Academy of Art University Reviews

2.16 out of 5 stars
(88 Reviews)
  • San Francisco (CA)
  • Annual Tuition: $22,308
31% of 88 students said this degree improved their career prospects
26% of 88 students said they would recommend this school to others
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Student & Graduate Reviews

1.1 out of 5 stars
WNM Grad Student - 5/4/2017
Degree: Information Technology
Graduation Year: 2017
"DO NOT GO HERE!! I am in debt almost 6 figures and all I learned was Bootstrap and very little pHp and Javascript. Since they literally let in anyone (even if they have an unrelated degree), those of us with related degrees suffer tremendously. Teachers waste a good month at least on HTML and CSS in every freaking web design class! It is the most awful thing on the planet and people STILL don't get it in the upper classes so teachers have to waste time teaching basics in those classes too! Speaking of instructors, they only have to attend a one day workshop to teach us. That's right..ONE DAY. Now you know why the instructors are hit or miss. And really at $3000 a class, they should not be hit or miss! Their electives are a freaking joke. Why would I want to learn motion graphics when I am doing web? I don't draw and I'm not an illustration major. Oh and good luck passing the portfolio class, especially if it's online. If you're getting an MFA, you don't have to worry about this. But if you're MA, prepare to get worked to death. You should seriously consider taking the portfolio class solo (and taking leave from your job..I'm not kidding), as the first week alone you'll be given five separate assignments (which is not equivalent to the in person class). You will have at least three assignments weekly until the midterm. Your midterm will then consist of THREE separate midterm projects. You read that right...three midterms. The online teacher is also the most anal person I have ever met. If you are even off just a millimeter, she will mark you down. She has some nerve being so nitpicky when her portfolio site is extremely boring. And forget getting help from the director and don't bother complaining about teachers to him. He just makes excuses. Academic advisors are useless and are seriously only there to sign you up for classes. I had asked my advisor several times about the workload for classes and she 'didn't know.' Isn't it her job to know something like that?? I don't know why they even bother giving us advisors. I can easily sign up for classes on my own and they never communicate with us anyway. Overall, the WNM program is horrendous and needs vast improvements. I have applied to have my student loans discharged due to the poor education I received and I encourage all of you to do the same."
1.0 out of 5 stars
Confused Scholar - 5/1/2017
Degree: Visual Communications
Graduation Year: 2017
"The financial aid advisers are awful. It made me think it was a scam. The last one, J.W., is extremely rude and told me to basically ignore my high school work and sign up for some grant. Which I couldn't because 1.) I need my student ID which wasn't scheduled to be given to me until one week before classes start and 2.) My high school graduation work was currently more important than a grant at the moment. I don't think that entitled person understood that my graduation literally depended on that project. I am only taking two courses online for a semester. $115,000 per semester! That is a scam. I do not recommend signing up at all. Just go to CalArts instead."
1.3 out of 5 stars
Justin - 4/5/2017
Degree: Communications
Graduation Year: 2012
"Please please please, do yourself a favor and don't go to this bulls*** school. I'm not going to badmouth all the teachers because honestly there are a few (and I do mean a few) good ones, but 75 percent of the classes are complete BS. I had a professor once who would come in and sit at a table in the front of the class and do nothing- no lecture, no discussion, just NOTHING for WEEKS on end. One time I my advisor went on vacation without letting me know, and without activating my account, so they pulled me out of class and basically told me to "get lost or pay up." Online classes are by far the worst of the worst, copy pasted from shoddy sources, and the discussions are all super basic because 80 percent of the people who go to this school are not native English speakers. I seriously cannot tell you how many times I've heard basic instructions repeated to me; like how to pan properly on a tripod, or how to set up 3 point lighting, or do a script breakdown. Honestly if you go to this school you'll end up hating yourself, so do yourself a favor and find a more honest, well-priced university, or just get a job and learn that way."
1.0 out of 5 stars
Lily - 3/29/2017
Degree: Fashion
Graduation Year: 2017
"This school is just interested in taking your money. They do not put time into their majors and curriculum. Everything is a fee before actual education. The schools safety is a joke. It's in the heart of downtown San Francisco and students are always in fear of walking no matter the time of day. Housing policies are also a joke."
