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The School of Visual Arts

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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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I keep seeing everyone complain about SVA butQuite BrightFine Arts - Painting/Sculpture/Photography/etc
I keep seeing everyone complain about SVA but more than likely they are a bunch of unmotivated little brats. SVA costs a lot of money, and sure they let some people in who have no business here except for the fact that they can cover SVA's CODB (cost of doing business) HOWEVER If you have true talent and you're passionate SVA will back you 150%. I'm not a trust fund baby and didn't know if I would be able to afford this school or living in Manhattan but I've received 2 scholarships, one for housing and one for tuition that amount to just over $140k for the next four years. If you have something they want, they will pay for it.

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.

1st Year Female -- Class 2016
Individual Value: A+, Campus Aesthetics: B
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If you want to work in the 3d/vfxQuite BrightDesign Arts - Industrial Design/Graphic Design/etc
If you want to work in the 3d/vfx industry save yourself a couple of thousand dollars (over 100,000 dollars to be exact) and go to a public university to learn computer science or something computer related and on the side supplement yourselves with Gnomon or digital tutors. SVA is a joke. I talked with alumni from 2012 and 2006 and they both agreed that you can teach yourself everything but that at sva you learn aesthetics and you get pushed by others. Lets be honest you can learn aesthetics from a county college art class or by sharing online. And if you aren't self motivated and need others to push you then dont bother trying to be an artist. Compare your work with others online at CG society or AREA. And if you want to last in the industry just knowing how to use software, which is what the sva curriculum is based on you wont survive when the industry suddenly changes direction software wise. example Photoshop has been the go to tool for texturing, lets say someone went to SVA and took Photoshop classes for four years they graduate and then Mari comes out... Why did i say learn computer science? well 1. check the job postings at dreamworks, pixar, imageworks, see any animator, modeling, texturing, etc positions open? No the jobs that they are hiring for are TDs and software engineers. I guess ads from art institutes and similar quick career schools gave the regular Joe hopes of being in the industry. now the industry is flooded with people from art schools. also the programs are heavy on coding and if you know how to code and you keep being artistic on the side you'll def stand out. Im transferring out of SVA this spring. I mean if you have the money go to sva but get ready to compete with hundreds of working artist. I'll be learning computer science and I'll be learning 3d/vfx online. and if it doesn't work out in the 3d/vfx industry I'll have a degree that's worth something. Be smart read up on the industry you want to work in and dont let the flashy senior demo reels fool you, because the Alumni themselves have told that they've had to learn a lot on their own. and SVA IS FOR PROFIT, they are stingy with financial aid. I think they let in some bad artist this year so they can meet their debts. Cant emphasize enough, there are some bad artist here wasting their money.
1st Year Male -- Class 2014
Collaboration/Competitive: B, Individual Value: F
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