California College of the Arts
California College of the Arts - Comments and Student Experiences|
Best resource CCA has is the faculty's brilliance - which is disheartening once you realize that the administrators disrespect them and treat them as disposable. Seriously, the majority of them are genuinely interested in students' success, approachable, and appreciative if you are inquisitive and eager to learn. I have had some of my best education here talking to the faculty at great length, both in and out of the class room. This is a nerdy Art school - the Fine Art students that I know bust their asses off and majority are on some Financial Aid - not wild partiers like SFAI-ers.
Now for the cons, to be fair these issues seem to be commonplace in other Art institutions as well: steadily increasing tuition without Financial Aid adjustment, academically challenged (administrators put pressure on faculty to prop less competent students up), budgetary issues (SF Design + Arch programs given way higher priority over Oakland Fine Art ones), overcrowding (CCA has had issue accommodating students with proper studio/work space), few mature students (the cliques are 'painfully hip').
CCA has been going through major changes over the years...moving from a traditional craft-based school to an innovative design school. Restructuring has been happening as well leading up to the move of Oakland campus to SF, causing tension and feelings of uneasiness. Rumor has it some of the programs will be put on the chopping block. My hope for CCA is that it won't get lost in this change for the sake of change alone. Progress can only be achieved with wisdom and fairness and some of us are wondering if the CCA Board of Trustees have completely lost the school's original vision and if they are making decisions solely based on $$$ - it is the Bay Area after all, where greed prevails.
Ok, so I was in love before I even got there. I lived in the dorms, which are insanely expensive for their size, especially since you're sharing with another guy. That said, my roommate was always at his girlfriend's, so I always had the room to myself. Be sure to call the bottom bunk, otherwise it's pretty awkward if you have a girl over. But honestly, I loved living in the dorms, there's no better way to do it. I've seen all the dorms and they're all really cool. Webster's chill, Irwin has a sweet view from the roof, and Clifton is just great all around.
The Oakland campus is amazing, it's just awesome in every way. The SF campus is pretty sterile, but there's always work up on the walls which is cool.
I went in majoring in photography/painting, then switched to architecture, then ID/interactive, then to Individualized. I'm now looking at that school from HS for photojournalism. If CCA had a photojournalism major with a record like that of RIT's, I'd definitely stay. The area is really great. Living in Rockridge is heaven. You can catch the BART into SF for a night of excitement or you can go to berkeley or any of the other places. I walked and explored a lot. I rode my bike EVERYWHERE. The traffic is wicked fun to ride through. The area is awesome, but the rent is insane out there. good luck finding a room for under 600 a month plus utilities (I'm used to maybe 250/mo with utilities included).
A lot of the students don't care, a lot are morons, most are wicked rich, so what that's all colleges. most of them are great folks. There's usually a party to go to and have fun. I don't smoke or drink or anything but I hung out with everyone and had fun no matter what.
Campus jobs are easy to get if you can get to them and they're easy as pie.
The teachers are pretty great (if you dig painting, f'sho check out Chris Brown, he is the boss, for real). But I didn't really feel like I was getting anywhere with any of it, like it was fizzling out real quick. It doesn't seem like a promising future.
So the reasons I left were:
the school wasn't exactly what I wanted
the price tag of the school in relation to the education quality as well as the high cost of living in the area
The area is awesome, the openings are cool, lots of snooty art snobs, a bit expensive, wicked fun, some of the best memories ever, and I made some great friends from all over the world and I even learned some Chinese. If you're interested in this school, visit and try to sit in on some classes so you get an idea of the level of things. For me it was a tad slow and tedious, but others really loved it. Go CCAC!