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View Full Version : How to tell a good school from a bad school


MaJoRoesch
06-01-2008, 07:26 AM
Well, I was thinking about posting about this school I am considering and that school and whatever, but really, there are too many schools for a list of good and bad schools. So, instead, what are the qualities that seperates a good CG or game design school from a bad one, and how can you tell before you join?

JesseDavis
06-01-2008, 07:35 AM
Collins College is a bad school. Is that what you wanted?

MaJoRoesch
06-01-2008, 07:38 AM
Points on how to tell a good school from a bad one is all I'm asking for.

JesseDavis
06-01-2008, 07:51 AM
you can't tell if a school is right for you until you have actually finished it. Which sucks. Just look at different work coming out of the school and see if its geared to the type of stuff you want to do. There are always crappy artists in every school, and usually there are great artists going into the school. Same goes for the teachers. You can google that rate my teacher website or whatever for that. Check out past students and keep an open mind to their work.

DRSC
06-01-2008, 07:53 AM
Collins College is a bad school. Is that what you wanted?

seriously? is it. after all those good things I have heard about Collins College, I thought that place would THE school to attend.

anyway, back to the question. one sure fire way to tell if a school is right for you is to always check what courses they are offering, and what these courses can do for you.
another way is after you've checked for the courses, go up to the school itself and tour around. take a week or a few days to just tour around the school. take a peek inside the classes, and see whats really going on in there.


you can also ask the students themselves about thier experience in this school.
my College is Briarcliffe, located in Long Island, New York. and to be honest, you dont want to throw away your money in that place if you lived in NYC. just dont do it.
so ask around, and take tours for a few days. taking out the extra time in doing so can save you tons of money later on.

JesseDavis
06-01-2008, 07:55 AM
yea i don't know anything about collins college just fyi. it was mostly sarcasm

DRSC
06-01-2008, 08:01 AM
yea i don't know anything about collins college just fyi. it was mostly sarcasm

oh alright. whatever the case, add Briarcliffe to that list of schools you mustn't attend.
the one in NYC is a shitty school, ill tell you that much. wish I took my own advice and checked up on the school before I threw my money in there.

MaJoRoesch
06-01-2008, 08:08 AM
yea i don't know anything about collins college just fyi. it was mostly sarcasm

So I removed the Collins College mention for no reason. lol Sorry, I'm a bit too literal.




after all those good things I have heard about Collins College, I thought that place would THE school to attend.

What do you mean?

DRSC
06-01-2008, 08:17 AM
What do you mean?

I heard they offered alot of good programs for game development and 3D modeling. not to mention that they get tons of promotional ads in video game magazines such as OPM, so I figured Collins had to be making alot of money. and for good reason.
not that I have a chance of getting in there or anything. I live in NYC, so I'm pretty much stuck with.....well, i dont really know.

SanjayChand
06-01-2008, 08:43 AM
This depends on many things:

1. Online/Offline:
Do you want to actually go to a school or would you not mind working from home?

2. Location:
A school in a city/state with many studios will probably offer more job/internship oppurtunities as opposed to one which isnt. Does the school have industry connections?

3. Teachers:
Do the teachers work in studios? Are they professionals? Are they simply students who landed teaching jobs but otherwise have no professional experience?

4. Cost:
Cheaper is usually better, but one often gets what they pay for.

5. Placement:
What is the placement rate? How many of the graduates get jobs, and where do they get jobs at?

6. Equipment/Software:
Do the schools have fast machines and updated licenses of the latest software? Do they teach programs that are used in the industry?

7. Specialization:
Is the school specialized or generalized? If you know you want to be an animator, then something like animationmentor might be better than a generalist program.

8. Student work:
Do the students put out good work? This is often very subjective and possibly more dependent on the individual student than the school itself.

9. Length:
How long is the program? 6 months? 1 year? How accelerated of a program are you willing to tolerate?

10. Degree or Certificate?
Some offer degrees, some dont.

With all of that said, I attended Gnomon for nearly 2 years and dont regret it.

MaJoRoesch
06-01-2008, 08:52 AM
Well, I have been browsing this forum. It seems that all schools, everyone of them, have someone to love or bash them. Even HERE I can't tell what a good school and a bad school is. Oye...






As for the list above, I'll go ahead and answer them.

1. Online/Offline:
Do you want to actually go to a school or would you not mind working from home?

NO ONLINE CLASSES. Here at home with my folks my sanity is strained and I have dialup. Moving is a must!

