Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.

Overview of my visit to Pratt Institute

taxguytaxguy Registered User Posts: 6,629 Senior Member
The following has been published on the Pratt Institute site in the alphbetical listings.
__________________________________________________ ___________

I visited Pratt Institute on May 18. 2005. This is a summary of my visit.

1. Academics: Pratt is one of the oldest stand alone art schools in the US dating back to 1888. It is certainly the biggest art school with almost 4,000 students ( about half are undergraduate). It is widely considered to be one of the best art and design programs in the country. Many of their programs are ranked in the top 10 such as Interior Design, Archtecture,Industrial Design and Communication Design to name just a few. Pratt has an amazing number of majors and offerings. For example, you can major in Communication Design that has three different concentrations ( writing, illustration, and graphic design). They are also one of the only Computer Graphic Programs around with 4 different emphasis such as 2D, 3D, Interactive Media and pure fine art with experimentation. If it is art or or design related, Pratt probably has a major in it. Moreover, unlike other stand alone art program, Pratt has some strong liberal arts because they have a creative writing major, which actually seems like a very strong, interesting major.

Most of the professors at Pratt have their own businesses or had their own businesses and are considered top notch professionals in the field. Many, in fact, have writen some of the major books on the subject. Pratt also gets many notable visiting lecturers in their specialties.I should note that all professors must have office hours and most are very accessible to students. Moreover, you have professors teaching students and not generally TAs despite having a big graduate school.

Despite all this, It is slightly easier to get into Pratt than that of some other top notch art programs. Average SATs are about 1115 and average weighted GPA is 3.4. Pratt student teacher ratio, according to them is 11:1 with class sizes approximating 15-16 kids according to the tour guide.

I asked many kids about Pratt,and they all love the academics of the school. I should note that they did warn me that Pratt does try to weed out kids during foundation year. expect to be worked very very hard!

Another great thing is that Pratt allows you to take courses from many diffrent areas. You are not locked into a major or into set course offerings. This allows a great deal of flexibility for students to design their own education.

Finally, I and my wife viewed some of their finished work. My wife is a commercial designer of some former fame. She thought that the work produced was very professional and creative. She did like much of the work product of the students. However, we don't know if this product is typical of most students or was a result of what is the best of the best that was posted on studio walls and hallways.

I should also note that according to Pratt's statistics, 87% of their students come back for their sophomore year. This is a high statistic and is higher than most stand alone art programs other than RISD. The students must appreciate the program that they are in.

As you can see, I have spent a lot of time on the academics, the reason is that this is the stand out feature of the school. As a stand alone art school, I would rate Pratt's academics as an A or A+.

2.Parking: We were able to find parking both on the street and in parking lots ( for a small fee). I would n't say parking was easy,but, hey, you are in Brooklyn. Overall, we were able to get parking without paying for it. I would, however, NOT suggest that you take a car to school. There is some vandalism, and you can get around taking the train. Overall, I would give the parking situation a C+ with a recommendation not to take a care to school unless you are a commuter.

3. Food: I actually liked the cafeteria or should I say two cafeterias. One has some hot entrees such as turkey cutlets, port loin, roast beef etc and a salid bar and sandwich bar etc. The other cafeteria has pizza, desserts, Starbucks coffee etc. You pay for what you eat. This is not an "eat all you want for one price deal," which can be pricey. My wife had a nice salid with some good grilled chicken and grilled salmon. Bordering the campus, students tell me there are lots of quality restaurants to go to that have tasty food and is reasonably priced. Overll, I would give the school food a B or B+.

4.Dorms: Frankly, dorms are dorms. These weren't a standout. However, they do have several different types of dorms. You can get one type that has a bathroom for 4 students. However, the students must clean the bathroom. You can also get dorms with communial bathrooms with custodians cleaning them. All dorms have refridgerator and microwave and wireless is in most dorms. Starting fall, wireless will be omnipresent especially in all the dorms. Each dorm as a drafing board for each student, and housing is guaranteed for all years at Pratt as long as you turn in your housing form in a timely manner.

