Oh where to begin.
I chose to attend the Art Institute of York for Graphic Design for various reasons. The major one being location. I lived 30-40minutes away from the school. My best friend was attending the school and we could commute together. Saved both time and money considerably.
Another reason was that I have decent to above average art skills. I had been drawing all my life and thought that pursuing a career in art would be simple, perfect for me, and with my basic knowledge of the art world I wouldn't need certain classes, having already excelled in that field.
The last reason being that it was one of the most highly recommended and talked about schools in the area. If you had anything to do with art...you went there.
We applied, got a guided tour, and were greatly impressed with what was offered to me as a valuable student. The deal was made and I became an AI of York student.
That's where things went downhill pretty fast. First off, the classes I was forced to take were well beyond what was expected. I had to take a freshman course...incredibly costly for a class in which I pretty much sat with 30 other students and discussed my "feelings". I wasted another 100$ on the book for the class and we never used it.
First lesson learned. Never buy any book for your class until you are at least two weeks into the course. You will only be able to tell if your teacher will ever pick it up and use it at this point.
My other beginner courses consisted of algebra (expected), English (expected), color theory, and the basic understanding of design class. Not only did I end up purchasing all the books for these classes as well and in the end only using one of them (the english one)...the majority of the classes were spent without any teaching going on whatsoever. My english professor was a genius and was all invested in her work and how it affected us. She did one on one time with each other given the chance. She made us think outside the box. (sadly this woman retired after I left the school) The algebra class would start with my teaching writing two problems on the board, asking us if we understood and passed out worksheets for us to do. If we had questions for her, the majority of the time she was not actually in the classroom to answer them and when she was she talked to each student in a condescending way.
Color theory was a disaster in more ways than one. I am 100% colorblind and my teacher was kind enough to ask on the first day if anyone was indeed colorblind. When I answered that I was, not only did the teacher proceed to mock me in front of the entire class and say to everyone how I was probably going to fail the course...he asked for the reason why I was. I found this rude and inappropriate. He said he would work with me to pass the class...but he never once acknowledged me when I asked for his assistance. He spent most of the class period talking about the interior design students in his other class and how he hated animation and graphic design. He would blatantly discuss how they were failures of careers. When I went to his office during his hours he stated on his contact handout, he would tell me to ask someone else. I was not the only one experiencing this as three other students in the class quit two weeks in and the others commented on how discouraged they felt by him. I failed the course without much control on the result.
Basics of design was not the basics at all. I was expected to know how to paint, papercraft, work with various art products I had never even heard of, know the difference between these art products and their affects on different materials, know several art terms, have an understanding of art history, and know how to work a MAC computer. I use windows. None of these things were explained in the class.
When moving onto the next semester, my recommended courses would steer me in a direction I did not wish to go. My goal was to achieve my associates degree and after a year hiatus go into the work field. The major problem with this school is that if you don't have your entire future planned out you are doomed in every teacher/staff's eyes. There are no if, ands, or buts in this school.
Most classes were a repeat of my first semester. The teachers acted as though we had all come from art schools to begin with and disregarded teaching us the basics. Often they would verbally mock us. Most of the homework and classwork was indeed busywork and did not challenge us in any way shape or form. Filler. It was to pass the time until the teacher decided to teach again. Creativity was not encouraged in most classes. If you thought outside the box you were often ridiculed or told to have done it like a previous student or famous artist, even if the mimicry was not required in the explained assignment.
Class breaks were too short and often cut off by the teachers impatience even if the teacher would not begin teaching again. Many students would simply walk out of class to get fresh air or a drink due to a teacher not allowing a break. Classes are four hours long and often teachers would not give breaks till the last thirty minutes.
Classmates were verbally negative. Some would bring in weapons such as knives or small pistols to defend themselves with in case of a fight breaking out. Security in the school is very weak. One guard and they were often MIA from their desk. Anyone can walk into the school and wander about without suspicion. Students who drop out or graduate are given a one year grievance to use the facilities.
Teachers would complain often about students from their other classes or admit to having no knowledge of the field they are teaching. I had a professor who had a degree in astrophysics teaching traditional art. Not worth the money put in.
The condos are terrible. Four person housing often with 2 people sharing one large room and it would appear that students are not given any sort of background check before being allowed housing. Druggies, alcoholics, fights breaking out...I had a classmate who decided to commute three hours back and forth then spend another day in housing.Anyone is allowed to traverse through the area.
I realized quickly how much money I was wasting on this school when smaller, cheaper, safer schools were offering the same course and benefits...so I decided to transfer. Credits cannot be transferred unless to another art institute. Not my basic gen eds, not my art credits. Nothing.
The only good thing I can vouch for in this school was the amazing english teacher who retired...and the hands-on fashion degree. I sat in a few classes for the fashion course. Not once did I see anyone staring at pictures or reading out of a book. It was completely hands on, in depth work.Money wasted. I would never recommend this school to anyone. I will never go back or choose another art institute school.