2. Location:
A school in a city/state with many studios will probably offer more job/internship oppurtunities as opposed to one which isnt. Does the school have industry connections?

There is a great family in Arizona. One of the reasons I am considering collins is to stay with them. Obviously I don't want to put my future on that, but it is a factor to consider. Collins is located in the same city has the company which is making the Stargate MMO, and I believe there is more in the area. Also, the director of the school's game design department is a 20 year veterine game designer with his own company, so that helps. (I am collecting proofs of this soon)

3. Teachers:
Do the teachers work in studios? Are they professionals? Are they simply students who landed teaching jobs but otherwise have no professional experience?

I already mentioned that the leader has his own game company. The teachers themselves have a list of experience in the catalog, I'll go over that again soon.

4. Cost:
Cheaper is usually better, but one often gets what they pay for.

$60,000 for the full Game Design Degree. OUCH. Cheaper then Full Sail though...

5. Placement:
What is the placement rate? How many of the graduates get jobs, and where do they get jobs at?

Collins has a 70% graduation rate. But I have no idea what their placement rate is. I'll ask and do some research.

6. Equipment/Software:
Do the schools have fast machines and updated licenses of the latest software? Do they teach programs that are used in the industry?

Collins has the same motion capture system that was used in movies like Polar Express and Monster House. Obviously, they don't have the hundreds of cameras, but it is a start. From what they tell me this motion capture is a very rare thing for a school to have. Is that right?

7. Specialization:
Is the school specialized or generalized? If you know you want to be an animator, then something like animationmentor might be better than a generalist program.

I need a good generalized program. Collins seems to fit the bill in that regard.

8. Student work:
Do the students put out good work? This is often very subjective and possibly more dependent on the individual student than the school itself.

Most of what I have seen at collins in regard to what I am looking at is just okay. Better then say "virginia college in birmingham", but just ok. There are a few gems though that stand out and just totally rock. A motorcycle with a full engine modeled with perfect detail and accuracy. Now that rocks.

9. Length:
How long is the program? 6 months? 1 year? How accelerated of a program are you willing to tolerate?

I am willing to tolerate as much as I can get. Of course, I still need to sleep, eat, work, etc. 20 credit hours seems fair.

10. Degree or Certificate?
Some offer degrees, some dont.


A degree is preferred. Collins has one (obviously).

sfox8
06-01-2008, 03:20 PM
Thanks for giving that little checklist, arya. It's a big help because like MaJo, I'm also struggling with trying to find a good shool to go to once I graduate (next year is my senior year in high school). I was thinking of Academy of Art in San Francisco and it seems to fit everything in your checklist that I want almost perfectly.

I've also seen some amazing artists come from Gnomon (you included), so that definitely won't be counted out.

MsZippy
03-30-2009, 01:59 AM
MaJoRoesch,

The first thing is that your education is what you make it, no matter where it comes from. If you take the initiative and throw your whole heart and soul into the work you're doing, and take advantage of every opportunity to improve your knowledge and skills, you'll do well, no matter what it says on your diploma. However, as the salutatorian of my class at Collins College, I have to tell you that I have very mixed feelings about this institution.

Personally, things have worked out very well for me, but it hasn't been easy. The job I have, teaching animation at the high school level, is the best job I've ever had and I can't imagine doing anything else with my life, but it is not the job I had in mind when I enrolled and it took me over two years to get it. I can't exactly say that I regret going there because if I hadn't struggled so much to find a job, I wouldn't have considered applying for a position teaching high school, but if I had it to do over, I probably would have gone somewhere else. When my students ask me about colleges I never recommend Collins to them.

It may have changed now, but when I was graduating, we all had to submit a finished demo reel as part of our graduation requirements, which seems good except that there were very strict requirements on what had to be included on the reel. They were cranking out as many graduates as they could with near identical cookie-cutter demo reels of widely varying quality into a very small local job market, and as a result, the local reputation of the school is really in the toilet. You'll most likely have to move anyway to get a job, so why not go to where the jobs are in the first place.

KrzysztofFus
03-30-2009, 09:55 AM
Tip, Dont go to any college that advertises in magazines. Expecially CG schools. I E Fullsail, Art Institutes, Collins. Exc There all diploma mills and just want money. Search around, theres plenty of good CG schools in the USA. Ringling, School of Visual Arts, SCAD are some of the best.

