Need advice from an Ex'pression student past or present.

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  01 January 2010
Need advice from an Ex'pression student past or present.

Hello out there!

A group of friends and I have decided upon going to Ex'pression, we've been out there, done our research, looked into other places, and we're dead set on going down there this year to attend in the Fall.

Given that none of us come from wealth, we're going to need a little help in the area of finance (loans and the sort) going to have to find an apartment together (I refuse with a heated passion to do student housing because it's more expensive in comparison than if you just got a decent apartment with at least one other person, the accommodations as I hear are never good and to top it off they put you on a leasing contract, I'm not a fan.) and also going to need to find jobs to maintain living out there while we go to school.

My series of questions to you :
- What did you do to get your financing?
- What is your housing situation?
- What is it like having to work and go to school down there?
- What advice do you offer to a group of people who want to be out there in the Fall?

Any advice that you can give I will be extremely grateful for.

  02 February 2010
Hey, PM me. I went there and I'd be happy to answer your questions.
  02 February 2010
Hey, I just tried to send you a PM and it said you're not taking them therefore can't send..
  02 February 2010
Originally Posted by helios0684: Hey, PM me. I went there and I'd be happy to answer your questions.

Realizing there might not be a PM Function, let me just go ahead -- I'll spare you all the gory details of my total experience, but take heed of my advice and think real long and hard before going there. It's outrageously expensive for what you get and there are numerous criticisms I have of the faculty, especially the administration and how they market and run the school.

- What did you do to get your financing?

I took loans. Sallie Mae. Since the economy has worsened, it may be harder. Also, be aware they are jacking up tuition immensely this year under the auspices of 'better equipment' and 'paying the faculty'. It was like $19,900/scholastic year (This is about 6 months there) or so before I left (which would explain why I have about $40K in loans), I heard it's going up like $36K?

- What is your housing situation?

I lived in a single-bedroom apartment I had rented for several years near the Lake in Oakland. Nice neighborhood and a pleasant drive / bike ride down to the school. Be aware, that Oakland/East Bay has all the problems endemic with an urban area. Rent in the Bay Area is going to be expensive no matter what you do. It's just a fact of life.

- What is it like having to work and go to school down there?

Impossible. Especially if you are a visual arts student. I worked at a local retail chain for several months before I had to leave because school was causing me to have minimal hours and I was not making any money. You cannot work and go to ECDA at the same time.

- What advice do you offer to a group of people who want to be out there in the Fall?

The school was founded for sound students and is dominated by the sound department. Though the animation department (and the game art sub-department) is large, there are numerous complaints that the techniques taught are not industry current and what you do not have the time to make things good enough for a reel.

5 weeks is not enough time to learn something, have it stick, and master anything before they shuttle you on to something else that is not-related for 2-3 terms. The sequence in animation goes like this... Concept Art / Compisiting --> 3d Modelling 1 --> another big drawing class / intro to animation --> 3d Animation 1 --> Texture and Lighting 1 --> 3d Modelling 2 --> Animation 2 --> ... so on and so forth. It changes once in awhile, so my recall may not be up to date, but you see how that is? You learn enough to get by, never solidify an understanding, and are shuttled off to something new.

The fine art classes are great and a lot of fun, if not very time intensive -- there is a reason they call it DRAWING BOOTCAMP (it breaks -a lot- of people, but they've toned it way down over the years...) and basics are pretty solid, but you never get more than a basic understanding of anything unless you put in double time when not in class -- but that's endemic to any art school. Students who are poor at best are, or are highly unprofessional and cause drama, like many proprietary art schools, are often not given proper discipline, critique, and are frequently "pity" passed, doing a disservice to the industry, school, and to the students who then get inflated expectations for their futures.

All that being said, you get out what you put in, but that is true of any art school. My honest advice is to think long and hard before you go here, especially given the fact they are radically changing a lot of the benefits students get, instructors pity-pass poor and 'problem' students to move them along. If you do go, my advice: Stay locked on, don't make friends outside your circle, don't involve yourself in drama -- because it travels at the speed of light there -- and be honest. People may not like it, but it's better you weed the non-hackers out of your circle than be stuck with dead weights. Oh yea, there are like 5 girls there. The ratio is 85% male / 15% female, so there is a lot of issues regarding that. So, if you or one of your friends are female -- I would definitely take that into account. However, I'd say you'd be better off getting the basic technical stuff from a CC or local art center, save yourself the cash and just work your butt off on your own time. This is stuff you learn by doing and getting out and networking in the industy -- there is just some stuff schools can't teach you. This is just my observances, take them for what they are. I don't want to cause any trouble for the school or myself.

Last edited by helios0684 : 02 February 2010 at 03:11 AM.
  02 February 2010
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