Academy of Art University Reviews of Bachelor's in Art & Design

  • 9 Reviews
  • San Francisco (CA)
  • Annual Tuition: $23,412
100% of 9 students said this degree improved their career prospects
22% of 9 students said they would recommend this program to others
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Reviews - Bachelor's in Art & Design

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  • Reviewed: 11/27/2021
  • Degree: Art & Design
"#1 they took a semester and a half to transfer (VERY few of credits from 3 years of school, focused on design) #2 Took a semester and a half to do a portfolio review that didn't do anything even though I scored top in my class the last semester. #3 tried adding a bunch of years to my education for their money. #4 teaching OLD methods (before CAD; now designers use viral reality). #5 unfair and totally subjective graders and manipulators. #6 filed a complaint against me a MONTH after I withdrew from the school. #7 Lied in the complaint saying "I used profanity" when I did not; I wasn't even talking to them when they wrote the complaint. #8 They teach and use "planned obsolescence" including planning on making their students obsolete; so that you have to buy a lot more $$$$ classes to be relevant. #9 they repeat the same outdated information every semester (beyond boring). #10 They told me a professors had real world experience; meanwhile only one of them dose; "those who can't, teach" is in full effect at AAU. #11 "Academy of University" is redundant while "Art" is subjective and completely different than objective design. #12 Once you apply, AAU stops responding to your emails. I could go on & on but I think you get the idea. You have been warned."
  • Reviewed: 6/16/2021
  • Degree: Art & Design
"They lied and now 15 years later I'm still paying for it! This con artist school boasted a 90% job placement rate when I applied in 2000. By 2001 I was blindingly taking out student loans to attend this institution, believing them that upon graduation I would be ready and knowledgeable enough to work in the industry and begin to pay off the debt. 15 years later I still can't believe what a bone headed choice that was. I applied to hundreds of jobs and over asked over 200 artist reps for their services. The only jobs I could get were low paying freelance jobs found on freelance websites and no artist reps would take me on as a client. 15 years later I'm married with 3 children, I have a job that earns me more than the average American and I'm still broke because I'm still paying off that debt ( and I have already re-financed my original loans to lower the monthly payments ). To pay this school I took out $100,000 in student loans. My return on investment was $400 from freelance work and what ever I made from stocking shelves in the fine arts department at AC Moore arts and crafts. That was as far as I could take my illustration career the first year after college. What a joke! To be fair the instructors I had were great and I was able to learn a lot about techniques and mediums and I enjoyed living in San Francisco. However the financial burden it has caused me thus far was not worth it. The school did not prepare me for what lay ahead they just wanted my money. DO NOT GO HERE!"
  • Reviewed: 10/16/2020
  • Degree: Art & Design
"I was beyond excited when I started classes here (online) and in the very beginning it went rather well. But to be frank it got to the point that the massive cost of the classes were not worth what I was getting out of it. I learned a lot and really finely honed some skills during the first couple years. Deterioration began with my many different advisors. They didn't advise me on what classes to take so I just took to the course list and winged it. When they did step in they completely insisted that my courses be all over the place and in different disciplines. I tried to explain that a linear approach would be better for me to solidify what I learned the semester before. No go, they constantly threw me into classes I feel I was not ready for. Then after I struggled there, they put me in the class that would have prepped me for the one I struggled in. Course material for online is outdated, not engaging and very basic. Class discussions amount to nothing. Continuing on, my first rounds of instructors were perfect. I learned and grew so so much. Leaps and bounds.. but as time went on I could tell I wasn't good enough to be paid any attention to, so many students in my classes got minimal critiques where other students were doted on. There was no push to do well, and hell you were gonna get a D in everything you did if there was a line out if place or concepts were outside of your teacher's unknowable standards. I did some of my best work for myself here, and it was hacked apart constantly. I knew it was going to be hard, and I put 1000 percent in until the very end. I had a mental breakdown after working on my final for a painting class and called the very next morning and dropped out after a couple years of giving it my all. I told my advisor everything I was feeling and how I felt like I was teaching myself for thousands of dollars. They actually told me that it would be crazy to drop out now because I've spent so much money already. Thats a tried and tested tactic used in gambling ya know? I used to be someone who always had her nose in a sketchbook, you can't imagine how it feels to look at a blank page now and feel nothing but anxiety. I haven't drawn in over a year now. I dont mean to sound dramatic, but it really changed my life and how I feel about myself for the worst. Im so glad that some people have had good experiences, but most dont. If you have any soul for art, stay away. They will say anything to keep you paying but forget their promises later."
