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Classes That Will Prepare You For an Architecture Major
Thinking about majoring in architecture? If you want to become an architect, you'll need a degree in architecture. What classes should you take in high school or community college before you jump into architecture coursework?
General College Prep Courses
Architecture is a competitive field, and many architecture programs are difficult to be accepted into. If you want to get into a good school, you'll need to take as many honors and AP classes as you can. Make sure they're from a range of subjects--you need a broad knowledge base to be successful in architecture. Elective classes in English, foreign language, math, economics, science, history, and government will all help you get into a good architecture program. Keeping your GPA up is important too!
During your architecture degree, you will probably be expected to complete a year of calculus. You will need to be able to calculate structural forces in building structures and energy usage in building systems. A strong foundation in trigonometry is also important. If your high school offers AP Calculus, take it. If not, take as much math as you can. A few colleges only require math through pre-calculus, but having a strong math background will still help you get accepted to the program. Plus it will help you later when you're working as an architect. If you're weak at math, its still possible for you to make it through architecture school successfully; you'll just need to work at it.
Those structures and environmental controls classes will also require an understanding of basic physics. You'll need to take at least one introductory physics class during your degree. If you can take honors or AP Physics before you get to college, you'll be much better off. It will also help you get accepted!
Drawing / Art
A lot of architecture school is project-based. You'll need to develop some basic art and model-building skills. If you can't draw, don't worry! It may sound crazy, but drawing is a learned skill. It just takes a lot of practice. You'll get some drawing classes during your degree, but life will be way easier if you come in with some basic skills. Get a sketchbook and start drawing everything you see in your spare time. Doodle during class (yes, its acceptable to doodle in architecture classes--just don't get too distracted). If your high school offers art classes, take one. Also consider taking art classes during the summer or after school at a community center or junior college. Some architecture programs (especially transfer programs) require a portfolio of creative work to get accepted. So start making, drawing, and creating!
Drafting is probably a lower priority than the classes above, but taking a drafting class will give you a better idea of what to expect during your architecture degree. You won't be expected to know how to draft when you start your degree, but some basic skills will be very helpful. There's a lot to learn in the first few terms; if you already know how to draft, your first few terms in college will be a lot easier. Consider taking hand drafting at your local junior college. AutoCAD and Revit (computer drafting) classes would also be a good idea.