Academy of Art University Reviews
Student & Graduate Reviews (53)
Enrolling here was the biggest mistake I've ever made. I studied MFA Advertising : Art Direction on campus and online. Content online was copied and pasted from course to course. On campus classes consisted of the same content and format no matter the title of the course. Complete robbery! The foreign students I made friends with told me the university preyed on them. AAU constantly failed them and didn't offer helpful services for language barriers. They said it was deliberate since the students spent so much on out-of-state tuition and it was a way to trap them into taking one class multiple times at the high rate. Wasted 2 years and tons of money attending this scam of a university. I wish I came to my senses sooner. Do not enroll here!!! Read these articles and educate yourself since AAU definitely won't : http://observer.com/2015/08/for-profit-arts-school-in-san-francisco-under-fire/ http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/1672162 http://www.forbes.com/sites/katiasavchuk/2015/08/19/black-arts-the-800-million-family-selling-art-degrees-and-false-hopes/ http://m.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2010/01/05/critics-wonder-why-potential-sf-lawsuit-vs-academy-of-art-didnt-come-years-ago
Academy of Art University is not an easy school. If you believe art school will be an easy way to get a bachelor's degree do not attend. I was not a good student in high school. I was lazy, didn't do homework, and rarely studied. AAU's open door policy gave me a chance to show I had matured and was ready to learn. This same open door policy allows students to enter that are not prepared for college coursework. Do not waste your time or money if you are not prepared to work hard and study. I worked very hard to graduate, and learned a lot from some excellent instructors.
A lot of great insight has already been delivered. First and foremost, you really will only get out what you put in. I chose an MFA only because no MA is offered. 63 credits is too much in my opinion and far too much $$. The program online is just too boring. The benefit for me? I don't foot the bill. The Veteran Affairs bureau does. I would never she'll out this ridiculous tuition. I want to drop the major and follow a different study in a different school. FYI: The acting teachers are not great actors.
I developed my career but was missing my degree so chose AAU online to get my bachelors. Overall, I really enjoyed my coursework and instructors. The main thing to remember about any program is you get out what you put in. This is not a babysitter school. It works very well for those that are independent and self disciplined. Do not rely on advisors to add any value. You really need to know what you're coming in to study. This is a failing on their part. Young students may have a more difficult time getting the support they need. In terms of education--I thought I knew most of my area of study going in, but I was wrong. I learned so much that what I've learned still compliments my work today, and I didn't even finish my degree. I was full time for 3 years then was blessed with my 2nd daughter at which time I decided to discontinue. The coursework was intense while working a full time job, especially when you stack studio work together. I recommend only doing 2 studios max when attending if you are working full time. By studios, I mean courses where you produce hands on artwork, such as painting and sculpting. I would usually comment on others' work, interact, then head off to my studio for 4 hours to produce a drawing or what not. This would keep me up until midnight most nights. On weekends I would catch up by spending most of the weekend on one project or another. At this point I was a single parent with a 8 yr old, so it was very challenging, and she remembers me being very busy. They have rubrics available to show the points they look for in a finished work when grading. This was helpful. Some instructors graded on avg hard, which I loved because it made you try harder. Plus it opened up dialog between you and your instructor. I liked when instructors would post all grades by ID so you could see that only one person would receive an A, if that. I had many poignant conversations with my instructors, and for the most part they were very, very good. I also have been to MassArt and it was comparable in terms of instructor quality. Like I said, I was going here to pick up my degree and learn as much as I could on the way. I learned a ton, which was worth the cost. Guys, money is just a number, a degree is just a paper. Internalize and integrate your education into your personal life as much as you can and it will be worth it. If you are looking for a guided experience, this isn't for you. If you are self disciplined and know what you want, you can get a lot from this, Good luck!
