The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division Reviews
Student & Graduate Reviews (87)
I had to take an online class from AI due to the lack of classes within my major at the actual campus I was attending. I ended up taking a Creative writing class, which was anything but creative, and dropped it before the first week was over. Why, good question, after several attempts to get the instructor to provide examples or url links to their work after several attempts to track them down via google had failed.
If your paying $1800 a class it's not unreasonable to expect to find something, anything online out side of the AI online site to back up the competency of the instructors. After a few days in the class I became suspect that the instructor hadn't even written the material for the class as the sentence structure was completely different from their comments or replies.
Sadly, this doesn't stop with the online classes, but is also true for the actual class room instructors aswell. AI hires instructors (in most cases) who's only prerequisite is a Masters Degree and a pulse. Most have never actually worked in the field they are teaching and I found myself constantly having to correct them when it came to basic fundamentals in art, design and Adobe software.
Out of the 10 classes I had at AI, only 2 teacher actually seemed to be full time professionals and part time teacher, the other 7 were full time teacher with little or no experience in what they were teaching, and zero web presence. I google all instructors for a class I'm paying for at any school and have found some schools actually provide you with website urls for their instructors so there is no question of their credentials. My advice to anyone attending an AI campus or Online classes anywhere is to get out and research schools via google and include the word "scam" afterwords to and see what other people are saying. Then research the instructors at these online schools. Professional artist have web presents, they have a website, you can see their work and know if they have the actual skills to be teaching or are just posers.
I have read probably around 100 reviews here on this school and I would have to agree with some that those who are complaining either, A. have little to no experience with other colleges, or, B. couldn't hack it and dropped out only to blame the school for their struggles. AI Online is a great school with a very solid and challenging curriculum.
I am a second-year student with AI, and am also a very skilled photographer. Each and every class I find that I am learning very important aspects concerning my photography and it never ceases to amaze me just how valuable my classes are to not only my education, but my photography as a whole. While it is expensive, it is a great option for those looking for online studies in pursuit of their degrees.
Google my name and "photography" if you would like to see some of my work. I firmly and sincerely give credit to AI Online for the leaps and bounds I have taken since beginning instruction at this school.
I can hack it. Anyone can, as the courses at this school are absurdly easy and un-challenging. I've managed to get great grades without *EVER* reading *ANY* of the books or online materials they provide, which I find disturbing.
Furthermore, I'm not a drop out, in fact, I'm still enrolled and attending for my Bachelor's and I'm rather mortified by what I'm learning about my school.
That said, I simply can't recommend this institution. They are grossly disorganized and I've even been put in the same class twice because of a mix up simply caused by the fact they slightly changed the name of the course. The process of getting me out of said class was long and annoying, wasting my time for weeks. I've *almost* ended up in the same classes multiple times as well, aside from that incident.
In my experience, academic advisors at this school are extremely disorganized and often don't have their facts straight whatsoever. I was told by their website I would graduate in January 2011, only to hear from my new advisor that was a mistake and I'm not to graduate until December 2012!! More money for them. My girlfriend also attempted to attend and their rude, apathetic and incompetent advisor failed to inform her of a very large, additional sum owed until it was a mere week before it was due. The school made no effort whatsoever to rectify this or chastise the lazy advisor, despite his very obvious negligence. So she didn't even get to start.
Sadly, I'm envious of her because I haven't learned a single thing at this school I didn't already know about my field (Graphic Design) and now I'm on the hook for a ton of money. I will say the teachers are usually nice enough and helpful, however. I have, although, had a few lame ones that seemed to know less than I do about the subject matter.
You'll switch academic and financial advisors often, and they might bother to inform you. You'll get charged for books even if you don't need to buy them to get through the classes (and you never will - the online courses almost NEVER reference the accompanying texts).
You'll get weird bills in the mail for expenses you've never been spoken to about. The only bright side there is *most* of the time if you call them up and complain they'll claim it was a billing error and you don't have to pay. Although, this leaves you to wonder how many of these "erroneous" bills they send out and accept money for.
I would strongly advise avoiding this school's online division. I can't speak for their physical locations, but the digital incarnation of this school is extremely disorganized, misinforming and honestly rather shady.
Please, if you are considering attending an Art Institute, or the Online Division, think again. I graduated with an associates from the ground campus and attended online for a few terms recently. The curriculum is outdated, the credits don't transfer and the tuition rates are outrages. Look into community colleges or online schools that are affiliated with real, non-profit schools.
I have had similar experience with the bad situations that AIO presents. I chose to withdrawal because I did not feel I was being "taught" or challenged in any way. I was getting an "A" in my last class and not comprehending ANYTHING and it was clear that I wasn't grasping the concepts.
Yet my teacher passed me and said I did great on every assignment when I clearly failed it according to the score. When I chose to withdrawal I started seeing that AIOnline slacked on my financial aid, classes, and recently a transcript request. I won't get into too much detail but basically they took me out of a class I confirmed because someone processed paperwork improperly, then I lose my financial aid because of this, then they took my money for official transcripts and never mailed them.
This could all be a coincidence but I can't help but see other people have similar experiences on EVERY review website I go to. I don't ever write complaints but I really suggest to do serious research before choosing Art Institute Online.
I was also bamboozled when I applied because I was told I would graduate sooner than I was told 3 years later that I would. It seems people just float through this school and the education some might recieve isn't nearly what they are paying for. I have now changed majors and will be attending a community college for a way cheaper degree and I hope a better experience and education than I was/would be receiving at AIO. I wish I had something good to say, but I do not.
I also want to add, I am not a drop-out who couldn't cope..I am someone who would like to spend money on a great education to help me do something better in my life not pay $80k and then say WTH did I learn?!
