Accepted to Virginia Tech! Questions...

Can’t even begin with how crazy excited I am right now. I’ve got quite a unique background… Short version, I’m 29, a couple associates degrees, but never finished my bachelors. Been working in the mechanical engineering field for about 7 years now, with a ton of SolidWorks and design experience under my belt. Realized along the way that Industrial Design is really what I wanted to pursue, and Virginia Tech was the school I wanted to attend (only school I applied to).

So that’s my intro. Now the questions begin (I’ll probably just post the ones that pop into my mind as they come)… Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

My first and biggest question is what I should expect for the required summer session class transfer students take? I haven’t gotten my school login yet, so I’m having some trouble finding details on the course. Also, if there is anything supply wise I should start acquiring, that would probably also be good to know.

Go Hokies!

Congrats! I’d love to go back to school at my age.

Can’t speak to what your intro class will involve specifically, but get familiar with pens, pencils, markers and paper. And sketch away from now until, well, sketch forever really. The more you practice, the better you’ll get. Sketch from sight, sketch from imagination, simple things, complex things, etc. Train your eyes to look closely at objects, light, shadow, angles, perspective, etc. (all things you should be learning in classes eventually…)

Browse the forums here on sketching. There was a 1 Hour design challenge that had people record their sketch process, those videos are really fun to watch.

The summer session is kind of a crash course foundation type program. I don’t know what the current projects are - but it’s really more about understanding some basic fundamentals and learning to work with different materials. The first 2 years of the program in general were pretty heavily focused on not just designing, but building what you make, whether it’s wood, metal, plaster, etc. Though there has been a lot of shakeup since I’ve been there so I know some of the more traditional ID projects may have been replaced.

Should be enjoyable though, Blacksburg is a great place to be in the summer.

Thanks for the feedback. It’s definitely going to be an adventure being an undergrad at my age, not to mention switching from a good paying salary job back to the dirt poor college student lifestyle. Hopefully I’ll be able to find some [art time work nearby, maybe Roanoke, doing something like what I do now.

Sketching is something I’ve definitely been working on, since literally every single person I’ve spoken with related to ID (alumni, professors, clients) all said that it is the single most important skill. And I believe it. While I’m more than comfortable modeling just about anything in SolidWorks, to be able to quickly conceptualize you really can’t do it in that type of program. Haven’t used it yet, but AutoDesk SketchBook Pro looks more suited for that type of work.

One more question while I’m thinking about it - I need a laptop and was wondering what thoughts were on the HP tm2t. It is a small machine, 12.1, with an integrated WACOM touchscreen. Thought that might be good for some quick sketch work and note taking. Here’s a link, with a link to the HP page embedded at the bottom - TechnologyGuide - TechTarget.

Tablet PC’s are pretty good, I had one when I was in school and I definately got a good bit of use out of it. Alternatively they now have Cintiqs for student use - not sure how busy they get but it may make sense to see what you have before buying a machine. I will say it’s worth having a desktop too if you don’t already for when you need some real CPU power to muscle out some renderings or big photoshop documents.