The Academy of Art University
The Academy of Art University - Comments and Student Experiences|
1) AAU is nothing more than an extension of High School, with a a lot of cliques and teachers playing favorites. As a film student this is VERY discouraging especially when you depend on other students for help. I can't count the times I worked on other peoples set only to get a " sorry I can't help you", when time came to repay the favor. A lot of teachers play favorites. I guesss they feel its easier to help only students who could be potentially helpful to their own career. ITS A LOT like the industry in that it plays to those who have money. For instance, one student flew down to LA, paid to have their film bleached by passed only for a simple class exercise. But thats just a reflection of the real world of TV and Film- only the privileged have a voice.
1) The advisors are incompetent, specially Ron Bun and Cindy Leo. It took an extra semester because my "advisor" was uninformed about my major and miscalculated my credits. Also the administration is sometimes incompetent. The AAU informed me just 3 weeks! prior to graduated that I owed them around $1,000. Since I have student loans, tuition is automatically deducted so I still don't understand where they got this balance from!? Thanks for not keeping your students informed and taking advantage your students AAU! :)
2) I would not recommend this school. Too expensive, outdated equipment (still using clunky semi broken 35/16mm cameras from 1960's), higher level classes had instructors that were RARELY THERE, specifically Randell Love- He was one of the two most knowledgeable teacher but was there only 5/16 classes!!! Also instructors are reluctant to give advise, I guess they see us as competition. The Head of the Equipment Dept Elan Santiago is an @$$hole, no other way of saying it. I dont know one person who has said something postive about him, but no one says anything. Reason why is if he doesn't like you, you don't get the equipment you need. He caused many good equipment techs to quit unnecessarily. Eduardo, David Drum and Miss Sumtner were cool.
I would advise to take specific classes or seminars in LA or NY where there are more resources. Do not get sucked into paying $100,000 in student loans for an education like I did. The degree is worthless, I even had the Senior Year Portfolio Instructor of Motion Picture & TV tell the class that point blank. This makes no sense to a blue collar person such as myself who doesn't have the money to spend thousands of dollars on projects semester after semester. If you want to get into film, buy a camera, pickup a basic book on storytelling and video production, get yourself a job and do self fulfilling projects on the weekend's off. Or just go to LA and work your way up. Thats what I'm doing now and I already have my degree.
Two big thumbs down!
PS- A lot of these problems are systemic of the Higher Ups. Alicia "Bush" Stevens should sell her privite jet AND helicopter AND limo and actually try to fix the school, because its a school not just a business.
1. The quality of most TEACHERS is a joke!
They teach grad level, yet almost none of them have a grad level education themselves. Teachers are very arrogant and treat you like you are no equal to them. Most of them are not qualified to be teachers whatsoever. One instructor is
as young as 24 years old. Almost none of them act in a respectable or professional
manner. (including cursing in your face and during lectures, making inappropriate comments about students and their lifestyle, appearances, nationality and the list goes on ) So far, I have had only ONE decent teacher - the director of the department himself. The advisors are very incompetent as well. Most of them have no ida what you are doing, what the classes are all about.
2. The quality of EDUCATION is very poor. Your money is your application, not your talent nor grades to this school. Instructors do NOT teach you at AAU. They expect you to do and know everything on your own. You basically teach yourself everything. It is a really sad fact that you are paying to be taught and end up teaching yourself. Most of the teachers do not give any valuable feedback on your work. As if they scared to say a word. They suggest you go and ask your fellow students for feedback. My question is how do your fellow students know any better then you if you are in the same boat? Also, we do not pay money to our fellow students but to the teachers to TEACH us! In most classes you do not even know what grades you have because you do not receive anything back (grades or feedback). The instructors are told not to give out good grades (this comes from one of the instructor himself) so you will not get an "A" unless you are a Pablo Picasso already. Most of the grades they give out are "C's" and this is for working your ass off with hundreds of sleepless nights. It is simply a matter of them likening your work or not. I know most of the students fail classes. I have not failed any class yet but I know of many who did. My question, again, is how 2-5 students per class fail doing all the work? I do not know. It is simply not right. Your grades are 95% depend on the quality of the materials that you use. If you cannot afford nice paper or printer, do not expect good grades no matter how talented and creative you are.
Most of them are very dissatisfied with their education. A lot of them quit, some stay just because they already have invested too much money. There are also A LOT of asian students and AAU takes an advantage of them. AUU does not require for the international students to take TOEFL so most of the students DO NOT speak english at all or very poor. Therefore, it is very difficult for other students who speak english to work with non-English speaking students in class. AAU only cares about their money that is why they accept them no matter what as long as they pay!
4. The PRESIDENT of the school is a useless woman - Elisa Stephens. She comes to school (and anywhere) in a LIMO! Why? Cause you pay her and instead of fixing the problems of this school, she spends our money on herself and her expensive toys. Everywhere I read, people just despise her, and have no respect for her.
I would say that it has been a huge waste of my money. I strongly DO NOT recommend this school. You will be disappointed. This university is 99% concerned with profit and only 1% concerned with the success of its students.There are no school scholarships, loans or grants provided by this school.
First of all, I'm warning that although some places they advertise that the program is accredited. It is only accredited by WAASC, NOT by the architecture accreditation board. And they just started the architecture department so no one has graduated yet, and they still don't have the curriculum don't pat.
If all you want out of an architecture degree is to be a little creative, then go for AAU. Other than that, graduating with their BFA in architecture will do nothing for you. The classes that should be there to support your future in being an architect like physics, language,and mathematics are ALL A BIG FAT JOKE. Excuse me but - I want to be a seriously taken architect and I want to have a level of higher education in subjects other than what is esthetically pleasing for a building.
Most of students are fairly all nice, but some of them are unmotivated and are just wasting their time and money. Whats worse is that they think they're better than you just because they went to a few years of community college. If you're straight out from high school - don't go here. You'll be treated like a baby. A stupid one at that.
Theres no communication with the some of the staff and the head of the department Alberto Bertolli. He just sits around and doesn't give a fuck when the instructors try to talk to him about regulating the curriculum. He honestly has no clue whats going on when the students bring up an issue to him.
Dont get me wrong. There are a few good things about the department. The computer labs and wood shop are all new, and the printing system is pretty efficient. The IT's and the shop helpers are all super nice. The actual architecture studio itself really is a good class to take, but only if you're lucky enough to have at least one of the 3 good instructors there (Ethan Wood, Beverly Choe, & Geoffrey Gibson).
If there were one thing to make you feel better about how dreadful the architecture department is, it would be the city of San Francisco itself. It's always alive and there's always something to do with lots of opportunities to meet people. Yes there's a big homeless population, but unless they're hobos in the tenderloin; they usually don't harm people or cause too much trouble.
The public transit system is pretty good, and if you don't feel like taking a bus everyone walks in San Francisco.
In the end you'll realize that San Francisco is your campus because AAU doesn't really have much of one. There is no school spirit. Since there really isn't a campus to unite the students, a lot of people kind of go off and do their own thing in the city. This could be a good or bad thing to someone.
To anyone thinking about going to AAU for majors other than the Architecture department: pretty much the only worth while degree is the Fine Arts.
My room mate was a Fine Arts painting major, and she loved every single one of her teachers. I've seen their course work and how much she and the other Fine Arts kids were improving and i can tell you that it is definitely professional grade work.
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