Build Your Architecture Career With College Scholarships

Studying architecture requires both creativity and practicality and opens up many career paths.

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The Simpson Strong-Tie scholarship grants $1,000 awards to enrolled junior or senior architecture students at participating colleges.
The Simpson Strong-Tie scholarship grants $1,000 awards to enrolled junior or senior architecture students at participating colleges.

As a college-bound student, you've taken a lot of tests. Many of you have probably heard, as a result of your strengths, that you're either "left-brained" or "right-brained." 

The former description generally covers those who excel at math, logic and reasoning. The latter is usually the province of creative and artistic minds. 

These kinds of assessments have likely helped you narrow down a college major and a career path. But if you don't have an obvious preference for either side – if you like thinking about math and music, or science and sculpture – it can be a little tougher to figure out what you want to study during your college years. 

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Fortunately, architecture is one popular career field that can combine creativity with practicality. A good architect needs to be able to devise new ideas and envision new forms that are – sometimes literally – outside of the box. The same architect also has to have the exacting technical skills and spatial logic to turn those ideas into long-lasting buildings. 

Architecture is an ideal field for using both sides of your brain, and it also requires a pretty set path of college studies, interning and finally becoming licensed before you're officially an architect. It may seem like a lot of education, but there are many scholarships that can help pay for it pretty much every step of the way.

The Scholarship Coach has mentioned professional associations before as an excellent source of scholarship dollars, and the world of architecture is no exception. The American Institute of Architects provides a number of award and scholarship programs, including the AIA/AAF Minority and Disadvantaged Scholarship. 

This scholarship is given to minority or financially disadvantaged high school graduates, community college transfer students and college freshmen. AIA also awards the a/e ProNet David W. Lakamp AIA Scholarship, for seniors and grad students focusing on practice management. 

Applications for the Lakamp Scholarship are open through November and applications for the minority and disadvantaged students scholarship open in December for the 2014 school year. 

[Find out how to turn your creativity into a graphic design career.] 

AIA also provides dozens of local and regional scholarships for architecture students through their Component Scholarships. With AIA component chapters everywhere from Alaska to Atlanta, there are plenty of opportunities for architecture scholarships near you. 

The American Institute of Architecture Students is another organization that can help you throughout your architectural education. Membership allows you to access AIAS resources, network with your peers and mentors and apply for the ATrust Scholarship

This scholarship provides a $1,000 award to five student members each year. Students must be in the last year of their bachelor's study or the first year of a master's study to apply. In addition, searching for scholarships on the AIAS website will lead to overviews of financial aid and other details at a number of the country's prominent architecture schools. 

While AIA and AIAS provide general scholarships, there are also plenty of options out there for specialized programs and specific backgrounds. The American Association of University Women offers fellowships for women in specific fields of study, including architecture. Those awards range from $5,000 to $18,000 and are open for application through January 10. 

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If you're a junior or senior enrolled in an architecture or structural engineering program at one of 40 participating colleges, consider applying for the Simpson Strong-Tie Scholarship Program. Applications open Sept. 1 for 57 $1,000 scholarships for upperclassmen each year. A list of eligible schools can be found on the application website. 

You can also find awards based on your chosen specialization. The American Society of Landscape Architects can help you out with a host of scholarships and fellowships around the country. 

The American Concrete Institute is giving out nine $7,000-$10,000 fellowships and scholarships for 2014-2015. Applications are due by Oct. 15 and require a nomination from a faculty member. 

If you want to tinker in a few different areas, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture hosts rotating student design competitions in areas ranging from "Timber in the City" to "Preservation as Provocation." 

Much like the decision to pursue architecture in the first place, these scholarship competitions will provide a challenge to both sides of your brain. 

Matt Konrad has been with Scholarship America since 2005. He is an alumnus of the University of Minnesota and a former scholarship recipient.