I started taking classes online under the impression that I could complete my degree in a decent amount of time and the costs would be comparable to other schools I had looked at. The classes costed twice as much as other schools and were 3 times as long and were no where near educational. The class lectures were vague, the professors were completely useless and after getting me roped into the program my financial aid adviser, academic adviser were unreachable and never replied to emails or voice mails left. I eventually received a bill in the mail for over $2000 that needed to be paid to the school ASAP or I would be "locked out" of my classes. After about a week of trying to contact my financial adviser, he called me back and rudely explained that my financial aid did not cover all the cost of that semester and I had to pay out of pocket. Mind you, when I originally started my financial aid covered plenty and I actually was getting a hefty check back. After doing research on my own I found that they charged me for things and over charged me on other things that were NEVER disclosed on any of the paperwork I originally received from the school. Needless to say, I finished out three semesters and couldn't afford the hidden cost anymore. In those three semesters (about a year) I only had completed 18 credits (I was only able to take 2 classes a semester because the school swore I wasn't able to receive the financial aid needed for more). After transferring to a more credited school I was able to complete 29 credits in 5 months and have not payed a dime out of pocket other than for a few art supplies and was able to take classes full time and the financial aid was distributed evenly and covered them all. Needless to say, Academy of Art University is only in it for the money, they do not care about the students and what happens in the classroom. I'm 100% sure they over charged me just to make a profit. I would not recommend this school to anyone.
Worst mistake ever. I wish I never went, they're so expensive and I thought that is what colleges cost. I was young and dumb when I decided to be apart of AAU. The advisors are freaking awful....I can't even say how bad they are. Some classes and teachers are good and a lot just bite. I regret it every day.......... it upsets me so much. Don't make the same mistake, go to a less expensive college and one who knows what they're doing.
it's a nice school with a TONS of resource, and it has really network building in this school. our instructors are from ILM, Pixar, Dreamwork and lots studio in LA. so, our animation class is from Pixar directly, i think this is the biggest attraction. for the visual effects, lots of student graduate here can get a job with their effort in school. i guess thats all
I am a graduate student in the Advertising department. I haven't seen many reviews from grad students, and I don't think I've seen any from advertising students. I'm about half way through the program, and I love it so far. From my experience: the instructors are great, with the exception of one who is okay (at least for advertising, not sure about instructors for other majors). I do feel they can be too easy though. I like that they care about the creative fidelity of the work (not surprising at an art school), rather than the commercial validity that goes along with stereotypical advertising. There are mostly international students in my classes, mostly from China but not all of them. Yes, the advisors SUCK. If I had listened to my adviser, I wouldn't have had the right prereqs to take the classes I needed. Also, I wanted to take an elective in another department and my advisor said that particular class required that department's approval. I went out of my way to meet with a member of the department only to have them say I didn't need approval and I could totally sign up. As a graduate student, I've already learned how to plan my own schedule. I really don't need an advisor. Also, the professors in my program are actually very knowledgable and helpful in assisting me plan my schedule when I need advice. My advice: if you go here, skip the advisor and just talk to your department heads. Yes, this school is expensive. It's not as expensive in grad school though. We pay per unit, and while the graduate units cost more, we take fewer of them. 9 units per semester is full time in graduate school, and the program as a whole is 63 units. Total cost will be less than undergrad if you're looking into grad school. That said, yeah, they over charge. I had a professor explain that we really need to take advantage of all the services the school offers or else it's like throwing away money. And trust me, most people don't really take advantage. The school is very much a business. That has its pros and cons. I am only going here because of location and the fact that it has a Master's in Advertising. I honestly don't think it would have such a wide variety of majors and postgraduate degrees if it wasn't making all that money and again, behaving like a business. No other school remotely close to San Francisco offered a Master's in Advertising, so here I am. I benefitted in this case from the school's for-profit model. Basically, I can't say whether or not I would recommend the school. It really depends on your major and whether your undergraduate or graduate. I went elsewhere for my Bachelor's, so I can't say for sure, but I don't think I'd go here for undergrad. It would cost too much, and a Bachelor's is probably better for getting a broader-based degree. If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of a field, that's what Master's are for (they are a much more focused degree). That said, if you REALLY don't see yourself changing your desired career and you KNOW you DON'T want to go to graduate school, well... I'm still not sure if AAU would be good for undergrad. AAU seems like a great graduate school, and at least I hear that Advertising has high job placement post-graduation (to the chagrin of one particular professor because he felt some of these students who got jobs weren't that good).
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.
The Academy of Art University gives you the amazing opportunity to brush elbows with professionals in the industry. Their focus on classical training is admirable, the only major drawback is the price. At $2,500 a class, you better have a wallet to back your dreams!