Overview of Our Visit to SVA

<p>We looked at the graduate computer art program with a concentration in animation. I am saying this upfront so that you know where are interests were. We didn't look at many other departments ,but we did check out some undergrad drawings and some interior designed chairs,which interested my wife.</p>

<p>Academics: SVA started as a school for Illustrators and Cartoonists. Both these programs are still among the strongest offerings in the school. </p>

<p>Although SVA is a stand alone art school, they don't have all the majors that you would expect from such a place.It is a fairly small school with about 3,000 total students, which include a substantial graduate population. For example, for design majors, they don't have an undergrad Industrial or Fashion Design. There is no architecture either. They do have fine art offerings such as painting and printmaking but don't have majors such as textiles, metals, glass etc. They do have a graduate industrial design program though. </p>

<p>However, what they have is, for the most part quite good. The also have majors that you wouldn't normally find such as live action short film, animation, computer art,branding (graduate only), fashion photography (graduate only) and art criticism among others. Their strongest programs would probably be illustration, graphic design, cartooning, animation, which is nationally ranked in top 5, and photography. In fact, I would bet that all of these five majors are nationally reknown.</p>

<p>Also,each major has a plethora of course offerings. I don't think you can think of a related course that isn't offered for that major. Also, SVA offers a number of other artistic opportunities from bring in many guest lecturers, allowing kids to audit classes for free, including continuing education classes ( at least I know this is true for grad students), models for figure drawing and much more. </p>

<p>One interesting fact is that there is no tenure for faculty. All faculty must be current well-known artists working in the field. This was reinforced by our interviews with students who almost all loved their professors and found them top notch as to their knowledge of the field. </p>

<p>However, I didn't get the same feel for their humanities offerings,which I thought were a bit watered down to meet the lower academic needs of the students. Overall, for art and design, I would give them an "A-" , although each department might vary a bit.</p>

<p>Dorms: We actually saw all dorms, both George Washington and the Ludlow Residence. Although Ludlow was a bit better, both were old, very pricey and small. Typical room was about 10 x 10 and prices varied between $10,600- $14,600 per year.However, Models are provided each Wednesday in George Washington for drawing and are available to all students. Also, an unlimited metro pass if provided for all residents of GW. Rating: "C"</p>

<p>Financial aid: Although SVA provides both merit and need based aid to undergrads, most aid is insufficient to meet all needs. They are a "for profit" college. Thus, there isn't a huge amount of aid given out, especially for graduate students. Surprisingly, there is more merit aid given to undergrads. They even provide a few full tuition grants for undergrads. There is very little aid for graduate students since many grad school programs are in big demand particularly for their more well known programs such as computer art.</p>

<p>Surrounding area: SVA is in a fabulous area of Manhattan,with lots of stores, shopping and eateries. I can't think of a better place for a college students than Manhattan. However, Being in a city like NY, does take a more mature student. With this understanding, I would rate the surroundings "A+."</p>

<p>Tuition and costs: Sadly, being a for profit school means that they don't have a significant endowment and don't usually give out a lot of aid, Tuition for undergrads is a somewhat reasonable $15,515 per semester,which is $2,000 less than their graduate tuition. However, they have a very high and unpleasant departmental fees that vary from a low of $640 per semester to as much as #1,340 per semester. The programs that have this$1,340 charge per semester are: Photography, Computer Art, Film, and Video. The tuition, fees and overall housing costs make SVA among the more expensive schools in the US.</p>

<p>Admission: Undergraduate tuition is easy. Average SATs are about 1000 ( M and CR). They are, however, very portfolio oriented and want talented kids. Also, they have more graduate programs than undergraduate programs. SVA is rapidly increasing their graduate enrollment,which means that there is a large graduate student population.Graduate programs are also tougher to gain entrance then their undergraduate programs. They have more applications and are more selective than that of a number of other schools.</p>

<p>Academic facilities: The library was very nice. They also had more than enough computers for everyone. Computers are up to date with the latest software and latest graphic cards. I didn't see any work out facilities, so I can't comment on these. All buildings and studios seemed well maintained. I would rate this a "B."</p>

<p>Security: Security is everywhere from the locked doors of the dorms, to the many guards. I did feel safe there. Security was also VERY helpful, unlike that of other places like Pratt where they were surly. I would rate this at least a "B+ to an A."</p>

<p>Placement: Being in Manhattan has its advantages. SVA is very well connected for applied art majors such as graphic design and animation and illustration and cartoonists. There are even some photography openings too. Make no mistake, however, the students have to have a strong body of work in order to get hired. They provide courses for fine artists in marketing and running their business, since fine art tends to be very entrepreneurial.</p>

<p>Parking: Forget bring a car. Manhattan has great transit and cars are a hassle with expensive parking and major congestion.</p>

<p>Bottom line: SVA is a tough school to categorize. It has limited majors, although what they do have are usually quite strong with varied course offerings. It probably has a stronger graduate school than that of its undergrad based on admission stats. It is also in a fabulous location. This has to be offset with very PRICEY costs, mediocre admission for undergrad,which means less academic kids, and watered down humanities offerings. For the right major, it can be a great school. I think that any student who takes advantage of the opportunities provides could well become an artistic powerhouse.</p>

<p>Thank you for your review on SVA!! I am applying there as an undergrad transfer for this Fall, and your review is very helpful!</p>

<p>I wanted to add some additional thoughts to my post. We did see a LOT of student work.
Foundation work, for example, certainly had variations in quality in particular. We found some of the work to be very mediocre and some to be extraordinary. I would say that most of the work was very good! We saw some interior design work, all of which was very good. We also saw some student work in animation, computer art and industrial design, most of which were very strong and some were just outstanding! We have seen student work at Pratt, Parsons, RISD, RIT, and a number of other schools, and I would rate the work here at least as good if not better overall than what I saw at those other schools. The examples of student work were really that good.</p>

<p>That is not to say that all work was strong. I think SVA gets a wide variety of student talent and attitudes, especially in their undergrad programs.</p>