DIT's flawed entrance system

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DIT's flawed entrance system

Postby edweena » Fri May 12, 2006 6:45 pm

First and foremost I believe it is highly important to clarify that DIT is an excellent school of architecture, however their problems as regards students advancing within the course can be attributed to a key factor; the suitability test (as it is aptly named). More and more students are failing to advance within the course (this years number was also particularly high) because quite simply they are not suited or do not have the drive and motivation for this tough field of work. I even know of people who have been thoroughly interested in architecture for years, attended exhibitions and lectures, visited buildings, obtained work experience and who were HIGHLY skilled and creative at art. Had they reached the interview I have no doubts they would have been accepted (or even considered). Unfortunately this test appears to be highly flawed selecting an array of people with passive interest, and little drive or skill, who happened to put the right thing down on the day. Many have even confessed their personal statements contained little or no thought, that their aptitude section was average and that they simply put little effort into the drawings. Natually I am speaking generally and I have no doubt many suitable and excellent students have entered the course, but by and large I genuinely feel that DIT is making a mistake by having this test in place. The interview with portfolio is by far a truer and more accurate indication, Yes they would have to interview a greater number but at least they would then know some external psychology group hasn't cut off potentially excellent candidates. Ultimately some of the best are overlooked for some mediocre who got lucky. I hope DIT review this policy in the future as it is heartbreaking to those who try so so hard, Thank you for reading this. Let me know what you think
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Re: DIT's flawed entrance system

Postby DJM » Fri May 12, 2006 7:06 pm

What's been said above is in my opinion word for word accurate and I think that DITs selection system is deeply unfair to those with a desire to study Architecture / AT

I wanted to study Architectural Technology after the Leaving, but despite having a genuine interest and aptitude in the subject, attended a series of talks on conservation in the local library during 6th year, got some work experience in an Architects office during 5th year, it was impossible for me to do so, as the required points were so high and my LC results were pretty crap.

After a 4 year period, during which I did a PLC course and got over two years of relevant work experience, I was finally offered a place. During the interview stage they had the cheek to raise concerns as to the possibility of me being disruptive to the rest of the class due to boredom, on account of my familiarity with the course content in 1st year :rolleyes:

Incidentally, it is possible to cheat with the multiple-choice questions in the aptitude test and I know a number of people who have done so, myself included. The format has been the exact same for years now and there are copies of it (questions and answers) in circulation.

It was quite some time ago now, but as I recollect, the last time I sat the aptitude test without cheating, I failed by only a few points having done quite poorly on the multiple choice boxes. The last time I sat it though, I did cheat and got 100% for the multiple choice. Despite this, I only passed the overall exam by 1 point. Forgive me for being cynical but…

I didn’t take the place in the end, the DIT experience left a rather sour taste. The UK has a much fairer selection system in operation through UCAS and I took myself over there.

The awful thing is that it took me 4 years to get a place in AT at DIT, had they offered me a place with my first application, I’d have finished the bloody course by the time I was eventually due to start it :mad:

Those 4 years weren’t wasted by any means, I gained lots of experience and thoroughly enjoyed my time studying & working, but all the same it’s almost half a decade from my life, with another 4 to spend studying after that.

A fundamental change in the system is indeed well overdue.
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Re: DIT's flawed entrance system

Postby Bren88 » Sat May 13, 2006 12:18 am

DJM wrote:What's been said above is in my opinion word for word accurate and I think that DITs selection system is deeply unfair to those with a desire to study Architecture / AT


I do agree with you that the suitibility test system does have its problems. Some very good canditates are most likely turned away. I missed out by two points for architecture. And passed for arch.technology.
But are you suggesting that UCDs method is better!!! Based on LC points alone. DITs method helps some suited people get through easier, but it can't help everyone. UCD potentially turns away much much higher numbers of suitable students.

