Animation 2023

Anyone else with a kid interested in animation? D accepted to Pratt, SVA and SCAD with merit scholarships. Applied to USC and applying to CalArts. Super excited and nervous!

Previous year threads about animation schools have been very informative and helpful. Curious if any parents whose kids have graduated with animation BFA degrees are still checking out this site. If so - which school did they attend? Where are they working now? Did they think the school they attended was worthwhile?

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My daughter has applied to USC, UCF, UTD, RIT, SMFA, FSU, and Michigan. She wanted the full college experience so we avoided strictly art schools. She wants to do character animation or illustration. She has been accepted to Michigan, UCF, and UTD. She received a full tuition scholarship at UTD, and the knights achievement scholarship from UCF. Michigan will notify in January of merit or talent scholarships. USC is her top choice, but we’re thankful for the opportunities that already exist. USC is the only school I fear will reject her, just based on admission numbers.

Congratulations on your daughters acceptance and hopefully cal arts accepts her, even if she doesn’t attend. That would be a huge accomplishment to just be accepted.

@Artful4art - congratulations to your daughter’s acceptances to Michigan, UCF and UTD - and the scholarships! Awesome! Totally agree about USC. We’re hopeful, but pragmatic about USC and CalArts for exactly the same reason. D also wants to do character animation, so very excited about SVA and Pratt. The next couple of months are still crazy exciting and nerve-wracking.

High school mom here…what did your applicants do during their high school years to be strong in their animation applications to colleges? Daughter is a hs freshman interested in animation, but have no idea where to start, besides art class in high school.

Story writing, AP art, figure drawing, perspective, programming if interested.
Pre-college experience (Ringling)

Nude figure drawing, seriously. Constant sketching from real life and keep fan art to a minimum. Look at YouTube videos of accepted portfolios as a guide. Go to national portfolio day at a city close to you and talk to the admissions counselors for the schools that you would be interested in attending and they will help you build the portfolio necessary. You don’t have to wait for your senior year to attend.

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@ipadqueen It’s great that you and your daughter are already thinking about how to prepare her portfolio!

  1. My daughter started with figure drawing through her high school (she goes to an arts school), which was a great start. When she was a sophomore though, bec high schools don’t have nude figure drawing, she went to a nearby arts college where they have nude figure drawing on weekends. Because she was only 16, we had to sign a release. She went every weekend and it really helped her develop figure drawing skills.
  2. Absolutely try to go to a national portfolio day. She should bring a few of her pieces if she can, and then talk to schools she might be interested in. We went every year (except her senior year), and my daughter got very helpful information from CalArts, RISD, Ringling, SVA, MICA, Art Center.
  3. She should start a sketchbook if she hasn’t already. She should be sketching as often as possible.
  4. Practice sketching gestures.
  5. Practice sketching for movement.
  6. Go to a zoo to practice sketching animals.
  7. Go to a park, restaurant, coffee shop to practice sketching people.
  8. My kid took an anatomy class, but she can also use the internet to research underlying skeletal and muscular structures to understand movement.
  9. Look into attending CSSSA (California State Summer School for the Arts), a pre-college summer program at CalArts (but run by the state). My daughter attended the CSSSA animation program two years ago as a rising junior, and, not only did she learn more about animation, but she also got to meet professional animators and made some great friends.
  10. Try to enjoy the process! These last few months were stressful bec D was taking a full load of senior classes and trying to complete her portfolio pieces and filling out college applications. But before that, she really enjoyed doing all of the above. In fact, after she submitted her sketchbook to CalArts last week, she took a break for a couple of days, then started another sketchbook, but this time, just for the sheer enjoyment of it.
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Great advice already! Draw/sketch EVERY DAY. Figure drawing is essential. Like above, our daughter did not have nude drawing class offered by high school. A local art school did, but it wasn’t at a time she could attend (we would have had to sign a waiver). We have a really wonderful art museum that offered figure drawing, sculpture drawing, etc classes for free (or a minimal fee) to members. We found that a membership to the museum was a very affordable way to get experience with a variety of body types! As far as actual animation… they don’t expect reels of animated projects. Sketchbooks are KEY. Fill as many as she can. Characters, landscapes, real life, keep it all. They LOVED going through my daughter’s sketchbooks more than anything else. One other thing I would encourage is for your daughter to not only visit the schools over the course of sophomore/junior year, but look at the material seniors produce. Most put samples on their websites, and you can see the quality of product they put out (honestly, most are AMAZING once they are seniors) but you can easily style influences. She should also start participating in scholastic arts competition. It’s national, but each state has a state competition, and she can start building her resume early. My daughter got extra scholarship because of her Gold Key portfolio, and extra studio credits for pre-college program (Governors School for the Arts) and a 5 on AP art portfolio! Many high school art classes are wonderful, but my daughter took private art lessons with a local artist, and she was the first person to tell me my daughter had a gift that doesn’t come often. She has done amazing oil paintings in high school, and she did a class this summer when she was home. I can tell you that my girl didn’t do art because she liked it. It’s part of her. She does art like some people have to breath… never one day went by that she didn’t create something. Always, Always, Always has a sketchbook with her. That’s why I encouraged her and supported her in everything she did with her art in high school. She’s done amazing things (including paid work!) in college already and is building her resume. She ended up at SVA by the way : )