I attended The Art Institute of Pittsburgh campus beginning in 2005. This school really pushes itself as the preeminent source for creative post-secondary education with all its advertising, but in reality, what you get is a completely useless education.
What they teach you is in no way realistic as far as professional settings; students are either taught incorrectly or not enough, and since the school craves money in the same way as a vampire craves blood, they will accept and graduate people who in no way have the skills to actually work in their field. I've seen people turn in stick figure illustrations in an Advanced Illustration class and still get a good grade.
AiP will shuffle people through classes - many of which are the same classes with different names - and force them to take the full 180 credit hours (bachelor's degree). Have you credits from another school, like for math and English? Sorry, but AiP isn't interested in your crafty money-saving techniques - they want you to take their superior English and math classes at $487 a credit.
AiP is far more interested in getting money out of people than it is helping people get closer to creative careers. First of all, the tuition without housing costs included is over $22,000 a year. Housing is $2100 per semester. And they push people to borrow money they can't get through Sallie Mae, and that agency itself is nothing but a huge headache.
Don't get wrong, the teaching staff is overall good - some bad instructors here and there, but everyone's generally nice. But these people have no clue what they're doing, and you'll end up with skills that are absolutely worthless in the professional art world. In fact, some employers will actually specifically not hire Art Institute graduates because of how bad the schools' reputation has become.
And before anyone rolls their eyes at the probably drop-out who couldn't handle it, I graduated from that cesspool with academic honors and as an NTHS member...and I got a four-year degree in three years despite taking about two semesters worth of non-transferring classes (from before I switched majors). Hmm, you know what they call a school that only cares about getting your money and lets you finish a degree in noticeably less time than it should take? A diploma mill. This place wasn't even accredited until 2008 - don't colleges need to be accredited before students can get financial aid via FAFSA to attend them?
If you want to go to college for art, do not go here. With housing costs and never repeating any classes, my degree cost over $100,000. Ivy League schools don't even cost that much.
I am a current student at AIO and I love it. After reading reviews, I had to write my own. While some things students have said are true, such as changing of advisers and the very compact course, many things I've read I think are simply from their personal bad experience.
I am a stay at home mom with 2 young children. I have an associates degree from a ground university and finally decided to go back to school to finish my bachelors. I decided that online would be better for me so that I could do class when I had time and after doing some research, decided on AIO. I'm currently a full time student and while at first, the 5.5 week time frame was very intimidating (3-4 assignments due per week, per class) once I got into the groove of it all, there was no problem at all.
Many people are saying that they haven't learned anything from class or learned more on their own... well it's an online class, what exactly did you expect? Of course you are teaching yourself. While there are a few minor areas that I feel like more learning would have been helpful, if you take the time every week to read what is there for you, read your text books, watch the instruction videos, there's no reason you should have any problems completing your assignments. The teachers I've had thus far are very quick to leave feedback on your assignments and constantly remind you of their office hours in case you need some one on one time. Some of my teachers even take the time to put your work into a video where they go over it and verbally explain what you need to change or what is great about it.
There is no doubt in my mind that some people have had trouble with this... as I said, it can be very overwhelming, but if you do the work, read the material and actually want to achieve your degree, you will. You have to be motivated and self disciplined. Don't expect to be able to log in once or twice a week and do well, it wont happen. Imagine physically going to school once a week instead of MWF like you should; chances are you wont do well in that class either. Some people need everything in black and white to understand it and if you are one of those people, then AIO probably isn't for you.
I am attending AI Online for my Degree in Web design & Interactive Media. I have had a great experience. My instructors post on a regular basis and they give me great feedback. My academic advisor has been great too. The only problem I have been having is with my financial aid rep. They have changed my rep and didn't tell me. However, both my reps have returned my messages in a timely manner. I feel as with any class you take, you get out of it what you put into it.
If you are planning to attend the campus based or online courses at A.I. for Media, Arts and Animation.. think again!!
I went to this school for about two years online and walked out of there with little to no experience and a large amount of debt. The online format that they have is very disappointing. There is barely any communication between you and the teacher. Most teachers are not working in the field, so you do NOT get industry insight! Also, expect to get A's and B's in this school, even if you draw like a two year old. Most students didn't know how to draw, had horrible assignments turned in and still were praised by teachers! What the heck went wrong here?
If you are looking to learn animation... shoot low. You will learn how to use 3DS Max, and fast. You won't go into depth about the software, but you will know where to find the tools within the software! What a bunch of crock! Also, animation program here is horrible. I learned how to move an object from point A to B, but didn't learn about ease in and ease out, spacing, overlap, overshoot, secondary action, squash and stretch! If your going to this school, these terms will be foreign to you. I dropped out of this "so-called" school and enrolled at the www.Animationmentor.com school. The difference between the school is enormous. Within a year I went from animating a bouncing ball (that look quite pathetic) to a full fledged dialogue shot that was lip synced.
Just wanted to do my part and warn those of you who want to join this school for the Animation program. It was a waste of money, time, and resources on a flawed system. DON'T GO TO THIS SCHOOL!!!!!!!!!!!
Compltee lack of communication among staff. Changed advisors 2 times, financial aid reps 3 times....never told me. I signed up for web design, never got there.....got bogged down with pre-requisites. When I withdrew for end of session they took me out before my session ended and still expect me to pay???
Advisors changed my 'major' 2 times to satisfy prerequisites, and did not communicate with financial aid.....they think I DID THIS, and that I willy-nilly was changing my mind. That is some way justifies the rip off I suppose. VERY DISAPPOINTED, still unemployed and NOW in debt. RUN, RUN AWAY AS FAST AS YOU CAN!!!!