The Art Institutes Reviews - Bachelor's in Photography

1.67 out of 5 stars
(5 Reviews)
  • Nationwide
  • Annual Tuition: $17,316 - $18,648
0% of 5 students said this degree improved their career prospects
40% of 5 students said they would recommend this program to others
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Student & Graduate Reviews

1.0 out of 5 stars
Alexis - 8/30/2017
Degree: Photography
Graduation Year: 2010
"It's difficult to summarize the fraud that was perpetrated by this school or the degree to which it has negatively impacted my life, but I will try. This review is lengthy, but important! I have seen a lot of people discount experiences from disgruntled students by attacking their work ethic, intelligence, and character, so let me preface my review with that fact that I graduated at the top of my class. I won the award for Best Portfolio at Portfolio Review and was regularly on the Dean's and President's lists. I didn't expect anything in life to be handed to me - never have. Firstly, let's talk about my admissions meeting. If you research the government's lawsuit against the Art Institute, you will see that admissions reps were told to prey upon your "fears or dreams." They definitely went for my dreams. I was told all about their excellent job placement statistics and given a brochure with fabricated numbers (a basis of the government lawsuit). I was told that INDEFINITELY the Art Institute would help me find work in any city that there was an Art Institute. So, if I moved to NYC in the future, the AI there would place me. This was false. I was told that I would receive INDEFINITE use of the facilities/rental equipment to get my career up and running post-graduation and INDEFINITE help from Career Services. These were also false statements. The only equipment and facilities I could return to use were the computers if I lacked one, and I could only do so for 6 months. Career Services also capped their attempts to "place" me at 6 months post-graduation. You want to know how I discovered this? (It's the best part!): I was diagnosed with cancer and didn't know what to expect, so I phoned my CS woman to tell her to pause searching for jobs for me for a bit. She told me that she was glad that I reached out and that she would stop my timer. Excuse me? What timer? She then fills me in about the 6-month policy and seems equally taken aback that I had no idea it existed. I also brought a portfolio to my admissions meeting thinking that it would be requested. It wasn't. The admissions rep feigned interest and quickly thumbed through it and gave it a"that's nice" when I asked if she wanted to see it. Of course they don't need to see your portfolio! They don't care if you graduate or do well or not. They just want some warm bodies to sign loan paperwork. When we inquired if there were any scholarships, the admissions rep repeatedly told us there were none. There were, and one of them involved submitting your portfolio, which I could have done that day at that very moment, as I had it on me. My Career Services rep was not a photographer and had no idea how the photo industry functioned. The jobs that she sent out were mostly from Craigslist (i.e. she was unnecessary and there solely for the optics). I tried to do the 'responsible' thing and utilize her aid, regardless. The couple of jobs she sent me on interviews for were sub-minimum wage and/or predatory. I ended up trying to educate her regarding copyright and fair wages. Even afterwards, the predatory "job referrals" kept coming. Also, don't let them build up Portfolio Review as something that will be beneficial. We poured a good bit of time and money into my display and only one employer attended. This employer was looking for a nature photographer, and there were none of us there that photographed nature work. I also suspect that he was only there for optics and to say that they had at least one employer present in my field. The education itself was extremely poor and outdated, compounded by exorbitant additional expenses. They fought me tooth and nail about accepting transfer credits from a far better and more reputable college that I had attended prior, and made me retake several of their versions of classes that I had already taken. (The ones with the credits they wouldn't accept from the other school were BY FAR more educational.) In these classes, I was completing the sentences of the instructors because the material was 100% repetitive, which they knew, as they had seen the other classes' syllabi. I began attending in 2006. Digital photography was already the industry standard. Yet, half of my degree was spent working with film. You name the outdated film type/process, we did it and paid for classes in it: 35mm, medium format, large format, slide film, experimental darkroom processes, color film lab, "master printing." This made each class exponentially more expensive, as the only things provided by the school were the chemicals. We had to additionally pay for everything out of pocket: film, developing supplies, photo paper, developing tanks, storage for negatives, darkroom tools, etc. Some classes even required that you get specialty film processed externally ($$$) and just bring in your negatives. Then, all of these printed projects needed to be mounted or matted to boards for submission (more cost). We spent most of our degree begging for an updated education and told that this was still the industry