School of the Art Institute of Chicago Reviews

  • 35 Reviews
  • Chicago (IL)
  • Annual Tuition: $54,530
100% of 35 students said this degree improved their career prospects
86% of 35 students said they would recommend this school to others
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Student & Graduate Reviews

  • Reviewed: 5/3/2023
"SAIC was my dream school pre-college but I attended for four and a half years and can honestly say it isn't worth it. I'm in incredible debt with no job for it. No one I graduated with has an art-related job either. Teachers are great, but can only do so much when the system itself is failing. The staff was underpaid and under-represented. My degree program wasn't even mentioned to me until I researched it MYSELF. My advisor didn't even know what it was! They sent me to the head of the department when the entire office couldn't give me any details on the program. The facilities are great... when properly taken care of. In all honesty, the experiences I received from this school were lifechanging in my first year. Things you'll never get anywhere else and SHOULD be taught. After that, go somewhere else. You'll regret staying."
Manuel Rodriguez
  • Reviewed: 1/10/2022
  • Degree: Art & Design
"I met very talented faculty & fellow grad students while attending SAIC, and also made lifelong connections. At a grad level, SAIC it's not worth the expense. The school does not have any real power when it comes to advancing their student's careers and exposing them to greater things. Also, outside SAIC environment, nobody in the art world really cares about its "prestige". The school has grown too big and it's constantly scheming new money making strategies like the "Low Residency Program", which is basically a part-time MFA "light" done during the off season so the school can capitalize on the empty studios during student turnover. During my time as a student there where no studio visit schedules, open calls or growth opportunities available. I have made considerable strides in advancing my carrer thanks to my own efforts. SAIC has become a meaningless entry on my CV."
F Ahn
  • Reviewed: 12/29/2019
  • Degree: Fine Arts
"I accepted going to SAIC based on three pitches: excellent facilities, a great career development program, and the freedom to be an interdisciplinary student. Only one of these turned out to be true. The quality of the facility you use will greatly depend on what program you happen to be a part of. Otherwise you may end up with some extreme difficulty having even your most basic needs met. Despite boasting about their foundry program the school for years did not fix a ventilation problem in either the foundry or the ceramics department until they found out some of that air was leaking into the museum. So they had the ability to quickly fix the problem, but would rather risk the health of students who are paying an enormous sum of money to be that the school. The career development program is a complete joke. When the school first looks for students they will claim they never let their alumni's become "starving artists." I don't know any of my classmates who have succeeded in feeding themselves do so by the help of the career development program. The only job I could get my foot in the door for after graduation was in retail and after consulting a friend who had become quite good at helping people with resumes they pointed out that every tip given to me by career development, including the resume they helped me build were terrible. The school is very interdisciplinary, no doubt about that. There were very few programs where one could not sample an entry level class. Something they did not bring up that was a positive were the instructors themselves. Most of my instructors were very skilled in their craft and had a passion for what they taught. Finally, a dirty little secret. Having made friends and talked to students who ended up getting jobs at the financial aid department, they learned that financial aid staff are deliberately under trained so that they will not effective aide students. I was told incorrect information about my scholarships and financial aid qualifications many times over."
Former MFAW student
  • Reviewed: 3/20/2018
  • Degree: Writing
"The MFA in Writing program at SAIC was a bit of a mess. If you were lucky, you'd meet an advisor you clicked with and you could still accomplish a great deal of good work. But more and more, decisions about curriculum are made by a single person, the director of the department, who is determined to make the program more conventional. Perhaps this structure is good for SAIC's success in the long run, but I think most students are attracted to SAIC because it represents intellectual freedom."
Christina Heyworth
  • Reviewed: 12/11/2017
  • Degree: Health Sciences
"The School of the Art Institute of Chicago has a phenomenal MA in Art Therapy and Counseling Program that operates from a social justice framework. First year students beginning working at practicum sites within the field during their first semester, and students take on small case loads as of their second year. Classroom sizes are kept small so that every student has an opportunity to ask questions and challenge the ideologies which are presented through reading materials/discussion topics."
  • Reviewed: 3/25/2017
  • Degree: Fine Arts
"The education that I received from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago will forever have an impact on me. I learned many basic skills to create successful artwork, and had endless opportunities to explore ways of making thanks to SAIC's interdisciplinary education. But, more than those basic skills, SAIC taught me how to think in new ways, learning to solve problems and explore the world in a way that I can apply throughout my life and beyond my art career."
Serena Himmelfarb
  • Reviewed: 3/21/2017
  • Degree: Art & Design
"SAIC's reputation as the most influential school is well earned. You will have access to leading members of your chosen field, through visiting artist programs and renowned faculty. The curriculum is rigorous, and there is a high drop out rate for undergraduates because of this. At the graduate level, students dedicate their lives to their studies to an even greater extent, and are rewarded for it."
