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The Academy of Art University

How this student rated the school
Educational QualityB- Faculty AccessibilityB
Useful SchoolworkB Excess CompetitionB-
Academic SuccessC Creativity/ InnovationB
Individual ValueC University Resource UseB-
Campus Aesthetics/ BeautyC FriendlinessC
Campus MaintenanceB Social LifeB
Surrounding CityA+ Extra CurricularsC-
Describes the student body as:

Describes the faculty as:

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Quite Bright
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Surrounding City
She cares more about Safety than the average student.
Date: Jan 02 2005
Major: Art & Design Department (This Major's Salary over time)
Major: New Media, then 3D Animation.

Years attended: 1998-2005.

I've been an on/off student with the AAU since 98. I marked that I would attend a different university given the chance not because of the school, but because I've decided to change my career path to performing arts, which the AAU doesn't offer (though I think they are starting to, with some acting classes).

When I began in 98 as a New Media major (graphic design), there did seem to be a lot of fluff classes that I didn't think were really important. I did enjoy them though. Also, I was miscatagorized in the New Media major. I had always intended to be a 3D animation major. I do think the advisors and other staff at the AAU are a bit hard to deal with. You need to be firm with them. My interactions improved after I began going to them with my preferred classes already marked in a list. I thought more about the direction I wanted to take and asked a lot more questions about the courses themselves. The advisor I have does know what a lot of classes are like and usually directs me to the teacher that will be teaching for the semester I signed up for so that I can question them myself before the class starts. I learned to take charge of my schooling and my advisor and classes improved a lot after that.

I think the AAU cut out some of the fluff classes of late. I do hear a lot of students complaining about having to take some basic art classes. All I can really say to this is that I've noticed maybe 2 or 3 students who were actually beyond needing to take those classes in my entire time at the AAU. I'm a fairly talented artist, but basic art courses at the AAU did help to refine my skills. Even the students that I don't think needed to take the basic courses could have still refined their skills with these courses. The teachers were also generally nice and very willing to help all students improve. You have to want to improve though. Most students that just "coast" their way with minimal passing grades are only hurting themselves. Almost all of my teachers also had art degrees from respected colleges, as well as their art in galleries, impressive portfolios, and were readily able to demonstrate their skills and were active and successful in their respective industry. I've had less than 5 teachers who weren't able to demonstrate skill and weren't active in their respective industries.

On the other hand, I did have some shockingly horrible teachers. Les than 5 total. I would transfer out of those classes or drop them, if I felt that a.) the teacher was subpar, b.) that I couldn't pass with a high grade. I don't understand why some students would continue to take classes with a subpar teacher. You get subpar teachers (yes, even ones with teaching creds) at any school. I do think that the New Media major has a lot more subpar education than the 3D animation/modeling/FX/Games majors. I didn't really enjoy my brief time as a New Media major. That could as much from being in the wrong major as the learning experience. At any rate, I've generally gotten a lot of good information and skills from all my classes. You can only learn as much as you want, and if you do find a class that is lacking, drop it or switch to one with a different teacher. Do it within the first week if possible, but definately by the 3rd week.

One thing: the school isn't the best to go to for some majors. I wouldn't go to the AAU for film, fashion, or traditional arts (painting, sculpture, illustratio, etc.). I don't know about New Media, Advertising, Interior/Industrial Design. Those disiplines aren't something I'm knowledgable about. I do like the school for the other 3D arts majors though. Perhaps there are better schools for 3D arts, but I think all are rather the same at this point. I've worked in the games industry with a major publisher for over 4 years now while in school (personally, I just want the piece of paper because I like to finish what I start). They hire heavily from the AAU. In the 3D industry, a degree doesn't mean much and where it's from means less. I'm sure some HR person might be impressed, but it's your talent, skills, and work ethic that will really get you in and keep you in. The portfolio is important. I don't think the school pieces we do in class are good portfolio pieces. Students should be making creative stuff on their own time for that. School assignments are usually to build skill, not creativity. Networking is also important.

Things to know before attending the AAU:

Research and be knowledgable about where you want to take your career. If in doubt, ask questions and get your answers. Be bold.

The AAU teachers can change the course material at any time. It can differ from what the catalogue says. Read the fine print and don't be afraid to drop a class before it's too late.

Don't snub the basic drawing classes. 98% of the students attending the AAU honestly don't have the artistic skill they need to get a job. Or the talent. You can learn skill and nurture talent, but if you have both already in full force, skip the whole diploma thing and get right into being a professional artist.

The AAU isn't cheap. Calculate the costs and really think over if this is worth it to you. If you found out later that you think the school is a mistake, then you'll soon learn it's a very costly mistake.

Really research the industry you will be getting into and where it's going. My career path change is motivated by my distaste for the industry. I've already got a job in that industry and don't like it. It's not creative at all. Just like school. You get assignments and you do them to the best of your talent and skill. Work doesn't really care if you are feeling creative or fulfilled. That is the reality of working for other people in any industry. Research what it's like being a freelance artist too.

questionWhat do u mean mean by they hire heavily from aau thanks
questionHi im really gratefull for you taking the time to write this review. What was your last Major. Animation & Visual Effcts? In what industry was the distaste that you changed???
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