I don’t have any architecture experience. Can I participate?
Absolutely! YArch is designed for those without previous architecture experience, including current college students, adults who are considering a career change, or anyone else interested in learning more about studying architecture.
I do have architecture experience. Can I participate?
Yes. Students who have taken some architecture courses during undergraduate studies or even those who are majoring in architecture can participate in YArch as well. In the past, we’ve seen current undergraduate students who had taken a few architecture courses and chose to do YArch before deciding whether to change their majors; we’ve seen undergraduate architecture majors who wanted to keep up their work through the summer break; and we’ve seen participants with some architecture experience who wanted to get a feel for UIC’s approach to the discipline.

I'm an international student. Can I participate?
Yes, the School of Architecture is able to provide I-20s for YArch participants to obtain F-1 student visas in order to participate in YArch. Students must submit proof of funding and additional documentation in order to receive an I-20.
What are you looking for in the examples of creative work in the application?
YArch aims to put together a diverse group of participants from various backgrounds. Applicants should submit work that represents their creative output and shows their interests and personality. Don’t worry about including anything related to architecture or advanced-level creative work if you don’t have that kind of experience. We just want to get some sense of who you are! We’ll accept almost any kind of creative work: drawing, painting, photography, graphic design, web design, sculpture, woodworking, jewelry-making, etc.
Are any specific math or engineering skills necessary? What about computer software skills?
No. The anchor of the YArch program is a studio that builds upon studies and exercises to create a final project. Focus will be on design and communication and not technical skills, although technical issues may be discussed in lectures and case studies. While familiarity with software such as the Adobe Creative Suite may be helpful for participants, faculty will provide tutorials for all computer programs used in each assignment. Admitted students will also receive additional information to become familiar with new software before the program begins.
Can I work while attending the program? What if I have to miss an event?
The school encourages participants to focus exclusively on YArch for the duration of the program in order to gain its full benefit. Your presence during studio and other activities will help solidify the relationships with your fellow participants and YArch faculty.
What will I get out of YArch?
YArch provides an introduction to architectural education and practice. YArch workshops and lectures will offer hand and computer drawing tools for improved graphic communication and exposure to Chicago firms and architects. At the end of the program, participants create pages of a portfolio that can be incorporated into an application for graduate study in architecture or added to an existing body of work. Students also receive personal evaluations from faculty.
Is there any financial assistance available for YArch?
Unfortunately, the school does not have scholarship funds available for YArch. We try to keep the cost of the program as low as possible to allow greater participation (compared with other equivalent programs).
What do participants do after YArch?
Former YArch participants have gone on to enter graduate programs (in architecture and otherwise) across the country. Since YArch began, in 2008, participants have been admitted to architecture programs at the following schools:
Columbia University
Georgia Institute of Technology
Harvard University
Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT)
Parsons The New School for Design
Pratt Institute
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)
Rice University
The Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)
Syracuse University
Tulane University
University of California, Berkeley
University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA)
University of Cincinnati
University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)
University of Maryland
University of Michigan
University of Minnesota
University of Pennsylvania
University of Texas at Austin
Washington University in St. Louis
Yale University