How to tell a good school from a bad school

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Old 06 June 2008   #1
How to tell a good school from a bad school

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?

Last edited by MaJoRoesch : 06 June 2008 at 07:38 AM.
 
Old 06 June 2008   #2
Collins College is a bad school. Is that what you wanted?
 
Old 06 June 2008   #3
Points on how to tell a good school from a bad one is all I'm asking for.
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Old 06 June 2008   #4
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.
 
Old 06 June 2008   #5
Originally Posted by JesseDavis: 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.
 
Old 06 June 2008   #6
yea i don't know anything about collins college just fyi. it was mostly sarcasm
 
Old 06 June 2008   #7
Originally Posted by JesseDavis: 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.
 
Old 06 June 2008   #8
Quote: 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.




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


What do you mean?
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Old 06 June 2008   #9
Originally Posted by MaJoRoesch:

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.
 
Old 06 June 2008   #10
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.
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Last edited by SanjayChand : 06 June 2008 at 08:49 AM.
 
Old 06 June 2008   #11
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).
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Last edited by MaJoRoesch : 06 June 2008 at 09:26 AM.
 
Old 06 June 2008   #12
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.
 
Old 03 March 2009   #13
Collons College

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.
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Last edited by MsZippy : 03 March 2009 at 02:05 AM.
 
Old 03 March 2009   #14
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.
 
Old 03 March 2009   #15
Originally Posted by KrzysztofFus: 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.
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Last edited by MrPositive : 03 March 2009 at 03:59 AM.
 
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