The Art Institutes Reviews
Student & Graduate Reviews (144)
This is a for-profit ripoff school, who allegedly hires 'industry professionals' as their teachers, but are inconsistent. Teachers phone in the education and are overwhelmed by the amount of students in each class. The best part is, they constantly preach that your success is 'what you make of it', but gloss over many of the character and modelling skills that you will NEED to succeed, and instead fall back on silly things like body studies, etc. You'd think you shouldn't or wouldn't get approved to an art school if you didn't know how to draw already - yet I saw many either who had not drawn a single thing in their lives attempting to draw 'concept art' for a 3D project, or others held back learning about what a 'storyboard' was. Outside of school, unless you have a foot into the industry, or a network that you created while you are at school, you will be SOL. The irony is that I have a friend who self-taught himself 3D modelling and animation, outside of school, and has more success because he is simply more skilled than I am. He said he was quite disappointed at the lackluster portfolios and true lack of talented work displayed by myself and many of my peers and was frankly shocked that I was showing my amateur portfolio to 'industry professionals'. I'm currently still dealing with it and doing the best I can, saddled with $40,000 student loan that I can't even start paying yet, and my only job right now is part-time where I get paid $10/hr to animate characters for a small company. Certainly not what I thought would happen after all the promises the 'recruiter' made to me as I signed all the loans.
I see a lot of reviewers saying that it simply takes drive, passion, and a commitment to learn the necessities for your degree. I agree entirely, but if one has such qualities, they should not waste their money here. Self-teaching is absolutely an option and I strongly encourage taking that route if it is at all possible for you. Paying for programs the school gives a discount for (such as Maya, Mudbox, ZBrush, Photoshop, ect.) and thoroughly studying tutorials on said programs is a much better idea than paying for the tuition. Chances are that researching your program will provide evidence that one doesn't even need a degree to pursue this career. To become successful, one must have drive, a good portfolio, and a big network. One of my teachers who had found a job in my field during his youth confessed to me that his experience at the Art Institute only gave him one thing he didn't teach himself: networking skills (which, in my opinion, is not worth $100,000+).
Don't waste your time. It is a for-profit college designed to extract the government money out of the poor and veterans. You end up with more debt than an ivy league and the experience worse than a community college. Totally the worst thing I ever did.
Great school when I was there, recent changes have not had a positive affect on the school.
The art institutes are a huge scam. You do not need a degree in this field to work in it. Ai required me to retake things like english 100,that I had already passed with an A at another college. The campus based classes are just as bad with transfer credit issues they had meets about my education without my knowledge or presence, as if I was a child. The teachers are awful, either they blatantly hate teaching and don't care if you know it, or they hate it but try to fake it. Do not waste your money here, do a cheaper route like RHODEC or community college. None of the credits for an art major transfer except very basic ones. I quit after many many problems, and my advisor said I was the most promising student she had. And I got charged the entire amount even though I dropped out within their own time frame. Such a fraud, huge huge fraud.
Do not go to The Art Institute for a Game or Animation Degree. This school accepts everyone, charges way too much for tuition ($100,000) , tries to trick you into spending money on unnecessary things such as $1000 rent per month for housing (no this cannot be split between students and you have to share a room with two other students), and an intro kit ($1000) that has items in it that you will never use. They have a HUGE dropout rate, and they say they will will help get you a job. The jobs they send their students are not art related 87% of the time. The four years I went there, they rarely had a career adviser or a head of department because their staff either kept being let go or quitting. A quarter of the teachers there were very knowledgeable and extremely helpful, while the rest were there just to make a few bucks. The Art Institute will squeeze every dollar out of you, and if you don't have what they want, they will say they will work with you but just send you to collections in the end, even after you have been making steady monthly payments.
The cons: It was a for-profit company, so while they told us that underperforming students would not be permitted to advance and/or graduate, the truth was that AiPD was never going to give up the money that student was paying, no matter how terrible the student was at design. There were some TERRIBLE "designers" in some advanced classes. Some teachers were also overworked/overbooked teaching a ton of classes, some of which they clearly had only a passing knowledge of the subject matter. It was hideously expensive so I am over thirty and still paying off the loans I had when I graduated at 21. The pros: It was the only college in my vicinity that offered the sort of major I wanted. Class sizes were small, usually around 15-20 students. I was able to finish a 4yr degree in three years. It was the right sort of college for me - but it's not for everybody!
If I could give this no stars, ever, I would. They are overbearing in ways. They call you all day everyday to "talk" for several hours about nothing. I removed my phone numbers and they were pissed and never stop telling me so. The team you're given to help you through is an uneducated group who has no information for you about anything. They claim they never heard from you; they actually just ignore your emails for about 6 months then claim they were busy. The instructors are hardly knowledgeable. They treat their class like it's something you'll truly need but it isnt. You will spend half your time reviewing other students' work when your teacher should be doing that. Good luck finding a teacher who posts grades on time. Good luck finding an I strict or who even pays attention and grades you correctly, they're hard to come by. Overall this is a highly expensive and overrated school. Art institute is terrible, please don't waste your time. Go to a REAL art school. This is the worst mistake I've ever made.
Classes were not as informative on industry standards or prepared in a professional manner. It does not prepare you for work in your desired field and gives falsified information on active jobs post education.
Let me start by saying this: I LOVED my school. All my instructors (minus the HR instructor) were GREAT, active industry related professionals that knew exactly what they were doing. I learned so much, possibly because I was an older student (26 at the time) ready and determined to get the most of my money. Upon graduation is where the frustration happened. I was sold on the education and committing to the school for the length of the degree because they PROMISE to "help you find a job after graduation". Did I find a job? NOPE. Everything the career advisor was sending me was from the same career search engines I was already using; I'm sure I probably knew about MORE. THE SCHOOL DOES NOT HELP YOU FIND A JOB AS THEY PROMISE!!! I ended up opening my own business because I couldn't find anything. Was it the school that prepared me for the real world? Not really. But they did help me learn time management, but I could have gotten that from any other college for LESS MONEY.