I would give the dorms a C or C+

5.Non-artistic facilites: Pratt has a nice indoor gym with 5 tennis courts, basketball courts, 200Meter running track, stat of the art weight room and nautalus type of equipment and lots of stationary bikes and tread mills. I would give this facility an A; however, there is one glaring weakness: there is no swimming pool. Pratt also has a nice student center with pool tables and similar stuff. Overall, I would give the non artistic facilites a "B." If only they had a nice pool!

6. Buildings and other artistic facilities. Pratt is a school of contrasts. They have these great academic offerings but have many buildings that are old and not maintained well. RISD by contract has nice, old buildings with the emphasis on nice. With Pratt the emphasis is on old. Bathrooms had paint pealing. Tiles in a number of places needed repair. I even saw some studios where the professor posted notes warning the students to remove all art work due to the leaky ceilings! I will say in Pratt's defense, there is a lot of construction going on. Pratt is indeed trying to repair many of these problems. However, I do wonder what is taking them so long!

I do tend to stick my nose where it doesn't belong ( I have to stop doing this).Bathrooms were somewhat clean but didn't have that nice deodorizing small found at Carnegie Melon. Also, all toilet paper was one play instead of the nice two play. This does indicate a bit of "cheapness."

In addition, their marketing and management needs a lot of improvement. For example, when I first entered the campus asking the security guard "where visitor parking was," he gave me a curt, surly answer. There was no warm fuzzies there. Moreover, when we entered the admission office, which was on the second floor, there was no sign of welcome, and no sign to the admission's office. Moreover, the admission's office secretary was very curt and also not really warm and furry. Try visiting RISD or Rochester Instutite of Technology. You will get a very different atmosphere. I think the problem is due to bad leadership at the top. However, if you check out the administration office where all the "muckity mucks" work, you will see very elaborate, well designed offices.
Frankly, I think the president has been president for far to long at Pratt! They need some new blood and better marketing, and I would bet an improved administration.

7. Diversity: You are not going to get any more Diverse place than Pratt. Not only are kids from many states,but we met folks from foreign countries as well. For example, we went into a graduate interior design studio with 4 students. One came from Florida, one from Isreal, one from England and one from Australia. They noted that there are a number of kids from foreign countries. Pratt does have a world wide reputation in a number of design fields.

8. Miscellaneous: Pratt does have one other thing that makes them stand out from schools like RISD, MICA etc. Pratt actually has a nice campus. Yes, they have trees and bushes too. I saw kids playing frisbee and drawing under several trees. It's a decent sized campus too considering that the school isn't as large as many private schools. Moreover, there are all kinds of neat sculptures around the campus. This is a very nice touch.

Pratt's tuition at currently $25,000, while hefty, is a bit less than that of many private schools especially that of RISD, CMU, Syracuse and many stand along art school. Thus, even at $25,000 per year, they are sort of a bargain (gulp) They do, however, charge lots of different fees that will total around another $600 per year, not counting health insurance.

I should note that Pratt does have some combined BFA and MFA programs, which can save a lot of money for those who will go on to graduate school anyway. They currently have combined programs in art and in art education, Design and architecture and theory, critism and history of art, Library science and Juris Doctor, and other programs.

Finally, Pratt adheres to the idiotic policy of a number of schools of not allowing AP credit unless you score a "5." Be aware of this policy. Moreover, even transfer credits are limited.

Bottom Line: I loved the campus and the huge array of academic choices available. I also liked the end work product that we witnessed. I did not love the area that they are located in (although they do have a Manhattan campus for some programs) and do have a gated campus with lots of security and didn't like their lack of maintenance on buildings. The administration seems to need improvement too with some marketing training for all employees. I guess it's a good thing that they are near a train station that will take kids to Manhattan.

