The Art Institutes Reviews
Student & Graduate Reviews (134)
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.
Most, if not everything I learned can be accessed online through tutorials, courses (free or paid), lectures, and 3d websites. If I could choose again I'd purchase online courses and learn through tutorials instead of attending school. The biggest aspect college offered was feedback from peers, which takes a while to get online, if you do get any at all.
The School: Dont count on much, full "open labs" that regularly had class being held. Where was a student supposed to work on His or Her assignments if the "open" lab was being used as a classroom half the day? Too many students not enough computers/rooms available. To give you an idea, the building was once a parking structure, narrow hallways and completely filthy bathrooms. I came from out of state and paid 160k because of student housing, book costs, and hidden fees like licensing software and food, because the school only had few vending machines which were over priced and under stocked so eating out was the only option some days. The "Professors": The one professor that was teaching my degree was brilliant. He would gladly lay down his life for any one of his students. I respect him and wish him the best of luck in everything he does. The others who taught gen-eds where no more educated than I was. Power points and test seemed to be there forte and where never available for individual questions and concerns. To say the least it was an easy school to pass and an easier school to cheat the system. The "students": When I started 2009 I had to show a portfolio of artwork that I previously had before attending. After my second year. maybe late 2009 the school just exploded with new students. It was clear that they got rid of the requirements and started taking anyone off the street and putting them into a classroom. The TALENT level of these students were embarrassing. The professors had to give grading curves and extra credit to everyone to boost there grades even the ones who were doing well. On my last year out, it was obvious what this school wanted... Money. These people would be approved for the first year of college and drop out because it was too expensive. Its a shame because most first year courses are general education like MATH or SOCIAL STUDIES... DO YOU SEE THE PROBLEM HERE?? Career Services and student services: They would say things like "things are on the up and up. you'll find a job, we just had 12 people accept a job in there field last semester and your work is way better than theirs" where were those jobs? why wasn't I offered any? Well its hard for them considering the 6 student services administrators had 200 kids to look over. It was clear that these poor women just couldn't handle the work load, and when it came to registration you had have lines all day of at least 50 people waiting patiently to register for classes... Never have I ever seen such a poor example of uncooperative miserable and annoyed professionals in my life. DONT count on getting help from them. Truth of it is that I was the first in my family to go to college. I had this fire and energy that I brought to my majors classes everyday and I was good, talented and focused. I took 4 months off of school my last year, and took a job out in California even though Ai wouldn't accept it as an internship, I worked on Big Budget films. I came back with even more energy and I graduated. Then I struggled, couldn't afford rent and a student loan payment. (normally you get 6 months of interest free student loans that are on hold. I on the other hand used 4 months of that on my break from school and only had 2 months to find a job and pay the $1100 a month repayment plan that was in there words "the lowest we can go" I found a job in my field for $10 an hour and after 3 months was let go again because the company was closing. After a while of avoiding student loan calls I had to move home (with my parents) and accept a warehouse position for $10 an hour. Im bitter and my loans were 160k are now up to 190k. (interest) all of the promises that were giving to me as I filled out the application to this school were nothing but lies and what a horrible mistake I made listening to this facility telling me I'm an individual, unique and creative. I was just another loan and another stupid kid sucked into there greed and unfortunately they are still accepting students. My best intention was to be proud of my career and get a good college experience/degree, and I feel this school has completely ruined my life. I have a B.A. that is meaningless and a whopping student loan debt that I will have for the rest of my life...
The teachers facebook during class and when you ask a question instructors laugh and ask why would you do that? Then their heads go right back into facebook or their phones. The product we are given is horrible usually moldy, instructors once again are telling us to use it. All the moneny paid to attend this wonderful school and equipment is broken or non existent. Instructors will talk about other instructors and tell you they're the best and make fun of students to their faces or to other students. I feel like I would've been better off studying Julia Childs and The Modernist Cuisine. If you're looking for a career in this field read those book you'll be good. Ha international cuisine this school forgot the world is more than Europe Asia and Mexican foods. . This school lets anyone in the students are almost all vets it feels like a veteran playground. Each vet knowing more than instructors and trying to teach class.The funniest part instructors allow them to mis- inform students. Some students don't turn in work and they're awarded passing grades after you've spent a lot of time studying and writing. Instructors will have you turn in work and never even look at the work so how do you know what you're doing is right? My advice don't attend this school especially if you're looking for a challenge. Challenge is frowned upon and will get you a good scolding from your instructors and head of departments if thats what you're looking for. The one good thing about this school is the flood of job openings you'll receive for 7.25 hour jobs.Don't get me wrong I did learn a thing or two but Modernist Cusine and Julia Childs could've taught me those things quicker. When you get into the industry most likely you'll be laughed at for attending this school. Please take my advice your tour around the school is BS, the adsare BS this whole Institute is BS
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.
Over 100K of debt with a job that pays less than 25K a year is really tough and it's thousands of us in the same situation. Don't waste your time, it's all over that is a scam and sued for 11 billion for FRAUD! google it, I regret this decision forever and it ruins many people lives. Don't do the same.
This place is a joke! Made me feel like I was the stupid one. so glad I have decided to go else where. Don't waste your money, not worth it at all. IT'S JUST A REALLY OVER PRICE TRAINING SCHOOL. Wish I would have never came here. drowned in loans and having to start from zero, Nothing transfers.
This school has so far done nothing but ruin my life! I attended here for only a month before the headache started! When I enrolled I signed a contract saying I would pay $155 out of pocket each month for what my student loans didn't cover with along with rent, food and all my other expenses was very reasonable ... A month into classes I was called to the office and was told I needed to bumb my payments up to $255 a month and they had some bullshit reason as to why, and me being a dumb 19 year old I signed and agreed. Maybe 2 months after that the same thing happens and was assured this would not go past $300. By the time I got a year into school they were trying to charge me $1,500 OUT OF POCKET. When I reached out to try and get help they told me "get a second job" no compassion what so ever. I was a dedicated student with great grades, always attended class, and worked my ass off. I worked just about every minuet I wasn't in class to be able to try and afford school and that still wasn't enough! This school has unreal financial expections of students and doesn't give a shit about helping you find help all you are is a paycheck to them! I have had MANY friends have a very similar situation, and have actually talked to complete strangers who attended and were forced to dropped out because of the same ridiculous sudden price increase. I wouldn't recommend this school to my worst enemy! Now that I am out of school because I couldn't afford $1500 a month they call me daily harassing me telling me they are going to turn me over to collections and destroy my credit and so on. This went from being my biggest dream to my worst nightmare and it isn't even close to over. Unless you have parents that are loaded or can afford that much every single month just for school DO NOT GO HERE! SAVE YOURSELF THE HEART BREAK AND THE HEAD ACHE!
I attended this school back in the day. They sell you a promise of a well paying career in culinary arts. You'll make more than enough money to pay off that loan from Sallie Mae they love to push. That was a lie. After graduating I would be hired making barely enough to make ends meet. This is common, very very very few of us from our class make a decent living if we stuck with culinary arts. I actually earned less than my neighbor who worked at McDonald's at the time. The degree is incredibly overpriced, go to a community college and learn for a fifth of the price. Seriously, DO NOT waste your money. I struggled for years, I felt like a failure. Also, if you lapse on your loan payment, Sallie Mae calls your about three times a day. I eventually enrolled in a 4 year state college(which was STILL MUCH CHEAPER). I make a great living writing software. Also, those classes you take at AI? Only 30% of them transferred. AIH was a HUGE mistake. I'm still paying the loan($400 a month), I have a degree I don't use professionally and I'm ashamed to admit I have.
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.