The Art Institutes Reviews
Student & Graduate Reviews (144)
I did online classes with the Art Institute of Pittsburgh Online Division (I was living in Detroit, MI at the time). When they called me, they managed to get me to enroll even though I had no interest but ended up enrolling, they did waived the enrollment fee for me, however, when I was going through the student loan BS, they didn't explain it well, they told me to just sign it and they will take care of it for me. They claim that they are taking student loans on my behalf but I never consented on doing so. Classes were not even related to what I'm majoring in. I was majoring in Game Art & Design (I'm a PC gamer). I'm now and still am stuck with minimum wage jobs, but luckily, I didn't stick around too long so I'm stuck with $5K debt but after reading other reviews, I'm glad I dropped out before it was way too late. Right now because of Ai, my credit score is trashed when I finally was closed to getting it fixed. If your enrolled, drop out now before you collect too much debt. Didn't enroll yet, good, don't enroll. I got a family to take care of so I can't deal with student loans. I'm about to be enlisting myself into the US Army so I can take care of these debts unless I can find a way to clear it. Last thing I need is a bankruptcy in my credit report.
The New England Institute of Art is a scam, plain and simple. It's a diploma mill designed to saddle students with as much debt as possible while skirting around the barest minimum of what could reasonably be called a school. We'll start with Admissions, since that's initially what suckered me in. It's clear to me now that admissions representatives are trained to say whatever is necessary to get students to enroll, however misleading or downright false. I distinctly remember being told that AI had many alumni working in big name animation studios such as Pixar and Dreamworks. This is a blatant lie. I was also told that around 85% of alums were gainfully employed in their respective fields of study. Last I checked, that number is closer to 15-20%. Financial Aid is another matter. I was told multiple times that a single loan per semester would be enough to cover the cost of tuition. However, on multiple occasions, I was pulled out of class and told that I couldn't return unless I signed paperwork for more loans on the spot. The curriculum is a joke as well, either being spread way too thin, or loaded down with dumb and totally unnecessary classes that you're forced to take. I was forced to take a "computer science" class my first semester because I'd never used a mac before. The class consisted of the teacher handing out a "to do" list (which would only take about 1 hour of the 3 hour class) and spending the rest of the class playing Words with Friends. In the core curriculum for my major, subjects that really needed a few weeks to cover were glossed over in a single class, meaning that any student that didn't have foreknowledge of 3D software (the vast majority of us) was constantly struggling to keep up with lessons. I also took a single life drawing class for my entire 4 years at AI. Life drawing is an essential skill for someone in my major and I only had ONE class! There should've been one every semester! Most of the faculty were competent enough, but there was ZERO consistency in the curriculum between teachers, so lessons were scattered and oftentimes contradictory. Career Services was the worst joke out of everything. I was assured, over and over, that Career Services would be available to help me find a job. However, after I graduated, I called and emailed 2-3 times a week and got no response whatsoever. Emails were never responded to, calls went to voicemail and were ignored and I even came to the school in person twice, hoping to speak to someone and both times I was told that my so-called career adviser was unavailable that day. Finally, after six months of being ignored, I got a call and was told I would no longer receive help from my career adviser since they had other students that needed help. Yeah. Thanks. The degree I got from AI is worthless and I have nothing to show for it but $135,000 in debt that I will never be able to repay. To top it off, during a job interview, I had a prospective employer say that my education was "frankly, a joke." And that's exactly what AI is. A joke. The kind of joke that ruins your future and your financial security. TLDR: This school is a scam. Save yourself. Save your family. Save your money. Don't even think about this "school".
Misleading grad-to-hire statistics. Incompetent instructor who piggyback off his teacher assistant to teach us intro classes instead of doing the teaching himself. He also told us to watch online tutorials on digital tutors or youtube if we ever had any questions. How they hired an inexperienced person who had a degree in English to teach Intro to 3D Modeling or anything art is beyond me. Waste of time and overly expensive. Poor financial aid and financial advisor are clueless. They don't help you with finance, they recommend all their students to take out private loans and lying that when the students graduates, they will land a high paying job to pay back their loans. They lure in low-income students to get financial aid from the government and then screw over those students for garbage degrees because the instructors don't know theaerials they're supposed to be teaching.
I was fortunate enough to have very good professors and the rigorous course load/schedule prepared me for the fast-pace world. The administration is another story. I had to fight tooth and nail to get my credits transferred (even though, the credits has the same title/description) and my adviser was 80% clueless most of the time. I ended up having to advocate for myself and do my own scheduling and degree audit. In the end, I had to do a lot of things myself (financially) to only leave with 45K in student loans. I don't recommend this school, because it isn't worth it. The company wants to see your skills and don't care where you got your undergrad. The degree gets you an interview, but the skills keep you employed.
