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Kansas City Art Institute

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I began as a Freshman at KCAI in 2008.Quite BrightFine Arts - Painting/Sculpture/Photography/etc
I began as a Freshman at KCAI in 2008. I am currently a Digital Film senior in her last semester, and it is 2014. Obviously there have been some bumps in the road, seeing as here I am 6 years later and still degree-less, and will possibly remain that way since KCAI's financial aid and business department are atrociously bad at communicating with their students, and providing resources for help.

Quite frankly, this college is a scam.
Don't get me wrong. The professors in my particular department are quality educators. I've never had a lack of intellectual stimulation in my major coursework, and they provide plenty of material that can be inspiring and helpful for referencing personal work. There is also a good community for artists to tap into outlets for showcasing work such as resources for film festivals, exhibitions, etc? But the organization at this school is a joke, overall.

To begin, if you are to attend school here, expect to be highly self driven to find out if you are taking the right courses, are caught up on all tuition expenses within a certain timeframe, because they WILL NOT NOTIFY YOU OF THESE THINGS AND YOU WILL FIND OUT THE HARD WAY.

The business department likes to implement new policies without notifying students. I found out 3 weeks prior to beginning a semester that I owed x amount of dollars before I could be registered for courses. Fine. Okay. I'll be broke and probably have to give up eating for a few days, but I saved for the remaining amount that they required from me. Came to school the first week, went to pay only to find out that apparently theres this new thing where if you don't pay a week before school starts that they will charge you $200 more in late fees because you did not meet a new deadline for this new policy that they did not notify me about.

This is not the first time I've had to make last minute payments because the business department failed to communicate any outstanding debts. I had come to expect this out of them, so I do the research myself. But this IS the first time that I was confronted with this new highway robbery like policy, effectively preventing me from completing MY LAST SEMESTER AS A SENIOR BEFORE I GRADUATE. Side note: the business office is rude and condescending.

This is only the most recent issue.
In a previous year I found out that I had a balance due, paid it, only to find out two weeks later that they screwed up and overcharged me since my student loans and grants came in. They gave me a refund check for the amount I paid, but thats kind of like putting a bandaid on a gaping wound considering I had to sacrifice paying my utility bills on time that month, and accrued more late fees due to not being able to afford my real life. So really, I only got part of my refund back. Thanks KCAI.

Also, the counselors that are in charge of assisting students with picking correct course scheduling in order to complete their degree requirements are pretty unhelpful as well.

I had to drop out my Junior year due to a death of a close relative that was very difficult for me. Took a year off. Came back. Fine. The problem with this scenario is that when I came back, I started in the Fall. When I had dropped, it was in the Spring. So the specific major-required classes I needed to take were all out of whack. I thought my best move, then, was to get my non-major coursework out of the way in the Fall so I could have more time to focus on studio work come Spring. I took a creative writing, history and science course as required, and completed my internship and it put me at 12 credit hours which is the minimum amount of hours you can take to receive all of your funding (which I didn't know at the time). By the end of that Fall semester I had completed all but 1 non-major course requirement, so I thought come Spring I would not have to take on a full schedule leaving me with more time to better realize my studio work. Nope. I signed up for my studio classes that Spring, and an additional liberal arts course which brought me to 9 credit hours. Things were fine and dandy the first week until I got called out of class the second week and told that I need to speak with the financial department. They told me that I would not receive my financial aid money since I was under 12 credit hours, and if I did not find another class to get into that I would be dropped unless I could suddenly manifest thousands of dollars to cover the cost.

I was freaking out at this point, thinking I was going to have to drop out yet again. So, I had to scurry to find any class which there were NONE OPEN and I had to plead with the professor to remove me from a wait list since any class that I was going to take had a wait list. So I narrowly missed that one. Thanks academic advising for giving me this important information in ADVANCE so I didn't have to take an a) unnecessary class for my degree requirement, wasting more money, and b) have to pick a class I don't have interest in in the first place because I needed to "fill my schedule". When I went back in the Fall after my hiatus, they should've just told me to wait until Spring so I wasn't off rotation, and therefore saving me from having to "fill my schedule" for the remaining portion of my KCAI student career. Because thats what I've been doing so far, my senior year. Taking my studio classes, which ARE required, and filling the rest with unnecessary classes to fill my hours, piling on top of my already horrendous student loan debt.

Another note. When picking out your schedule on the online resource they have for students, there is a section under each class information page where the professors can put notes such as what textbooks and materials will be required for the course. You'd assume if there are no notes, that nothing is required, right? WRONG. It is apparently customary for you to arrive to class the first day to find out that there is in fact a fuckload of things you need to buy for the class, but they keep it a surprise until you are already enrolled.

