Academy of Art University Reviews
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I greaduated AAU in December 2012. When I applied in 2006 they told me it would cost roughly $80,000 to get my BFA in Commercial Photography there. By the time I was done I was $144,000 in the hole before even counting in the interest. While I was there instructors were in and out the door every semester so it was random luck if you were to get anyone good. From my experience you had about a 1 in 6 chance of getting someone good. But probably 3 out of those 6 we pretty awful. From the time I started to the time I graduated the number of photo students more than tippled, studio hours decreased, and they in no way vaguely bothered to keep the amount of equipment up with the increased demand. (You could see how may of each piece of gear was available, or not, to loan out at any given time.) The LA classes were laughably easy and were maybe, MAYBE, high-school level. They charged about $1300 a month for a SHARED studio, while the market rate at the time was about that for a studio two building down the block , so housing rates are pretty much extortion. The available transportation was never on time, so if you had back to back classes you were pretty much always late for the second. Every year there they raised the tuition by something like $225 a unit (most classes are 3 units) One year they told us the reason for the tuition increase was to offer us perpetual CS6 suite licences which they are now pulling from everyone one. I can't even apply to consolidate my loans that I took to go to AAU because, banks, and credit unions (I've tried 2 banks and 3 CUs) don't believe that someone who attended the academy will be able to repay the loans. Just don't go. Is there value to the education they offer? Yes. Is it anywhere near $144,000 dollars (roughly $300,000 if you include interest over the standard repayment time, (roughly $1,300 a month)) that it actually cost. No. The Academy of Art University was the biggest mistake of my life.
Don't go here for the game design degree. Just don't. Please. Let me elaborate, You're paying this school for a degree that will teach you the skills you need to have a fighting chance at getting a job in the industry, right? I mean that's what you should be doing...Game design is an insanely competitive field ok? Most of the game design specific classes are a joke. They won't challenge you to do better and they won't fail you if you're bad. It's the worst of both worlds. You could be the worst artist in history but if you manage to at least show up to 3 or 4 classes you'll still pass. It doesn't even matter to them, because they already have your money. Need more convincing? One of the required classes is a "game history" course. Now, you figure that would entail some...oh say history of gaming right? Wrong. You get to pay $3000 for a class where literally all you will do is sit in the classroom for 3 hours every week playing random old video games that your classmates have haphazardly brought in. There is NO structure to the class whatsoever. No history. Just playing random ass old games people bring in on a whim. Welcome to the Game Design Department. Look, I get it, maybe you're hell bent on going to AAU. I'm not going to stop you. There are some really good programs. (The Illustration department for example, is fantastic) But please, just do me this simple favor, DO NOT join the Game Design program. If you want to learn 3d modeling software or Photoshop there are a million cheap online resources you can use. (Eat3d, Polycount.com, and many, many more) And guess what, I just saved you $100,000! Seriously that's how much this degree costs....probably more now since they raise their prices almost every year. You can thank me later when you manage to land your first industry job without having been saddled with so much debt that your grandchildren will still be paying it off!
The Academy of Art is an institution that has great customer service to wheel you in, but they don’t deliver in assisting the students to a career. It is very appealing artistically to the students, and it has great fashionable glamour’s charm with the latest software and applications. The tuition is very high, and the teachers are not academically very good. They create programs to make it difficult to pass, so you can repeat the course which is profitable for their organization. The courses are very long with ridiculous and superfluous projects and modules that are not academically appropriate. Most of these courses are not transferable and when I left this university to attend for a bachelor’s degree, most of my classes were useless. I left the university after being given an “f” for two classes that I had participated and completed all class assignments. I complained and filled grievances, and they did not respond to my request and concerns or e-mails. My classmates were chock that I received the bad grade and my tutor who work with me through the entire course was also chocked! This institution has no integrity or ethics, and they don’t care about the students. I have an enormous amount of student loans and finding a job has not materialized. I am now back in another university working towards my bachelor degree with the hope that will lend me a future job. I would not recommend Academy of Art to any prospect students who wants to gain Academic and artistic abilities for a prospective career. This university is a mirage for making money and selling you a dream with negative results. Their marketing tactics and advertising are alluring to in trapped students.