MrPositive
03-31-2009, 03:48 AM
Tip, Dont go to any college that advertises in magazines. Expecially CG schools. I E Fullsail, Art Institutes, Collins. Exc There all diploma mills and just want money. Search around, theres plenty of good CG schools in the USA. Ringling, School of Visual Arts, SCAD are some of the best.

Hmm, that's a pretty blanket statement, as I've definitely seen advertising from SCAD and Ringling. Regardless of the instruction, I'll always take someone that is going to bust ass at a Collins/Full Sail/lesser named school, over somebody that thinks just going to Ringling will get them into Pixar without much effort. If it was all about what school you went to, then half the professional industry would not have been able to do it alone and online.
Saying that, someone that rolls up their sleeves at a Ringling certainly might have a higher ceiling of potential, but the name of the school guarantees nothing.

KrzysztofFus
03-31-2009, 06:52 AM
I agree, I withdraw my statement. I've just had a history knowing people who had the most issues with schools like those.

taxguy
03-31-2009, 06:58 PM
One more criteria that folks might want to check out would be "whether the school is a "for profit" school or a "non-profit school." This makes a lot of differences:

Benefits of Non- Profit: They don't pay tax on earnings. Contributions to them are usually tax deductible. They get much better rates on postage. They don't have an incentive to make a profit and use that money to line the pockets of their investors.

Cons of non-profits: Actually there aren't that many cons. They usually are less efficiently run than that of "for profit" institutions. Moreover, because profitability isn't a factor per se, they don 't have the same incentive to provide cutting edge programs or majors as quickly as that of "for profit" schools.

Benefits of "for profit" schools: They tend to be run much more efficiently than non profits and tend to focus on cutting edge training and majors quicker since these areas are most profitable.

Cons: They tend to be more expensive than the non-profits, net of scholarship,but I have seen exceptions of "for profit" schools being more reasonably priced too. A lot depends on the financial efficiency of the school.

The main con, however, is that there is a big incentive to drain the school of money for both income taxes and for distributions to the owners. It takes a REALLY open-minded owner to be willing to plow the profits back into the school in any significant way.

You might wonder why a school would be a "for-profit" school with all the "non profit" advantages. The reason is that schools remain "for profit" usually because the owners want to pay themselves more than they would or could with "non-profit status." Thus, owners of "for-profit" schools usually keep them as "for-profit" specifically because the owners want to take higher distributions to themselves than they would be able to do with a non-profit.

Schools like Ringling, Cal Arts are non-profits .
Schools like Full Sail are "for profit" endeavers

Let me make one thing clear though: I don't want to use this as a definitively determinative approach since "for profit" schools can be fine if the owners are willing to pump a lot of money back into the school, as per SVA and Gnomon, Matt the Mutt et. al.,and run their program as efficiently as some "for profit" schools tend to do. However, I think what I said does serve as a good general rule.

Thus, if a school is a "for profit" endeaver, it should entail increased scrutiny by you.

KrzysztofFus
03-31-2009, 09:18 PM
Taxguy, I completely agree with your statement.

A-there
04-02-2009, 02:03 AM
I totally agree with you all about the for-profit only schools. Just from experience and observation, I can tell you a really reputable school does NOT need to spend that much money to do mass advertising all over the internet. This only shows that all they want is your money and does not care about the quality that the staff is supposed to give you. Also, when looking for a school, you should google on the private lenders that you use to pay for the tuition.
I am saying this because I am in debt for life and I admit that I sign a really bad contract without researching on the internet what Sallie Mae is really like. You can go to facebook, or just google Sallie Mae and find out what is consider legal or not when a school only offers a specific private lender. That is because alot of the technical schools gets pay a chunk whenever a student uses Sallie Mae. I found out a few weeks ago that schools should have been given other options about choice of private lenders instead of just Sallie Mae. That means it is illegal. And most importantly, once when you graduate, Sallie Mae uses every illegal collective tactics they can get away with to harrass all your neighbors, references, co-signers and your friends if you are using someone else's phone to call them. They call before 8AM and after 9PM and call at least 3 times a day. That is illegal. There alot of people who hated Sallie Mae has created forums and even on facebook who share their experiences about Sallie Mae. Trust me, it is not hard to find and if only I had known...
And Sallie Mae would gladly raise your interest rate and no matter how you try to negotiate after you graduated to lower the interest rate, they will not budge, they want you to be in debt for life whether you like it or not. So if any for-profit only school depend heavily on the usage of Sallie Mae as their meat and potatoes...RUN!!!
Sallie Mae is a big bully and it tells alot about a for-profit only school if they insist that you sign a blind contract with Sallie Mae. The school doesn't mind if you take alot more loans than you should because the school gets a chunk from that check. And another thing, they tell you this after you graduate that you cannot file for bankrupcy, Sallie Mae has a right to take possession of you bank account and whatever assets you have to pay back the loans you take out with interest...alot of interest.

