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Advice appreciated for my sophomore "wanna be" animator

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Replies to: Advice appreciated for my sophomore "wanna be" animator

  • YoHoYoHoYoHoYoHo Registered User Posts: 1,994 Senior Member
    edited February 2015
    Op,
    DS has taken classes at ID tech camp, DMA, along with precollege programs at RPI (video game design) and Otis (animation). Given how advanced your D is, I think that a class at ID tech camp will be way below her level at this point. SCAD may have a precollege program that is more affordable. Last summer DS had to choose between RISD and Otis for animation, but the cost at RISD was like 2.5 times that of Otis. The CSSSA (Ca state summer school for the arts) at Cal Arts is more affordable and may offer fin aid (costs more for OOS students). Check out the prices.
  • MamelotMamelot Registered User Posts: 2,116 Senior Member
    @moonpie you are spot-on to get your D to an NPD this fall as preparation for senior year. Some of those NPD's are pretty crowded and can be overwhelming. By doing a "trial run" in the junior year she and you will then figure out how to navigate the crowds when it REALLY counts - senior year. Plus, she'll get great advice on what to work on and have plenty of time to implement that guidance. (BTW, if you can bring another grownup along with you two to help hold a place in line it'll increase her chances of hitting all her interest schools).

    If you can swing it financially definitely send her to a pre-college over the summer before senior year. Those are MAJOR portfolio-building opportunities. The better the portfolio, the more merit money and hence the cheaper is art school. Your D's high grades will also help with that (as will high test scores if she's able to pull those off). I know that SAIC is pretty generous with merit aid for pre-college if she applies early enough and there are others as well. But even if she gets no aid, in the end it will be a major money saver to send her to pre-college for two reasons: 1) it increases her chance of merit aid in college as I mentioned; and 2) the intense immersion experience will really give her the experience base to figure out if art college is truly for her. Better to spend the $5 or $6 grand on that decision than $60 grand later on!!!. And it won't be a waste of money or time at all because ALL LAC's and universities - especially the competitive ones - are looking for their applicants to distinguish themselves from other high-achieving kids. Many now have "supplemental info" portals on the common ap. that allow a student to upload creative writing/visual art/research samples. Your D - should she choose something other than the "art school" route - will really stand out as an interesting candidate with her animation and other art pieces.
  • MadaboutxMadaboutx Registered User Posts: 1,592 Senior Member
    The University of the Arts in Philadelphia has a strong visual and performing arts program. One of their graduates just finished in the top 3 on The Voice and 3 other students were on So You Think You Can Dance. That could be a place where she can thrive.
  • GrnMtnMomGrnMtnMom Registered User Posts: 100 Junior Member
    @Mamelot made some great points about the advantages of pre-college. In addition to those (the experience, the portfolio building), I wanted to add that we recouped the cost of pre-college (at Pratt) and more, because my D's school gave her credits for that experience, which are credits we don't have to pay for.
  • MamelotMamelot Registered User Posts: 2,116 Senior Member
    Great point @GrnMtnMom! SAIC also gives college credit for its pre-college program (I think it's called Summer Institute or Early College or something like that). So does MCAD. There must be others as well. Furthermore, as long as the program grants the credit I think you can use 529 funds to pay for it.

    Not all of them do give credits, of course, so be sure to check that out before enrolling.
  • honestmomhonestmom Registered User Posts: 428 Member
    @‌Mamelot Great advice! My D went to a NPD as a junior just to see what it was about. Very glad we did that. When she went back this year, she was prepared and got to see 6 schools in 3 hours. She also did a portfolio boot camp last summer at Temple, which was invaluable. Not only did it get her portfolio in shape, but she was able to test out college level instruction and measure her ability against other talented artists.

    Most art schools will get specific in the tours for prospective students about their portfolio requirements, and show you examples of current students' art so you can get a feel for what they are looking for. At least that was our experience.

    You are correct about the 529 funds too, as long as the classes are usable for college credit you can use 529 funds to pay for them.
  • gouf78gouf78 Registered User Posts: 5,615 Senior Member
    Ringling also gives college credit for their pre-college. No denying the expense! When D attended I considered it much cheaper than signing up for an art school and then finding out the reality didn't match her expectation. Quite a few students did decide it wasn't for them or changed the focus of their intended major. If she hadn't loved it we would have still have had time to pursue other avenues.
  • moonpiemoonpie Registered User Posts: 481 Member
    All such helpful advice!!! Really, I'm ok with the money, but have to plan and budget for it. MY husband... Not so much. But we will see how that all plays out! The answers above have been the most helpful advice so far in helping me to decide what to do next. I'm very grateful for those who have gone before and can help me make some plans! What about Govenors School? She is planning on applying next summer, but maybe an immersion program would be better.
  • gouf78gouf78 Registered User Posts: 5,615 Senior Member
    Look up the Ringling site
  • elixin54elixin54 Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
    @moonpie‌ Not sure if someone has brought this up yet, but CSSSA is an amazing program for high schoolers who want to get into the "art scene"

    I attended in the summer of 2014 and it was an amazing program. If you're in-state, it's $2,500 and for out of state, it's $5,000. My family was in a pretty tight financial situation, so I applied for financial aid while sending in my application (They gave me over $1,000 in a scholarship and I essentially only needed to pay for the Visual Arts fee). Students live in the dorms there and they get free meals. The only things that you'd need to pay for would be laundry (It's insanely cheap to do laundry there though) and the optional field trips.

    The deadline for the 2015 program has ended, but she can always apply for the 2016 program or even in the summer of her senior year.

