So I'll start by saying that I am a commuter and have an hour and a half drive away. So the "night life", campus activities, and extracurricular activities don't really concern me, though I haven't heard much good about them either.
Moving on, I'm going to break my review down into the classes I had first semester. By the way, I'm a graphic design major, so the classes that don't look like they have anything to do with graphic design are just those ridiculous required classes.
Oh, and disclaimer, even though these were freshman classes, the students were mostly upperclassmen. Even a year can make a huge difference in the quality of your art, and it was very difficult to compete with people with so much more experience. And of course, the teachers grade on which piece is the best, leaving the freshman behind. But of course, grades weren't put up until literally the last few weeks.
3D Design- My expectations for this class were that we would be designing and making sculptures using interesting geometric and organic shapes and learning how to make it look good, basically. Our first project was to create a perfectly seamless cardboard cube. However, it was not just a simple cube, which would've been fine had we gotten less abstract instructions from the, you know, instructor. She told us that we had to "cut into the cube so that it kept its dimensions but didn't stay a cube". When students voiced their concerns over the vague instructions for the assignment, she just repeated what she already said. No elaboration. The project would have been fine if she gave examples, but she did not. After completing my cube which took 40+ hours (we had only a week, by the way) she told me it wasn't good enough and I had to redo it, while also doing the next project (again, only a week). I had to do this cube TWICE before it was up to her satisfaction. Since I was a commuter, it was not easy for me to go to the college to work on the project, and she told me I was "isolating myself from the class". On top of all of our projects, she expected us to go on a trip to a museum in New York (and I absolutely did not have time to travel to the 3-hour-away state while also completing the vague, crappy projects with the ridiculous time constraints). We had to see James Turrell's exhibits, which featured literally a black square on the wall (it's the kind of pretentious art non-artists have always made fun of). If you enjoy his artwork, I will absolutely not judge you, I just do not like them myself. We had to share our opinion on Turrell and when I told the prof that I didn't like him, she said that I was "close minded", as if not liking what SHE liked means that I am somehow wrong. I was absolutely disgusted and offended that she could be that pretentious and feel that her opinion was that almighty.
This class quickly turned from 3D design to basically, decorating a room. We wouldn't be making anything anymore, we would be taking objects and putting them on the wall and whoever spent the most got the most praise. It became about running out and spending money on more and more supplies, which I CANNOT AFFORD. The teacher would keep insisting that if we ran out of materials to just "run out and buy more", completely insensitive to the financial situation of her students.
She also had a tendency to email very short notice (a day before) that she was requiring us to attend a lecture of artists (that SHE felt were SO important) that would come to the school on an off day. These were REQUIREMENTS. However, I was able to skip them all because, you know, I have a job so that I can afford going to this crap school.
For some unlucky students, she would compare their work to other artists and insist that they do a powerpoint on his work and present it to the class. They would eventually comply because she would very annoyingly continue to insist, but they were very unhappy about this.
For one project, a student stretched her own canvas (which is not hard to do, I've done it before and put actual artwork on it), left it blank and put it on the wall. She had to put the canvas slightly to the side instead of the center because there was another project on the other side. The teacher gave her major praise for this project, mainly for her decision to put it more to the side and because the blank canvas made the project "mysterious". If this is the direction art is going in, I'm disgusted. I would also like to mention, the feedback the teacher was consistently giving me for big projects that always took me at least 40+ hours and a lot of work was extremely negative. Had I known I could just put a blank canvas on the wall and call it a day, I happily would've done this "mysterious" work of art myself.
To top it all off, this was a five hour studio class. These classes are great for art majors because you can use those FIVE HOURS to work on your projects. However, it appears that the art profs at TCNJ don't understand what the five hours are for, and every week we would spend this time critiquing each other's projects (which devolved into just saying the same thing about every piece, because after saying everything that needed to be said the prof would continue insisting we had to say more). There was ONE THING she taught in this entire class, and that was on the first day when she gave a demo on how to cut cardboard.
