Private Art Schools vs Public Universities Part 1

June 07, 2011  •  Leave a Comment

(Art Center College Picture Courtesy of StateUniversity.com)

Drawing cars as a casual hobby is one thing.  Pursuing the art of designing cars is a completely different animal all together.  Embarking in the journey and quest for your future is scary. The question asked “What do I want to study in college?” creeps up around your junior or senior year of high school. Often times we get inspired by our heroes in design, illustration, fine arts, photography, graphic design, and wonder how to get there. Today’s world is even more complex. So many choices in colleges to choose from. Which is the best?  Which will give me a job when I graduate?

Let’s face it. College is getting ridiculously expensive and students often try to outweigh and balance cost for value. They question whether it is worth going to a private institution to acquire their skills or a larger University that gives you a well rounded education. What’s the real difference anyway?

Before we dive in, let’s look at some factual criteria that will never change:

1. Competition is fierce and unrelenting - The world is more complex now. Not only are you competing within your country but you are competing on a global scale. That is the reality. Designers are being hired even from China at pennies for the dollar. They may not be leading the design but they are anxious to learn and hungry for information.  Why is this happening? Well, mostly due in part of the advancement of computers, high speed internet, and corporations forcing themselves to cut costs by locating in different regions of the world.   If you locate a tech center in China or India, you’ll need the same expertise to execute product for that region.

2. Your input is directly proportional to your output – Aaahhh….THIS is the magic recipe. Your attitude, drive, determination, and discipline are going to be a main contributor to your success. These components used in the right “environment” will help you to shine and discover talents about yourself you never knew existed!  So how important is the “environment?”
Another question you may ask of yourself  is this.

“I want to be a top notch designer (or painter, artist, graphic designer, etc). It is my dream, my ambition,….but how do I get there?” That is what some of you are thinking. Right? Well …the only way to get there at least by the norm is to go to college and get a degree specializing in that area of your interest.  So what type of college should you choose?  Let’s look at the differences between Private Art Schools and Public Universities.

Private Art Schools:
So what is so special about private art schools anyway? Private art schools, especially well known ones carry a name, a reputation, an image. When you think of Art Center College of Design, CCS (College for Creative Studies), or Royal College of Art, what comes to mind? You think the best of the best, the cream of the crop, or maybe you don’t think anything at all because you don’t know those schools.  That is because these schools have a long standing history of creating some of the most influential designers in the world from product to transportation design.

However, without the ambition and drive, you can still graduate from the school and be a dud.  It is important to understand that schools like Art Center create the environment for you to flourish and bring out the best in you.  So in essence, you will become the product of your self driven attitude and your environment.

Now tuition is also increasing at an alarming rate!  In my opinion, no art school is worth a $150K from a student. I argue that any college with exception to the medical field where you have a reasonable chance of paying off the loan is worth that amount of money. Schools that do not offer considerable scholarships to reduce their burden of costs but feel comfortable asking for donations post graduation, seems a little on the strange side to me. That does not mean you should not attend, it just means that any good school is going to rape you in tuition fees.

That being said, top Engineering Universities are also around 100K. So costs overall are going up for the average student.

What schools like Art Center and College for Creative Studies (CCS) do for the money is this; it drastically improves your chances for getting into the field you love! The majority of auto companies have graduates and alumni from these schools. So there is a definite intrinsic partnership and relationship built up with these private schools.

At the end of the day, companies are trying to create a compelling product that grabs your attention….so OEMS will not settle for anything less than the best schools that offer transportation design. Even that is not enough as they constantly seek out the “best” from the class. For the U.S., the majority of these designers hale from Art Center, CCS, Cleveland Institute of Art, and University of Cincinnati (in the US).

So what about Public Universities and what exactly do they offer?  Find out next week at www.drivenmavens.com!  In the meantime…in the next couple days, I will publish an article from some private design school alumni’s that share their experiences about their schools!  Don’t miss it!

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