The Art Institutes


Hello, I kinda look already around this forum for some similar topic, and i didnt find any, and this is kinda an opinion i need from you guys.

So here it is, i just graduated from high school, and im going into The Art Institutes of Huston,
i was already accepted for the Animation Program, anyway, i applied to SCAD too, but jeje my grades werent good enough, so what is your opinion about this school? obviously, not just for the Huston one, but The Art Institutes in general, also i wanted to ask you guys, after graduating, i dont think ill get the kind of jobs i would like in Huston, id like something like, Movie animation, or Animate the special effects on a movie, or the cinematics of a videogame, so do you have a top ten cities for those kinda jobs? where are the companies the work on this kind of stuff? just in Florida, Los Angeles??



Personally I don’t care for any AI (art institute). The products I have seen coming from these schools seem to be highly outdated and not even near industry standards. One of my acquaintance’s went to an AI and dropped out because of the “laughable standards”. Another thing to keep in mind is AIs accept almost everyone who applies. I like to compare them to McDonalds, they are all over the place and the quality of product they give is utter crap. They want to put out as many burgers as they can as cheap as they can (students being burgers). My advice is stay away.

I’m not sure where you are in skill level or financial ability but below you will find a list of great schools.

Ringling, Sarasota Florida. Arguably the best animation school in the world.

Gnomon, LA Cali. Personally I can’t vouch for their animation program but others I trust have. Their other specializations are amazing so I’d bet animation would be too.

SCAD, you already mentioned them so I’ll skip the details.

Animation Mentor, online. Generally I don’t recommend online programs but this one seems to have their stuff together pretty well.

Vancouver Film School (VFS), Vancouver BC Canada. One of the best in the field.

Vancouver Media Arts (VanArts), Vancouver BC Canada. Another good option if cash is a bit tight.

California Arts (CalArts), not sure on the city. Some amazing animators have graduated from here. This place is much more experimental.

Any one of these school have the tools to get you into the industry.

As far as jobs go for both film and games:

(City, State) (Major Studios)
Orlando Florida: Universal Studios, Disney
Los Angeles California: Activision, EA, Rythm & Hues
San Francisco California: LucasFilm, ILM, Lucas Arts, Disney, Ubisoft
(California in general has LOADS of jobs)
Austin Texas: Activision, BioWare, Blizzard, Disney, Sony Online Entertainment (ruined SWG grr!)

Those are the major hubs

Also Canada and England both have some major studios.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions in the future.


Gee, well… thanks to my crappy put of effort in highschool, thats the only choice i have for now, but, what if i stay 1 year in TheAi, and then transfer to scad or something?
Do you think is worth it?
Also if i go for the Animation Mentor Online for one year, would that help me to get into a good college later? even though my final highschool trnascrip sucks.


The Art Institutes are part of Education Management Corporation a publicly traded company. Since they are publicly traded thier first loyalty and duty is to the share holders, and not students. In order to maximize share holder profits, EDMC (education management corporation) uses the students who attend thier “schools” to lock down government gauranteed student loans, which the students then use to pay for thier tuition, which over the course of the program will magically approach the borrowing cap for a BFA. EDMC gets thier money by you going into debt. Once you borrow that money, EDMC gets paid, they don’t care how or even if you can pay that money back.


Don’t go to AI, go to SCAD.


What is your opinions about AI Rebeccak?? and what could i do at this point to get into SCAD which already rejected me. u.u


I’m biased, but I don’t refer any of my high school or community college transfer students to AI. It’s not to say that all of them are bad, but I’ve heard many first and second hand accounts of students over the years who felt that AI was a ripoff. Here in California, the local AI’s are not regionally / WASC (Western Association of Schools Colleges) accredited, which means that if you attend AI in California or any AI that is part of the Western United States, your credits will not be accepted towards a graduate degree. So if you ever wanted to pursue your masters, you would have to repeat your 4 years of school at a WASC accredited or other regionally accredited school. AI is owned by Goldman Sachs, a bank, and you can imagine how much they care about your average art student. AI does not have acceptance criteria, which means that you will be going to school with students who probably couldn’t get their act together to go to a better school, meaning that you might not be very challenged and therefore not very prepared for the wider world.

My suggestion is to get your grades up by attending a community college and just get your act together academically, if possible. If your grades are low then maybe you are not serious enough yet for college, or it’s possible that you could have academic barriers, but either way it’s better to mature on the cheap in a cc and then eventually transfer to a better school than waste $100 K in a school that doesn’t care enough about its student population to screen them for competence, but will gladly accept your cash.


Is there the possibility to take 1 year at AI and then transfer to another Art college?


Usually that answer is no. That is part of what accredidation determines. You would have to do your research well ahead of time to insure that the classes you took at at AI would transfer.

If what you want to do is animation then try and get into animation mentor that will be a much better use of your money and time. If you want a solid foundation for a career in the visual arts consider more classically oriented training. You can find a list of classically oriented art schools here:


Ironically, you’re more likely to transfer much cheaper community college credits than AI credits. I’ve met several students who have run into the frustration of not being able to transfer any of their AI credits to another institution.

