Advice for a High School Senior

I am graduating this year, and it is now coming time for me to fill out college applications. I became very interested in industrial design, product design, a few years ago and haven’t questioned my major since. I love creating things, i almost always have a project that I am working on, and when i found product design as a major it sounded perfect. I found a few CSU’s that offered a program but was disappointed that i couldn’t find a single UC with one. It has seemed to me as if i have a choice between state schools or very expensive design schools. Recently I have found resources, like this forum, talking about design schools.

I have already sent/plan on sending applications to:
San Francisco State University- I have visited and love the area
CSU Long Beach- The program seemed very hands on and established
San Jose State University

I have yet to find a single UC (University of California) which offers an industrial design degree. So far the private art universities that i have found are very expensive. My grades and SAT scores are good enough that getting into those CSU’s should be very easy, and i feel like i should be applying to more prestigious programs.

*I would prefer to remain in California for the in-state tuition costs and the benefits that i get as the son of a retired naval officer. (Though the idea of going to school in Italy, having visited there before, or the UK is pretty alluring)
*I’m not sure what school’s degree holds the most value in the eyes of a potential employer

I do intend to seek a masters degree after this program, at ether the same school or a different university.

Any ideas?

  1. I’ve heard CCA has a fantastic program with a great location with adjunct faculty who work in some of the best design firms in the bay.
  2. Don’t jump into masters right after undergrad. I think I’m not alone when I say that work experience trumps school every time for getting better at design. Save masters for later after you’ve gotten a feel of the professional landscape and you want to get an MBA or switch to another field (Interaction, automotive, etc).

I’ll keep #2 in mind, thanks for the advice.

As for CCA, i have heard nice things about it, but at 37k tuition/year + expenses that is a pretty hefty student loan.

I think the main thing I would recommend with schools is to make sure they have a good internship/coop program in helping you get design experience. You of course have to do your do diligence in going out and getting internships too.

As well, if product design is what you want and love, then the money may be worth it…? But I can understand that is a heavy loan to pay off.

Have you looked at Core 77 list of colleges? (not trying to be rude, just a question).

When i used the search function for California, these came up. There is one UC school in the batch, thought I don’t know much about it.

California State Long Beach
Long Beach, CA

Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)
Los Angeles, CA

University of California at Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA

California State University, Northridge
Northridge , CA

Art Center College of Design
Pasadena, CA

The Art Institute of California — San Diego
San Diego, CA

California College of the Arts
San Francisco, CA

Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo, CA

California Polytechnic State University
San Luis Obispo, CA

California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)
Valencia, , CA

I know for sure that UCLA does not have an ID program.

An education is what you make of it. A “better” school only gives easier access to industry contacts. In other words, it’s not what you know but who you know.

So if you follow rachel’s advice and get interships/coops, the who will be much easier and makes the choice of school somewhat irrelevant.

I would definitely recommend visiting the schools. Visit more than you apply to. Get a feel for them, sit in on classes, talk to students an instructors.

I had this problem when I was applying to colleges too (from LA)- and honestly I haven’t heard great things about any of the public California ID programs. the SJSU is supposed to have some really evil professor named mizurki or something, CSU LB is all about CAD, and I’ve never heard of sfsu. Those other schools that aren’t private (UCLA, Calpoly SLO, CSUN (right next to my house hah) all don’t have ID programs- 100% sure.

I ended up going to U cincinnati, and the overall price will actually be cheaper than a UC because of the coops. At a UC school, you have to pay for year round education- for Cincy, it’s two quarters (~13k/year depending on scholarships and stuff), and on coop most people make money (coop $ covers all my school supplies (namely those hundred dollar models) and any other activities i want to do (eat out, theme park, whatever)). Ohio is not so fun… but yeah you get over it (I’m in the NYC area now so it all makes up for it!). Maybe this kind of set up would work for you? Definitely something you’d have to look into for yourself, but it’s certainly an option.

Also, if you’re in LA area I’d highly recommend taking the saturday high courses at ACCD- I did those in hs and they

  1. gave me a pretty good drawing foundation
  2. can set you up for some good art/design scholarships either from a private school or independent organization I took some classes with Tony Yao- he can be a jerk sometimes (well… most of the time), but overall you’ll learn a ton.

good luck!

Ditto on AC at night. Tony Yao’s the man.