The Art Institutes Reviews - Bachelor's in Graphic Design

1.61 out of 5 stars
(28 Reviews)
  • Nationwide
  • Annual Tuition: $17,316 - $18,648
12% of 28 students said this degree improved their career prospects
7% of 28 students said they would recommend this program to others
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Student & Graduate Reviews

1.0 out of 5 stars
MK - 12/15/2015
Degree: Graphic Design
Graduation Year: 2007
"Total waste of time and money. They promise the Hollywood studios, like Disney and DreamWorks are looking for AI graduates, not true! The debt you will get yourself into, should be against the law. They do take advantage of the poor and military and should be investigated for their recruiting practices. AI should be shut down!"
3.6 out of 5 stars
Anonymous - 11/9/2015
Degree: Graphic Design
Graduation Year: 2011
"Great school when I was there, recent changes have not had a positive affect on the school."
1.9 out of 5 stars
Anonymous - 9/29/2015
Degree: Graphic Design
Graduation Year: 2009
"Not worth the money that was spent on it. Private collages are a scam. I'm so far in debt I can't imagine life without repaying my loans. Most of what I've learned has been in the field."
1.0 out of 5 stars
Lindsay M. - 7/16/2015
Degree: Graphic Design
Graduation Year: 2009
"Ohhh where to even begin. I attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh from 2005 to 2009 and it's nothing but a diploma mill in college's clothing. There is absolutely nothing redeeming about AiP and I regret ever going there. The thing is I was under the impression that I was receiving a quality education, but then I later went on to attend grad school with a real art program and I got to see the difference. Let's look at the classes first. There are a LOT of unnecessary courses I had to take that were required for program completion. Design Fundamentals and Design Principles are the same thing with different names. Graphic design is not the same as illustration, yet there are four required illustration classes (five if you include Life Drawing). Design & Technology and Electronic Design are the same too. There are two portfolio classes. Two English classes and an Algebra class are requirements too. I'm sorry, I took college prep math and English so I *wouldn't* have to take them in college, but the Art Institutes do not accept credits from other schools. How nice for them. Oh, and once you hit your second year, you are required to take one elective each semester. Yup, the optional classes are required. So what are some of the career-building courses the graphic design bachelor's student can take? Special Projects I, II and III! Because that's not vague or anything. How about Textiles, Fundamentals of Audio and Architectural Drafting? Because those have everything to do with graphic design. In the midst of all these Xerox-copy classes and required electives, there was no InDesign class. I personally never learned InDesign until grad school, and even then I taught it to myself. I did have a Quark class, but the professor teaching it had never used the software before, so he also had no clue what he was doing. A Flash/web class is a program requirement, but I took Web Animation II thinking I'd be learning some new, more advanced techniques. Nope! My professor (Mr. Hassinger, I think) just told us that we had to make a portfolio site and show it to him at the end of the semester. He didn't teach us anything new at all, so I basically paid for an 11-week study hall. I think the Art Institutes like to artificially pad their programs in order to stretch them out into associate's and bachelor's programs. If you got rid of all the superfluous classes and just kept the real core courses, an AiP bachelor's program would only be a year and a half long, at best. An associate's program would be more like a certificate program, if it's lucky. Next, let's look at supplies. The school really shoves it down your throat when you enroll to buy their $500 starting kit and they make it sound like you'll be lost without it. I didn't even use half the stuff in it. Now, to be fair, I was in Game Art & Design for a year before I switched majors, but I think a year would be long enough to use everything in a *starting* kit. All the expensive textbooks in the kit were never used and I only used a few of the tools in said kit. The professors loved to tell you about their "required" textbooks that you HAD to buy for the class, and then we'd proceed to never once open those textbooks. My English II professor told us all we needed to buy the textbook for her class and we used it to read part of one poem the whole semester. Some professors would tell us to get the books on Amazon and that previous, cheaper versions would suffice, but others insisted on buying the most up-to-date version brand-new from the student store. I'd just go to the school library for any required reading or assignments and it saved me a lot of money. Housing was a real adventure too. About halfway through my academic career, AiP shuffled us to our new downtown dorms, which were really just a converted parking garage with concrete floors and non-opening windows. Yup, the windows did not open, so if someone burned their popcorn or pancakes