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@moonpie Congratulations on your daughter being at SVA! What does she think of the program so far? My daughter is seriously considering SVA, but is also thinking about Pratt.

@mollygrrrl she LOVES it. She has grown so much. Truly is building her craft. She loves living in the city. This morning she and her BFF went to China Town to go to a chinese bakery and get buns. I was so jealous! Her classes are great, and she is doing very well. I think with every art school, you get out what you put in. She has worked VERY hard. It is not easy. I’m not joking when I say her animation homework takes 12+ hours every weekend. The professors are hard on the kids, they make them learn and do things over. She has enjoyed her liberal arts classes as well, and has had no problem getting classes she wants. Getting the professors she wants has meant getting up early sometimes, and having days with lots of classes, but it’s worth it to her! She is an RA (sophomore) and went through a very rigorous competitive process to get the position. It has helped tremendously with the tuition, as room is free plus $2000 tuition credit. She also has a $13,000 year scholarship, which allows her to go there. Pratt would have been much more affordable for us. She knew that she would have to work or be an RA to stay at SVA and she made that happen. I LOVED Pratt, and one of our dear family friends ended up there in Animation. She loves it as well. For my daughter, it came down to the foundation year. She did not want to wait to start animation classes, because she didn’t want a whole year to go by and then decided she didn’t like it. I will say her figure drawing class her freshman year was the one where she grew the most. But being able to apply that to her freshman animation was crucial to her development as an artist. I see why SVA does it that way (they have foundation classes, but start major classes right away that integrate what they learn in their drawing/painting/sculpting classes). It’s been a great fit for her, and she knew it after visiting and seeing the student work. She has worked on 2 senior thesis projects, and has used her contacts to apply to internships for next summer. We will see where that lands her! If you visit and would like a personal contact, she loves to meet prospective students! PM me!

@moonpie Thank you so much for the information - especially about the foundation year. Also, it was helpful to know that she had the opportunity to work on senior thesis projects and through that, get to meet and know potential internship contacts. We’ll most likely go back to visit in the summer. Thank you for the offer - the next few months promises to be very exciting.

To anyone checking out animation majors—look at Ringling site and also check out other offered majors such as motion design. Great job prospects.

I’ll put in a plug for my undergrad alma mater DePaul. It has one of the top ranked Animation programs in the nation. There are a couple of programs actually. The College of Computing is one of the largest if not the largest in the country. From what I understand (I’m friends with the Dean) they have a relationship with some studios in Hollywood and quite a few students have gone there for internships, work, and the like.

I’m curious - is it true that Ringling and DePaul are better for 3d animation - or does it matter? D is interested in 2d and storyboarding, so has only been interested in SVA and Pratt.

There is a Storyboarding concentration at DePaul:

My daughter has been accepted to Pratt, SAIC, SVA, MICA,Ringling and SVA for animation. Has received nice scholarships from Pratt, SAIC and MICA, we will be attending the accepted students days soon. Anyone else going to these events? We will be at the SAIC event in Brooklyn next Sunday 3/10. Anyone else?

@JuneOsborne Congratulations to your daughter! We’re considering going to the SVA accepted students day - but waiting on a few other schools before we decide whether to fly to NY.

Where are you traveling in from? We are going to SAIC accepted students day this weekend.

@JuneOsborne Southern CA. How about you?

We are in the New York area