I had a similar experience – going to a school that focused me into humanities and sciences, I decided I wanted to learn CG and go to an art school. Like you, its not that liberal arts scares me (If I weren’t here I’d be studying either english or engineering).
Well, I’ve only been at art school for 2 or 3 months, but I’ve already put significant time into trying to figure out where to transfer to. I had a conversation with my Art History teacher a few nights ago in which she explained to me in depth the reasons why I will never find the intellectual stimulation here at art school that I want and, I now realize, very much need.
Art schools do not accept students based on academic rigor, writing skills, critical thinking abilities, etc. They focus entirely on portfolio. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it becomes a problem. Any non-art classes in the curriculum are usually there only because to get a BFA program certified, there needs to be a certain number of humanities/science programs. So the kids in these classes become not people who are interested in the subject matter, but people who need the credits and don’t really care whatsoever about the course. The teacher will have to lower the course’s content dramatically in order to make it teachable to an excruciatingly broad audience.
When I was in high school, I was surrounded by people who cared, people who wanted to learn, and people who participated in and were thrilled by open class discussion. I didn’t put much credit in this because it was always there. Well, theres a lot of merit to that.
Another thing that has happened since I got here is that I have arguably learned more from books and tutorials that I find on the servers than I have from my teachers. I can’t speak for all schools, but, at least here, the environment is absolutely not one of conducive learning and improving. The feeling is that we are all artists, but some are better than others and some are worse. It is a really de-humanizing feeling. Art school feels less like a place people go to learn art, and more like a place that young artists go to do art and maintain their current skill levels.
I am currently across the country, but am originally from Seattle. My interest in CG stems from my desire to work on videogames. I am planning on dropping out next year and applying to Digipen. This may seem backwards, since they are a school completely focused on gaming, rather than on a broader, more liberal arts approach, like I crave. However, they are one of very few schools that I know of that have very strong physics, math, and engineering departments (as well as an english minor ) and that will completely cater to my desire to make art for games.
I know I might not have the most experience on the matter. However, my advice is this: do not choose a college based primarily on what you want to do in the future. Choose a college based on the kinds of classes you really are interested in taking. If you enjoy psychology and writing, but want to do VFX in hollywood, don’t discard you academic interests for a career oriented one. Find a school that will teach you all three.