3.2 out of 5 stars
Rayna - 3/20/2017
Degree: Art & Design
Graduation Year: 2016
"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."
2.1 out of 5 stars
Warning! - 1/12/2017
Degree: Fashion
Graduation Year: 2017
"They have classes others don't which are good, but some have BOGUS YOUTUBE curriculums and material that your advisor might recommend. I could feel hands in my pockets as I was told how to shake hands and greet someone, sew a straight 4 inch line on a standard machine, that BOGO is a great way to increase amount of units sold. Triple DUH!!! You'll be finished and think wow I might've learned more in a weekend or at a community college. SO be absolutely skeptical of your admission/academic advisor. I came in with transfers and was told I'd finish in 2 years which turned into 4 years because a professor thought I needed to learn to scrapbook the AAU way not even kidding it was ridiculous. A teacher who wanted to really help their students would've said let's set up a time for a crash course and get you on the same pg...I should've left but I'd already moved to sf. There are countless shared stories similar to this amongst students across majors. There have been lawsuits in the past...They're good at their PR I'll give them that. Beware. If you're going to spend the amount they charge for tuition, just be warned. I wish I knew so I'm putting this out there. And for fashion students who want a free fashion show, you compete for this incentive and your designs are not completely up to you."
3.1 out of 5 stars
Royce Van Atta - 12/24/2016
Degree: Art & Design
Graduation Year: 2013
"My highest priority had always been earning the degree. I earned it and it wasn't easy. Every semester each class is sixteen weeks. Every class has sixteen learning modules. Each class has similar requirements. For example, the painting class may require 200$ worth of oil paints, 200$ worth of brushes and 200$ worth of canvas. Some classes require a similar investment in books or software. There are usually a bunch of videos to watch every week. I posted at least four short essay style responses to several discussion topics in every class, every week. Each week each class has a multiple choice quiz. Normally, or on average, I also uploaded four studio assignments for peer critique and grading in every class every week. A full-time student willingly devotes 40 hours every week to satisfactorily complete the assignments, that's a minimum of 640 hours each semester. A full-time independent student living on the full federal financial aid stipend certainly needs to have access to more sources of money in order to complete this financially demanding program."
4.3 out of 5 stars
Michael - 11/16/2016
Degree: Art & Design
Graduation Year: 2001
"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."
5.0 out of 5 stars
Nic - 9/17/2016
Degree: Fashion
Graduation Year: 2017
"I am currently a senior at AAU. I have taken all my classes online. The classes are not easy. In fact, I think taking classes online is even harder. The camera doesn't lie and can point out flaws in your work you didn't see with your naked eye. I feel that I am getting an excellent education with people who are teachers, but also working in the industry. I have had very good teachers. If you are ready for a challenge and will step up to the plate, this is for you. I have thoroughly enjoyed my classes. This is an accredited online fashion program. I have gone to New York Fashion Week several times with my school. They are one of the few schools that show at NYFW. I highly recommend this school, but it is not easy."
1.1 out of 5 stars
no - 9/11/2016
Degree: Computer Animation
Graduation Year: 2016
"DO NOT GO TO THIS ON LINE SCHOOL. It was the worst educational experience of my life. I was an "A" student, but what I got from this school helped me not one bit to gain employment, not even an internship. On line the teachers are unresponsive, unhelpful, too busy to help and flatly refuse to do anything other than slap "A's" on everything you do. I was invested too far before I fully realized that the horrible teachers I had were a norm instead of a one time thing. I had to take private workshops, seminars, and courses to get the education I needed. My degree program director never returns emails or phone calls unless I go up the chain and get someone in the school to write on my behalf. I have had six, so called, advisors since I have been at the school. In my opinion they are simply there to to get my money and make sure I keep paying. I have never had an advisor that actually advised me on classes or professors, or cared about my frustrations in dealing with absentee professors or directors. DO NOT GO TO THIS SCHOOL. It is expensive and you will not gain the education or experience for which you hoped. Spend your money elsewhere."