    It's an amazingly rewarding experience and I think anyone who loves art will absolutely adore the program!
    I hope this was a bit helpful, and good luck!
  • moonpiemoonpie Registered User Posts: 481 Member
    Update time! D3 starts Junior year tomorrow. We did a college visit at MCA (Memphis C of Art) in the spring and it was a good experience. The guy who reviewed her portfolio was very complimentary and couldn't believe she was a sophomore. She did an animation class and they played their video shorts at the end of the day, and hers was so much more technical and detailed compared to the others, that it was obvious she knew what she was doing. A friend asked if she could send her digital portfolio to an artist who went to RISD and works with admissions committee, and raises scholarships for kids to go to art school. He contacted me after my friend sent my girls portfolio and was very complimentary. He said she could get into any art school in the country with what she is doing now, and is very excited about her future and that he wants to be a part of her success. I say all the to preface my husband is still not on board. He feels art school is not going to give her a basis for future employment and will be too expensive even if she does get in somewhere. So, my questions are 1) do kids get good scholarships if they are truly talented .... my thoughts are, there are probably 100s of kids just like her out there, and scholarships are few and far between 2) How does going to a top school like RISD, SCAD, SVA, Cal Arts, etc, bode for getting a job in the art world? 3) Is Governor's School a good idea if we can't afford summer art program? 4) National Portfolio Days.... good way to see a bunch of schools? one is coming here in October, and 3 schools she is interested in will be here. 5) how much do grades matter? She has a 4.0, takes AP and Honors classes. She is also an All-state musician... do these things help?
    Sorry to ask so many questions, but finances are very tight this year, and trying to make the best decisions for my girl.
  • gouf78gouf78 Registered User Posts: 5,615 Senior Member
    Let's address your husband's concerns first.
    Can she get a job after graduation? There are a lot of good artists in the world but someone who has talent and been trained will find it much easier to land a job. Or create their own. I only know about Ringling which is not only tops in animation but has a fantastic career services department. Ringling has developed a reputation for "working artists" so the name does open doors. Seemingly all top companies come to interview.

    The art field has a lot of facets that are not apparent until you delve into them. Most everything around you has art connected with it--design of objects, graphics, books, advertising, film--much more. Animation has story, character, lighting, technical aspects of all sorts. There are a lot of avenues to be explored.
    It is competitive--in animation every kid wants to do story but those jobs may not be available--if that "dream" job is so focused that other opportunities are ignored then yeah, you could remain unemployed for quite a while. Get your foot in the door. Experience will grow more opportunity.

    Money? For the talented there are scholarships for college. She should apply for Ringling pre-college (scholarships are available). Many schools do have scholarships but if you don't apply and inquire you'll never know about them.
    Having a connection like your friend is great.

    Will it still be too expensive even if she got a scholarship? Well...maybe. I don't know your finances or D. Take a few things into consideration before making final decisions--what is the ultimate goal? Animation at Ringling (and it isn't easy) is a 4 year program. Some schools take 5 or 6 years so you need to factor that difference in. Prestige does count in the art employment world. Yes, some make it without any schooling at all. Arggh!
    Art schools HONE talent--they don't start at ground zero to make great artists.

    Look at potential salaries for different art fields--animation/film industry is much higher than a general illustration graduate. Some design fields pay higher than others. Is your D a self-promoter who wants to do a business of her own?

    Next questions (at least one's I can give any feedback)--
    NPD are great to not only see the schools but check out other student's work. Great time to check out the "competition". My only caveat--and only from our limited experience at a NPD at Ringling--don't get hung up looking at other kids work! There are many facets to the art world which require very different talents.
    When we went to Ringling for NPD (at the Ringling tables) there were different lines for portfolio review for different interests--fine arts, animation, illustration etc. We were there for animation.
    We stood in line watching and hearing critiques of portfolios--there were kids there with all sorts of awards that made you cringe for your kid. Man, some were brilliant. And they'd get turned away for the animation program and redirected to other lines. Wow. This is tough!
    Quick flip through my D's portfolio--prof found one thing she TRULY loved--and said "THIS is it...go home and do more. And no more anime. Ever." Gave us a guideline of who to study and what they looked for.

  • gouf78gouf78 Registered User Posts: 5,615 Senior Member
    Grades help to some extent. Ringling does not require a SAT but good grades reflect a willingness to work hard and does help in the admission process. Their goal is not only producing great artists but great artists who can support themselves. I'm sure other schools have the same philosophy.
  • moonpiemoonpie Registered User Posts: 481 Member
    thank you!! @gouf78 very, very helpful! My inlaws live close to Ringling, so we will hopefully combine a visit with them!
    i hate to make it sound like my husband is an Ogre who only care about money. I'd say he's more a realist : )
    As far as finances go, we have paid for a lot of college in the past 5 years. Our oldest just graduated, our middle will graduate next year (both are heading to Med school). We have no debt other than our house, and we live on a middle class income. we have some significant medical expenses, but our monthly bills are reasonable. Paying for college for my older 2 was much more than we ever expected, but we are prepared to pay the same for youngest (about $15,000-20,000 a year is what we can swing without accruing debt). The totals I see for schools are WAY beyond that, so trying to get an idea of what we may expect
  • gouf78gouf78 Registered User Posts: 5,615 Senior Member
    It is a hard decision. There is no "ogre" in the mix. You need sanity and a ton of reality in the mix. Finances are a huge part.
    Art school is expensive no doubt.
    I can't (and won't) figure your current expenses. I'm not an accountant.

    Things to consider:
    1) Does D have ambitions outside art?
    2) Do traditional majors hold her interests?

    If yes, explore those fields further.

    Is art "it"?
    1) Particular field?
    2) How long has this been a "thing"? Forever ? A couple years? Very recent?
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