HELP scholar Paige graduated from the Texas A&M’s Recreation Park & Tourism program and entered the Texas A&M Master of Architecture program Fall 2012. WHOOP!

This acceptance is especially rewarding because it has always been a dream of Paige’s to be an architect. In fact it is the beginning of the end of a long journey of hers. Out of high school she was not accepted into Texas A&M’s undergraduate Architecture program, but she did not quit. She entered Blinn Community College, in Bryan, Texas, right down the street from A&M. There she took her foundation courses and after a year transferred into Texas A&M’s College of Agriculture & Life Sciences and studied Recreation Park & Tourism. She had never taken a studio design course until this spring, when she emailed me to sign up for URSC483-Site Planning & Analysis for students who have never had a studio class, and was the only student in the class from outside the planning department. We worked together to include her first three assignments in my class as representations of her ability to be a quick study & grasp the graphic basics that she would need to communicate visually, and survive the studio culture in the masters program. The rest is history! She was a fantastic student to work with. (You can read our initial conversations about her concerns below.)

Her initial email:
Professor Tarlton,
I am currently an applicant for Master of Architecture Career Change. After attending your studio class today my friend recommended that I try to be forced into the class that it would be a great portfolio builder and learning experience. I was pleasantly surprised that URSC 483 is not a majors only class and I am now registered. I look forward to meeting you.

This is the email she sent me after I gave the HELP presentation in my class. (The students asked for it after they read my resume):
Ed, After today’s talk in 483 I realized I desperately need as much HELP as I can get, so I’m contacting HELP! I have made so many mistakes throughout this process, and like you told us, I want my application back. Just to name a few, I started this process entirely too late. I took the GRE in November, and did surprising well considering I took it cold. I was going to take it again, but Jill Raupe told me there was no reason, which I’m guessing it is not true. I first contacted Dr. Wells whom is listed on the website as the program coordinator for Master of Architecture Career Change. I made my initial mistake and wrote Mr. Wells knowing pretty good and well he was a doctor. Anyway that aside Dr. Wells immediately forwarded my email to Marcel Erminy. Marcel emailed me and wanted to meet with me the first week of school and cc’ed Jill Raupe the adviser for M. Arch. I emailed Marcel back, and made my next super super huge mistake and said Ms. Erminy. ( I would like to say though, I am a researcher I almost over research a lot of things and had looked up Marcel Erminy. I’m not sure how I found a female but that is a huge embarrassing and terrible mistake on my part). After this Marcel never replied to me, so wanted to get the info I needed and the fact that he had said I needed to speak with Jill as well I set up an appointment with her, which happened to be about 5 days before the application closed online. Jill was very nice an helpful and told me that with my GRE score there was no reason to take it again, as mentioned earlier. So, obviously I ask for the GPA and GRE requirements. She told me everything that needed to be turned in and I started work immediately. My online application is turned in, my GRE scores have been sent to the university, and my transcripts are on their way. I have my recommendation letters on their way. I still need to have my resume printed and send it, but this is all just information about where I stand. I need to get to know a couple of professors, and I am currently looking up professors in the department and see a few with interests in historic preservation. I am going to use the format of your HELP letter and try to get that underway.

My next huge concern is that because I do not have a architectural or art background of any kind I do not have a portfolio. Jill told me since I am applying to career change it is OK, but I feel like that puts me a step behind. What do I do?

Sorry this is so lengthy but I just wanted you to be able to see where I stand. Please give me any feedback you can, and any advise to fix the numerous mistakes I have made throughout this process. Let me know if I owe you for all your help.