I heard alot about FullSail and alot of it is not good. Go to a 4 year school, at least you will have time to practice your skills and learn real traditional arts and be really well rounded when you come out instead of just doing it to pass the course. And just because the school change their name from Full Sail Real World Education to Full Sail University does not mean it is a real University. When a school change their name like an apartment complex only means they are trying to make people forget their bad reputation and bad quality.

Alot of grads there are suing that school and I read there is a class lawsuit going on...same with Sallie Mae a class lawsuit.

And you are right KrzysztofFus and Taxguy, alot of the staff there got a job as a staff right after they graduated particularly the lab instructors who can barely help you nor give a crap because they are cheap labor with no professional experience. They stay because it is alot easier than competing in the industry contract after contract especially now when we are in a recession.

Dude, just google the schools and private lenders. Such information is not hard to find. Don't be blind sighted by the mass advertisings on the internet and their pretty catalogues or their website.
Right now, cheap is the best and get alot of the DVDs from Gnomon and Digital-tutors. All staff from those for-profit only school uses Gnomon DVDs.
Don't make the same mistake like alot of us did. You want to get your money's worth and you need time to learn both on your own and from a real professional who is patient enough to share their knowledge and passion.

Hope this information helps.
Good luck.

j0j0y
04-02-2009, 09:09 PM
I'm at agreement with A-there.

An ex-boyfriend of mine actually went to Collins College, found it a joke and left after a year (But I can also figure that he was just a lazy jerk... so I really can't say much about the school besides what I heard from him) and I'm still getting phone calls about -his- stupid Sallie Mae loan over a year later. I didn't even know he had me down as a reference!

taxguy
04-03-2009, 02:25 AM
As I said, for profit schools need further investigation. However, I think that saying that "all for=profit" schools should be avoided, going a bit too far. There are some for profit institututions that are considered quite good: Max the Mutt, SVA, even Gnomon ( although Gnomon is a bit expensive for what they give in my opinion).

Certainly, if you see a lot of advertising by any school, you have to ask , "who is paying for that?"

ZacD
04-03-2009, 04:13 AM
A. Student work
B. Instructors work
C. Instructors tie to the industry
D. Graduation job rate
E. Avg salary after graduation

MrPositive
04-03-2009, 07:40 AM
A. Student work
B. Instructors work
C. Instructors tie to the industry
D. Graduation job rate
E. Avg salary after graduation

All great characteristics in a good CG school, but you forgot one.
F. Willingness to bust ass for himsel/herself.

At our small school, we have some students go to Pixar, others that meet with Sid Meier everyday, and we also have students that can't even turn in a project on time in 4 years. You have to want it, and then do it. No school, regardless of name and merit, can ever make you change yourself or give you drive. It has to come from within.

ZacD
04-03-2009, 12:07 PM
Your right, its a very serious investment, but you probably should check out drop out rates just to make sure it doesn't burn too many people out

A-there
04-03-2009, 02:23 PM
I just read that the Los Angeles Film School (LAFS) and Recording School (LARS) got purchased by Full Sail few years ago.
I knew their look and feel of their advertisements on the internet look so familiar...exactly like a Full Sail logo.

Some of the grads from Los Angeles Film School are not that happy either since it changed to a more commercial and for-profit only school instead of artistic. I guess the LAFS is trying to make themselves the new Gnomon or something... Again, a good school only needs a good reputation not mass advertising on the internet that shows all the school really want is your money.

Full Sail just moved their Associate Degree Program from Florida to California...same quality, no difference, soon the same reputation. Mass advertising on the internet again to push out the other schools. Everything started with their crappy Associate Program, now they move that to California.

