View Full Version : School and the industry

10-03-2005, 06:49 PM
I'm a senior in high school now and am starting to decided exactly where I'm applying to art school wise. I live in VA and my parents did the pre-paid tution thing that pays for tuition to any state school for the full four years, otherwise you just get whatever money was put in to use toward school. I've looked at all my options and VCU is really the only place I would possibly go in state. Other than that I'm looking at the big ones like pratt, parsons, scad and risd. I know I love NYC and would love to go to school there, and while I like Richmond (VCU) pretty well and know someone people there already I'm very confused on how important a name is. If I went to VCU as opposed to say Pratt would that make it harder to get into the industry? I'd really love to do concept art or something along those lines and want to major in illustration. I realize everyone will say it depends on the strength of my portfolio in the end but is that the real truth to it?

-also does anyone have any opinions on SVA? I've heard a lot of mixed things about it and it looked like a really good place to me.

10-04-2005, 06:11 AM
You are asking the same question that I also have investigated for my daughter. I looked at VCU. It had a lot of advantages: great rankings in applied art, which she is interested in, very cheap tuition, university vs. stand alone art school etc. However, when we toured VCU, we were REALLY dissappointed. The area was very seedy. There were a lot of homeless around, however, who wanted to be very helpful by "relieving me of spare change." We found the art building to be old and dilapidated. We really didn't like VCU.

We did like SVA but it is a few buildings with dorms being several blocks away from the main campus. Pratt had great course offerings, but the area was very seedy. They had iron gates around its campus that didn't make us warm and furry. Pratt also had some of the worst deteriorating facilities that I have seen to date. It was even worse than VCU. Some of the bathrooms had broken tile, peeling paint and generally needed a lot of repair. We even noticed, on some studios, notes form professors to remove art work due to leaking ceilings! I do understand the "starving art thing," but I believe that Pratt takes it a bit too far.You really need to see Pratt. However, it does have a good repuation and a lot of NY connections.

Parsons had the same problem as SVA frankly. However, Parsons main strength is fashion design as is FIT. I think you need to stipulate what area of art that you are interested in.

We REALLY did like RISD. Providence was a very neat town with lots to do and many nice restaurants. I guess it doesn't hurt to have one of the best culinary schools in the US located in providence, Johnson and Wales ( Think Emiril etc.).

RISD facilites were very nice, while Pratt's facilities were, for the most part, old. RISD has the highest amount of endowment among all stand alone art schools. In addition, they have a formal agreement with Brown to be able to use all of Brown's facilities and take courses at Brown. NICE,

We liked MICA. It had a very strong fine arts reputation and a good reputation for strong liberal arts courses. However, being located in Baltimore was a turnoff. The area seemed a bit seedy and crime ridden as well. However, MICA buildings were well maintained, unlike that of Pratt.

SCAD seemed to have nice facilities,but I am alarmed by the large number of complaints about crime in Savannah where SCAD is located. In addition, SCAD is NOT NASAD accredited, which is a complete mystery. Frankly, I don't like schools that aren't NASAD accredited.

Another good school that you should consider is Syracuse University, which has a very good art program in both fine arts and applied art. Also, CMU has strong fine art and applied art programs. Again, I need to know what area of art interests you so I can make better recommendation.

If you are interested in applied art or crafts, you should also take a serious look at Rochester Institute of Technology, which has a surprisingly strong program in both industrial design and graphic/new media design.

Hope this all helps.

10-04-2005, 04:07 PM
I want to do either illistration or some kind of computer oriented area of art, something that I can use toward working in the game or movie entertainment industry in general. I would think that it would be a lot easier to get into those kind of jobs if the school did have important connections and interships available.

10-04-2005, 05:24 PM
If you are interested in computer art and movie industry in general, I would recommend:

1. Art Center College of Design (California)
2. Cal Arts ( California)
3. Pratt Institute ( NY)

You might want to check out RISD too (RI). They don't seem to have any shabby offerings.

10-04-2005, 08:43 PM
I'm a freshman art ed major at a public school in North Carolina, and having just done the whole figuring out college thing, I know how you feel. ;)

Seriously consider using that in-state prepaid tuition. If you just get the money that was put in - i.e. without interest - and it was put in when you were born/young, it's NOT going to be a lot of money. Tuition rates have skyrocketed since then, but the prepaid deals ignore that, so it'd be a great deal.

The school I've chosen to attend is in an area that could probably be called "seedy." We also have really good security on campus as a result, so as long as you don't do anything stupid (like walk alone and drunk at 3 a.m. in the shadows), you will be fine. And our art building isn't new and shiny, but it's open 24/7 to art majors (they lock the doors around 7-8 pm; art majors have chips in their student ids that activate sensors to allow us to get in the building literally at 4 a.m.), the classrooms are big with very good class sizes even in foundations/freshman courses, and there's lots of light and everything you could ever need.

So go tour VCU with an open mind, see the facilities, ask lots of questions (job placement rates, major programs, reputation in and connections with the fields you're interested in), and remember that your art classes are really a small part of your college education. I would highly recommend going to a university rather than a stand-alone school simply because you have the option of changing your mind about your major without having to worry about transferring, and you'll meet other people who aren't artists. I think I'd go crazy if the only people I saw were the art majors here! They're scary! :p

Check out the dorms, the dining hall, the non-art facilities of VCU and any other campus you go to. While being an art major will eat up most of your time, you will still have some time for other things like eating, sleeping, and socializing. The bigger the school, generally the more options will be available - my public school offers free student health care, two all-you-can-eat dining halls and several fast-food and a la carte places, a massive library with literally everything you could ever need, a free, new and shiny, state-of-the-art recreational center, and a bazillion things I'm forgetting. And my dorm is right next to the art building, too!

You may be surprised at what a state school can have to offer. It's definitely worth checking out for yourself, especially if tuition is going to be free.

10-05-2005, 11:44 AM
talkingbanana, It's funny that you don't want to go to a stand alone art school. My daughter said the same thing. She wants to associate with other types of non artsy people. She felt that associating with just art people would drive her crazy.

10-05-2005, 07:12 PM
I've actually been to VCU a few times now, and last time I got to hang out in dorm with some friends and then walk around campus at all different times. It's seedy, sure but I know how to handle myself in a city and I found it to be nicer than I had thought it would be. I also met someone who's majoring in illustration and really likes it there, and says it's a really challenging program. And I also would rather go to a big school, so it's at the top of my list. I have porfolio reviews with both vcu and scad coming up so hopefully they can tell me about their placement oppurtunities, etc.