Question: To be an architect, what subjects should I take in high school?
Answer: While still in high school, you should plan a strong college preparatory program with courses in English, History, and other humanities subjects, mathematics, including geometry, trigonometry, algebra, and pre-calculus, and physics. Humanities courses will sharpen your communication skills and your ability to put things into context. Science and math courses help develop problem-solving techniques.
Art courses - drawing, painting, sculpture, or photography - will be helpful in developing your ability to visualize and conceptualize, which are both important skills to an architect. Drafting is less important than being able to communicate ideas through visuals.
Elective courses in computers and business will be extremely helpful in preparing for a career in architecture.
Develop Good Habits:
High school is a good time to develop positive skills to use your entire life. Learn how to manage your time and get your projects done well and promptly. Project management is a huge responsibility in the architect's office. Also, take advantage of family travel to be a keen observer of your surroundings—even Disney has architecture.
What Others Say:
The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture suggests that "Aspiring architects should learn as much as possible about the field of architecture, by talking to architects and by visiting architectural offices." When you have a research project for a humanities course, keep in mind the profession of architecture. For example, a research paper for English Composition or an interview project for History is a good opportunity to get in touch with architects in your community and research historic architects of the past and present.
Source: High School Preparation, Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture [accessed March 23, 2014]
Many schools of architecture provide summer opportunities for high school students to experience architecture. Talk with your high school guidance counselor about these and other possibilities:
- Career Discovery, University of Notre Dame School of Architecture, Indiana
- Experiment in Architecture, College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago
- Summer Academy, Boston Architectural College, Massachusetts
- Art and Architecture Camp, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
- Youth Programs, Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin, Wisconsin