So beware! And google your research on all the for-profit only schools before putting yourself in debt for life.

polyvin
04-03-2009, 10:04 PM
the best way to find out if the school is good or not is to first check out the student demo reels, then look for a breakdown of the program to see what classes they offer and what each class is supposed to teach you. then you google their instructors to see what you can find, and eventually VISIT the school. visiting the school is the most important part of the process because their you can see everything they didn't mention on the website or brochure, whether it be a bad or good.

but man there seems to be a lot of hate for full sail lol, but as a current student i guess i should fill you guys in with a few things. yes the school is expensive but a lot of the profit goes right back into the school... they update their software as soon as they can, us students got CS4, soon we'll get upgraded to master collection, and the new MacBookPros less then a month after release. Their also building a brand new huge building to house new equiptment and classes across all fields of study and it's to be done q1 of 2010. building started last month! the course directors here do have industry experience, out of the 2 course directors i've had so far (only 5 months in), history channels dog fights, starwars, rythm and hues, and some other stuff has been mentioned as past experience. our lab instructors i sadly can't say the same, but for the foundation stuff we are currently learning their knowledge is more then enough.

also the school does have a very high drop out rate and a very low graduation percentage.. but it's mainly the students fault, FullSail told us the program was tough as bricks and it will take dedication, but already half of our starting class has either failed classes or dropped out because they rather play video games late at night rather then invest time into projects. the school is forever evolving, every month or so theres something new happening, changed or being implemented to make it better, whether its a course, teacher, or equiptment.. something is always upgrading.

and no im not promoting or advertising the school in anyway.. it does has its good sides and it's bad, i just wanted to let you guys know what does go on behind full sail from the views of a current student.

and the last thing on my mind is that you NEED to dedicate yourself to it. also DO NOT rely on the school alone to provide you with a good enough understanding of your field of study, because you have to remember that your classmates are also your competition when you graduate.. so whatever you can do to get a step ahead of the game can only help.

MsZippy
04-03-2009, 10:21 PM
and the last thing on my mind is that you NEED to dedicate yourself to it. also DO NOT rely on the school alone to provide you with a good enough understanding of your field of study, because you have to remember that your classmates are also your competition when you graduate.. so whatever you can do to get a step ahead of the game can only help.


The best way to be successful is to always do way more that is asked of you. Sacrifice your time (a LOT of time) and risk making mistakes. Push the limits of your creativity, strength and sanity and great things happen it your work.

A-there
04-03-2009, 10:41 PM
"our lab instructors i sadly can't say the same"
"also the school does have a very high drop out rate and a very low graduation percentage.. but it's mainly the students fault, FullSail told us the program was tough as bricks and it will take dedication, but already half of our starting class has either failed classes or dropped out" ----iaarvin

Hey iaarvin,

Thank you for proving our point about the drop out rates and the lab instructors. It is always nice to know that a present student can give his 2 cents and agree with what was already mentioned.

Btw, I love your gallery images. A+ dude!!!

Kanga
04-03-2009, 10:45 PM
All great characteristics in a good CG school, but you forgot one.
F. Willingness to bust ass for himsel/herself.,..

Ah the one thing money can't buy.
You thought that was love didn't you,... nope its dedication. :)

polyvin
04-04-2009, 12:14 AM
"our lab instructors i sadly can't say the same"

Hey iaarvin,

Thank you for proving our point about the drop out rates and the lab instructors. It is always nice to know that a present student can give his 2 cents and agree with what was already mentioned.

Btw, I love your gallery images. A+ dude!!!

lol thx man.

but i hope you didn't get what i said about our lab instructors wrong, because the way our classes are set up is that, our course director teaches us everything in lecture and preps us on our upcoming assignment in lab while giving us tips and other tid bits of information. the lab instructors are just their to help if your having problems or trouble with what ever it is your trying to accomplish, and so far i really have not had a question they couldn't answer. and of course teachers and lab instructors change from class to class, so i can't really tell what experience the other guys have.

but anyways, last bit of information i forgot to mention about picking a school.. you also need to pick the best one for your situation. things like family, loans, location, apartment or dorm, distance from school, distance to stores and places to look for inspiration or blow off stress.. all of that stuff also contributes to your over all educational experience.

shamaneh
04-04-2009, 10:35 PM
Very interesting thread so far. I can say from experience that there isn't a lot different between the varying schools in general. Yes, there are some excellent schools and some really horrible ones, but all the rest in the middle are about the same.

The first thing you need to do is figure out what kind of learning you like to do. I'll give an example. Here in Vancouver we have many, at least 7 schools that teach CG in someway. There are three distinct types of programs that I will call: University, Tech College, and Focused Training.

The University method is what Emily Carr University teaches, which is based in fine arts and exploration. It is about trying different things and experimentation. The good part is that they have some crazy ass equipment you can play with and you get a degree. The downside is that they aren't really training you for the industry. That's not what it is about.

