CCA versus Art Center

Hello guys,

My name is John and this is my first post. I am currently finishing my sophomore year at CCA (California College of the Arts). The program is very strong and I feel as though I am learning quite a lot.

However, I was thinking of transferring to Art Center, because transportation design interests me.

I know that the reputation of Art Center is excellent, and I know that it’s considered one of the most rigorous and challenging programs out there, which is also why it interests me.

So here’s the dilemma: I really like CCA and the program. I really can’t find many faults with it, other than that it isn’t teaching me anything dealing with trans design. But I know that Art Center has a great reputation. And it might push me further as a designer, and it would be better for me in the long run, especially if i am in fact interested in trans…

So there’s the problem. I know that this is no real ‘answer’ to this problem but your input would be appreciated.

I know Im not answering your question, except to say that, yes the artcenter reputation is excellent.
I just got accepted to pratt and CCA and dont know what to do. Iv visited both. I wanted to ask you–how you feel about CCA? any thoughts/advice from your perspe3ctive.

Hello mwicht,

I got $40,000 from pratt in scholarship money and only $20,000 from CCA, but I still chose CCA because it was the superior school IN MY OPINION. That means that it was better for ME personally.

Here’s what’s good about CCA:

  1. Extremely good teachers and staff. Most of the teachers are actually Art Center grads, ironically. All of them work in the field. I have had very good teachers overall.

  2. The ID department in CCA didn’t focus as heavily on the basic skills, and was more conceptual. THIS HAS CHANGED. CCA now has a heavier focus on drawing, modelmaking, and 2D rendering (as well as the usual 3d rendering). So while the school still has a heavy focus on concept and problem-solving, they give you a good foundation to communicate that.

  3. Very good facilities; a 3D printer, two laser cutters, a decent sized model shop, 4 computer labs, etc.

Here’s what’s bad about CCA:

  1. Depending on the teacher, I sometimes feel that the students are coddled a little bit. Some teachers, in my opinion, don’t critique the students enough. They could do a better job of this, but this is more dependent on the teacher…

  2. The organization of the school when it comes to scheduling and/or trying to solve problems regarding the administration is GOD DAMNED AWFUL. They spend all their money on facilities and faculty and as a result they have nothing left when it comes to organizing things like classes and schedules and stuff like that.

    Here are some good teachers that you should get in CCA:

Ian MacColl for Design Communications 1
Bradley Taylor for Modelmaking
Raffi Minasian for whatever class he does (usually Industrial Design 2)
Karson Shadley for Industrial Design 1 (if he still does it)

Hope that helps.

By the way, that’s for the undergrad program. I have no knowledge of the grad program but i hear it is inferior in a lot of ways.

Hello there,
I have applied as an International Transfer Student to Art Center College of Design and California College of the Arts.

Both of these universities have accepted my application. I have no clue how things would be like in either of the colleges.

And I cannot afford to visit as I am in India, What am I to do ?

On what basis should i distinguish between the two ?

What about transportation design @ ACCD really interests you. The ACCD program is really heavily based on automotive styling. That’s the core of the program, and I don’t believe that’s a good thing. There’s only so much you can do to make a car look cool, but you aren’t really improving the car itself (look at the auto industry). I do plan on working in trans at some point, but I’d rather learn from the industrial designer’s problem solving perspective and apply that to design new forms of transportation, rather than the standard 4-wheel automobile that trans students keep sugar coating over and over again.

But if auto styling is what you’re really really into, then go for it! Keep in mind that you’ll be drawing a shitton, which is always a good thing. My recommendation, though, is to transfer to the ID program if anything. I met a guy @ ACCD taking the night programs this summer. He was a junior @ CCA and dropped out to go study trans at ACCD. He just loves loves loves drawing cars and hates all the research/stuff that IDers have to do, so it was the right choice for him. But he’s still not applying for the day program yet, because he wants to get really good before he starts. Don’t rush it. If anything, come back after you work a few years in the industry and find that trans still interests you. In that case, apply all the ID learning you’ve done to trans and you’ll become great.

All of this was based on the fact that you said “transportation design interests me”. That’s not a very compelling statement for someone wanting to transfer. Also another fact to consider: can you make the cut? I’d go down to ACCD and take the night program for a term or two to get used to the workload/basic skills. Also the undergrad life there sucks/does not exist.

Would you talk a bit about student life at CCA? How is it dealing with the split campus. Do you feel you are at a “college” or more that you are taking classes in a city. Is there a sense of community vibe at the school or not? Are there any opportunities for playing sports…clubs, gym?
Would you also comment a bit more about your decision to attend CCA over Pratt? Had you sat in on classes at both? Was it the curriculum, teachers, philosophy, atmosphere?

Drae, I have sent you a private message answering these questions.

However, you might want to check out the post on this thread that I wrote a few months back about the facilities of CCA and my overall view of it. It’s pretty extensive.

tarngerine, I don’t understand why you keep giving advices on the life and programs at ACCD since you are not a student there, and thus haven’t experience either the school nor the life there. Taking a couple of night class on the south campus during the summer doesn’t make you an expert on ACCD or the life there since all of those programs you like to advice about take place on the main campus which is a few miles away…lol. I am sorry to say, that a lot of your advices are just incorrect.

I’m sorry for giving any misinformation. This is just what I’ve learned from talking to professors/students there and doing my own research.

You know it might help the person more if you corrected me where I was wrong. That’s what this forum is for.

Go to Art Center if you want to be a Trans designer. I graduated there and have friends still in the program. Alumni network and proximity to car studios mean professional working teachers in the industry and critiques and visiting guests from local studios. You’ll be trained by the best (actual car designers who get paid to design cars) and be designing with students who will push you. If you’re not competitive and don’t enjoy hard work you should avoid Art Center. Trans is very big on styling, but if you want to engineer a car go to Stanford not a legitimate design school. Car designers can conceptually conceive of reengineering a car from ground up but the expertise is making the car appealing to someone.
Socially, you’ll build really tight connections with classmates because of the long hours and helping each other out.
Don’t go to product at Art Center, most instructors are professional teachers and don’t work much in the field actively. Good luck.