Remote learning question for Pratt Class of 2023 (and also a laptop question)

My son is enrolled for fall 2020 as a freshman Communication Design at Pratt main campus, and we have been told that they will start on time, whether it be remote learning or in-person. I wanted to get an idea from this year’s freshmen class how the remote learning worked out for them for foundation year. Many of the incoming fall 2020 freshman are thinking they may defer if it becomes remote learning because foundation year seems like it would be so difficult from a distance, such that they wouldn’t have access to all the equipment and interactions at campus. Any thoughts?

I hope it doesn’t seem like stalking, but I went through last year’s Pratt decision thread, and it seems like @awaitingoffers @ArtHead @pickpocket and @DadOfArtStudent perhaps were/had freshmen who just finished their foundation year via remote learning. Would be great to hear your thoughts, if any.

Also, we are thinking of getting a laptop for our son for high school graduation, since he will need one for Pratt. Pratt’s website indicate Macbook Pro as the preferred laptop for Comm D majors. Any ideas on specs? We are not an Apple family, and we don’t know what type of specs to give more importance to, as we need to limit $$. Right now, it may have to be the 13 inch…hoping that isn’t too small. i5 processor good enough? 512 gb vs 256 GB?

Thanks very much in advance!

Hi @Graphitemovermom ,

I would say that Pratt’s remote class experience was fair…not great but not awful. Especially with studio art classes (which are a big part of foundation year) the students do not get all the benefits of a professor looking over one’s shoulder and demonstrating technique in the flesh. That said, they still did projects and had online Zoom presentations with lots of back and forth critique among students and professors. Some projects were video and that was pretty easy to share…some was pen and ink illustration and it took a while for DD to scan it in at high enough quality to really show the work.

DD also did a geology paper for one class.

I think professors were a little bit more lenient on assignments and grading while everyone was remote. They seemed a little more strict when classes were on campus. I think there is also some tendency for students to procrastinate when they are home and bored.

I do want to be quick to add that DD’s experience while she was on campus was fantastic! Pratt has turned out to be a perfect fit for her. She has thrived on Brooklyn life, long hours in studio, making new friends, playing with the campus cats, etc. So while I am tentative on the remote learning, I am still very gung-ho on the Institution.

As for the computer, I actually recommend getting the larger screen. I think that is more important than storage capacity (DD has external HDD and they also store work in cloud.) I think i5 is good enough. But get the bigger screen. I know it is costly, but so much of their work is on computer, they really should have the best tools. We opted for Mac also, even though I am a Windows person. Artists like Macs!

Good luck. I know it is a difficult decision. I am leaning toward having DD continue with remote classes from Pratt in the fall if the campus is still closed. My wife wonders if local community college or gap semester would be better. We discuss it a lot. But knowing DD’s personality I think she will do best if she continues on Pratt’s program even if remote.

(PS: DD is Comm Design/Illustration)

Thank you @pickpocket for your helpful input, both regarding your DD’s experience with remote learning and with the laptop. My DS got better grades in all his courses this year, both because a few of the teachers were a bit more lenient at the end (no final exams and only projects) and also because I nagged his butt every day to get work done and turned in. He definitely needs structure and a schedule (which his high school did not do during remote learning…it was just, “classwork for your day’s classes are due by 4pm each day you have that class”). I don’t know how his remote learning experience will be in art school. Perhaps he would be more motivated.

I did feel that maybe a bigger screen might be more useful, especially if they have to see details, but the larger screen is hundreds of dollars more. We will have to think about whether or not that will work with our budget.