DJM wrote:After a 4 year period, during which I did a PLC course and got over two years of relevant work experience, I was finally offered a place. During the interview stage they had the cheek to raise concerns as to the possibility of me being disruptive to the rest of the class due to boredom, on account of my familiarity with the course content in 1st year


How long ago was that, students from architectural technology PLC courses and similar that have a high enough understanding of first year course content, go directly into second year.
I doubt that they were suggesting that, probably more to get a judge of character from your response. Would of only helped other students having you there.

DJM wrote:Those 4 years weren’t wasted by any means, I gained lots of experience and thoroughly enjoyed my time studying & working, but all the same it’s almost half a decade from my life, with another 4 to spend studying after that.


Architectural technology is only three years long in DIT. Three years everywhere.
If it makes you feel any better. Since last year architectural technology have scraped the test and now interview all students.
I think the numbers for Architecture are too high to allow that yet, but it can't be too far off. UCD should follow suit too.

The system has its flaws, but UCD is worse. So is most of the CAO system.
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Re: DIT's flawed entrance system

Postby a boyle » Sat May 13, 2006 1:52 pm

To paraphrase winston churchill, the cao is the least bad method of selection for college places.

There are no flaws with the system itself. However it instills an economic market for selection without forcing any costs on the student. If med students had to pay 100K for their piece of paper it would make them think twice about applying, and only the most motivated students would apply for a course. Note this has nothing to do with 'the poor': there are many ways to charge 100K. And this effect tricles down through all the courses, whether architecture or science.
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Re: DIT's flawed entrance system

Postby edweena » Sat May 13, 2006 2:22 pm

Since last year architectural technology have scraped the test and now interview all students.
I think the numbers for Architecture are too high to allow that yet, but it can't be too far off. UCD should follow suit too.

The system has its flaws, but UCD is worse. So is most of the CAO system.


Unfortunately architectural technology is done by CAO points alone now in DIT- no interview, and yes i totally agree that UCDs system is a joke, a 600 pointer who never lifted a paintbrush in his/her life can get in.......what a waste
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Re: DIT's flawed entrance system

Postby Bren88 » Sat May 13, 2006 10:17 pm

The test is gone but the interview was still there last I heard. It's LC points plus the possible 100 from the interview.
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Re: DIT's flawed entrance system

Postby experiMental » Sat May 13, 2006 10:49 pm

edweena wrote:Unfortunately architectural technology is done by CAO points alone now in DIT- no interview, and yes i totally agree that UCDs system is a joke, a 600 pointer who never lifted a paintbrush in his/her life can get in.......what a waste


UCD's entrance system is not a joke. It's an international disgrace. ]It's the points system that's not working.[/b] This system is preventing people who could make a significant contribution to architecture from studying it.

Here's a challenge: Name an architect, who graduated from UCD AND who has also designed a building worthy of international critical acclaim.
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Re: DIT's flawed entrance system

Postby edweena » Sun May 14, 2006 9:45 am

This is on DIT's website.......


DT105 Architectural Technology Level 7 Ordinary Degree

School-leaving applicants will not be required to attend for Suitability Test and Interview this year. Selection will be on the basis of examination results only as in most other programmes. This differs from our Full-time Prospectus as the change was finalised after the Prospectus was published in September last


Its a pity there is no interview, it would help select the best candidates, then again artistic flair is less of a requirement in this area
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Re: DIT's flawed entrance system

Postby Bren88 » Sun May 14, 2006 11:53 pm

Oh, it must of changed very recently so because they were planning on holding interview for all applicants. Suppose there's just too many to go through them all.
I'd agree that artistic flair is less important in AT, but other areas are more important and I suppose the interviews looked for those skills.

and experiMental, I understand your point on UCD but Im not one to back down fom a challenge, so I'll nominate Kevin Roche
http://www.irish-architecture.com/architects_ireland/kevin_roche/index.html
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Re: DIT's flawed entrance system

Postby rag » Wed May 24, 2006 8:15 pm

Yes, I've never been a fan of DIT's entry system. The entry to UK schools have the advantage that the college applications from UCAS include a statement from the applicant about why they want to do the course, as well as one from their school. I think both DIT (and UCD et al, for that matter) could incorporate some kind of element like this to their application process. I think reading a written statement from the applcant could eliminate many wasters who say might apply just for say 'oh architecture sounds good', thus allowing the people with strong intentions who really want to do the course throught to an interview stage. Having done both the test and failed to get through, and had the experiance of an interview at Queens, I am in no doubt that an interview provides a far better picture of the person and their work and their abilities, rather than a test assessed by 'edcational psycologists'.