I absolutely love the school that I go to. The instructors are extremely talented and genuinely passionate about what they do. Every time you attend a class you leave feeling like greatness is a contagion and the more you are in this creative environment, the more it affects you! The only reason I wouldn't necessarily recommend my school is because of how incredibly expensive it is. Not only is the tuition more expensive than anything else my friends are paying, but buying art supplies really add up. If you are going to this school, be prepared to really commit to your field. The graduation rate is about 30%, which is understandable because it's hard to keep up with the expenses (especially if you're living in sf to go there), and the field isn't going to show you much return on your investment if you aren't willing to pursue art as a career and take it very seriously. That being said, there are countless student resources to help you through all your programs. If you reach out, there is definitely someone on the other end to help pull you out of the woods. The grading system is also something I really enjoy. It is representative of the critiques that you will receive in the field, and thus prepares you accordingly.
This school really isn't there to help you. It's a tool that you have to be prepared to take full advantage of as a student. Don't allow the school to shape the coarse of your education. Meet with your program's leaders and rely on them and your instructors more than the administration and given advisers. You must work hard to get the best education at this school. They do have the facilities and some wonderful instructors. Get involved with projects with other students and as much extra curricular work as possible. Practice. Art is Practice.
Academy of Art was generally a good school to attend. I learned alot from the professors who worked or have worked in the industry. I was a little disappointed that there went many hard surface modeling classes, bit the classes they did offer were great, and i heard they are working on getting more classes started. Some of the organic modeling teachers were not that good at teaching, but i think they have also been replaced by better teachers. I did enjoy the classes that i took and the feedback you get from your teachers and class mates every week is excellent, it really helps you every step of the way towards your thesis project.
I'm currently taking online classes with AAU over the summer between my sophomore and junior year of high school. I honestly have no idea why I thought this would be a good idea to do. I thought these were you know, elective-like, easy, summer classes but NO! They give you 3 days to do about 4 assignments for each class (I'm taking 3) and the only help they offer are these very long typed lectures and maybe a poorly done slideshow. The classes are very expensive and are not at all what they were described to be. Fun? Interactive? Relevant? Not at all. More like stressful and confusing. Also, I'm 3 and a half weeks into the graphic design class and guess what? NO INSTRUCTION ON ANY ADOBE PROGRAMS YET!! What the heck? DO NOT take their classes! Total and complete rip-off and waste of time. You're literally better off with Adobe's own tutorials or YouTube.
First of all I have to say I go here. I am online and onsite. I applied for Work Study to afford such a money sucking glob of shat of an institution. No one in the financial aid office, ever told me or called me since. The school is expensive for any normal student. I am a hard worker and I love advertising and graphic design but I can't afford fall the fall term. The shuttles are great to get from campus to the dorms, the dorm life is great BUT I HAVE A PROBLEM with the online pricing. WTF , I could get better online at a community college. Sure I had one class that I absolutely loved but assignment directions are vague and it ate 60% of my money which I needed to LIVE. The online help desk likes about being 24 hours. Only for the first week, when I called the help desk was up. The person was helpful and replied thirty minutes after that night at 11:20. Then weeks in, you can request help but get no respense at all. STILL WAITING FOR MY RESPONSE # MONTHS LATER. NEVER GOT THAT EMAIL.I PAID ALMOST ONE GRAND A CLASS AND THIS IS WHAT I GET? Seriously they sucker you in. The site went down three times in winter semester before the deadline. WTf, was that? And sometimes the pages won't even load. And have 1,000 dollars to cough up on supplies if you are a graphic design major. Projects costs about 50 - 200 dollars and THEY ARE NECESSARY. Try a community college online program, you will be so happy. WHAT A SCAM and no I passed all my classes with great grades, I was just treated like crap from the HELP DESK. The credits don't transfer, get me OUT OF HERE. I'm bound to this hellhole for the summer. I'm a broke student, I had to go three days without eating food because THEY WERE PROCESSING MY MEAL PLAN and the student refunds USUALLY TAKE 2 MONTHS by mail. I lived 1:43 min from San Francisco at that time. Mail usually takes a few hours to get from SF to here. The help desk sucks, if the kid doesn't want to help, the phone "disconnects" , so only give problems they can handle. Like how do you click on the page button. The help desk people are people MY AGE, they sound so freaking young and he kept asking how to help my computer over the phone. THEY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT.
