The study of architecture is rigorous, highly visual, and conceptual. You will want to plan your high school learning path carefully, and take advantage of a wide range of life experiences geared towards your future studies and demonstrating your ability to succeed.

Recommended high school coursework

  • Honors and AP courses, to prepare for rigorous college coursework
  • Studio art classes: extremely important. This includes drawing and 3D design. Mechanical drawing and CAD (Computer Aided Design) classes are not a prerequisite for admissions, nor a necessary component for your portfolio.
  • A solid background in physical sciences, including physics
  • English and humanities classes
  • Developed writing abilities
  • Foreign language
  • Speech or debate classes
  • Math, including trigonometry; calculus recommended but not required
related activities and experiences
  • Read – Books, newspapers, magazines. Read about architecture, the city or town you live in, and the landscapes and environments we inhabit.

  • Explore – Visit museums and expose yourself to a wide range of contemporary and traditional art. Look closely at buildings and their details. Travel and experience other cultures whenever possible.
  • Draw – Get a sketchbook and draw what you see: buildings, people, places, still lifes, things. Build a portfolio from the drawings you create.
  • Make Things – Architectural design is produced in project-form. Make something: a garment, a lamp, a shed, a bench, etc. Think up something. Draw it. Make it. Record the process in images. Put it in your portfolio.
  • Talk to people who work in the architectural and design fields. Ask them about what they do, and how they got started. Seek out student resources from professional organizations, such as the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
  • Consider working in a summer job related to construction and/or architecture.
  • Participate in your community.
Summer College

The 4-week Summer College Architecture Program at Syracuse University, taught by Architecture faculty,  provides rising high school seniors with an opportunity to participate in architecture lectures, field trips, and most importantly, hands-on studio work. It will help you discover whether architecture study is for you and, if so, you’ll have a head start on your portfolio.