The Tech College method is what Ai Vancouver does. It emulates the structure of a university in that each class is focused on a single subject that is worth credits. The good part is that you focus deeply into the subject matter. The downside is that you are stuck learning something for 11 weeks straight, and then you may not go back to it for another term or two.

The Focused Training is what Vancouver Film School does. Terms are 8 weeks long and they have an overall focus. That means if you need to learn about about editing, you will get a few classes to get you where you need to be. The good part is that it covers stuff in breadth so you learn a lot of things all at once. The downside is that you need to be the type who likes to know everything all at once, a dabbler of all things you could say.

Once you know the style of learning you prefer, then you need to figure out what industry you want to go into. Say you want to get into the game industry, then you should be looking at schools in game development hotbeds, Austin, Vancouver, San Francisco, etc. The odds of having knowledgeable instructors increases by doing so. If there is only one local game company, you are very limited in who can be hired to teach.

Next, find out if they have entrance standards and if so, what they are. Many schools will literally accept anybody who has cash. I would say the majority do. The best schools will have high entrance standards, but they will also be the most intense which many people can't handle, especially if you are right out of high school. Just because a school accepts everybody though, does not mean that they suck. It just means that there is a wider pool of people and the classes won't be as difficult as they teach to a median.

As people said, go to the schools and check out who they have teaching, how their classes are structured, the quality of student work, etc. Talk to students and find out what they like/dislike. There will always be a bit of both as it all comes down to expectations.

At the end of the day it is the student themselves that will dictate what they get out of it. If you go into the school thinking that they will teach you everything you need to get into the industry, you will fail. If you go in thinking that you are going to learn everything you need to get into the industry, you will succeed. As the saying goes "I can teach you but I can't make you learn."

I hope that helps.

A-there
04-06-2009, 05:14 PM
Airing Grievances Towards Employers, Companies, Persons is not permitted. You have already posted your views on this. Once is enough.

piajartist
04-14-2009, 09:46 PM
follow the out of school job placement for those who graduate and that really is the best mesaurment for the quality of the education. And DONT take the schools stats for job placement for truth, I know AAU (academy of art univ) for instance has some far fetched numbers for graduation turnaround.

piajartist
04-14-2009, 09:51 PM
Airing Grievances Towards Employers, Companies, Persons is not permitted. You have already posted your views on this. Once is enough.

At the same time I think some of this needs to be shown as fair warning for artists who may come right out from college and need to know the fair studios out there. Same with colleges who may not be sufficient and future students who otherwise think its a good choice should have a 'consumer reports' style review system for these insitutions.

MrPositive
04-14-2009, 11:22 PM
At the same time I think some of this needs to be shown as fair warning for artists who may come right out from college and need to know the fair studios out there. Same with colleges who may not be sufficient and future students who otherwise think its a good choice should have a 'consumer reports' style review system for these insitutions.

That's simply NOT going to happen on this site. We've given the members ample enough material to research each school to an enormous level. I've said this before and I'll say it again, our tiny and unknown little department has sent dedicated and talented students to Pixar, Firaxis, Rhythm, ESPN, etc but we also have students that have never turned a project in on time in 4 years and others that might have trouble putting a round block into a round hole. The point is we are not here to taint a program, off of a couple students experiences, or list schools in a 'consumer reports' style list. With website research and then one simple visit to a school you can gather pretty much everything you need to know, by meeting the instructor, coalescing with a couple students, and sitting in on a class (we allow all 3 here). Much of what is garnered from studies is still done with personal elbow grease. Obviously, we want people to come on and share their school experiences (good and definitely bad), but once you've had your say then there is no reason to keep beating the same drum. There are currently several specific school threads and if you'd like to start another, then that is fine (please do so under the correct sub forum area). Don't forget that many of these programs change rapidly as well. In one year, we hired new instructors who were previously working in the field at Disney/Cartoon Network, Marvel, and NASA.

piajartist
05-21-2009, 09:48 PM
That's simply NOT going to happen on this site. We've given the members ample enough material to research each school to an enormous level. I've said this before and I'll say it again, our tiny and unknown little department has sent dedicated and talented students to Pixar, Firaxis, Rhythm, ESPN, etc but we also have students that have never turned a project in on time in 4 years and others that might have trouble putting a round block into a round hole. The point is we are not here to taint a program, off of a couple students experiences, or list schools in a 'consumer reports' style list. With website research and then one simple visit to a school you can gather pretty much everything you need to know, by meeting the instructor, coalescing with a couple students, and sitting in on a class (we allow all 3 here). Much of what is garnered from studies is still done with personal elbow grease. Obviously, we want people to come on and share their school experiences (good and definitely bad), but once you've had your say then there is no reason to keep beating the same drum. There are currently several specific school threads and if you'd like to start another, then that is fine (please do so under the correct sub forum area). Don't forget that many of these programs change rapidly as well. In one year, we hired new instructors who were previously working in the field at Disney/Cartoon Network, Marvel, and NASA.