This school may sound great reading the fancy advertising for it and hearing the ads as well, but the school sets you up for failure. They talk to you and allow anyone to enroll getting your hopes up that they will give you a professional education by professors who were in the field for a long time and that they can give you material so that you can network with others to get internships and jobs. Hasn't happened for me yet and I have been studying here sense the spring semester of 2011 online. I also I guess when I started had high hopes for the online program because I have seen online classes evolve my cousin in highschool takes online classes and has full lectures while viewing her teachers and they can see her video conferencing.
But, this school doesn't do that they are way behind and do not care if you get a proper education. AAU just wants your money and that is a simple as that. I have worked hard on materials for my so called midpoint and instead of them talking about ways to fix technique they tell me I did not pass and that I have to do a completely different series of work to exactly how they want it done. I re-work my material to a new concept submit again and they still turn me down when this time I put even more time into the project pretty much getting absolutely no sleep and had to have my mother watch my son for months on end.
Mind you I am in the graduate program online and I am not new to art I am experienced I have a BFA degree. They have forced me to the point that I can only take one more class because of their credit rule where you can't go over a certain amount of credits until you pass your midpoint. This means I am forced out of having financial aid all because of this school's disorganized unhelpful structure that just cares about getting your money.
They treat their students like they are two year olds by not allowing them to choose their classes or see what professors they will have for a class until right before classes begin and then when someone has problems with a professor he or she is unable to drop the class unless the advisor drops it for him or her.
I am fustrated and angry because I am stuck at this school because I tried to give it time thinking that maybe it would get better, but it didn't. I am stuck at the place until I either can't pay for it anymore or until I pass because none of the credit will transfer over to any other grad school either.
It is wrong because this is how they loophole you because they enroll 100% of those that apply they don't care whether or not you pass or fail or if you can even afford it. It is wrong and I say please do not go to this school if you do enroll do not stay for to long or you end up wasting your whole time because they do not teach you anything. I learned more in my undergraduate school then I have here.
During my last years in high school, I had a few different career paths that I wanted to pursue. I chose Advertising. There are very few schools with Advertising as a major. I wanted to stay in my hometown of Las Vegas, so I needed an online school with Advertising courses. Academy of Art University appeared to be the most prestigious of my options, so I enrolled right after high school.
I have attented part-time classes for 5 years, and STILL don't have a 2-year degree (and I owe over $30,000 in government loans). Everytime I need to take a class, there are several pre-requsite courses that I need to take. And then, even the pre-requisites have pre-requisites! It is a revolving door.
Some of the teachers are very knowledgeable and helpful - others make mistakes or don't give good feedback(or they base their grades on their preferences, not on whether or not your work is good). Luckily, twice a semester, you have to rate your instuctors. If the instructor gets poor reviews, things usually change very quickly.
I think the tuition is OUTRAGEOUS, especially for onine courses. Tuition just increased this year, to about $800-$900 per unit for Undergraduate courses (courses are 3 units each, so each class is over $2000 a semester.) I feel the education I have received is just as good as I could have received at a cheaper school.
If you are a high school student, considering this school, try to see if there are cheaper schools that offer your major.