Our daughter received merit at every school to which she applied. Of course the impact of the combination of merit, and possibly financial aid, depends on the COA of each school. Relative to COA and money offered, Tyler, RIT and University of the Arts in Philly were substantially less expensive. Unfortunately, those schools also offered substantially less in terms of course/major offerings, location and/or living environment.
SCAD reminded us of a Southern version of SVA. By that I mean that the campus sprawls the city. You have to be prepared to essentially ‘commute’ around Savannah to get to classes. At least SVA simply runs East-West across 23rd Street…lol. Savannah is very pretty, but also super-hot in the warmer seasons. Also, there are a lot of hurricane evacuations, including at SCAD.
Tyler is nice! We had the same struggle. We felt as if this is a school on the cusp of being truly elite, but it is not quite there yet. The school falls a bit short in its majors which can be heartbreaking if you love the school and its environment.
Illustration is more of an SVA, RISD, Ringling, Pratt, SCAD thing. Our daughter did a similar switch from the classic painting & drawing, thinking about GD (here the topography thing!), then Illustration, but somehow finding herself doing medical product design as an ID major, and then venturing into UX through a summer internship at Amazon.
SVA provides a lot of internship opportunities because the school is so connected with the commercial and motion picture businesses. The school, however, is pretty non-academic. We found very quickly from campus tours and speaking with current students that there are “academic art schools” that pride themselves on offering mainstream liberal arts course offerings and emphasizing a more well-rounded intellectual approach to a BFA education. While our daughter has worked very hard as an ID major at RISD, she has also taken classes in women’s studies, moral philosophy, marketing, religion, and psychology. The synergy with Brown also helps. Think this may be true for Tyler as well with Temple. I believe SCAD does programs like this as well. SVA told us our daughter’s test scores and grades didn’t matter.
I don’t intend to diminish the value of “feel” and happiness with one’s choice. But having lived it first hand (our daughter graduates this May!), I know that, at the end, the party is truly over. Some have the luxury of extending their free-art time through grad school. But for our daughter and most of her friends, it’s been about finding a job and it is soooo not easy. We were swayed a lot by RISD’s post-graduation employment stats (I think it’s something like 98% employed in their major subject matter within 6 months of graduation), and the schools internationally recognized reputation. As what I think of as typical, if a bit more progressive, parents, we wanted our daughter to pursue her dreams and to exercise her talent, but we also wanted her to graduate with as little debt as possible and to have a reasonably paying job waiting for her. We/she very much accomplished both, but don’t believe this is unique to RISD. It just worked out for us.