  • Reviewed: 2/28/2017
  • Degree: Art & Design
"My experience at SAIC greatly shaped my career as a practicing artist. After graduating I was able to build a career as an arts educator. The most important relationships I made while attending SAIC was with my peers. These relationships have connected me to all of my employment opportunities post graduation. SAIC prepared me to be hard working and self motivated in my career."
Juan Herrera
  • Reviewed: 3/20/2016
  • Degree: Fine Arts
"It is probably the best interdisciplinary program in the country at the most influential art school in the USA. The possibility of developing my artistic practice alongside my academic practice is wonderful and a dream. Because my research includes production of studio images and documentary photography, this MA that intertwines scholarly, studio, and hybrid research practices, with solid credentials in the subjects of fashion, photography, and visual and critical studies was a great fit. It is also advantageous that the VCS program incentives interdisciplinary course of studies with professors dedicated to Literary Theory, Cultural Studies, Queer Studies, or Latin American Contemporary Art."
Sulhwa Lee
  • Reviewed: 4/27/2015
  • Degree: Art & Design
"I listed pros and cons: Pros: -Amazing resources, labs, workshops for anything. -You can take classes in any department regardless of which department you're accepted into. -Opportunities to exhibit in Chicago.It seems like a healthy atmosphere of people using every creative means to make it. -Great visiting artists. -Highly ranked. It's been in the top three schools for years now. Cons: - The school is very expensive. I'm having hard time preparing the tuition. -Students don't have the benefit of being able to take non-art classes or interact with non-art students like they would in a university."
yizhi zou
  • Reviewed: 3/27/2015
  • Degree: Fashion
"The school has a huge variety of latest facilities.There are many critique in class, and the teachers will invite professionals to review and critique our work. I find it very insightful and helpful. Sometime the classes and workload can be too intensive and I get stress out and depress."
Jaclyn Silverman
  • Reviewed: 1/7/2015
  • Degree: Photography
"Very little financial aid available to graduate students."
Samantha Skolmoski
  • Reviewed: 12/18/2014
  • Degree: Fine Arts
"The MFA Writing program is full of some really fantastic professors who are great readers and super encouraging, but the program is just too big to be as enriching as it could be. There are way too many students, and I believe it's because the school realized writing students are cheap (no studios--even though we should get them, no materials, very low overhead and full tuition) so they let in more than is good for the program just to gather some more full tuitions with lesser invested in the students. This brings in a lot of people who can just pay the full amount, but are not necessarily on the level they should be or as conceptual as this school touts its students to be. That said, the faculty members who understand and are invested in students' are worth the price of admission alone. Some of the greatest people and writers around. And there are many students who do not fall into the above description, and will push and inspire you in the way you wanted. All of the reading suggestions and/or assignments from professors and advisors have been transformative and meaningful."
Elizabeth Esche
  • Reviewed: 11/11/2014
  • Degree: Creative Writing
"Pros: Diversity in staff and fellow students, great network and support system. Professors will go out of their way to ensure you have access to any/all materials and advice. Program is incredibly flexible. Staff is open to all types of writing, and chances are you will find advisors who love what you're doing. Cons: Little financial aid. As a graduate student you need to have initiative, they will not force you to attend events. Must put yourself out there - although I feel like this is true of most graduate programs."
Emily Barton
  • Reviewed: 7/15/2014
  • Degree: Fine Arts
"This school is expensive but the resources it encompasses by being a part of the Art Institute of Chicago are helpful for networking."
Christina Fontenelle
  • Reviewed: 5/15/2014
  • Degree: Art & Design
"SAIC is a highly prestigious program. 150 applicants for the Art Therapy program. 88 interviews and only 20 people were selected in the nation. I was honored and humbled to be accepted into the school. Many great astounding artist have graduated from SAIC. I look forward to continuing my journey in the amazing program."
Kaila Herin
  • Reviewed: 5/14/2014
  • Degree: Creative Writing
"I am not very far into the program, however for me the largest pro is that the program is able to be crafted into exactly what I want it to be. The only con for me right now is the cost."
Alexandra Kostiw
  • Reviewed: 3/20/2014
  • Degree: Graphic Design
"A strong program in a good creative community."
Sarah Jeziorski
  • Reviewed: 3/17/2014
  • Degree: Liberal Arts
"The facilities, fieldwork opportunities, and faculty support are excellent. However the tuition is very expensive."
Rufino Jimenez
  • Reviewed: 2/18/2014
  • Degree: Art & Design
"The School of the art institute is a fantastic school. it is the only school I applied to for a grad degree. it is the most influential art school in the country and second best school all around. It has earned this reputation by the quality of its faculty and its state of the art facilities."