Animation Class of 2024

Any other rising HS seniors applying for animation? I am planning to apply to SVU, CalArts, MICA, University of the Arts, Pratt, SMFA at Tufts and Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Would love to connect with others who are working on portfolios.

Here’s where I put in my plug for my alma mater DePaul - one of the top schools in the country for Animation.

^ PP, what are the strengths and weaknesses of the BFA animation program at DePaul, in your view? How does it compare to others in the area (SAIC, CCC, etc.) as well as the big kids on the national scene (CalArts/Ringling/SCAD/Pratt/RISD etc)?

I don’t know that much about the program from a personal standpoint other than that a lot of DePaul animation grads do get hired out here in California. The program does work with a ton of the animation studios in Chicago (there are a lot of them) as well, along with having a very good relationship with Cinespace. I had a tour of the facilities back in early June in downtown Chicago and the equipment is very state-of-the-art. I like how it’s integrated in with the more traditional Computer Science majors along with more new-fangled majors such as Game Development and UX.

^ Helpful to know! One of my artsy kids did look at DePaul though not sure she was thinking animation or even an art degree at that time. A lot going on at that place. Both film and animation rank quite respectably!

My kids are a few years past the art school application phase, but we do know a little bit about MCAD and I was pretty impressed with the work coming out of Animation when we were visiting a few years ago. We also live in Minneapolis so have been on campus quite a bit over the years. OP, if you need any information about the school or the area I would be happy to share what I know.

MCAD has a pretty strict laptop purchase requirement that applies to every undergraduate, regardless of major, and which signals a strong commitment to digital technology. And because everyone is on the same platform, you can easily explore other specialties/electives. You might be totally on top of this, but I’d check on whether the requirement (currently a 13" MacBook Pro, specs here: has the best graphics capabilities for animation - or do they allow you to upgrade to the 15". At the time my kids acquired their laptops a few years ago (for graphic design and animation, respectively), the 15" had notably superior graphics capabilities. That might still be the case based on what I’m reading; however, it’s possible that the 13" might now be so much better than it was (faster processing speed, etc.) that this is simply no longer a relevant point. What you purchase for school should be able to last you many years, so getting the computer right is key (IMHO). The animation department can answer any questions/render some good advice here.

If you apply EA to MCAD and are accepted, you are eligible for the Laptop Scholarship which is a terrific incentive for getting that portfolio and application off early.

i highly suggest you also consider VCUARTS , its the #2 ranked mfa school in the entire country behind only Yale . Our D attends and has had a tremendous experience as a GD major. she has sold works, been published, has two great nyc internships (the latest to extend remotely through her senior year!), has been awarded a school grant to attend gd conference in Korea, has had work in several exhibitions and on and on. They have an excellent program as can be seen from this article
If you stick around for the credits at the end of Pixar’s Toy Story 4, you’ll see the film’s story credited to Valerie LaPointe (BFA ’03). LaPointe, who graduated from VCUarts’ Communication Arts & Design program, has been a full-time story artist at Pixar animation studios since 2007. She’s helped sculpt the stories for Brave, Inside Out, and The Good Dinosaur, and this year’s Toy Story 4 marks her first role as a story supervisor. In July, Variety highlighted LaPointe as one of “10 Animators to Watch” in 2019.
Good luck to you!

Must have missed VCUArts on the OP’s list. My bad. N.B. - Despite the fact the oft-cited (if only by one poster) USNWR rankings for art schools are outdated by 4 years, based on unreliable metrics, and solely relate to GRADUATE schools, Animation is not even on the list of reviewed programs. Seriously, seriously doubt one will find VCUArts on any reliable list of top animation art schools. All deference to Ms. Lapointe, a clearly driven and talented artist, alumni lists in this area and most others from schools such as those actually included in the OP’s post, dwarf any such list from VCUArts. Adding Ringling and RISD (mentioned above), the OP is looking toward true feeder schools for the best animation jobs in the country.

For the most part, OP appears to be sticking to stand-alone art/design schools with well-established animation programs - as opposed to large state universities with an art school. By the way, there are plenty of state and private universities with decent-to-excellent animation programs. They are included on the one ranking system that not only closely monitors this specialty, but also includes the quality of the undergraduate program as part of the methodology. That’s Animation Career Review. Still, some of their school placements do jump around, even among the top 10, so it’s best to look at more than one year’s worth to get a sense of how a school is generally ranking - top 5, top 10, top 15, top 20, and so forth. Here are the past three:


will it ever end. So transparent and foolish.

Here’s the thing, and please note the measured tone. The OP asked specifically and only about Animation. He/she listed specific schools in which they are interested. You immediately (and typically) chimed in with VCUArts, trotting out the usual palaver of misleading statistics and one-off experiences. Most importantly, beyond interjecting a non-sequitur school, you introduced a school with none of the substantial credentials in animation for which the OP is searching. It ends when you stop doing this.

VCUARTS Student’s research leads to DC Comics internship

Aug. 19, 2019

Author: James Irwin, University Public Affairs

The research paper Thea Cheuk wrote last spring on the DC Comics character Dick Grayson did more than combine Cheuk’s interests in graphic arts and gender studies, it also led to a coveted internship at one of the comic industry’s largest publishers.

oops. how did that happen too? now please just stop the nonsense.

oh dat.

Again. Another one-off. Actually a URM one-off as a historically conservative company looks to expand its appeal to a more gender-fluid population. Again. Missing the point. No one is saying that VCUArts is not a good school or that it never places graduates in fine employment post-graduation. It is simply not the panacea for all fine arts disciplines that you portray. It is not the penicillin to be introduced for all diagnoses regardless of the symptoms.

your words, no one else’s.

Thanks for the tips! I should clarify – I am indeed looking for a purely arts school, I’m not interested in a “regular” college that happens to have an animation program. I go to an arts high school and would like to stay in a similar community. I will definitely add Ringling to my list! My SAT is not high enough for RISD, and neither is my GPA, unfortunately!

animate2002- I am simply making a suggestion . VCUARTS runs as a unique top design school with it’s own buildings and resources. Might be worth a look. Has been great for our D who is a GD major . Good luck whatever you decide but keep an open mind. Much to the chagrin of some posters here, there are examples of exciting success in animation from VCUARTS. Good luck , whatever you decide.

OP - thanks for explaining your preferences, just to make sure all are clear on how to help. My oldest graduated from regular high school but, like you, wouldn’t consider a university program for her graphic design degree. She looked solely at dedicated art/design schools and ended up choosing Pratt for communication design (not animation). She was seeking an environment and culture that would be 100% dedicated to and influenced by art/design thinking. The community, the common foundation experience, etc. were all important considerations. She really loved being surrounded by “her people.”

Thank you, OP, for clarifying. Don’t be so quick to write-off RISD. Although it holds itself out, along with Pratt, as one of the premier “academic” art schools, admission remains very portfolio-based. Our D had a high GPA and test scores, and was still told she would not get in based on her initial portfolio review. Based on suggestions from her reviewer, she totally revamped her portfolio and gained admission. Our D had a very similar experience to the one JB describes above. She flirted with mainstream university art programs, e.g., Michigan and Syracuse, but ultimately wanted a dedicated community of artists. She also did not want to take classic core including math and science. Animation is an extremely hot field. Your choice of school will be pivotal in your development and career opportunities. Good luck!