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The Academy of Art University

How this student rated the school
Educational QualityC Faculty AccessibilityD+
Useful SchoolworkD+ Excess CompetitionD-
Academic SuccessB Creativity/ InnovationD-
Individual ValueB University Resource UseA-
Campus Aesthetics/ BeautyC- FriendlinessB
Campus MaintenanceC Social LifeB
Surrounding CityA+ Extra CurricularsC
Describes the student body as:
Afraid, Arrogant, Approachable, Broken Spirit, Snooty

Describes the faculty as:
Helpful, Arrogant, Condescending

Quite Bright
Lowest Rating
Excess Competition
Highest Rating
Surrounding City
He cares more about Creativity/ Innovation than the average student.
Date: Aug 19 2007
Major: Design Arts - Industrial Design/Graphic Design/etc (This Major's Salary over time)
Computer Arts New Media, Junior now. This is mostly a critique of classes in my major and not the liberal arts or art elective classes at AAU.

After 2 years all the people with no talent, no dedication and no money have dropped out, transfered or changed majors. I think maybe half of them remain. I have only financial aid money(F), Strong talent in some areas but definite stylistic and flexibility weekness (C) and I generally seem to work a little harder than the average student still left (B). The grading curve has therefore become much harder. I started out with a 3.5 and last semester got a 2.7 so when I graduate a year from now it will be???? The AAU unofficial motto,

easy to get in, hard to stay in.

The class time in CANM is usually divided evenly between critiques/discussion of assignments by students and professor and the other half is spent on teaching new material. Homework for CANM classes is 4-13 hours per class. luckily you might be taking a Liberal Arts elective like art history which only takes 0-3 hours homework a class. (note to those saving money by taking English and other classes before transferring to AAU as a way to save money. The easily transfereable classes are the easy ones I take so I have time left for the hard classes in my major).

WHO IT'S FOR: The official AAU motto is

By artist, for artist.
When your not doing homework in class you should be reading design magazines or have some other personal skill building hobby or interest that develops your long term skill as a artist and designer. This is not a good school for people who want to be designers professionally but have hobbies not related to design such as football/cooking/travel etc. This school wants fanatically dedicated students and if you can't find it in yourself to read about your favorite role model designer in your profession or cultivate friends in your industry you will slowly fall behind. I think this is happening to me, but I see others who do have that passion succeeding in the specific areas I'm week at. Also the teacher see that dedicated fanaticism and reward it with increased attention and consideration during critiques as well as better grades for effort.

EMPLOYABILITY: Faculty seems very concerned about employability as well as the reputation of their department with employers and will say things like "it doesn't sell" during critique. they do not want to graduate someone who will hurt their standing in the opinion of employers or damage their connections in the industry. Their worst nightmare is recommending someone and having an employer say "that student from AAU was a dud." I get the feeling they care more about what employers say about their students than what students say about them. As a junior I've noticed particularly talented students (top 10%?) have received offers for freelance, intern or other opportunities usually passed to them confidentially by teachers who like their work. Almost all of the remaining students have freelance or part time work in new media related areas if they want it. Some don't have time to do it or the work they can get is not as prestigious or doesn't pay as much or have as much potential. I'm doing a mix of pro bono work and small time work for unknown clients with a small audience who might not be around 10 years from now.

Is the Faculty talented? It's hard to say since I haven't taken the same classes at other schools to compare with. I have learned things that I think make my designs more effective and sell more. I've learned things I never would have taken the time to learn that will help me in the long run such as art history. On the other hand I was looking over my portfolio and I still put in some things that I made before coming to AAU because they are better than most of the work I've done as a student. A friend of mine from a year ago with a design degree from another school showed more improvement in her portfolio over the last year without going back to school just learning on her own. Maybe if I spent the $32,000 a year tuition and housing bare necessity budget on independent learning I would have done better, but then I wouldn't have been able to get a loan for an independent learning plan like I can for attending AAU. The pace at AAU is so fast that to make a really good piece of work you will have to finish it after the semester is over or seriously neglect your other classes. The instructors recommend reworking your projects after each semester to prepare for the graduation portfolio review.

All the teachers have their own stylistic preferences such as texture rich organic or photographic surrealism, or ultra clean and minimal texture, color harmony and progression first. The teachers pretty much give instruction and guidance to guide students towards achieving their stylistic cannon of excellence. I guess it makes sense they don't teach what they don't like. They are sincerely interested in making better students but some are arrogant and condescending, while others are overly positive and unwilling to be specific about flaws and areas for improvement. Usually their critiques are insightful with about 50% being mistakes made in areas the student should know from lecture, assigned reading, or unassigned self study as an artist. Any professional could agree with that 50%. 25% of critiques are possibly useful, but maybe mistaken suggestions or guidance towards a very subjective stylistic vision the teacher has for your design. Sometimes the teacher will recommend adding texture to a design, or say it can't be salvaged and to start over. Later the advice seems to be wrong. For instance a design that was recently thrown out as not salvageable in one class I later saw a very strong (as in rip off) similarity to on the adobe website as an example of excellence that could be achieved with their products. I guess I give them credit for at least taking a chance and having an opinion and offering direction. no body is correct all the time when they are dealing with subjective analysis. Finally, 25% of their critiques are positive praise for following directions or applying fundamental principles or achieving spectacular results.

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