I'm not going after any single institution, more specifically yours. I was refering to diploma mills and sweat shop studios for the most part. I'm sure your school isnt a school students should be cautious of. And the consumer reports style list of schooling isn't meant to taint or be vindictive. It's to give a broad spectrum of critiques from the people who have gone through the program and depending on the accuracy of their depictions you should get a better idea of the performance quality, rather than school presentation/PR or how many students attend. Sitting in on classes is a great idea, and wish my school had such programs, but DONT. I wont name names, because I want to keep this in a broad spectrum.

The bottom line is students create their own success regardless of the environment. But an honest breakdown of the success to failure of these educational mills is a great start for many kids who arent sure and maybe dont have the resources and or time to make it to all the schools and personally sit in or talk with the instructors. Lets face it, most of these kids are going by presentation, advertising space, notieriety(spelling?) or budgetary reasons. Parents ive found are also suckers for big schools with university like programs ( ie dorms, grand 4 year programs) but miss the overall picture. After graduating I found a great deal of the best schools out there were small independent houses probably like ones such as yours mr. positive. And if an institution gets a bad rap becase of countless negative stories then isnt that the exact point of such a review system. Afterall there are COUNTLESS types of professional reviews and background info on schools in the 'regular' state university programs. I remember looking through stacks of magazines, articles and websites to fish out party schools and all business schools. If its a lawsuit or burning bridges a website is worried about with having a public review of schools then thats another thing entirely. We should catering to the future artists and not the administrative programs.

o0ORiggsO0o
05-22-2009, 04:57 PM
Yep I have to agree, but.....

Coming from exp. take a course that is from a school that youíre Fed. Prov. or is State recognized buy the the educational system! Then look at at other training, i.e. cert driven courses.


Anyone here ever hear of AMTC,20g's and 9 months in they shut there doors one night, and the whole building was empty the next morning, and there was no refunds.

But hey thatís my two scents. There is some real gold in this form on how and what to ask.
And some good points.

Always contact the local gov. educational board and ask what schools and or courses are recognized if the school is not listed as a local educational institute.

DaddyMack
05-22-2009, 07:50 PM
I've been 3d ing for 10 and teaching for 3 years...

My 2 cents

Find out about the schools industry connections> Where do they direct/ guide students after graduation, do they have internship programs etc What other interactions with the industry do they have?

Look at the quality of work that is output by the school> Ask yourself, is it useful industry standard? Remember, the work on the school reel is their best students work, not the average students work... look at it objectively

Contact a few students> Speaking to a few enrolled/ graduates is IMO the best way to really find out what a school is giving to their students, how happy they are with the school and where it has led them etc...

Who are their lecturers> do you get a good vibe from the work of their lecturers? are they passionate/ professionals etc...

Good luck

invertedstyles
05-22-2009, 07:55 PM
I agree with iaarvin, I'm in the same class with him and starting at this school I had my doubts about the CA, GA programs that are being run at this school. Three months ago I had some classes that I felt were lacking in course materials and being in a accelerated program I was felling like crap "I'm never going to get to where I want to be". There are other classes that give so much information due to the instructors knowledge. If your trying to find a good school look into the instructors and make sure they meet your needs. I believe that every instructor should show you their demo reels and stuff they have done. At least then you can feel safe learning from him/her. There are alot of people that are in my class and upper classmen that are amazing artist and they are my competition but some do lack the drive being fresh out of highschool and in a different enviroment. Our school holds open labs outside of our schedule and I see only a couple of my friends in those open labs perfecting their craft not to say that others don't work at home which is cool but too theres way too many distractions i.e video games and alot of parties. I find it really good to have motivated friends around to help bouce ideas, even though they are my competition. The industry looks foremost on your work, you can put out a decent demo by yourself or you can incorporate your friends in your work with different skills; Its a win win situation. Find a school that meets your needs Full Sail may get a lot of heat but it does truly depend on your level of motivation. Speeking of I need to go to lab.......