This school ruined my life, the degree isn't worth the paper it's printed on, you have to take useless classes that has nothing to do with cooking or the culinary industry, and the classes that you do cook in you hardly ever do any cooking, you learn useless facts that your be tested on later instead of learning different cooking techniques, some of the teachers only speak English as a second language and are hard to understand especially in a crowded classroom, and they will also yell at you for no reason, they will not help you find a job or even an internship, I ended up working at the cafeteria for my internship. So please don't go here it will ruin your career instead try an apprenticeship program or just try starting at the bottom at a restaurant
When I started at the Art Institute of Colorado... I was told that the classes got better after a year and you get the general art classes out of the way... Turns out the actual degree classes were not much better. But by the time you realize how terrible this school is you are already in so much debt that you feel like you need to continue. The degree has such a vast scope that in every class many of the students don't have their heart in it. Everybody has passions in different areas of the degree. And because of this the students that actually want to learn, don't really learn anything because the students that aren't passionate in this class are still trying to get caught up. Some of the teachers were not bad. Some of the teachers were terrible. Often the teachers were not utilized correctly by the school.
THIS SCHOOL IS A SCAM. IT COSTS FOUR TIMES AS MUCH A QUARTER THEN A COMMUNITY COLLEGE BUT THE CREDITS AREN'T TRANSFERRABLE TO OTHER SCHOOLS. THE PROGRAMS ARE OUTDATED. THE CAREER SERVICES DEPARTMENT DOESN'T HELP YOU FIND WORK THAT YOU COULD REALISTICALLY PAY OFF YOUR LOANS AND BILLS WITH, ONLY POSITIONS THAT YOU COULD HAVE GOT WITHOUT A DEGREE. IF YOU WANT A JOB THAT PAYS A LITTLE MORE THAN MINIMUM WAGE, THEY GOT YOU COVERED. FINANCIAL AID DEPARTMENT IS SHADY AND DOESN'T RETURN PHONE CALLS OR EMAILS. IF THEY OWE YOU MONEY THEY WAIT AS LONG AS THEY CAN TO PAY YOU. They also just got bought out by a nonprofit to avoid all the lawsuits and loan forgiveness they were being hit with. They prey on people with low incomes and that are fresh out of the military because it's a guaranteed pay check for them. Teachers don't even teach their classes. My last two years I only learned what I thought myself. They make you pay for a web portfolio class that the teacher in the first week of class said "If you have any questions Google it, cause I can't help you." What is he even being paid for and what did I pay for?
I went to the New England Institute of Art in Boston. One semester I had an Edgar Allen Poe English class the entire semester we watched the doors, and Dixie chicks "documentaries" not really sure that was relevant to graphic design but hey now I have $135,000 in student loans so you tell me if that education was worth it. Everything I "learned" at this school I knew prior to going there because I went to a tech school my last semester of high school. And everything I learned about how to communicate professionally and successfully I learned on the job I got myself after college. Also AI claims they got me a job in graphic design after graduation.... I worked at staples as a cashier And I got that job myself. Total scam. They prey on stupid 18 year olds from low income family's that they know will have to take out massive private loans just to attend. I got in "early admission" October 2006 and I was so excited I said yes and didn't even consider any other school that accepted me later in the year. Yes I was dumb but it is their job to recognize people they can con. To this day 7 years later I have never been employed as a graphic designer.
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.
I started here in 2010 in hopes of getting a BA in Game Art and Design. Before I enrolled, I asked if I would have enough financial assistance to get my degree and was assured multiple times that it would be no issue. About 6 months after I enrolled, I was told I would have one week off a year from classes and that each class was being shortened to just 5 1/2 weeks. This was not an efficient nor appropriate amount of time to learn anything and having no real knowledge of the software, it was a miserable experience. There were a few times I had a teacher not sign into a class for over a week, leaving me and other students wondering what to do next or how to fix our work. I even had a teacher tell me that I couldn't have help to understand an assignment that was already graded because it was against AI policy. Then half way through my degree I was told I would have to pay out of pocket because my financial aid was used up (again after I was assured to have enough to cover my education). When I would ask for scholarships or payments options, my financial advisor would tell me I was "ineligible for any assistance" or would tell me to find information on my own. Another shady thing about this whole situation? Constantly getting different advisors every class. You never had the same person twice and it made trying to ask questions or get into the right classes difficult. STAY AWAY FROM THIS "INSTITUTION". They are not out to help you, and you can get a better quality education at a community college for not even close to this price tag.