Also, on that note, apparently even IF you take a class that HAS said notes of textbooks that are required, and you go out and BUY said textbooks, they reserve the right to remove that class you are registered for a week before school begins, effectively leaving you with tons of useless material that you paid an arm and a leg for. Yes, this happened.

KCAI has an overload of students and not nearly enough courses to get students into. Its always a feeding frenzy come class registration time. If you're not registering the first day available, be prepared to be wait listed for most of your classes, and be prepared to take classes that you don't really want to take.

Also, parking is atrocious at KCAI. The parking cops love our campus due to the constantly changing "no parking zones" they like to add. The school would prefer to repaint their campus every year and to add pretty fountains and unnecessarily waste money on cosmetic renovations every semester than to add more parking or studio spaces for students.I'm sure there's more that I'm missing. But to sum it up, if I could go back in time and NEVER come to this school, I'd gladly take that route. My experience here has been mostly nightmarish. The only saving grace that this school has is some of the educators that they have. I've never once been disappointed in my actual education. But what it comes down to is that I've wasted 6 years of my life and accrued an obscene amount of debt when I could have been doing something better with my time all because the corporate side of KCAI has poor administration and a genuine lack of concern towards their students

3rd Year Female -- Class 2014
Campus Aesthetics: A+, Individual Value: F
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I should have looked deeper into these reviewsBrightArt & Design Department
I should have looked deeper into these reviews sooner before I came to KCAI. This school is set up for disaster. They were even put on academic probation. If my teachers had any ounce of respect for their students as the business office had, I might have stayed.

My instructor was so rude to me that I had to leave after only two weeks. I know that it's a very short amount of time but this particular teacher made the classroom an unbearable, hostile environment for me. My major was graphic design. I feel that I need to let people know exactly what goes on in that department because it was very misleading when I went into it and even though the administration tried to help me, I feel that they just wanted my money.

First of all, you need WAY more supplies than just a laptop, which is what they'll tell you you only need before class starts. Later they told me that you needed an xacto knife, scissors, etc. because SURPRISE, everything you do is by hand and needs to be cut out. But that wasn't the problem for me. Oh no, the problem was that the instructors expect all of your work to be completely perfect to the last detail even if you've never done it before, made a mistake or didn't have the right material; if it's not perfect, the instructors will shame you in front of the other students and they WILL NOT critique it! And this is only the first week of class. My instructor told me that I've seen what kind of quality work they expect from students and so I should work to those standards. That's like telling someone, "You know what Picasso's work looks like, do that."

The directions for projects are totally unclear and they are ONLY posted on blogs and e-mail, for which you have to check constantly, preventing you from having a social life. When I was struggling with my assignments, i.e. pondering over slitting my wrists with the xacto knife I never wanted to buy, all my instructor did was e-mail me a bunch of people I don't know to "talk to and converse with" about assignments instead of teaching me how to do things that I was stuck on. It's like the instructors try to be your best friend but at the same time berate you for not doing things their way. I think it's called narcissism.

Though we were required to bring our laptops to class, we were not allowed to even look at them and God forbid if you just have your cellphone out (they will personally e-mail you to stop). But then why does my other classmate get to take his sandals off and put his feet up on his desk? I understand they want you to work during class time, but they LITERALLY force you to work. If you're not doing something in the way the instructors want it, they go right up to you and tell you to do it differently. I couldn't even just sketch things out in my own process without being hovered over and being constantly told "no".

They told me that they encourage students to use the studio but I think what they really meant was "use the studio or FAIL". There were so many projects done in so many unnecessary ways because if the project didn't look good on the ceiling, the floor, or on the window in the studio then they also take off points. They care more about how well-crafted the project is rather than the idea or what you've learned from it.I feel bad for anyone who has to put up with instructors like this. They are obviously passive aggressive, immature, and self-absorbed. I never thought that I would ever write a bad review about this school because the staff was very nice and friendly... until I saw what they really were.

1st Year Female -- Class 2017
Campus Aesthetics: A+, Education Quality: F
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I was in the PNM (photo/video) Department.Super BrilliantArt & Design Department
I was in the PNM (photo/video) Department. The faculty looks down on students who do not make work like theirs. I noticed the lack of creativity in the dept. because they want you to make what hey want. Art is about creativity and originality not making the same work as your teacher. If students do not like you for any reason they will try and destroy you during critic. I does not matter how good your work is only if you are well liked by others. So critics are more personal than critical. I saw some really crap get good critics and some really good work get shot down because of childish antics. I am sure half of my peers are working at deny's as till acting pretentious.
2nd Year Male -- Class 2009
Collaboration/Competitive: A+, Scholastic Success: F
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