Another thing that they could possibly incorporate is what Cardiff have done in the past and get all applicants to send in four a4 sheets of images from their portfolio.
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Re: DIT's flawed entrance system

Postby Paul Clerkin » Wed May 24, 2006 8:48 pm

Bren88 wrote:and experiMental, I understand your point on UCD but Im not one to back down fom a challenge, so I'll nominate Kevin Roche
http://www.irish-architecture.com/architects_ireland/kevin_roche/index.html



good call - DIT hasn't had a Pritzker winner yet ;)
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Re: DIT's flawed entrance system

Postby Ash21 » Thu Jun 15, 2006 5:45 pm

rag wrote:Yes, I've never been a fan of DIT's entry system. The entry to UK schools have the advantage that the college applications from UCAS include a statement from the applicant about why they want to do the course, as well as one from their school. I think both DIT (and UCD et al, for that matter) could incorporate some kind of element like this to their application process. I think reading a written statement from the applcant could eliminate many wasters who say might apply just for say 'oh architecture sounds good', thus allowing the people with strong intentions who really want to do the course throught to an interview stage. Having done both the test and failed to get through, and had the experiance of an interview at Queens, I am in no doubt that an interview provides a far better picture of the person and their work and their abilities, rather than a test assessed by 'edcational psycologists'.

Another thing that they could possibly incorporate is what Cardiff have done in the past and get all applicants to send in four a4 sheets of images from their portfolio.


Sorry Rag, like UCAS DIT do ask for a written statement from the applicant about why they want to do the course and also to describe themselves in a couple of pages during the so called "suitability test".True what you say about the interview providing a better picture of the person, but can it test your spacial awareness and your ability to visualise and think in three dimensions? I think not! Is that ability not essential for an architect along with artistic flair?
Although DIT's system is somewhat outdated, how else is someone to sort out the thousands who apply into suitable/unsuitable, as interviewing everyone would be impossible would it not?
I agree that some portfolio pictures should be submitted at suitability test stage also.
On another note, the DIT system is unfair as some students obtain a copy of the test before sitting it, even the little booklet of 45 questions, and have made out answers to all the questions before they went in, I found this out after I sat the test.I don't think that test has ever been changed!!!:confused:
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Re: DIT's flawed entrance system

Postby Mccanno » Tue Oct 10, 2006 8:34 pm

Having gained possible acceptance to both, after passing the DIT test and interview, I still went to UCD as my first preference as I heard the facilities were better and the classes larger. I have heard that some people repeat the DIT test year in - year out until successful because they cannot get enough points to get into UCD. If someone has the financial means to keep repeating their Leaving Cert until they figure out the system at Bolton St, or if they know what is going to be asked, as mentioned by Ash21, how is it anymore effective at choosing candidates! I did not have this benefit as I didn't know anyone who had done it before, such a test is highly prejudicial to students from lower socio-economic backgrounds, who are less likely to know someone who has sat the test previously. Furthermore, is it not of benefit to the profession that all backgrounds are represented, the cutthroat UCD points system, where access programs for such disadvantaged schools now exist, clearly covers this point.

A points based system (with an in-built access program) with interview - no test - is in my opinion the way forward for both schools.

