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The Academy of Art University

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Quite BrightArt & Design Department
As with all Art programs, you get out of it what you put into it. Being taught by working professionals is the highlight.
4th Year Female -- Class 1997
Friendliness: A+, Useful Schoolwork: C
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I greaduated AAU in December 2012.Art & Design Department
I greaduated AAU in December 2012. When I applied in 2006 they told me it would cost roughly $80,000 to get my BFA in Commercial Photography there. By the time I was done I was $144,000 in the hole before even counting in the interest.

While I was there instructors were in and out the door every semester so it was random luck if you were to get anyone good. From my experience you had about a 1 in 6 chance of getting someone good. But probably 3 out of those 6 we pretty awful.

From the time I started to the time I graduated the number of photo students more than tippled, studio hours decreased, and they in no way vaguely bothered to keep the amount of equipment up with the increased demand. (You could see how may of each piece of gear was available, or not, to loan out at any given time.)

The LA classes were laughably easy and were maybe, MAYBE, high-school level.
They charged about $1300 a month for a SHARED studio, while the market rate at the time was about that for a studio two building down the block , so housing rates are pretty much extortion.

The available transportation was never on time, so if you had back to back classes you were pretty much always late for the second.

Every year there they raised the tuition by something like $225 a unit (most classes are 3 units)
One year they told us the reason for the tuition increase was to offer us perpetual CS6 suite licences which they are now pulling from everyone one.

I can't even apply to consolidate my loans that I took to go to AAU because, banks, and credit unions (I've tried 2 banks and 3 CUs) don't believe that someone who attended the academy will be able to repay the loans.

Just don't go. Is there value to the education they offer? Yes. Is it anywhere near $144,000 dollars (roughly $300,000 if you include interest over the standard repayment time, (roughly $1,300 a month)) that it actually cost. NoThe Academy of Art University was the biggest mistake of my life.

Alumnus Male -- Class 2000
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#academyofartuniversity: This "school" is really like the waBrightFine Arts - Painting/Sculpture/Photography/etc
#academyofartuniversity: This "school" is really like the walmart of educational institutions. Greedy and profit-based. Everyone on the top is out to make a buck and the students get the short end of the stick.

You can go to a proper art school in san francisco like #californiacollegeofthearts or #sfai for the same price and get a first-class education. Most of the students do really good work but they are foreign and they do not realize that having a degree from AAU is like having a law degree from an online correspondence course. Yes, you technically have the degree, but it will not get you anywhere.

Most legitimate art schools screen their prospective students in based on their portfolios. AAU does not. It is a free-for-all where anyone who can write out a check is a future art student. You should know that you have the skills and background to be a good art student before you commit to paying all of that money.

Some students do not speak english well enough to understand the coursework and then have to take courses again

Instructors here have to teach a lot of courses each semester so they can not give their best, even though most of them are genuinely decent people.

The president lives in a penthouse in Nob Hill that gets featured in design magazines while most of her employees are struggling to make ends meet. They ride the bus and muni to get to work while she houses priceless antique cars all over the city. The disparity is sometimes too much to take.Do yourselves a favor and apply for the other great schools in SF.

2nd Year Male -- Class 2018
Surrounding City: B+, Collaboration/Competitive: F
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The Academy of Art University
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