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The Columbus College of Art and Design

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I am a third-year Illustration major.Quite BrightOther
I am a third-year Illustration major. I came here as a non-traditionally-aged student who has been in the job market for years, and I was assured by Admissions that CCAD is equipped and receptive to older students... the old "it's never too late!" spiel. However, there is absolutely NO program or even an idea for a program for people who are ADULT and come here to formalize their credentials and improve their careers. As a matter of fact, it has been like pulling teeth to get anyone to even acknowledge my years of experience as a professional and as a published illustrator (prior to enrolling in this school). Most instructors in the Illustration department treat the students as competition, because most of them are working illustrators as well. When I have approached and met to discuss my concerns given my very expensive and daunting situation, the consensus from most faculty and administration has been "most of our non-traditional students tend to drop out without telling us why," and even worse (from multiple professors) "I don't know how you've done it this long." This does not instill any confidence in me that they have any interest whatsoever in my success, but rather are concerned with enrollment numbers and keeping warm bodies in classrooms.

I feel that I was open and communicative about my goals in coming here, and for three years I have had to prove I could crawl through fundamental drawing courses and basic art classes at a very high cost. The entire first two years were devoted to 'CORE' studies.

One of the selling points of this college for me was the 'MindMarket,' which was a program to pair students with national businesses like L Brands, Harley Davidson, and Airstream. Between the time I was accepted and started, the MindMarket had been scrapped completely, and the space is now used for business courses. Career Services offers plenty of options for low-paying work or work for 'exposure,' which most Illustration professors here admonish against EVER taking. They do seem to connect students with businesses for unpaid internships, however.

There is a general sense here of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing as far as planning, administration, and execution. The school has had 3 different presidents since I enrolled. This year, the marketing department created a PR nightmare by releasing an unrefined, unfinished student-designed 'mascot' (this school has no varsity sports at all) to the mainstream media extremely prematurely, resulting in public ridicule and backlash, both from the Columbus community and alumni.

I have also had 3 different academic advisers in 3 years. Standards for admission have been consistently lowered, including the removal of any portfolio review process. This did not seem to improve enrollment numbers much, and actually lowered the baseline quality of student work.

CCAD touts itself as a 4-year college, but in actuality the only way to graduate in 4 years is to take 15 credit hours every semester, never drop a class, and never fail a class, unless you want to pay for summer class out of pocket. I might add that the sheer amount of homework is equivalent to Yale and Harvard, and CCAD loves to brag about this as a point of pride for students. It should be noted that the Counseling and Wellness Center is so overrun with students suffering from anxiety and depression that they can literally not take any more students in for free counseling.

One of the greatest things about CCAD is its commitment to diversity in gender, sexuality, race, etc. However, this is such a point of focus that classroom time is largely spent on allowing students to endlessly express their opinions. Project critiques have a lot more to do with discussing feelings than the art itself, and all too often, the whole class is prompted to clap for every project done by every student, regardless of whether it is finished, on time, or of any artistic merit.

I am going deep in debt for the first time in my life to start my professional art career in earnest, and I honestly think that I could've saved tens of thousands of dollars and mountains of stress by just devoting this time to learning on my own.

I have definitely learned things here that will help me in my career, but overall, I believe this school is much more concerned with finances and socio-political issues than the success of its students.Shop for an art college very carefully. Visit the school often if you are interested. Ask them hard questions. I don't want to see anyone else in my position.

3rd Year Male -- Class 2019
Surrounding City: A, Education Quality: F
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I attended CCAD for two years.BrightArt & Design Department
I attended CCAD for two years. It was the best school for what I wanted to do in Ohio. They gave me really great scholarships, I practically went for free. I was super excited at first. The first year was great. It was only when I really got into the Advertising and Graphic Design program that I was really let down. In hindsight, the issues I came across weren't terrible and I should have stuck it out if just to complete a degree, but at the time, here is why I left: The design program is very uncreative and competitive. In all my classes, my professors encouraged me to look at other people's work and the internet to be "good." In order to eliminate this idea of a starving artist, they taught you to do trendy design work and advertise, and sell sell sell. I thought it was odd, being an art college... you would think the design program would be more fine art based. The students are super competitive and pump out trendy projects, then brag about all the internships they are getting. With huge projects due in every class all at once, the competitiveness, and the lack of time to really develop your artistic style, I ended up becoming a very stressed out, depressed and anxious person. Everyone else around was suffocating and stressed out as well. It's definitely not a positive or healthy atmosphere, especially combined with Ohio's terrible winters, no matter how many petting zoos they try and bring to campus. It just wasn't worth it to me. The icing on the cake was the chair of the design department was one of my professors, and he was a complete joke. He never gave a lecture- only assignments to do during the three hour lab class while he did his real job stuff, made fun of students work in front of the rest of the students, and made students who wanted to suck up to him run his errands and do all the things he simply did not have time for. I don't understand why you would make the chair of the department teach if he doesn't have time to. Not only that, but how does it reflect on the rest of the department look if the chair of the department's class sucks? I wrote all this of to the dean of the program, who only said in response that this guy was an exceptional teacher and friend and he was sorry I was having issues. Like... it's a small enough school to where if I'm a disgruntled student, I should get more than a brushoff email, and apparently where all the faculty is so close & buddies that a complaint from a student doesn't bother them... Anyway, that was my experience. I moved out west. It wasn't a terrible school. If you want to be in advertising and marketing, then it's a great design program.
2nd Year Female -- Class 2017
Collaboration/Competitive: A+, Useful Schoolwork: F
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Do not go to this school for Design.Quite BrightIndustrial Design
Do not go to this school for Design. It is an art school and the design department is a complete mess. It's sad because I really want to like CCAD but I am incredibly unhappy with the quality of education they provide. The classes are not challenging, not relevant, and half of the ID teachers contradict the other half.
3rd Year Female -- Class 2016
Surrounding City: A-, Innovation: F
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