or what-not, they couldn't open the windows and air the room out like a normal human being. They had to open the door and let the smoke into the hallway, which usually meant someone thought there was a fire and pulled the fire alarm. I'm pretty sure the fire department hated our guts having to respond to at least two false alarms every semester. In addition, the housing staff would specifically run fire drills at 11 or 12 at night to ensure that most/all of us were in the building to experience said drill. This was especially fun in the winter and people had to stand outside in 15-degree weather in their pajamas and bath towels. That BS took about 15-20 minutes, and then another half hour to get back to your room because the elevators and stairwells were packed with students. And if you refused to leave your room during a drill, you'd get fined. Also, don't be surprised if you get slapped with bills for damage to your room. When I was at the old dorms on the North Side, my roommates and I all got a bill for some unknown damage to the room. No explanation or details about it - just a $300 bill for each of us. Financial aid was special too. Like many teenagers in college, I didn't quite know how the whole financial aid thing worked out, but I trusted that my financial advisors did. They never explained things all that well and would just tell us to sign various documents in order to keep the aid going for the next year. Yeah, they don't tell you that you're selling your soul to Navient (formerly Sallie Mae) by taking out high-interest private loans that do not offer income-based repayment or forgiveness. Tuition is insane too. For a piddly bachelor's degree, it's $100,000. Career Services was worthless during enrollment and after graduation. I attempted to do freelance work through the school's career services and was told I had to be a student for, I think, six semesters before they'd even consider me for freelancing (I'd only been there maybe four at that point). So at the six-semester mark, I went back to the director of graphic design (who was a photography major, by the way) and showed her that I had already had my work published in two books since I started attending AiP. She still told me I wasn't qualified enough to freelance. If being a published freelance illustrator doesn't qualify you to do whatever piddly work AiP had to offer, then I don't know what does. While we're at it, let's talk about their job placement rates. The Art Institutes as a whole just love to brag about how 80 percent of their students find jobs after graduation, or how 9 in 10 students find careers. Wow, that sounds great, doesn't it? Yeah, it's a bunch of crap. AI is able to boast such a high job placement rate because they count ANY job, not just art-related ones. If you're working at Wendy's or FedEx or a car dealership after graduation, that gets counted in their job statistics. If they were honest about how many of their students secured employment in their fields of study, their job placement rates would be so abysmally low that nobody would enroll. I couldn't even get a job making coupons or page layouts for the local newspaper office with my AiP bachelor's degree. In closing, the best way to sum up my review of this place is DON'T GO HERE. To call it a horrible institution would be an understatement. I know the name sounds inviting and you might think, "Oh wow, a school dedicated entirely to art! I always see their ads on TV, so they must be good!" But don't believe it. An advertised school almost always means it's for-profit, and for-profit always means that it sucks. If you want to go to art school, do some research and find a real art program. You'll get a far better education for far less money than you would ever get at any Art Institute."
1.7 out of 5 stars
Sebas Restrepo - 6/10/2015
Degree: Graphic Design
Graduation Year: 2012
"This place is the best at exploiting your desire to go to college and become a better person. I enrolled believing everything positive I was hearing from the counselors, while also trying not to worry much about the cost since the financial aid people made it sound like this would be a loan I could totally manage and afford once I graduated; and now I regret this choice. A couple of months into the program, I realized most teachers were not qualified and most clases felt improvised, there were instances were teachers were actually learning along with the students and showed no experience at all on the software that was being taught. My bachelors degree in Graphic Design ended up costing me over $100k! this makes no sense since I applied for financial aid every year, was an A+ student, and took my educations serious."
2.3 out of 5 stars
Worst Decision I Ever Made - 4/29/2015
Degree: Graphic Design
Graduation Year: 2009
"120k in debt to SallieMae now Navient. 6 years since I graduated and no job. Before I attended they told me I would get a job with start pay at 30k with an Associates Degree and 35-40k with a Bachelors. So I went for Bachelors program and when I graduated the first and only job I was hired for stared at $15hr which was gona be 30k. A month later I was terminated, no Graphic Design job since then. They are a scam nothing but false advertisement."
