college admission question / acceptance rates for schools

Currently a high school student who is looking into schools for college specializing in industrial design. I have some questions regarding the process and would love any input.
First of all, as I look into certain schools the acceptance rates are all over the place. Schools that I have researched who are considered to be the top in the industry, have acceptance rates from very low to very high ( like 78%). Is there some pre-selection process that occurs at these design schools? Meaning do they weed out students before they apply so that they can sound like their acceptance rates are higher. I just am having a hard time picking “safety” schools that I would most likely get into along with more “high reach” schools. Hope my question makes sense.

Also, I note that many schools offer graduate programs for industrial design. Do most people get an undergraduate degree in something else and then return to graduate school for the Industrial design piece? Does one degree have more weight when job searching?

And lastly, The Art Center question. Does The Art Center mainly accept students who have had a previous four year degree? They say they look at high school students but it seems the attention is mainly at students with educational backgrounds from other schools first before they attend The Art Center.

Hoping someone can enlighten me with some info.

  1. Every school has a portfolio review, along with the application. The portfolio review will matter more than the rest of the application for most colleges.
  2. My school did a M.I.D. but there were only a few people doing it. I think if you ask most practicing designers they will have an undergrad in ID and that’s it. I don’t see how a grad degree in ID would help you unless you were changing disciplines (interaction → industrial and so forth) or wanted to go into teaching.
  3. Most of the ACCD grads I know did a few years or a full BA someplace else before getting into ACCD. They probably have strong portfolio requirements.
  4. Your signature says “hawaii08” - are you coming from the 808-state?

Thanks for the info. No, not from Hawaii, the midwest.
Thanks again for your time.
I found your info helpful.

Most do, but not all. DAAP does not look at any portfolio. It’s all GPA, and personal statement. When I was applying I called and asked what would happen if I sent one in and the lady I spoke too told me that it would probably just be sent back! I was a non-traditional student so maybe straight out of high school it might be looked at, but it is definitely NOT a requirement. DAAP’s stance is that if you are a hard enough worker they can teach you the technical skills from the ground up.

That’s interesting, thanks for the info.

Thanks for the info choto … that makes me want to apply now as a transfer/non-traditional student to see if I can get a spot for this fall rather than wait for next year.

I would consider trying for your top school. Then if you aren’t accepted, take some time to increase your skills and re-apply. I am going to graduate from Art Center in the summer, and that’s pretty much what I did. They will work with you if you at first don’t make the cut. Besides the real test is once school starts. It doesn’t really matter what your entrance portfolio looks like. It’s all about what you learn while you are there.
Best of luck.


Does Art Center mainly accept students who have gone to a previous school first? They say their average age is 22, so have most students had prior schooling?

Any advice on portfolio submission work?

Hawaii, I personally got into my art school as a transfer believe it or not. I attended Syracuse University, College of Visual and Performing Arts for one year which has a great industrial design program, but I transferred to Pratt in Brooklyn, finished my undergrad in Industrial design and went on to do my masters there also. So industrial design is both undergrad and grad. It was much easier to get in as a transfer already in industrial design at Syracuse. They basically only wanted to see my portfolio, they already knew Syracuse was big for academics. They are more selective than many other art schools since they rank in the top ten of art schools in the United States. I believe their acceptance rate is between 50% and 55%.
Art Center acceptance rate currently is about 60%, so you still have a pretty good chance of getting in their as long as they see great potential in your portfolio. Good luck my friend, industrial design is one of the more physically hands-on but exciting fields in any art school.