Obviously, these are my musings from one visit. You may have a different impression from your own visits.
Post edited by taxguy on

Replies to: Overview of my visit to Pratt Institute

  • camacama Registered User Posts: 303 Member
    As usual your review was well thought out and right on the mark. My D is just finishing her foundation year and is really loving it. As far as why maintanence on buildings moves slowly... many buildings are considered historic landmarks by NYC on the Pratt Campus and all kinds of special codes have to be followed, though it would be nice if they could speed up the process. Something else that my D has liked as far as its location....many of the profs often have students meet at various museums for their classes, such as MOMA, the MET etc. This works out great for Art History classes and English (alot of avante garde foreign films in NYC). The diversity has been great, for Passover D is bringing home 4 out of state and country kids. We found absolutely no problem with parking. When we pull in we just tell them my D's dorm name and we park right in that lot for the day. Worked out great yesterday when H had to go with D into Manhattan, just parked by her dorm and took the subway. Good Luck with your D.
  • taxguytaxguy Registered User Posts: 6,629 Senior Member
    This is Pratt's response to my review:

    I was very interested in your overview of Pratt and will be sharing this
    with my staff and the other officers at Pratt. I appreciate the feedback
    and intend to get a "Welcome sign" up and also speak with the
    receptionist. We are currently discussing how to get admissions out of
    this space, how to get funding for a new student services building, and
    are working hard to address all the deferred maintenance issues that
    went unaddressed for years before this president arrived.

    Our acceptance rate, for your information, is 47 percent this year, and
    the reason lots of students get accepted is that Pratt has the largest
    freshman class of any of the art schools. Most are very small. However,
    US News contains the acceptance rates of all the independent art
    schools, and Pratt is one of the most selective. (I wasn't sure if that
    information came from a student but thought I should clarify.)

    I really appreciate the perceptive comments about Pratt, both positive
    and negative, and I can assure you that we are working on all of the
    negative. I will even mention the 1-ply toilet paper issue.

    thanks so much.

    Judith Aaron
    Vice President for Enrollment

    Pratt Institute Office of Admissions wrote
  • ktwofishktwofish Registered User Posts: 177 Junior Member
    Wow! Thanks for sharing Pratt's response. My daughter attended pre-college at Pratt during the summer of 2003. We had a terrible time getting her grade report...she earned some college credit that was probably only good at Pratt. I had the same experience as you...no "warm and fuzzies". The people I communicated with were very "matter of fact" and almost rude. Maybe it's the NYC attitude, but it did nothing to encourage me to send my daughter there.

    A few comments about our experience...

    The food in the cafeteria was much better when parents were expected on campus. Daughter said it went downhill after the parents left.

    They reviewed my daughter's portfolio while she was at the pre-college, which was not a very good representation of her ability since it did not include any work from her senior year...and did not include much since she travelled from Florida and could not bring much. She just took some things to share and had work she had completed there, but they said it was good enough for admission. She decided to apply to Pratt in the Fall. Before we sent her slide portfolio, they sent a letter of acceptance. I called to inquire about sending a slide portfolio to be considered for merit scholarship, and they said it was not part of their scholarship decision making. I found this to be very odd for an art school. They did offer a merit scholarship, but it is my understanding that they offer these scholarships to most of their applicants.
  • taxguytaxguy Registered User Posts: 6,629 Senior Member
    Ktwofish, I was there on a normal tour and not for one of the special open houses. They certainly didn't put out anything special and didn't know I was doing a review of them.

    As for the merit award, it is common to get offers of acceptances and merit awards IF your daughter's portfolio was already reviewed by an admission's officer. They grade the work, and she might have gotten a good report. However, they usually do give some merit money to a number of people (although small in amounts, usually under $5,000) who show some good promise. Many schools do this as a marketing ploy to make you feel good about the hefty tuition. This is very common and not special to Pratt.

    As far as their "attitude," as you can see, they will work on it. However, understand that Pratt is in NY. New Yorkers are very "matter of fact" about a lot of things. They don't mean to be rude(in fact most New Yorkers are very nice),but it is generally built into the culture to be that way. However, even with that said, they should be a bit nicer even if just for marketing purposes. Cordiality goes a long way.
  • ktwofishktwofish Registered User Posts: 177 Junior Member
    My daughter applied to four art schools and visitied five--SCAD, Pratt, MICA, Ringling, and RISD. After the visit to MICA, she decided not to apply there. She went through reviews of her portfolio at all of the schools--except RISD, who did not offer a portfolio review at the visitation day we attended. Even after these reviews, submission of a portfolio was required. Pratt was the only one who did not require an official submission of a portfolio as part of the application process. At the other four schools that required portfolios, we were told they were used for admission decisions (even though I'm sure notes were put in her files after the reviews) and for scholarship consideration. I still find Pratt's process of distributing merit aid that does not include an official portfolio submission very odd. Obviously their focus is more academic-based and is not on attracting the most artistically talented students--just the students that meet their minimum artistic standards.

