If you are a student of architecture, it is crucial to be able to form your own opinion, starting from the very first day you set your foot in architecture school.
When you reach the final year and about to embark on the design thesis you need to start asking the big question. Asking the big question at the start of the design thesis is essential to complete and prepare for your journey after graduation. If not your design method is basically like a technician rather than a designer. You will not be able to compete with graduates from many schools overseas. You could end up being pigeon-holed as a good illustrator or competent designer but not able to challenge yourself at a higher level. Not being able to argue and articulate ideas well.
Of course, this is a simplistic way of explaining the significance of asking the big question and having a proper training in architecture school before you graduate, but having done this training in school can give you greater confidence practising.
As we recalled before, in the design process there are the four stages of Elements > Scheme > Concept > Reality. (link)
At the elements stage is when the designer brings together what he has learnt to start creating. Issues regarding the site, the topic and building type has to be explored before hand before you schematize or even begin to draw out the first diagram. Hence the many elements have to be explored / researched thoroughly even before you begin.
Starting the design process create a lot of things, like dialogue. The dialogue is essential to keep the design process evolving and maturing and before you start a dialogue (with your tutors) you need to research properly to get the right start. Time is sufficient to dwell upon the research and not merely, copy and paste and regurgitating what others have said, but you need to form your own opinion hence you will wish to engage with a dialogue when you are ready. Doing more research before you meet your tutors you would be ready to defend your design. Therefore when you meet your tutors you have a good dialogue rather than allowing the lecturers to dictate what you should I do.