standard. Yet, only a few months after I graduated, they removed both darkrooms and switched the program to entirely digital. During the course of my education, I had only two brief business classes that primarily focused on the commercial side of the industry and two VERY basic Photoshop classes where I actually taught my instructor things, as he wasn't very familiar with the software, himself. We did not learn: retouching, digital print preparation, marketing, sales, finances (things like business taxes), posing, and many other valuable skills needed to actually survive in the photography industry. The facilities and rental equipment were also severely lacking. They offered us one small "digital darkroom" with about 8 computers. If that was full and you needed to get an assignment done - tough. We had 3 studio spaces to complete work in, but these also hosted classes. So, at any given time, there were only 1 or 2 studios available to be shared by both photo and video majors. It was often difficult to sign up in time to get studio access to complete assignments. The studios themselves were tiny. The gear from the rental cage was limited and old. You were only allowed to sign out a certain number of lights at once, so if you wanted to light a scene with what I suppose AI considered 'too many' lights, you'd need to find a friend willing to sign out the extra gear for you. The gear provided to us was a handful of ancient Norman monolights and clunky power packs. I was blown away when I finally was in a real photo studio and saw their modern, efficient equipment and I had no idea how to operate any of it. My debt from my time at AI is astronomical and has ruined my life for close to eight years, now. There is a reason that the government sued them and won. I cannot wait for MY day in court and for some justice. I am trying desperately to start up my own studio, but the cost of the monthly loan payments has made growing the business so difficult. Ironic, huh? You go to school to have a chance at a career, then the cost of school prohibits you from the career you attended schooling for. Oh, and I was completely lost as to how to actually establish and run a studio, since none of that was covered during my $125,000 degree. I took a handful of $50 classes on CreativeLive.com and THEY were responsible for my current knowledge and abilities. If only I had known then what I know now. DON'T GO TO THE ART INSTITUTE. There is a wealth of better online education available at a fraction of a fraction of the price I paid for this worthless degree. Do that. Intern. Make connections. Study and grow independently. You will be SO MUCH better off."
2.5 out of 5 stars
Morgan - 6/14/2017
Degree: Photography
Graduation Year: 2012
"The Art Institute of Portland is a great school. But I believe that the program is incredibly overvalued. There were a great variety of classes and I only had two instructors in my 4 years there that I would rate poorly. All the instructors and staff are very understanding of problems and honest about the real working world. There were many opportunities to meet professionals in the classroom and in their studios."
1.3 out of 5 stars
Jess - 5/5/2017
Degree: Photography
Graduation Year: 2015
"DO NOT WASTE your money. My parents are $100,00.00 in debt because of this school. They kept cancelling classes, put me in higher level classes without having the prerequisites because they couldn't fill up the classes, charged us for extras they said were included when they first signed me up, etc. I had to stay an extra quarter because they kept discontinuing the classes I needed and changing the requirements. They made up an online course for just me to take so I could graduate. They have now closed this branch. No one new can go there and they are just finishing those that need to complete their degree. They did not help at all with getting a job. They won't answer the phones. This "school" is a scam."
2.8 out of 5 stars
Money Wasted - 5/2/2014
Degree: Photography
Graduation Year: 2014
"Where do I start; This school is over priced for no reason and they milk VETERAN personnel for every penny the VA will give them. Credits from one state to another don't transfer if other schools don't have the same classes and they have a rule that is you do transfer you must do 45 credits in the new school before you can graduate (even in you only have 20 credits left). Matters worst your left with a redundant feeling that your doing the same things over and over in every class. Don't get me wrong the teachers I've had are amazing and smart in the field but as for the people above them; it seems like its all about the money, as long as they get the check on the first your just a dollar sign roaming the halls. Sucks to say but it seems like a waste of 3 years of my life. I'm not even excited about finishing anymore."
4.3 out of 5 stars
Lily Carlson - 9/1/2013
Degree: Photography
Graduation Year: 2009
"I had a great time at college studying art, art history, writing, philosophy, and psychology. This education has enhanced my understanding of the world and stimulated my creativity. I attended school for massage therapy after receiving my bachelor's degree and am currently employed as a massage therapist instead of working as a photographer, which is the field I majored in. I still believe that I use the skills and concepts I learned in college every day, and recognize the value of my 4 years at school."