I am about halfway through the ARE Boot Camp, run by Young Architects' Michael Riscica. I have seen a few people posting questions in the ARE 5.0 Community about whether or not Boot Camp is "worth it". See my points below about my experience so far with the camp, and you can determine that for yourself.
1) Boot Camp teaches you how to study
This is, to me, the most important part of Boot Camp. If you aren't fresh out of a learning environment, Boot Camp is an amazing tool to help you break down the overwhelming amount of information that is available. It took me many, many years after completing my undergrad to earn all of my NCARB hours. By the time I was eligible to take the tests, I hadn't actually "studied" for anything in over half a decade. This course very quickly brought me back to a learning/study mindset and that is something that I absolutely needed.
2) Boot Camp gives you a community
After college, I assumed I would end up at some large firms and make archi-friends. That never happened. Somehow, I have only ended up at 5-person max. sized firms. I have always been the youngest by a decade or more, without any peers who were trying to become licensed like I was. I felt completely alone in this process, and it made me feel like it almost wasn't worth pursuing the license. Luckily, after I completed my NCARB hours and got my eligibility to test, I became a little less apathetic and decided as long as I had gotten this far, I might as well just see it to through to the end. Once I joined Boot Camp and began to experience a real archi-community, I quickly realized I could have never accomplished this massive undertaking all on my own. I am the kind of person who likes being on a "team" with a common goal. Having people to discuss these very industry-specific topics with, who understand (or who want to understand) why this is all important, has reinvigorated my passion for architecture in ways that I did not expect. If this is something you are lacking in your path towards licensure, I couldn't recommend Boot Camp more.
3) Boot Camp is a fairly expensive up-front cost
If you are struggling to decide if Boot Camp is an expense worth the money... So did I. I figured I could probably just learn this stuff from free quizzes and other study materials online. Then, after realizing that those were just giving me small portions of the knowledge I would need, I decided it might be worth actually paying for something. But what? Black Spectacles? Designer Hacks? Amber Book? Once I decided that learning all of this on my own was not working, I decided to cough up the dough and try out the Boot Camp. It is not cheap for a 10-week course. This may be the reason many people shy away from it. Boot Camp price includes a variety of study materials that you cannot find elsewhere, and you get to keep using them after the 10 weeks which is great. BUT, on top of that, you will have to pay for your own physical study materials (for example, the Architect's Handbook of Professional Practice). Additionally, if you choose to use the Meetups (a vital tool exclusive to Boot Camp) after you take your 1st test, there is a small monthly fee for that. There are many, many costs to become an architect. To me, Boot Camp one is worth every penny. You are paying for a mindset of future success, and a community that is rich with a vast array of knowledge. If you don't think you can afford this course, think of it this way: Your time is money, and this course will likely help you to waste less of both.
4) Boot Camp is not easy
Mike isn't giving you any shortcuts... He won't take the test for you. What he is giving you is a mindset that learning this stuff is worth it. His materials DO make the difficult concepts a little easier to grasp. BUT, as he will constantly remind you, YOU are the one who has to do the work. YOU are the one who has to put in the time and the effort to learn all of this information. If you aren't ready to dedicate the next couple years of your life to committing to a learning/studying mindset, Boot Camp actually isn't worth it in my opinion. Boot Camp is only worth what you put in. So, join if you want to be a better Architect, if you want to learn, or if you need someone to remind you of what this whole licensure process is about.
(P.S. for anyone wondering. Mike is a very normal guy who just wants to help out. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to him. I was intimidated to do this prior to joining Boot Camp, but you shouldn't be)
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