ASU vs Virginia Tech?

Hi! I am a high school senior this year, and I am looking for some insight on choosing the right school for me.

I have been accepted to the ID programs at Arizona State and Virginia Tech, but would like to know some of the benefits of each school. ASU doesn’t seem to pop up in many undergrad discussions, so I thought I would ask all of you. I attended the Pratt Pre-College program for architecture (loved it!) and decided I would like to improve my drawing skills. I want to be able to go to a school where I can best improve my weaknesses. Any information about the differences in curriculum, co-op opportunities, and personal experience would be a great help.

Thank you!

I’d do a search for a bit, there have been lots of threads posted about VT and there are many VT alum on the forums (Myself included). Haven’t heard too many people from ASU so I couldn’t comment.

For what it’s worth VT is a great program, at a great price, in a great town.

Thanks for replying! I wasn’t sure if many people would see this. I have visited VT a few times and loved the school. It is beautiful, and the studio seems great with all of the students in one space. Do any of the upperclassmen willingly help? Also, what is there to do in Blacksburg? I am from the New York area, and it struck me as a quiet town.

I also graduated from VT and really enjoyed the program. Upperclassmen are always willing to help–you just need to ask :wink: . But really, the open studio layout fosters a very collaborative environment where everyone is learning and feeding off each other. There is usually a “detox” session every other week that is led by a 3rd-4th year on certain skill building exercises (cad, photoshop, sketching, etc.). It’s amazing to see how far the program has developed since I was a freshman (about 5 years ago now) and it keeps progressing. Blacksburg as a town is not going to be New York City. It’s very much a “college town” but you will find a small design community composed of students within the school of A+D that you can fall into. Honestly, I feel any program you enter into is what you make of it. If you bust your ass and do good work you will land a good job. Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any specific questions!

I grew up on Long Island and near NYC and still live here. Frankly in a lot of ways I preferred Blacksburg. Beautiful scenery, tons to do outdoors, fantastic roads for driving, a great downtown area with lots of different vibes and good food. I never found myself missing the traffic, terrible attitudes and grind of NY. Though I did miss Delis, Chinese food, Pizza, and Bagels - none of which existed in the south.

Blacksburg weather is quite “Dramatic” as anyone will tell you. It’ll range from 80 degrees and sunny to a blizzard, often in the same day. But when it is nice, it’s a great place to be.

I am about a month away from graduating from ASU’s undergraduate ID program, and I’m feeling ready to head out into the world of professional design. We have a good program with a focus on design theory, research, and manufacturing/feasibility. Sketching isn’t as strong of a focus as it might be in other schools and the program is in a bit of a state of flux because the institute is changing directors at the end of the academic year. Between the shop and the digital lab there is plenty of resources and tools available to students. One unique thing (as far as I know) that ASU has is Innovation Space. It is a year long senior studio where you are teamed up with an engineering, graphic design and business student and work together on a sponsored project. As said by Q4857 you get out of your education what you put in. You need to go to extracurricular events, learn from your classmates and constantly stretch yourself to be successful. Good luck and feel free to ask any questions you might have.

One question I had about ASU is the “milestone” after the first year. A member of the department said that there are over 100 students in the Pre-ID program, and it ends up being a graduating class of about 30. Is it something to worry about if I put in a lot of effort? VT does not have a portfolio review as far as I know. What can I do now to help prepare myself? I do not have to take the Pre-Calc and Physics courses due to dual-enrollment and AP tests, so are there any other electives or courses you would recommend? I was thinking a woodworking class or photography would be beneficial, but maybe you can speak from experience. Thank you, and congratulations on graduating!

The Milestone can be a factor, but if you put in the time and effort you should be able to make it. When I started there were about 100 freshmen, but at the end of the year only about 60 applied. Some students realized ID wasn’t what they were expecting, found something they enjoyed more, or thought they wouldn’t make it. out of the about 60 that applied 28 made it into the second year. Freshman year is what’s called the foundation year where you will be mostly doing drawings with perfect perspective and crisp lines along with some models you make like a cardboard stool, and a paper sandal. It feels different from the years after it where you can losen up your drawings and have fun with them. The key to getting through the milestone is to get to know the professors, and meet them during office hours to show them your work. Not only will you get a better idea of what to improve, but they will also have a face to put to your portfolio when you apply at the end of the year.

Regarding electives I would choose classes that interest me and are somewhat related to design and business. I took some film classes, but if I did it all again I think I might have chosen differently. Some arts school electives could be good, but I would not discount the business side of design either. There are business and marketing classes, physics and chemistry classes, and software classes. I would just pick something that interests you, and doesn’t have a bunch of bad reviews floating around it.

I also graduated from ASU. I agree that the focus of the ID program (and the whole university for that matter) is on research. If you want to learn to be a rockstar sketch artist, go elsewhere. The alumni program is non existant, if that makes any difference. If you have the discipline to practice on your own and learn to sketch from sources outside of school, I would recommend ASU. They have a really great staff who are dedicated to their students. The weather is great there almost year round (you don’t have to shovel heat). As someone who had to reapply to the “milestone” process twice ( I was an “alternate” the first time) I can tell you that just because you are getting good grades in all of your design classes, it doesn’t mean you will get into the upper division of the program. It’s a really tough program to get into as they reject 80%+ every year at the milestone. I loved going there and I learned a TON. It all comes down to what you want to do when you graduate. They are an accredited school and you get a BS in Industrial Design when you graduate. Send me a PM if you want any specifics.

What are the study abroad opportunities at each school? I have read that VT has a program that goes to India and their architecture students can go to Switzerland, but I havent heard anything about ASU. It’s not like a major factor, but it might be an interesting experience.

I have decided to visit VT again soon to try and make my final decision sometime in April since the deadlines are May 1st. I appreciate the help.

I personally don’t know of anyone in my class that has taken advantage of ASU’s study abroad programs, but they do exist. I think most of them are more architecture based. There was an elective class that some of the faculty was tossing around a year ago that involved doing a design project for a 3rd world country and going there for research and testing, but I’m not sure what happened to it.

Maybe this is what you were talking about? I wonder what they would have ID students do.

Yes it was very similar to that. maybe the ID version just never ended up becoming an official class due to lack of applicants, costs or whatever.