Academy of Art University Reviews
Student & Graduate Reviews (53)
Please, please, PLEASE don't waste your time and money on this "university." I must admit that my skills have improved but it's mainly due to help from my peers and practice on my own, I've actually been in classes where the instructor have told us to avoid emailing them and to rely on our peers; I've even had instructors change the lesson plan or refuse to go over something because we should already know how to do it or because they don't feel like going over it. Is that how college is supposed to work? The instructor is paid to just babysit us while we try to teach each other? The classes are a big joke, I've taken classes that were almost exactly the same just with different titles, and even ones where the instructor just throws on some youtube videos and calls it a day. Sounds fun? Sure, until you realize you spend close to $3,000 for this class. Please do your research first if you're considering going to this school (or any art school in general), if you're already super talented basically professional artist with all the time and money to spend on this school then it's the place for you. If not and you're actually looking to be taught, then it's best to look elsewhere.
AAU is a good school, but it is very corrupt from what I can tell. Most of the money goes to the president and not to things we really need in the school. Our computers keep crashing while rendering, HDD keep crashing. We need new equipment. The tuition keeps going up for no reason too. I feel like my extra tuition costs go right into the pocket of the president. Probably is, how else can she afford a lavish lifestyle.
Instructors are hit or miss but in general the curriculum and school are a joke, even within the faculty. Most offensive is the jet-setting owner with her luxury car collection, massive property holdings and enormous wealth earned on the debt of hopeful students who end up with laughable degrees in an over saturated art market.
Excellent professors in th graphic design program while I attended 2011-2015. Extremely challenging, which is great since they accept anyone, less than 50% of GD student continue to graduate because of how high the standards are and work load. Great connections and networking with students and professors if you put forth the effort. Truly get what you give. I put my everything into it and am am very please with my education, portfolio, and 75k job in SF straight out of school.
Unhappy with housing. Unhappy with Instructors. online classes are garbage. The schools websites and app is garbage. The volunteer services are not valued. Health services and not available. Career services are not helpful in my field. Department directors have their hands tied. Even janitor services suck and are highly unfriendly.
Don't do it. First, I was heavily persuaded to pursue a masters program when all I was really looking for was a few semesters of basic design education to learn the fundamentals I had never been taught. Once falling for that I was encouraged to get the maximum amount of the student loans so I could pay for expenses... worst idea. For just over 2 semesters of school, I now owe an additional $60,000 ($80+ total) in student loans (because of capitalized interest while I was in deferment). Besides these tactics the education was also shoddy. After many in the class complained, one of the instructors finally came out and admitted they don't give A's and B's are only if their really impressed. So, the best most could hope for is a C average?! That's crazy! And not very motivating. Basic guidelines for typography and layout were different—not only from class to class but from teacher to assistant IN THE SAME CLASS! So frustrating. Will probably spend the next 30 years paying off a loan which has not helped my career one bit.
When I started my online classes at AAU C.P. was the director of the online education as well as the onsite. After attending about a year they brought in a new director named Lourdes Livingston. Since then I have noticed a steady downfall in quality. Another problem is if you have to repeat a class (which I did due to medical) the curriculum is exactly the same. It's as if the instructors really don't have the needed credentials to be our Professors. I have heard the onsite education is so much better, but I and the other online students feel that we should receive the same quality of education.
I've attended the AAU in person, and now I'm taking online courses. In person was really, truly a great experience. Online courses not so much. About 50 % of the time I get teachers who barely participate. A few times I've caught teachers cutting and pasting the exact same feedback for every student's homework - which probably means they didn't bother to review it at all. Right now I'm a Game Development major. I've had a few awesome teachers. But the teachers don't put the module content in place. Nor do they create the tests themselves. The video tutorials and module content for software we must learn is often about 5 - 6 years out of date. In particular, Unity, Maya, or 3D Studio Max is horribly outdated. The latest versions have very different interfaces and much expanded capabilities. The existing videos are so bad that I'm forced to find tutorials wherever I can (Youtube, or Lynda, or wherever) just to get the necessary info I need to do my homework. And if you think the teachers tell us where to go to find accurate, updated info, you'd be mistaken. And Youtube is full of thousands of crappy, inaccurate tutorial videos. Doing research is fine, but I expect the core lessons to be covered in the class I'm paying for. Incidentally, each online class costs about $2,600+ per semester. That's a lot of money to shell out for out of date information. I'm not sure why a school that costs this much money, in a world-class city like San Francisco, in a 1st world country, can't manage to keep its course material up to date. Oh, yeah, I forgot. The administrators have really luxurious lifestyles and give themselves big fat paychecks. They aren't investing in their courses, and I'm guessing most of my teachers are adjunct professors being paid less than crap. Why should they care about showing up? I've thought of transferring, but guess what? Those credits don't transfer, and the Academy won't accept a lot of transfer credits. It's a good gig for them: helps them keep students and forces students to take classes they don't really need.
All of you listen. AAU is a little special school. It does not require any degrees or tests - SAT, TOEFL, nothing. If you got the money and will you are welcomed. Also it does not have a campus. There are buildings all over the San Francisco and you go here and there. What did I pay for then? Instruction and information only, my friends. To people who're saying "this school is expensive!" please... stop showing others your stupidity. You haven't got the opportunity to enroll to other "good schools," right? That's because you did not study and cannot afford the freakin money they charge you. Average "GOOD" art univs charge you at least 4 grand every year (or even one semester. Jesus) but AAU only charge you 2 grands. "It is still expensive!" You say? You are going to an art university mate. If you want to pay less than a grand per year and get a good quality class, please let me know. I wanna enroll too. I dare say AAU is cheap. It's one of the reasons that I signed up for this school. Well then, does the school have name value when you go out in the field? Not really. But I can tell you this; you will have the skills and connections to get a job when you graduate IF YOU DO YOUR BEST WHILE IN AAU. 90% of AAU's instructors are working in the field right now. They are not just school teachers - they are competitive real time workers as well. So they will give you some hot information about the field you would like to work. That is, if you communicate well with the instructors. You wanna sit back, take classes silently and go home fast? Well I won't stop you. But don't whine if you get nothing after you graduate, because you asked for it. I'd say AAU is like a self service restaurant. It provides a lot of opportunities and information. But they won't carry the dish in front of you. You gotta go get it. It's all over the notice board, internet, and school community. That is why it is little cheaper than other schools. If you can take advantage from all the opportunity that AAU provides, you'll get MUCH more than average art schools. Trust me. To keep it short, if you are willing you work your a** off and not dreaming for a beautiful campus life, AAU is not bad at all. But if you want the school that babysit you from the beginning to the end alongside with amazing campus, look for other places. For me, if I can graduate and get a job with the experience, I'd say money well spent.
Please do your research and don't waste your time and money. I spent nearly $30,000 for 30 hours this year and maybe a few decent courses but most had errors in their online modules (which are "published") and their quizzes/tests. How can you be an institution that claims to be a "University". Spend your money locally or go to SCAD.