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The School of Visual Arts

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If you know EXACTLY what you want andInterior Design
If you know EXACTLY what you want and are willing to do what it takes to get it, then maybe SVA is a good place for you. If not, then choose another school. For a school that boasts of teaching students the most cutting edge in computer technology for design, the school is in the stone ages as far as technological know-how. Almost everything, even things as class/schedule changes, address changes, etc still cannot be accessed and done online and the sad excuse for it isn't even really connected with the mainframe of the school. Because they are so behind on their technology, they make tons of mistakes in terms of registration, financial aid and other important things. The worst part is, when they make a mistake, they don't own up to it and they make you deal with the consequences even insofar as to accuse the student of being a bratty, self-entitled person.
Alumnus Male -- Class 2000
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Do not attend SVA, it's not worth it.Art & Design Department
Do not attend SVA, it's not worth it. 90% of the arts professors have no experience teaching and many are only there for the benefits (several of them openly admit this). The price of tuition is astronomical, and there is little transparency about where the money goes. All but the computer facilities are very shabby. Resources available to the students are very limited, costly, or just plain unavailable when most needed. Communication between administration (including your own advisor) is extremely poor, and in my case resulted in a "forfeited" $2,000 that I didn't know I had to pay AGAIN until the morning of my graduation. If you are looking to major in illustration, know that Thomas Woodruff is an egomaniac that pushes a house style on all of his students, doesn't honor promises made to students grade and curricular-wise, and gives useless critiques on thesis projects (all of which go through him). As the cartooning chair (he was chair for both departments during my time at SVA), expect even less. He doesn't even bother to hide his disdain for the comics medium, he has no knowledge of it or its history, and his critiques of cartooning thesis projects are vapid at best. It is obvious to him that he considers the entire thing to be a waste of his time. In conclusion: do not attend this school. It is not worth your money, the school's career and student services are practically non-existent, and SVA's reputation as an institution has been long overhyped. If you want as good of an arts education as I received here, take some arts classes at your local community college, attend life drawing sessions, go to museums, buy no more than one book on art history (covering more than the Renaissance), and network with other artists. For aspiring cartoonists, read Scott McCloud and do the exercises in "Drawing Words & Writing Pictures". For illustrators, study "Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting" and other texts relevant to your chosen medium. Most importantly, though, MAKE art, and do it every day, even if it's terrible. However, I should note that the job market for artists of ALL sorts is extremely competitive, and most of the people I know who consider themselves "successful" still live paycheck to paycheck. If there is something else you can do job-wise, do that instead and make art on the side. There's no money to be made here.
Alumnus Male -- Class 2000
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I am a Computer Art major.Quite BrightArt & Design Department
I am a Computer Art major. My review is based around these SVA and computer art. I do not know as much about the quality of the Fine Art major, in other words.

THE GOOD:
Great connections/internship opportunities (especially computer art).
High success rate in the industry among the students who do make it to graduation.
Great city - NYC has everything. No downsides provided you are happy living in a big and loud city (give that some serious thought before you apply, lots of people seem to have overlooked this and end up complaining about it during their time here!)

Great facilities - up to date, very nice computer labs (maybe a little small and lacking in personality, but definitely has all the best software and hardware to get anything computer art-y done well).

All faculty are Industry professionals - that is a real plus because there is no BS and everything is focussed on translating you into an industry-ready professional.

THE BAD:
Not great socially (1) - Very difficult to make a lot of friends since freshmen year takes place entirely in a single class 'block', so if you don't like your classmates, you are forced to find friends elsewhere.

Not great socially (2) - SVA does not do much to help you make friends. The best students are the one who are not dependent on a social life and are happy to have a couple close friends and spend all their time working (which is a good position to be in when doing something like computer art, but just isn't everyone's cup of tea.)

Not great socially (3) - No parties. If you're coming to SVA, don't expect parties. There are none. SVA is not a party school. SVA is not for party people. PLEASE DON"T COME HERE AND EXPECT PARTIES. There is drugs and alcohol if you look for it, but not classic dorm parties etc.

Not great socially (4) - No real extracurricular stuff. There are no sports teams, no school colors, no gym or after school clubs (besides a couple student-run things like Queer SVA and the extra animation club).

HUGELY EXPENSIVE - Not a problem if you have a lot of money, but since most people don't - this can be a huge problem. Only com to SVA if you can afford it without going to total student-loan hell.

A lot of attention is given to the hard working, excelling students and the one's floundering at the bottom of the class - I've spoken to students who say if you are coasting or working hard to barely stay afloat, you can easily be forgotten or overlooked in class as someone who just simply doesn't care.

Curious grading schemes - A lot of grading (especially in the humanities) is given on a basis of how much the teacher likes you. This can be a blessing and a curse depending on how well you get on with your teacher. There are no teachers that I've found are predisposed to disliking anyone though.

MY ADVICE:
Go here is you are prepared to work hard (many all-nighters) and somewhat reject a social life in order to come out with really amazing job prospects heading into the future.

You will spend lots and lots of money, but the 'investment' is that the best students here do genuinely go on to Pixar, Disney, ILM etc. However, don't overlook the importance of that money thing. spending big money brings pressure and a feeling that you need to succeed to make SVA 'worth it'. (which can either motivate you or depress you). Student loans can also cripple people hugely, make sure you understand that before flying into a pricey college.

In closing, you have to throw everything you have to making SVA work for you. It will not carry you or nurture any except for the best. Some students will come out with amazing jobs because they rejected the negatives of SVA and forced their way to the top, but not everyone can do that. SVA is an investment school, you invest your money, time, effort and your emotions to hopefully come out on the way to your dream job. Be prepared to not have a good college experience, but a great chance at a attaining a great job.

1st Year Male -- Class 2018
Useful Schoolwork: A+, Extracurricular Activities: D-
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