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The Academy of Art University

How this student rated the school
Educational QualityF Faculty AccessibilityF
Useful SchoolworkC+ Excess CompetitionF
Academic SuccessF Creativity/ InnovationD+
Individual ValueF University Resource UseD
Campus Aesthetics/ BeautyF FriendlinessD-
Campus MaintenanceD- Social LifeD+
Surrounding CityB Extra CurricularsB-
Describes the student body as:
Arrogant, Snooty, Closeminded

Describes the faculty as:
Arrogant, Condescending, Unhelpful, Self Absorbed

Lowest Rating
Educational Quality
Highest Rating
Surrounding City
She cares more about Academic Success than the average student.
Date: Feb 24 2010
Major: Design Arts - Industrial Design/Graphic Design/etc (This Major's Salary over time)
After several years of attending community college on and off, I was determined to get serious about my education. When browsing around trying to figure out what school I wanted to go to and what I wanted to study, AAU just called out to me. It seemed so wonderful…it was spread out all through beautiful San Francisco, it was highly accredited, students came from all over the world to attend this school… it quickly became my dream school.

As much as my parents tried to talk me out of it, I fought with them for almost 2 years, trying desperately to convince them that this was it, this was the school for me, this was my dream and my passion and I just couldn't get the same education and experience anywhere else. Once my parents were on board (primarily for loan/financial purposes), I started the long and grueling process of getting all set up to start my first year at The Academy of Art as a graphic design major. I tried to be modest, but I couldn't help but feel pretty damn special that I wasn't just going to a state university or a trade school… I was going to be attending THE ACADEMY OF ART UNIVERSITY! I didn't even think about what I would do if things didn't work out, because AAU had convinced me that I was embarking on what would be the greatest experience of my life; despite any obstacles that may arise, I was brainwashed into believing that the Academy was far too incredible to let anything get in the way of me getting my degree.

Oh, how naive and foolish I was! I'm actually kind of embarrassed now at how hard I had tried to convince everyone of how great this place was, and that it was WELL worth the $30,000+ a year to attend. It only took one semester for me to realize what a scam it all was.
As many of the other reviews on this page state, AAU's biggest concern is definitely not YOU, it's your money. As if the cost of tuition, housing and fees was not enough, my family was forced to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket for things that the faculty insisted was necessary in order for me to succeed. I was told by several members of the faculty that as a graphic design major, it was IMPERATIVE that I invest in a Mac. They never really clarified why, other than that the graphics on a Mac were supposedly better than that on a PC. And so, a month after my mom and dad had spent $2800 on a brand new Dell laptop for me, I had to call them and tell them the news about the Mac. Personally, I was pretty much broke, and my parents were pretty horrifically in debt, so we ended up having to turn to my 85 year old grandfather to help pay for a $3500 computer AND a $300 printer that one of my instructors insisted that I invest in for her class. I did receive loan money to pay for my education, but for those who have dealt with school loans know that it can take a while for that loan money to go into effect and to receive a check in the mail to pay for all additional expenses, so that is why the Mac and the printer had to be paid for out of pocket initially. I will tell you that yes, a Mac is preferable in the graphic design field, but it certainly is not IMPERATIVE. And as for the fancy shmancy printer, I had so many problems with trying to get it to print cleanly and a correctly that I ended up using the school's printers (which they charge $3 for a color print-out) more often than my own.

Next on my list of complaints: housing. Yes, an apartment in SF is rather pricey, but you WILL spend more money on student housing at AAU than a decent studio apartment. I was charged $4500 (that's $1500 a month) to sleep on a BUNK BED in the middle of a TINY living room—yes, a LIVING ROOM, meaning no door, and no privacy from my other 3 roommates. The room was basically a very small 2-bedroom apartment with a teeeeny tiiiiiny kitchen, bathroom and living room. The two roommates who had their own rooms paid $6500 which, despite the fact that they had a little more space, a closet and a door, was still RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE for 3 MONTHS, even in San Francisco. Literally, a studio apartment in the building across the street was cheaper than what I had to pay for my bottom bunk. Oh, and there was always shit going wrong… a fridge that leaked and had a broken temperature knob that they never fixed or replaced, windows that leaked when it rained, bulbs burning out all over the place, loose bricks in the wall, etc, etc. If you do decide to go to this school, I highly suggest NOT living in AAU's housing.

The instructors at AAU DO NOT KNOW HOW TO F-ING TEACH! They may be experts in the field, but that says nothing about their teaching abilities. (Just a side note… most of the instructors are alums who obviously did not succeed in getting a super great job after they graduated because they ended up back at AAU teaching) All my instructors were very condescending and definitely had favorites in the class. And if you're going to go here, be prepared to teach yourself the majority of what you need to know. My instructors were very unhelpful and unavailable. I tried to ask one for help at the end of class one time, and she pretty much just blew me off. They always seemed to pawn all their students off to the workshops when we needed help or further instruction. "Um, I really don't understand how I'm supposed to do this assignment" "Well, you need to go to one of the workshops." That's basically how they roll. And by the way, you don't get much help from the workshops either, because there's usually only one, maybe two teachers there and a ton of students, so sometimes they don't even have time to get to you.

Overall, no one at the Academy gives a flying F*CK about the students. They just want money, money, money. I can't say I didn't learn anything that semester, but most of it I pretty much had to teach myself! I quickly learned that it was not worth it AT ALL, so I got out of there real quick before they could try and take any more of my or my family's money.
Even if money is not a problem for you, I still don't recommend wasting your time at this school. The faculty is worthless and you can't learn much there that you couldn't learn at a state school, or even a community college. JUST DON'T DO IT!!

commentI disagree. You need a mac to get a high paying job as a graphic designer at an agency. But the Academy should list it as a requirement for new students because I only know one person in my degree (web design and new media) who graduated without a mac. Not having one means you have to be about 40% better to get the same grade because all the labs and classwork, etc uses mac.
responseToo many disgruntled and unproductive arguments here. Sounds like one or two things irritated you and you just went off like a bomb. Not constructive at all. Did you bother to sit down and talk with your advisors or go higher to find out how to resolve some issues? I say you get out of school what you put into it. If all you do is blow up, you can't accomplish anything.

I definitely am not finding the same arguments that you are. I've had some issues, yes. But I chose to find out how to fix calmly and constructively

commentI like some of the art program offered in this place, especially music. During my formal education these types of programs were not important for my schools because in these place the basic education is the most important, and the art was ignored. However, the best art class that I have taken in my life was theater, but this was extra educative, I took this class with a private person. Finally, I achieved to express all my ideas y feelings through theater, this program helped me to release stress and also I felt free. In addition, I, as an expert with, agree that the general education should have these art programs for all the children and young people because it is a way to help them to develop their skills and also this can strengthen.
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