I went to a Academy of Art University of San Francisco and got a BFA (Bachelor's Fine Art). I went to this private art school because my major, 2D animation was very specific, and the University had excellent instructor reviews. AAU is also a very rare breed of art school: It offers open enrollment which was necessary for me, as I had not performed well at my previous State University. For a specific trade, it is important to research the instructors before you go to college. Get an understanding of who is going to be teaching you, and what their industry skills are. If you don't do this, you may end up in a situation as I did. For an open enrollment school, the curriculum was unfortunately, hit or miss. Some instructors were incredible mentors, while others made you wonder why you were paying 3K per class when you could find better information on YouTube for free. Some instructors graded fairly, which means, those who performed the best got the highest grades, and those students who didn't, failed. Common sense, usually, but there were many cases where grading was very lax, and some students who should NOT be allowed to move forward, got passing grades. It harms the students who are working hard and performing well, and creates less motivation to advance. It ultimately harms the school, as they will approve students to graduate (meet industry standards) and churn out talent that is not acceptable in that particular industry. There was much operational miscommunication within the Administrative Staff. Ideally, a student should be assigned to one student adviser. Their turnover was high, and throughout my career there, I went through six total student advisers, and they harmed me more than helped me. Because of miscommunication when a student enrolls, I was one of MANY who advanced through core art classes, without ever knowing that Liberal Art classes were also required. No adviser ever caught this harmful trajectory, and it was my department head who notified me that my curriculum was in trouble. The story ends with a huge failure at the hands of the administration: A student in their final year at the university is trapped taking 10+ LA classes when they should focus their final year into demo reels and work the hardest on their core major. Any student should be made aware of this possible outcome, and that should be drilled into their head upfront. The biggest thing that I can say about my school is this: I was taught the necessary skills required to draw. What my school failed to teach was how to apply these skills into the real world. We were not taught soft skills, we were not taught business, we were not taught how to market ourselves properly, and we were not prepared for what lies after graduation. The information was all there, if the student was willing to seek consul from faculty. However, not every student knows this; especially students in the ESL (English Second Language) Program. It took me nearly two years after graduation to break into the Freelance Business (since there's barely any real employment for traditional animators). My experience breaking into the Industry has been shaky, and I've made many unnecessary mistakes along the way. I did not know how to negotiate for rates, or even know how to calculate rates for that matter. And lastly......Student Loans. I was aware when I enrolled at AAU of the impending cost that I would eventually have to pay back. I had a less than ideal upbringing, which is relevant: in my case, my single-mother makes more than substantial wages in comparison to where she lives. She never had savings, however, and there was no college fund ready for me when I left for school. When you're younger than 26, you are considered a DEPENDENT, and you don't qualify for many state grants. I grew to outsmart this issue eventually, and I legally changed my status to INDEPENDENT. The problem is, for my first three years of college, we took out MASSIVE Sallie Mae loans with my single-mother as a Cosigner, because it was our only option. My total debt for my initial 52K loan has climbed to 85K and sits at 11% interest. Since it is a private loan, it can not be consolidated, nor does it qualify for IBR (income base repayment). My monthly payment to SM (now Navient), is a whopping $980 payment each month. My balance for Navient has decreased by 3K, and I have been in repayment for three years now. My grand total debt for my education is around $140,000. I have not been able to increase my salary in the last three years, and I am forced to make minimal payments, which only extends the amount I will pay. From someone who will struggle in debt for the majority of my life, please consider my advice to you: *Do NOT take out student loans for college---ESPECIALLY private [art] schools. Find another way, even if it means postponing your education an extra five years or more. *Read about compounding interest. The school will not sit you down and make sure you truly understand the cost when you're 18 years old and impatient to get out on your own. *If you are dead set on a specific school, go to Community College first and take care of any electives you can. CC is affordable, and in my experience, my curriculum was better than that of my private school. Remember, the power is in you, the student, to say no. What is an educational institution with no student body? Do not be a slave to a broken system. Rather, do your research. Read. Do not settle. And make the system better.