Gurboura
06-11-2009, 08:20 PM
Take a tour of the school, go through the buildings, talk to students. This is one of the best ways to learn how the school is. Go to the "Open Labs", sit in on classes, talk to students on breaks, ect.

Darkphreekquency
06-11-2009, 11:24 PM
I went to school not knowing any of this and i wish i had known better. Very expensive (over 100k)
I wont mention the name for legal reasons but my school started out at being amazing they had a good team of professors who really wanted to convey their information. The school started getting cheap and lazy and hired all new teachers right out of their own program. people who were less concerned about teaching and more concerned about their own careers. classes were small and i could never get a hold of my teachers at all Zero industry experience. To be respectful i wont go into it more than that but i will just say this.

Just because its expensive doesn't mean its good.
Just because a school claims to have industry professionals doesn't mean they really do. You really need to put toghether a list of questions and go visit the school. Dont leave untill you get to see some faculty work, and some student demo reels. Some of these people that run these schools are really greedy and just failed in the industry themselves so they decided to start a school. good business decision for them but it saturates the industry with garbage. DO YOUR RESEARCH, stay focused , know what you want and go get it. no matter what stands in your way. Id recommend ringling , VFS , and animation mentor as i have heard alot of good things about these schools and thier student work dwarfs my school by a long shot.

Gurboura
06-11-2009, 11:27 PM
I think I know what school you are speaking of.

Weihalter
06-12-2009, 10:47 AM
Here were the symptomes for me :

-Graduated students with no experience start teaching

-The doctrine starts to be repressive, and the "teachers" dont tolerate the fact that a student might know more.

-The real teachers with proven industry exerience start criticizing the school's policy

-The school director starts saying that laptops are better then workstations and that the best professional prefer working on laptops.

-The school director continues by saying since laptops are better he's selling all the schools workstations

-The school director then says that since they wont be any more workstations we need to get a laptop and that he just happens to have a deal with Dell :)

-The school director concludes by saying the school's official laptop optimised for advanced 3d operations will be compulsary and that it's just a thousand euros more. Needless to say not deducted from the school fees.

I used to believe that the school's name was everything but in the end it's all up to you. Today they are so many free tutorials and documentation available, you just have to make the effort to read those. Eventualy you'll realise that most schools just want your money.

For the moment the best school I found is this forum :)

uncon
06-18-2009, 04:33 PM
One thing everyone should understand before getting into any arts program is that often times the best thing you get is a collaborative environment with like-minded individuals and instructors that are there because they love the craft. The quality or pace of the classes may be slower or faster than you would prefer, you can still get a lot out of a program even if it's instructors have no industry experience. You just have to really push the instructors, remember that when you get into one of these programs they are paid (partly by you) to teach you and you deserve some respect as long as you are respectful to them.

I would also warn people to take the student reels with a grain of salt. You don't know what (or how much) they aren't showing or the personal story behind that really great piece the school has been showing off for the past 5 years. Bigger schools that have longer programs usually get better student content out as well (VFS) because there is a better chance of getting those really dedicated people to create something stunning.

One exemption on the student reels: for animation programs you can see if students are being taught fundamentals like squash and stretch, anticipation, etc.. (go read the "The Animator's Survival Kit" for the essentials). If most of the students don't even try to put these basic principles into their animations they are either: unmotivated, lazy, poorly instructed.

In my opinion, go to the biggest school with the most students (NOT MOST EXPENSIVE) you can get into and make lots of friends. They will help you mature and grow as an artist and then once everyone graduates they can be great contacts into the industry (where a recomendation is worth as much as a demo reel), and of course they will give you something to do on the weekends other than practice your UV mapping skills!

Good luck!

nmcelmury
06-18-2009, 05:20 PM
If they have a commercial that says 'Do you want to create videogames?!'
REDFLAG haha.

But as far as all the Full Sail stuff goes, I went there, I enjoyed it, loved the instructors and lab instructors, and have been working since I graduated. Not everyone I graduated with is working, but it's the same at nearly any school. A handful of my good friends here in LA were former classmates of mine at Full Sail, and they're all working :D
It's the school's job to educate you to a point, they will give you the tools, you need to give yourself a swift kick in the ass if you really want to make the best of it. Hell I started at a tiny (can I say shitty?) college in a suburb in Minnesota, and they had grads working in the industry from that school (it was one of the dreaded TV commercial schools), so I guess in my experience, the school won't make or break you, you will.

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