1.3 out of 5 stars
Arron Stone - 7/31/2014
Degree: Graphic Design
Graduation Year: 2017
"I am currently still enrolled with this school but once this semester is over I will be leaving. So let me start of with the fact I am a us veteran. Since I enrolled a year ago I have had nothing but trouble with reviving my GI benefits because of the school. Every semester I have gone through the same issues. They continuously forget to submit paperwork to the VA which causes me to not receive my benefits. I am among many of the veterans that attend this school who have the same on going issues. Next this school has got some of the worst instructors/teachers I have ever seen. The majority of them use youtube as their tool of choice when it comes to teaching. They spend more time telling you to youtube the class agenda for the day rather than physically teaching you. I could have saved the VA and tax payers dollars by staying at home and doing that. Then once you actually get a teacher who actually tries to instruct you, they have no idea what they are talking about. I have a history teacher who told our class that the earth is only 4,000 years old. That shows you the kind of intelligence these teachers have. Next this school will enroll anyone and I mean anyone just so they can make money. We have students there who struggle with simple tasks throughout the entire course and learn nothing and they will just push them along till they fail and move on to the next which is wrong. I am not saying that the mentally challenged don't deserve a chance to goto school and to try and make something of themselves but you can not throw them into technically challenged curriculum. If I could give no star's to this school on ratings I would. I do not recommend this school to anyone. I suggest a university or community college."
1.0 out of 5 stars
Lindsay M. - 7/10/2014
Degree: Graphic Design
Graduation Year: 2009
"AiP, much like the other Art Institutes, is a pathetic excuse for a college. Rarely did I feel genuinely challenged in the entire four years I was enrolled because the projects were easy. This is because the school will accept absolutely anyone. You don't need actual talent to pass or even excel, and even with the more difficult majors like game design, your success is almost certainly due to skills you already had before you got there. Financial services are a joke - they just have you sign papers while telling you everything is under control and you have no idea what you're getting yourself into. Career services is worthless too - you might get an internship if you're really lucky. I was told I wasn't experienced enough to do freelance work via the school after I'd had my work published several times. The fact that I was getting a bachelor of SCIENCE degree in a field of art rather than a bachelor of art or fine arts degree should have been a big flaming red flag, but I was stupid and assumed the school was worthwhile. AiP is a worthless school - a diploma mill in college's clothing and what you'll leave with is six figures of debt and a degree you'll never ever use. I kid you not, I couldn't even get a job making coupons for the local newspaper with my AiP degree. Yeah, that BS is just that - BS. The only thing you'll be able to use your Art Institute degree for is to line your coat when you're homeless under the weight of crippling, unforgiving debt. Art majors aren't very lucrative career choices to begin with, but if you absolutely must attend art school, PLEASE don't go to an Art Institute. Actually, I would strongly suggest auditing art classes and majoring in something more practical. Learn from my mistake, folks. Don't irrecoverably bury yourself in debt at this horrible school."
1.0 out of 5 stars
Krista - 4/18/2013
Degree: Graphic Design
Graduation Year:
"After high school I was wanting a career in graphic design, so I looked to the Art Institutes since I had seen so many commercials. The actual walk through and orientation went very well which gave me high hopes. It only took about a week though to figure out how things really worked there. For starters, the price. I hadn't compared the price of schools before I landed at the Art Institutes. I was paying almost $10,000 for ONE QUARTER. That included an art supply kit which cost $950 of supplies that could've been purchased much cheaper at places like Hobby Lobby. Plus, I never even touched half of the supplies. Second, the teachers. I had five classes, all of which were on campus. The best teacher was an adjunct for a core philosophy class. One of my art teachers who was teaching Photoshop had no clue what he was doing. I could've learned more from an instructional book than him. My other teachers weren't too bad, but with how much I was paying, I expected better quality instructions. And lastly, I hated the faculty. I found most of the faculty to be very rude and not helpful, especially the financial aid department and advisers. I only stayed at the Art Institutes for one quarter before deciding that it wasn't the school for me. I couldn't justify staying at a school that charges an insane amount of money for poor quality classes. I have since transferred to a local community college, which I pay just pennies for in comparison. AND the art department at this school is much more helpful in assisting me, and I've learned much more than at the Art Institutes. It may look all nice and dandy on the commercials, but I would NOT recommend this school to anyone!"
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