The Art Institutes Reviews
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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.
The most I got out of this program was learning the correct terminology to use when searching the internet for tutorials. Some teachers were dedicated and taught well, however they were far and few between. 85% of the teachers were there to do the minimum they had to do and that was all. Some teachers would pass students just so they wouldn't have to deal with them the next quarter; This is not speculation it was direct from a teacher to myself that the student had passed so that the following class didn't have them dragging their feet in their team project. Another teacher didn't even hand out a single graded project the entire quarter, groups of 3 spent 2 weeks recording footage that was never used. This teacher was consequently let go the following quarter which should have been a clear indication that the class was not taught properly but faculty did nothing for the students in this class. I was forced to eat the grade this teacher had given me which was a D the only class that I was given a grade below a C, I graduated with a 3.0 for reference that I was not just getting rolling Cs for every class. The only guarantee you can expect from these schools is that you will be paying student loans for the rest of your life. Upon leaving school I was one of the few to get a job in my field, I have been making payments on my loans since I graduated and I will be lucky if I even touch the principle of some loans by the time I'm 45. My advice, don't do it, you are better off teaching yourself on youtube and having a good portfolio going into a job interview than mediocre work and a degree from a school that is frowned upon.
The Professors were the best,The corporation 1% EDMC should never be allowed to manage anything.Theuy lied and cheated students out of money and put us it debt.I would not trust e d m c to run a race.The people are criminals and should be forced to pay everyone's debt from 2004 -2008,and then have all their assets frozen.I only me administration of the corporation that ruined the school.This by no means against the teachers,btw all the teachers I had were let go a year after I graduated.
Do not go through them! They told me it would be cheaper attending online and quicker and then 4 years later they told me it was more expensive to attend online because they leave the classroom open 24 hours a day. The instructors are very late at responding. They are there to grade and give you a feedback before you redo your assignment by the end of the week. I tried transferring to the art institute of tampa and they would only accept half of my 108 credits because they said different statea have different requirements. Do not go through this school! I tried contacting a lawyer but i had no written proof from them because they only discuss issues over the phone. I was working two jobs and told them i couldnt call them and be on hold and they refused to email me back when i had issues with financial aid. They have had a lawsuit filed against them from the federal government if that tells you anything. They claim they will send your portfolio out 6 months before you graduate and will help you find a job. They do not! They give you a list of websites you can post your resume and consider working at home depot mixing paint utilizing your art degree. Bad reviews have been posted to google about them and they get deleted. So hopefully my review will help someone before it gets deleted.
All you have to do is take a look at the curriculum, student work, and job success rates of REAL art schools (Ringling, CalARTS, Art Center, etc) to know that AI is a a joke, pathetic in comparison, and ultimately exists only to scam the government out of FAFSA money. The only good instructors here kept their mouths shut, because they knew that criticizing the school's terrible, outdated curriculum would get them fired. The penny-pinching corporate suits run everything here, no one values the (VERY FEW) good teachers, and no one respects the students. Also, sorry to be blunt, but real art schools REQUIRE A GOOD PORTFOLIO to get in. AI doesn't. Sadly, any kid who doodled in a notebook could get an acceptance letter here, and the school gives these poor saps false hope of getting work that they are woefully under-prepared for. Most entry level AI students are lightyears behind their peers at SCAD, RSID, etc. The only reason I attended was because I got a scholarship...even then, I regret wasting my college years on a worthless. half-assed attempt at education. It took nearly 10 years of HARD, NON-STOP SELF EDUCATION to repair the damage AI did to my career.
This school is a joke! The computers and software are out of date, the teachers were subpar at best and they tripled the cost of renting an apt for students just because they had to roll it in to their insanely high interest loans. My school was SUPPOSE to be in the middle of a downtown, however it was 10 miles from center city and within walking distance to other. I was moving from the other side of the country and didn't get to visit or that'd obviously been noted upon visiting. They separated my mom and I when having to sign loan papers and lied lied LIED when asked about job placement. I would never recommend this school to anyone who wants to succeed in the art field!
I learned the minimum, I don't have enough knowledge to even use my degree. The teachers for the most part were not very helpful. Many of them told students to ask their neighbors for help, instead of assisting them. One class, the instructor had a medical issue, so they had a teacher from a different field, who admitted to never using the program, teach illustrator. He said that it would be a learning experience for him too. Not professional at all in my opinion to have someone teach an entire course on something they know literally nothing about. When I have spoken to people about jobs, they laugh at me because a degree from the art institute of Pittsburgh is considered "a joke", not that I would be able to have a career in graphic design since I learned the bare minimum.
Was told to take classes that (A)where not even part of my degree, or (B)classes that later be came not part of my degree. Still had to pay for them all, some multiple times with no reimbursement. School also tried to get me (a petite woman) to take an internship with a 'company' that was one guy working out of his basement. Constantly gave me the run around when i would try to ask for help. Tried to use me as a success story for their job placement stats when i later started working at an arts and crafts store. Got some interest inmy portfolio, but was ultimately told by potential bosses they don't hire from the Ai schools because the students are typically too unprepared/unqualified, and not worth investing time into training.
This school is a scam. Do yourself a favor and stay away from it, or risk owing the school a massive amount of money when you finally leave. I wish someone had told me this before I went there, would have saved me a ton of stress and anger. Do yourself a favor, pass on this school.