The School of Visual Arts
The School of Visual Arts - Comments and Student Experiences|
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.
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.
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.
In regards to what happens academically at SVA, Your education is YOUR education. No one is going to hold your hand and tell you everything you have to do, you have to take the initiative to teach yourself new things and if you have questions along the way the faculty is more than willing to assist you with as much as they can. For the ones who complain about their professors, obviously they are not researching who they are going to have a class with when they register. THIS IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. Every professor is different, its important to look at the work they are creating to see if they have anything to offer you.
The Chair of my department is AMAZING. He will do anything for his students (that actually do work). SVA is one of the biggest resources you could ever have, of course, you have to pay your dues in life just like everything else. The facilities in my department are great, they definitely put a great deal of the money they charge into equipment and supplies. Theres always different lectures and events happening at SVA or in partnership, which you're informed about thru SVA's email. A lot of the students here can be lazy and snobs who just mess around but thats because of how they were raised. You have to realize that you are here for YOU and you can't get distracted by what they are doing. Not all of the students are like that though, they are certainly other down to earth students who are very talented and can actually offer you something (I came from a place where I was constantly having to teach my peers things). Your professors should be the reason why you come to this school. No one at SVA gets caught up in aesthetic beauty, this is an extremely conceptual school, technicality comes secondary. Most the dialogues in your class will be to further concept and narrative. None of my professors have really been heavy with teaching technique, I think its assumed that you already have that prior to entering classes.
In short, if you're looking to come to SVA, realize why you're doing it. Do you work hard without having your hand held? Are you looking to be challenged with your work? Are you passionate? Are you looking to network and establish valuable connections in one of the top professional communities (NYC) ? Do you want the respect of attending an internationally acclaimed school? Are you serious about what you're doing? Only come here if you've said yes to all of those questions.
Just remember, No one can teach you how to be an artist. Either you are, or you aren't and the college you choose should be viewed as a resource to benefit your artwork and your success/career. Everything in life is what YOU make of it.