A couple of Observations about University of Cincinnati

Now that my daughter is finishing up here sophomore year at University of Cincinnati , School of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning ( DAAP) in Digital Design, I thought I would share some observations.

  1. If you can get in there, GO THERE!. Not only is the education excellent,but they have some amazing coops,which are required for all design and architecture kids. My daughter got two offers: one of which was with a major digital firm that does web sites for most movies studios and interactive graphics, and she is just a sophomore! I have seen ID kids get amazing coops at places like Nike, Hasbro Toys, etc. Other coops were with major magicians, and top notch firms. Although other schools are probably more well-known for graphic design, such as RISD, the GD kids are also getting top notch coops. Even fashion design kids are working for some top firms,from what I hear. I can’t imagine any school giving better experience.

  2. Although almost every design kid gets a coop,it isn’t 100%. I would say it is about 98%. Having decent interviewing skills is a MUST. Also, don’t let anyone kid you that grades aren’t important. Having a decent GPA and strong work in your portfolio does separate the wheat from the chaff! The better coops do go to the better kids! The faculty can really help with obtaining a top notch coop if they like the student. Thus, doing top notch work and achieving good grades become critical. Did I tell you that you need to get good grades?

  3. DAAP doesn’t have grade inflation. Let me repeat that: There is no grade inflation at DAAP at least among design students. An “A” means that the teacher can’t do it better. Generally the gold star will be a “A-.” Be aware of this. Even B+ are hard to get unless you work very hard and have good work.

  4. So far,the liberal arts at UC are just mediocre. My daughter wasn’t that impressed. She did like her programing courses, though.

  5. Although Cincinnati does offer some nice places to eat and enjoy with good teams etc. , I frankly don’t like it. It isn’t an ideal college town like Boston or NY. Also, like any big city, crime can be a problem outside of campus, You need to be careful walking around.

  6. UC has amazing music and performance. I urge everyone to try to attend their College Conservatory of Music events. It is very reasonable, and the kids are all semi pros.

  7. There is a fair amount of interdisciplinary work available since it is a university. For example, if you want to combine art with anthropology or criminology, such as forensic anthropology, you can do it. However, you need to aggressively pursue these opportunities. They don’t jump out at you. You need to mention this to your advisor and structure your courses accordingly.

  8. Cincinnati is a state school Thus the budget varies from year to year. Sometimes there is a plethora of money and sometimes money is tight and less choices in sections are available. This will usually be a problem at state universities. However, overall, DAAP gets treated fairly well even in times of tight money.

  9. UC DAAP is very, very academically focused for admission. For Design and architecture, you don’t need a portfolio. They are very GPA oriented and use UNWEIGHTED GPA. If you have a strong portfolio, you should submit it anyway. It might help if you are borderline.

Generally, you will need at least a 3.5 for most design programs. Some of the more well known programs such as transportation design, architecture, and interior design and graphic design will require a higher GPA. Generally a 3.6+. Be aware of this. Scholarship money is very plentiful if you need it. Even merit money is fairly good and plentiful, but UC doesn’t award a large amount of merit money to any one person. They would rather give several thousand dollars to many kids than most full tuition to a few . Need based aid is something else. They will provide more scholarship for need based.

  1. UC is big into diversity. If you are black, Hispanic, Indian (maize eating kind) etc,. you will get a boost in admission. Also, the major is important. For example, being a guy will help you for many majors in DAAP since DAAP has more females. However, in digital design, being a female would be better. Females also get a push in architecture since more guys apply for that.