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James Madison University

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I came here to warn those of youQuite BrightArchitecture
I came here to warn those of you who are looking to join JMU's Architectural Design program. If anyone is interested in studying Architectural Design at JMU, please take the time to read this comment; you may want to reconsider your field of study at this university. The current program is in dire need of restructuring.

The majority of ARCD classes (the required studio class for the major) are spent randomly cutting and gluing pieces of chipboard together, creating meaningless structures that serve no actual purpose. The class places a heavy emphasis on philosophy, and because of this, directions for assignments are left incredibly ambiguous. Some professors come in without lesson plans; every class is an "open discussion" or "critique" where the professor gathers everyone in a room and talks about just about anything to kill the time. As a passionate student who looked forward to learning about architecture, I felt completely unengaged for the majority of my time spent in ARCD classes. There were even days where we did Yoga as part of the class and I feel that this is completely unacceptable.

Grading is also very subjective; if you disagree with the anything the professors say, it results in a negative impact on your grade. This forces students to mindlessly agree to everything, which in the long runs hurts both the students and the university.Seeing some of the works of friends of mine from other schools (such as UVA and Tulane) absolutely blows me away. They create actual models of what could be turned into full scale buildings while we just cut and paste scraps together until we find a form that the professor thinks is aesthetically pleasing. I can't help but feel that I have wasted my time, money, and effort.

2nd Year Male -- Class 2018
Campus Aesthetics: A+, Useful Schoolwork: F
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Quite BrightBusiness - Management and Administration
JMU does an excellent job of offering big school resources with an intimate small school feel.
4th Year Male -- Class 1994
Education Quality: A, Useful Schoolwork: B+
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It's taken me a long time to reallyBrightArt & Design Department
It's taken me a long time to really feel like I have a spot here. Yes, unless you are the typical white-girl-esque type, feeling like you belong is hard but if you really try to put yourself out there, it's doable. There is plenty of diversity if you really hunt for it (not that you should have to). Most people are super friendly despite the conformity.

The staff is hit or miss. I'm a dual degree student and I've found that the staff in one department is very encouraging and helpful while the other is a condescending nightmare. I've had professors that were wonderful and some that were the absolute worst. Most are right in the middle. Signing up for classes is hell and you really have to hound the administration to get any help.

The campus is beautiful but that seems to be where the money goes. Meanwhile some dorms dont have wifi or enough fire exits (looking at you, Eagle hall). Campus is huge and getting back in forth in time for class can be really tough but most professors are pretty understanding about it. Parking is impossible for commuters so don't bother buying a parking pass. Parties are overrated. Usually it's just crowded apartments or frats. Find your own group and you'll be fine. The town is super small but it's nice and safe. Usually you can find an event if you really look. I actually wish the school did more for the community since it could use so much help and we clearly have enough money to provide the football team with the world.

1st Year Female -- Class 2018
Faculty Accessibility: A+, Individual Value: C-
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