Oh, and what a ridiculous question: name a good building designed by a UCD architect, name the same by a DIT architect? There are plenty of both, especially in recent years!
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Re: DIT's flawed entrance system

Postby Bren88 » Wed Oct 11, 2006 2:01 am

Mccanno wrote:Having gained possible acceptance to both, after passing the DIT test and interview, I still went to UCD as my first preference as I heard the facilities were better and the classes larger. I have heard that some people repeat the DIT test year in - year out until successful because they cannot get enough points to get into UCD. If someone has the financial means to keep repeating their Leaving Cert until they figure out the system at Bolton St,


how are larger classes a benefit. i'd rather a lower student to lecturer ratio.
You don't have to repeat the LC, just re-apply, but I agree your point.
I disagree with the suitability test as it can turn away a possible top class student based on an hours writing. But I think the inter view is a good way of accessing work and ability.
The CAO has problems, for example just because a person scores 500+ points, doesn't man they will amke a good architect, or even an average one. But thats the system we have to live with.
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Re: DIT's flawed entrance system

Postby Mccanno » Thu Oct 12, 2006 5:03 pm

in my humble..... one of the problems of all arch. colleges is that they assume the only useful previous subjects are art and tech. dawing, Architecture can take inspiration from all fields and by this I mean that many leaving certificate subjects can be viewed as relevant, so the CAO score which is an addition of the results of six subjects, gives a very good overall mark as to the general intellectual capability of a student. Consider an A-Levels student from the UK, who has sat 3 subjects (correct me if I'm wrong), they might even be Art, Maths and Technical Drawing, and yet lacks the more general knowledge that makes a good architect (think of the relevance of Physics, Biology, Construction Studies, Engineering, Geography, History, Chemistry, any foreign language as a tool for travel, all of which are LC subjects). What the CAO guarantees is that higher pointers have a very good general intellectual ability and wide-ranging knowledge.

Architecture is a 5 year course, that is surely enough time to mould minds, why should applicants have to show that they are budding artists or have read all the articles in their local library on architecture! (OH LOOK AT ME I KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CORINTHIAN AND AN IONIC COLUMN!)

I think the Cao system is necessary, and throw in an interview for good measure, I think most people would agree.

A question: Where is it more common to have to repeat a year, in Bolton St. or Richview? From my own knowledge it must be DIT, so maybe the CAO system on its own works fine for UCD!
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Re: DIT's flawed entrance system

Postby Bren88 » Thu Oct 12, 2006 9:16 pm

Mccanno wrote:in my humble..... one of the problems of all arch. colleges is that they assume the only useful previous subjects are art and tech. dawing, Architecture can take inspiration from all fields and by this I mean that many leaving certificate subjects can be viewed as relevant, so the CAO score which is an addition of the results of six subjects, gives a very good overall mark as to the general intellectual capability of a student.






I think the Cao system is necessary, and throw in an interview for good measure, I think most people would agree.

A question: Where is it more common to have to repeat a year, in Bolton St. or Richview? From my own knowledge it must be DIT, so maybe the CAO system on its own works fine for UCD!




I agree that the LC gives a good overall idea of a student intellectual capability, But I think that the point that people were making is that just because John scored more than Billy in the LC, it doesn't mean that he will be a better architect. And some the people who are just short of the points could of been great architects, but never get a chance.
I agree that an interview would be useful, it would help even out the field.

As to which has more repeats, I haven't a clue.

The CAO is full of faults, Most of which are not to do with courses vrs subjects, were some subjects are better suited and so on. But the fact that an high marks in certain subjects is alot easier to achieve than others.
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Re: DIT's flawed entrance system

Postby CR » Sat Dec 09, 2006 9:30 pm

Mccanno wrote:
A question: Where is it more common to have to repeat a year, in Bolton St. or Richview? From my own knowledge it must be DIT, so maybe the CAO system on its own works fine for UCD!


If you knew anything about either course, you would know that in UCD, students that fail their year's work in studio have the chance to 'repeat' during the summer, much in the same way one repears exams, whereas in DIT students are obliged to resit the whole year. Hence, anyone who fails in studio in DIT must repeat the year, while that's not the case in UCD.
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