    And another comment about Pratt's lack of those "warm fuzzies"...
    They sent out multiple letters with information on who to contact if you had any questions about the admission process...about what needed to be done, etc....even after my daughter was accepted she received letters about who to contact if she needed help in the application process. I also called the person identified in the letter as our "contact person" or admissions counselor. Talk about no personality...not much help.

    All this said...my daughter enjoyed her month at Pratt. The proximity to Manhattan was great...the campus atmosphere was comforting...but their lack of attention and courtesy to prospective students was concerning. Would this be the kind of "service" my daughter would receive as a Pratt student when she had to deal with their bureaucracy? I was afraid so, and Pratt moved down our list of school choices.
  • mackinawmackinaw Registered User Posts: 2,909 Senior Member
    ktwofish, your note implies that SCAD required a portfolio for admissions. When my daughter applied, that wasn't so. Has that changed?
  • camacama Registered User Posts: 303 Member
    My D's Pratt scholarship was largely based on her portfolio and for art and design students a portfolio was required. It was encouraged to show in person and if not to send in slides.

  • camacama Registered User Posts: 303 Member

    Here the link that fully describes the portfolio requirements at Pratt.
  • ktwofishktwofish Registered User Posts: 177 Junior Member

    SCAD required a slide portfolio to be considered for merit scholarships.
  • mackinawmackinaw Registered User Posts: 2,909 Senior Member
    Ah, that's right. My daughter was offered one of those scholarships, but as you know chose to go elsewhere.

    One of her general concerns about SCAD, which would eventually have made her choose another school, was that portfolios aren't required of all applicants. From what I've read, this by itself creates a very uneven talent pool among the students, and if your classes have too many students who really aren't that talented then the "crits" and the general example of other students also tend to not be as useful.
  • ktwofishktwofish Registered User Posts: 177 Junior Member
    I'm not saying a portfolio was not required at Pratt. I'm saying they did not require an official submission of a portfolio on slides or other media separate from a personal portfolio review as part of their application process. Pratt allowed either a personal review (prefered method) or a portfolio submission if you could not make the review. All of the other schools required this submission, even after reviews, for admission or scholarship consideration.

    Pratt's review of my daughter's portfolio was rather cursory considering it was mostly a review of work she had done at their pre-college program. They were not interested in seeing her portfolio she had prepared for college admission when she made application. In fact when I contacted them after she was accepted, they said sending in her portfolio would not affect their scholarship award determination. I was told portfolios are only considered for admission, not for scholarships.

    Of course, I got this information from the not too friendly admissions counselor assigned to my daughter...
  • ktwofishktwofish Registered User Posts: 177 Junior Member

    You bring up a good point about SCAD's portfolio requirement. A friends daughter is there...currently a sophomore. She felt that she was much more advanced than others in her freshman foundation courses, but one teacher saw this and required more from her than others. Not fair--but it was good for her to be challenged.

    Other schools can learn from SCAD's admissions department. Our counselor was very pleasant and accessible. We communicated by phone an email several times.

    Maybe it's a matter of "southern hospitality" in Savannah :-)
  • camacama Registered User Posts: 303 Member
    Thanks for your clarification. I think sometimes that there is a tone on these boards to be a bit overly defensive of the schools our kids go to, not excluding me. Maybe it has to do with all the money we lay out.

    I think you could probably be a rep for RISD if you so desire.

    As for my D, she is very happy at Pratt and I am glad, as it is a great financial commitment.

  • mackinawmackinaw Registered User Posts: 2,909 Senior Member
    Cama, I have a lot of respect for RISD, that's for sure. Also for Pratt.
  • ktwofishktwofish Registered User Posts: 177 Junior Member

    As the kids would say..."I hear that"...when it comes to the great financial commitment! I'm glad both of our daughters are happy with their choices...mine's at RISD. Too bad my daughter's choice wasn't Florida State. The financial commitment would be much less, ha, ha, just kidding. Seriously, I can't imagine that she would be as happy anywhere else, and that's what's important.
This discussion has been closed.