The reason I attended on campus classes instead of online is for the one on one discussion and immediate feedback. In class, every instructor was fine. They were happy to answer and gave thorough answers
Beyond the classroom was the problem. Three out of five were excellent in this regard. Either they were accessible in office hours or they answered my email questions promptly and satisfactorily. Exemplary.
The other two were accessible virtually class time only. Both were very slow to respond to email questions about the assignment. Both of them would typically respond THE DAY THE ASSIGNMENT WAS DUE, sometimes minutes before they were due. By that time, I've had to make my own best guess, shoot it, edit it, print it so the answer to my question was moot! One of them would sometimes ignore my questions entirely. My strategy became busting my butt so bad that my work was too good to ignore.
Two of the three best are now gone. Who knows exactly why. They were quite senior and as is becoming The American Way, lot of years, higher salary -> time to cut 'em loose!
Becoming AI's way, too, last few days.....
Anyway, my best work by far was for the three responsive teachers.
The only generals I took were 2 art history classes. I loved them. Worth the money.
A couple of the graphic design class assignments were a joke as far as having any relevance to photography. Because, contrary to what they told us during recruiting, "You won't be in class with GD majors! You'll be in a nonmajor class with photography majors just like yourself." BS! And some of those GD majors were so good they had day jobs doing it. They knew Illustrator and InDesign inside out. I had to teach myself from scratch. I asked the instructor more than my share of questions -that he answered in class or email. But try hard as I could, A- was the best I could do.
The other A- I got was in my major. Most instructors graded on a 1-100 scale. So on every assignment you could eearn the full range of grades. But this one graded 1-10. So you could get 'perfect' A- B- C- D- F. On one assignment the equipment I checked out from school didn't work. This happened a lot. Not always their fault people didn't always report it. So I did my best, using an improv'd solution. The weather was also cloudy giving me flat light. Virtually no retouching allowed in that class. He'd given someone else permission to reshoot.
"Do you think I should reshoot it?"
"Nah. I wouldn't bother. You'll do all right."
He gave me a failing grade on it.
Then I had to bust my butt to make up for that. Couldn't. Got an A-.
The expense is in line with private colleges. But tuition ate up all my financial aid and then some.
There are a few CCs here that have curricula just as good, fraction of the cost, and will leave you with extra aid to buy your equipment.
I had great times at AI, I loved some of the instructors, students, everybody in admin seemed to know my name, I begin classes at a CC this fall, but AI jumped the shark for me in June.Courses you can't get elsewhere, yes: darkroom, medium format, large format, yes. Beyond that you don't need to give anyone that much money for instruction.