CCAD, thoughts? Help!

Hey everybody. I mostly frequent the boards, so I’m new here, and I thought maybe you could give me some advice. I am dead-set on going into entertainment design, but I intend to go through the ID track in getting there.

I applied to four schools, (CCA, SCAD, ACCD, and CCAD). Unsurprisingly, I wasn’t quite good enough to get into ACCD, but I got into everywhere else. I’ve visited CCA, and it’s a good school, but relatively expensive, and their financial aid doesn’t really cover alot, so they’re pretty much out. SCAD is lazy, and so far hasn’t notified me about financial aid. CCAD however has given me over $50k in scholarships and such, which covers more than half of total costs, living, tuition, etc.

The thing is, I applied to CCAD as a safety, essentially. I’ve heard lots of good things, but I’m a tiny bit apprehensive, especially since I haven’t been able to visit it, and consequently I know a lot less about it.

So has anyone here been there? Is it a good program? Or if I get a comprable offer from SCAD, is there some reason I should pick it over Columbus? I’ve essentially cross-posted this at, but I haven’t gotten too many replies.

So anything anyone can tell me about Columbus, anecdotes, thoughts about the school, etc. would be helpful. I only really have until may to make a final decision, so anything at this point would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance,


They’re both pretty good schools. It may be time to really scrutinize the details, such as:

  • curricular flexibility (will you be able to tailor advanced projects to your interests; will you have adequate elective opportunities)
  • relevant electives (within ID and beyond)
  • faculty research interests
  • internships placements (who’s prepared to help you land a relevant internship)
  • industry relationships
  • opportunities for study abroad or cross-registration at other schools
  • alumni network (where are they, what industries are they in)

Of course, this is all assuming that your interests won’t change while you’re in school, and it’s likely they will.

Choose CCAD over SCAD, SCAD is expanding like a business not an art school and they accept anyone with a pulse.

…CCAD has much better reputation (oldest art school in the US), NASAD accredited and its location is much better suited in landing internships (Columbus, Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit, etc.).

Interestingly, I grew up in CO, chose CCAD w/out visiting it, and scholarship money was a large factor. Here is what I know:

Columbus is an easy city to live in w/ a fairly low cost of living. It is the largest city in Ohio, but does not have much of a downtown or a big city feel, depending on your perspective I guess. It is comparable in size to Denver, but the population is a bit more diverse.

As far as Industrial Design goes, there are several large firms in Columbus including Fitch, Design Central, and Priority Designs. Which is not of much value to you if you are interested in entertainment design, but speaks to the high level of talent in the area. There is a large art community in Columbus and CCAD is a big part of it. The School has received many sizable grants/gifts recently and has constructed several new buildings. Included in the new facilities are studios for ID and other design related departments.

I knew several people at CCAD who initially chose ID as a path to entertainment design. Some of them stuck it out (ID is known for being th toughest major), but many transferred to the Media Studies Department. It just depends on what works best for you. Creative thinking is emphasized in all majors, but ID is a bit more focused on identifying and solving problems w/ regards to tangible objects, and media studies is more about telling a story. Because of the growing interest in entertainment design, CCAD has made it easy to take electives across departments including ID, Media Studies, and Illustration. It does not give students a clear-cut path to entertainment design, but allows them flexibility to choose the classes they need. I would bet that in the future CCAD will offer an Entertainment Design Major. They are aware that there are many students in your position, but who knows when that number will reach the critical mass to justify a new department.

Consider where you want to end up as well. A big part of college is meeting people and forming a network of friends and acquaintances. One of the downfalls of CCAD is their lack of name recognition outside of the mid-west. It is a solid school w/ a great reputation… to those who know about it. Yes, your talent will speak for itself, but having a more visible alma mater never hurts. That said, I have no ability to speak as to how it stacks up against SCAD or CCA w/ respect to getting a job in the entertainment industry.

Don’t forget that education is the means, but a career is the goal.

Who is the CCAD moron that posted the same thing 4 times?

Took care of it…

I visited CCAD about 3 years ago as a visiting lecturer and critic. I thought it was a good program. It seemed to shy away from focusing on real estate and fancy buildings like most schools do, and really hone in on educating people to become practicing designers. Could they do a better job with this or that, of course, every school has its week points. But CCAD has got to be one of the best values, you get a decent education very inexpensively.

Wow, great replies everyone, this is extremely helpful, especially knowing that there are other people who have been in my (exact same) situation.

I think at this point, Columbus is looking pretty good, and unless there is some miracle and CCA decides to give me extra money, it’s looking like I’ll end up in ohio.

Again, thanks so much.

One concern about CCAD is that you would be in the same town as the University Mother Ship of Ohio: OSU. And, OSU does have an industrial design program as well.

Some time ago, CCAD was considered the fall back school if you did’t get into OSU or U of Cincinnati. Not sure if this still applies today, though.

While CCAD has improved their physical plant, it would be hard for any private school to compete against huge, well-funded, public schools like OSU and DAAP ( Cincinnati).

That being said, the adavntage of a school the size of CCAD is the personal attention that you would receive from your instructors. I’m sure by the end of the 1st semester of your Soph year, all ID faculty at CCAD would know who you are and have some idea of goals, aspirations, interests and talent level. This could be good or bad depending on how you like school to be. Remember the old addage, “be careful what you wish for, you just may get it”. The smallish, intimate nature of a school the size of CCAD would be a boon for students that desire close relationships with instructors. But of course, you can’t hide in that kind of setting and will constantly be subject to scrutiny and evaluation.