Drawing 1- This was another class where we would take 2-3 hours critiquing work in the beginning of class. Critiquing does not need to be this long when there is not that much to say. The second half of the class would be a powerpoint lecture, and then whatever time was remaining we would draw something random in the room. When it was warm out, we would go outside and draw. This would go over our lunch break, even though students wanted to leave, because the prof would insist that we stay and keep drawing until the sun went down and it got cold. This teacher was young and extraordinarily immature. She would make comments that showed that she was completely disconnected and lacked empathy for her students' situation (ex. "Guys. New York is NOT that far away"). She had me pick a title for a piece I did and, after telling her what I picked, she said, "Well, that doesn't interest me, so we're moving on." I had to change the title so that she liked it better, because art is all about kissing ass, right? We were also forced to go on yet another "field trip" for this class that was so sudden and unorganized (during the week of Thanksgiving) that it was cancelled LAST SECOND. They expect us to be able to run to New York at a moment's notice which is really just not possible.
2D Design- (I may have gotten the name of this class wrong) Yet again, another class where we spent the first half critiquing. It seems that the entirety of TCNJ is not quite sure what long classes can be used for. After about a hour, students would try to sit down while critiquing, but the teacher stopped us saying that we had to stand. Perhaps this seems nit-picky, but it really was not pleasant to have stand for hours, for no reason, and have my back killing me by the end of class. The printers at TCNJ are not free to use. Most projects had to be printed on paper bigger than the standard 5x7, and the average cost to print there was $2.00 (and we had to print multiple copies) at the least. We are not given any sort of budget in the beginning of the semester like other colleges (Rutgers for example), you have to pay out of your pocket from the beginning. Since I was commuter, it was more convenient and cheaper to print my projects at Staples. The teacher liked to incorrectly throw around the word "bad quality", however my print quality was not bad it simply looked different than the print TCNJ does (and I am not trying to make excuses, it was absolutely not bad quality). He was more concerned with the print job of the project than the art itself. I've heard many bad things about these printers. Many students had to print multiple times because it would print wrong or in the wrong color. One day, I heard a student yelling at the teacher saying that he had spent $30.00 printing his project but the prof was not "satisfied" with it. Students did tell the prof how it was hard to run out and get materials, which he was constantly having us do.
There were two more classes, one lecture and one elective, but I will not talk about these because they were not art classes that required projects.
If you're incredibly rich and want your grade and the worth of your art to revolve around the amount you spent making it, definitely attend this college.
On top of paying tuition, there is a fee you have to pay for supplies the school will give you. The only supplies I received was cardboard (which is free at your local supermarkets) and a limited supply of wood (which most people ran out of).
The teachers liked to use the phrase "bad time management" because students were struggling to complete their projects. They were struggling because we were given a week maximum to do an entire project for multiple classes while attending classes (which we were not allowed to do our projects in) at the same time. The teachers thought it was because we were "managing our time poorly", as if we were spending too much time partying and not working on our projects. I managed to attend work, class, and do my projects in a week and had NO free time whatsoever. I did not get breaks, I did not get to have a life. But according to my teachers, namely my 3D Design teacher, I was expected to just shit out more hours in a week or something, because clearly I was just not using my time responsibly.
Just to conclude, I'd like to point out something to anyone still considering attending this pathetic college (at least, pathetic for art majors) and who will have to commute. There are three required classes that I have to take every semester, and two of them had to be on the same day and COULD NOT BE BROKEN UP. The only option I was given to schedule it was 8AM to (around, I cannot remember exact time) 2PM and the second one started at 3:30PM to 9:20PM. This was absolute hell to put up with every week, and of course there was the nice long ride home.I'll just conclude with this: If you're going to be an art major DON'T GO HERE THERE ARE SO MANY BETTER PLACES TO GO JUST NEVER EVER EVER GO HERE.