dark circles and buckets of sweat were well worth it. This process was more than just putting together the perfect image of myself for the admissions committee. Rather, it was a journey for me to discover for myself who I am. As I was preparing my art portfolio, I had the chance to look at everything from my first freehand sketch to the acrylic piece that I completed just a few days ago. I saw for myself how much I improved, developed, and changed technically and stylistically; how my works grew from simple sketches of rectangular prisms to acrylic pieces that reflect my fascination with traditional Chinese architecture. As I was preparing for my alumni interview, I forced myself to answer questions like “why architecture?”, “why art?”, and “What made you who you are today” and “who will you be in the future?”.

In the end, only a few of the questions I prepared actually came up on the interview, and I’m still not sure whether or not my portfolio will impress the admissions committee enough to get an offer of admission. However, I know that my hard work has already been paid back because the process allowed me to truly discover for myself my strengths, my weaknesses, who I really am, and who I want to be in the future. And to me, that is most important. 

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