Lyr, my personal opinion is that I don’t think Animation Mentor is the right path for someone straight out of high school - it’s just an online program, much more suitable for a working adult or post-graduate student than a person needing a degree, time to mature, and an all around college experience. It’s probably great for someone who has already received a degree from a brick and mortar school.


If they go through with getting rid of the 24hr access to the new vancouver campus, I doubt ill recommend this school to anyone.


I agree with Rebeccak, go to a CC and get your GPA up. Most schools won’t care about how bad you did in HS if you went to a CC and got As and Bs. Even if just for a few months this will help. This also gives you a chance to meet new people, get your act together, and really get ready to work your ass off at your goal college. Also this gives you more time to make sure yes this is what I want to do. Two years ago I was dead set on going to Ringling for animation. My school screwed up and didn’t send my transcripts on time so I didn’t get accepted. I had to wait another year to apply (they only accept applications once a year) and in that year I learned, wow I can’t stand animation! Now I am going to Gnomon for what I actually like.

A note on animation mentor, if I was you I would probably skip it. Online programs take a lot of dedication and focus. Think about it you are at home, do you want to work on school, or play your xbox. Hopefully you want to work on school more but that temptation can be dangerous. Most HS grads aren’t mature enough to be that disciplined. You may be disciplined enough, just some thing to think about.


If someone isn’t mature enough for animation mentor, they aren’t mature enough for college. There are alot of students who use the “college experience” as an excuse to prolong thier adolesence.


Is there some place where all those temptations magically vanish? No there isn’t. Regardless of what program a person chooses they will have to be very dedicated, focused and avoid temptation to succeed. These are hardly barriers unique to animation mentor.


Mmm well lets say that i do like CC for fall only… like from august or october to december or jauary, just to get my GPA up, and then i apply for the summer semester or spring semester at a good college…that would be the best thing to do right? , so in the CC what classes should i take? only art and that stuff, or like everything, history, math, english…


Do your liberal arts credits at a community college. The community college will probably have a higher standard of instruction on top of bieng cheaper for liberal arts. It would be wise to complete all liberal arts requirements at community college and then transfer to an art school. You don’t want to be paying $450+/credit hour for history and english.


I’d agree go for the basic liberal arts stuff. You may want to take an art course or two depending on the school. Just make sure you get good grades, the whole purpose is to show you can handle the work load.

@Lyr, I’m not saying they go away, just stating they are much more problematic if you are sitting at home rather than in a class room.

“If someone isn’t mature enough for animation mentor, they aren’t mature enough for college.”

I wouldn’t agree with this part of the post. Maturity may have been a wrong choice of wording in my post, discipline would be better suited.


College isn’t like high school. They don’t call your parents if you don’t show up to class. They aren’t going to ride you. Change the word to discipline if you like, I don’t think it changes anything. Both online and brick and mortar schools require you to show up on time and do your work on time. I really don’t see one requiring more discipline over another.

The way I see it the choice comes down to a preference of enviroment and routine. Online letting you keep your current enviroment and working around your established routine, and brick and mortar requiring you alter your routine around the program and maybe move.


I agree with MrConterno about most of what was said. I don’t think that Animation Mentor is the right solution, but it entirely depends on the person. I think only in the RARE instance is a high school student better served by an online program than a brick and mortar one. I actually usually think that unless a person has severe behavioral issues that prevents them from interacting in a live classroom, they are better off in a real one than a virtual one (for basic high school and undergraduate education) because of the richness of the education and the networking / friendships, etc. that happen much more seamlessly in a real classroom. I can say this with some authority because I have taught both live and online workshops, and believe me, an online workshop is not the same as a live one.

  I think the real issue though here is cc vs. AI, and I would go with a good cc any day. What I would do is talk to a high school counselor as well about what courses you should take at a cc to get your grades up - you don't want to overload yourself and set yourself up for failure, but you also don't want to be wasting time with taking too few classes to really affect your GPA. Only someone attached to a high school or college to which you will be applying can address these questions definitively, certainly random people from the internet (like myself) won't know your full situation. My advice is to take matters into your own hands and really research (eg, call the schools you're interested in) to find out what you will need to do to get your grades up / be accepted to your dream school. Also talk to counselors at a cc - either before going there, and/or during your time there - because they will certainly know what you will need to do to achieve a better GPA.
  The thing that most students don't realize is that getting into school is all a game - SCAD wants good students, and they are willing to help you get there if you are persistent - that's what the counselors are there for. All schools want your $, but good schools like SCAD also want their student body to be strong. Places like AI don't care whether or not you are a good student, they just want your $. You may not be as strong as you want now academically but it does not mean that you cannot get there. My advice is to address the things that are holding you back academically and work on them, go to a cc and work hard, and then reapply to a number of different schools once your grades are stronger. In the meantime, while you are at a cc, stay in touch with counselors from the schools you are interested in, and show them that you are really serious about getting into those schools. 

Communication and being positive is everything, if there's one thing I've learned over time, it's that  you can't get what you haven't asked for. You have to be persistent to get what you want.


Good post Rebeccak