One other thing to mention. At schools like OSU, the faculty have a teaching/professorial bent. That is, they are University faculty first and foremost. To a much lesser extent, they are mentors for jobs, aware of career options, current trends of hiring, who (companies) has openings, etc. This is mostly because, at big public schools, the pressure of the
“publish or perish” mantra of academia is prevalent.

CCAD faculty may be practicioners that also teach. The are less conecerned about presenting papers at various conferences, writing articles for publication, research, etc.

So, it comes down to what other posters such as Yo, YKH, LMO, and others have said, “It depends on what you want”

Go to CCAD for year 1-2
Go visiting student to CCS year 3
Then decide where to finish.

I believe you won’t get too much damage in years 1-2.

You really don’t do much sophisticated ID work that you will show in your graduating portfolio. The exceptions being CCS & ACCD.

It’s your final 2 years that are critical.

This solution is like going to a decent school and then transferring the last 2 years to a tier one business school. You get the degree and you save a LOT of money.

You get the degree but half the education. Sure, you’d never put Foundation work in your portfolio, but that is your foundation! In a sense, it’s even more important than the spit-and-polish part of your education. No, you want to make the best decision in the first place.

Anyway, the suggestions about studying abroad, cross-registration, and mobility programs make sense as one way to augmnent your experience.

I graduated from CCAD in ID. Great school.
Bottom line: you get out (of whatever school you attend) what you put in. If you want a job after graduatiing, you’ll find a way to make it happen.

Well folks, it’s final, I’m goin’ to Columbus.

Thanks everybody who replied to this thread, you guys were a big help. Anybody goin’ to the orientation in June?

Congrats! Good luck in Cow town ( what locals you to call Columbus). Particpate in the local chapters of IDSA and you’ll likely meet other students from OSU and DAAP. This may give you some idea of how you are progressing relative to students from other schools.

Again, Good Luck and have fun.

I am also a CCAD graduate. So I just want to add my two cents. CCAD’s foundation year lays a very solid understanding of all art related fields and is also known to be one of the best in the country. Make sure you talk to your seniors/juniors and find out what kind of projects they work on and alwyas have your sketch book with you. Sketch out areas you feel could do with some improvement… it works as a journal for ideas for future competitions/ class projects. Also, try to read as my design ideology books early on as possible.( your professor will provide you with a reading list in your history and manufacturing course). This was probably the only area I didnt give my 101% to. And lastly…if you really want your moneys worth…take your studio classes with Professor Tom Kier. He is one of the best there! Good Luck to you.

i am currently a senior in the ID program at OSU. I realize this is a very late reply in comparison with the post, but a few things were said that drove me crazy.

OSU is in NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM, a POWERHOUSE of ID. One reply somehow quoted OSU’s ability for job placement, career trends and the like. BS. that is, BULLSHIT, PERIOD. If i could go back and do things over, i would’ve attended UC. Now, OSU has a better design process package. . . (so i’ve been told. never attended UC so i’m not sure), but that’s what i hear so i beLIEve it. OSU’s co-op program is absolute DOGSHIT. Even if OSU’s process is 100X’s better than UC’s, it still doesn’t get you a job. And being that the majority of UC students have a product or two on the shelves before they get out of school, OSU can’t compete. Granted, some of these schools, (CCAD, UC) deal primarily in aesthetics and sketching, with less process. So what. Big deal. when you get hired chances are you’ll start out as a sketch monkey coming up with concepts. I don’t know about the rest of you, but i don’t want to RUN a design firm. I don’t want to sit back like the Big brother, and speak of how the process should take place. I want to use my brain to solve problems, sketch up concepts, and eventually choose one to take on to final. You want OSU’s education AND UC’s. Then here, go to UC and follow these steps:

Problem Statement
End User / Current Research
Ideation / sketching
Choose a concept
Refine ideation and aesthetics through sketching
Sketch Model
Final Model w/ indications of materials and Engineering
Rhino / Flamingo
Photograph that shit and put it on a layout.

There, that’s a LOT easier for a UC person to do, than for an OSU person to have the timeline and teach themselves about aesthetics and how to sketch.

Chances are, if you can’t solve a problem before you go to a school, than you won’t be a competent designer. A school should teach you how to work through a problem to 85% completion before it goes to the Engineering team, as WELL as aesthetics and sketching.

Certain prof’s here scoff at aesthetics, saying it ends in a product lacking substance. Well, that’s true, if the ENTIRE product is looks. But if you can come up with a solid concept that’s functional, and THEN give it form, why not? There are prof’s here that DENY that form is a function within itself. If the user looks at it, and feels good about the product, and wants it, and realizes it makes them feel how they want to feel just using it, isn’t that a function???

There are also prof’s here who will teach you process, and then work with you on form. One of our profs came from germany many years ago, and is hands down the best teacher i ahve had in my 20 years of education.

As far as what was said concerning OSU’s MASSIVE amounts of money and wonderful facilities? We have a model shop from the 70’s, computers from 2001 and we have to pay 25cents for every print out. Yes, OSU has a lot of money, but what the person previous doesn’t understand is that the DESIGN college at OSU is still very small, and has lackadasical funds.

Don’t buy the hype. . .

Well…um…that was all very interesting. I never actually considered applying to OSU, and I never recall mentioning it back in april when I started this thread. One of the reasons I like the traditional art school route is that that’s m ainly where my background is, and I’m hoping to go into entertainment design (concept art, etc.) out of school, not necessarily straight up ID. Believe me, it took a lot of consideration about whether or not I wanted to major in ID or Illustration.

And if any of you wanted to know, I did finally end up choosing CCAD, and I leave in five days. Wish me luck.

Good luck. The head of the department (Tom?) did some sweet model work for the movie industry, get some contacts from him.

Awesome. Thanks for the tip!

(heh, sorry, that was me, forgot to log in)