Former Student
  • Reviewed: 9/24/2020
  • Degree: Art & Design
"Don't go to to this school speaking from personal experience. Back in 2019, I applied here. I kept seeing ads for this school and decided to apply. Not even 2 seconds later, they were calling me and wanted to do all the paperwork to get me started for the spring semester. I was taken aback but I went through the process. I was actually exited because I really wanted to go back to school and study Fine Arts. Already, they asked for $50 for the application fee...ok? Then, they were asking $95 for the enrollment fee...ok? Remember, non-refundable. Of course, I paid all this out of pocket so I can continue the process. Finally, the final step, financial aid. Woah! The total expected amount of $ was a little over $140,000. Still went along with it. As I was speaking to my financial advisor, he wanted me to sign the financial aid form so they can begin processing my loan ASAP. To be fair, it was the weekend before the semester and classes would begin that following Monday. I asked him if I can think about it and let them know that Monday. He got irritated and said just sign it and send it over now. Then, I got upset and said I will look over it and get back to them Monday. That Saturday, my friend, who know of the situation checked for me ad sent me all these bad reviews of the school. I was in shock and immediately cancelled the process. I've heard from other people they dealt with rude advisors and what not, other than that financial advisor, everyone was pretty nice. My friend saved me and now I am at a community school with a higher quality of education. I ignored all the red flags: ads everywhere, no portfolio needed, calls constantly, and pay lots of $$$. I rather pay $145 then be tens of thousands of $ in debt. Before applying, check your options and do your research before it's too late. Good luck guys!"
  • Reviewed: 3/20/2017
  • Degree: Art & Design
"The teachers at Academy of Art are amazing most are working professionals. Most of them take the time to help student understand mediums and foundation. teachers are always willing to help. The financial aid, counselors are a bit of a mess, i felt like i was constantly being juggled and forgotten there were many glitches in the system and I was forced to take classes i dint want to take due to lack of communication. financial aid can be helpful and understanding of financial situations. I enjoyed the school and feel I have learned a lot. I would recommend this school for students who can financially afford the city/ bay area as well as supplies and classes. Working more than 1 job is difficult with work load of a full time student and you will fall behind quickly."
  • Reviewed: 11/16/2016
  • Degree: Art & Design
"Overall I am happy with my choice of going to the Academy of Art. However if I had to choose what school to go today I would consider other choices first reason being the #1 the Cost second is the name and reputation of your instructors. I think the School of Visual Arts have way more well known instructors and connections then at AAC. I graduated with a BFA in Illustration in 1998 and the continued taking courses in Graphic Design for another 2 years so I could be a versatile designer. The instructor are a hit or miss. Out of all the years that I have attended there I could think of at least two instructors that I wished I have never met or taken there course. They were not helpful in anyway and I did not learn anything from. It was just a waste of money. I always come across a lot of negative postings about the school but I have to say unless your not willing to put 150% into your work you should not attend this school. There is a lot of completion from students from around the World. I am currently working as a Graphic Designer for the City of San Francisco. I have worked for both large and small companies. I've always been able to find design jobs but they did not come easy. The longest time I have been laid off was 2 years. You really need to hustle and get your face and portfolio seen rather then relying only on sending your resume online. My younger brother also attended school there and graduated in Computer Arts. He now works as a Art Director for Gap. I'm still paying off my school loan but I am proud of my accomplishments I was able to buy a house and put both of my daughter through private schools. It's a great feeling going to work knowing your going to go draw or design something. AGAIN NOT A EASY CAREER took many years to finally make it."
  • Reviewed: 5/17/2016
  • Degree: Art & Design
"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."
The downfall of the online education
  • Reviewed: 1/29/2016
  • Degree: Art & Design
"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."
Brandon K
  • Reviewed: 11/30/2015
  • Degree: Art & Design
"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."