right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
GUEST STUDENT OF THE WEEK: Rohan is a freshman at Dartmouth (and loves it) having gotten in ED for the Class of 2023. He's here to debunk myths regarding admissions and student life at his school. ASK HIM ANYTHING!
Make sure to check out our May Checklists for HS Juniors and HS Seniors. Consult these quick resources to get you started on the process this month.
As we work to adjust to the current reality, make sure to check out these dedicated COVID-19 resources: our directory of virtual campus tours, our directory of extended deadlines, as well as the list of schools going test optional this fall.

Does Art Center feel like a commuter school?

brominebalsamicbrominebalsamic 2 replies1 threads New Member
hey college confidential!! sorry if this is the wrong way/place to post, i'm super new here and don't really understand the site haha. i was just wondering if art center really feels like a commuter school, since i know they don't offer on-campus housing. it's one of my top choices at the moment but i'm really concerned about that. though i'm leaning towards art school, i'd like certain aspects to feel like a traditional college experience.

i love the program a lot (just a little concerned about work/life balance, but art center seems to be my best option atm if i want to pursue art school) but the no on-campus housing really turns me off. i'm really worried about being able to make friends and maintaining a social life outside of school.

if anyone could also tell me how the graphic design program at art center compares to the programs at california college of the arts (CCA), calarts, or otis that would be awesome too!!
5 replies
· Reply · Share

Replies to: Does Art Center feel like a commuter school?

  • snowbirdmomsnowbirdmom 26 replies0 threads Junior Member
    @animal1096 has had some really helpful info on AC in the past, tagging here.
    · Reply · Share
  • animal1096animal1096 27 replies2 threads Junior Member
    I asked my daughter, in her second year at Art Center to respond. Here are her words:

    "It is very much a commuter school, but there are many ways to make friends. All of your first semester classes are assigned to you (or at least they were in my major, Illustration), and in many of those classes, it’s the same set of students. So you make friends quickly. These students share your passions since you are all studying the same thing. Some of these students will be classmates in subsequent semesters. To make friends outside your major, there are many clubs to join.

    The work/life balance is a challenge because there is a lot of homework. Your friends who attend a traditional college won’t be able to relate to your workload. You have to make an effort to have a social life, manage your time, and prioritize some things over others, in order to squeeze in time with friends. It can be easy to fall into the trap that homework is the only thing you do. At other colleges you have Greek life, football games, and parties. At Art Center your social time with friends is spent on coffee dates, school clubs, and doing homework together. Because of the rigor, students collectively bond in the shared experience and support each other.

    When going to an art school you’ll be surrounded only by other amazingly talented art and design students. Obviously not everyone has the same major, but all students are highly creative and innovative. I find that very inspiring. In academic classes you meet students from outside your major, which exposes you to different things.

    Art Center does not have a traditional college feel. It has a professional vibe, so it almost feels like you are going to “work” every day with your friends instead of going to school. The small school size leads to small class sizes, which makes it easier to make friends and know your teachers. You will get to know your teachers, and they will know you by name.

    Teachers are professionals and emphasize what it’s like in the workplace so that you are career-ready upon graduation. They are well connected in their industry and give a lot of insight into that industry, as well as help students get internships through their connections. The school offers independent studies where students pitch a project (a project that you wouldn’t be able to do in the classroom), then work 1-on-1 with a teacher for one or more semesters until the project is at a professional level and is done .

    Personally, I found it hasn’t been a problem being a commuter school. But Art Center and a traditional college are two very different experiences. You need to be honest with yourself about which aspects of the college experience matter most to you and find a school that fits that. The factors that I focused on were the quality of education, industry preparedness, and small class sizes. Art Center has that in spades! I feel that Art Center gives you that extra push to get you where you want to be faster."
    · Reply · Share
  • brominebalsamicbrominebalsamic 2 replies1 threads New Member
    thank you so, so much for the reply!! i've had a lot of trouble finding any information about the social scene at art center, so i really appreciate you and your daughter taking the time to help me out. also thank you @snowbirdmom for the tag. i think my decision is pretty much down to artcenter vs. calarts. i love pasadena and am not really enthusiastic about valencia, but the lack of on-campus housing and work/social life balance is still a huge concern... i'll take some time to see which aspects i value more. thank you so much again!!
    · Reply · Share
  • animal1096animal1096 27 replies2 threads Junior Member
    @brominebalsamic For what it's worth, my daughter lives in Pasadena and really enjoys it (so much so she complains about our sleepy hometown in SF Bay Area ). Her commute to either campus at Art Center is under 10 minutes. She likes the fact that just about anything you need is either within walking distance or just a couple miles away. Pasadena is a nice blend of suburban/urban while feeling quaint. The city is also very close to dozens of great places in the LA area, including museums used frequently on field trips at Art Center.

    If you haven't already, compare both schools on other factors too, such as teachers' experience, student work, and school culture. Look at college review websites to get other student's feedback. Maybe some of this information may tip the scales in one direction for you.

    DM me if you want to correspond directly with my daughter. She said she's happy to answer any questions, including art school in general.
    · Reply · Share
  • brominebalsamicbrominebalsamic 2 replies1 threads New Member
    yeah, pasadena really seems great based on what i've heard! though it's just been a day, i think i've decided that the culture of the school is the aspect that's most important haha. i don't think i have enough replies to pm other users yet, but if i get there and still have questions i'll definitely send you a message. thank you so much again!!
    · Reply · Share
Sign In or Register to comment.

Recent Activity