Design Curious Student

Well, Im a Junior in Highschool and over the years I’ve always been lost in thought and terrified about making that one decision of what i wanna do after highschool. I beleive that when I make up my mind entirely on a career/profession I should tackle it full force and live without any regret. Well for awile now design has interested me more than any of my other ideas. It seems to utilize art and style in ways I never thought by creating original, intriguing products for comfort and visual purposes, as well as making products to benefit the world, and making people’s lives easier from day to day. Design seems to be a place I can let my mind roam and imagination run to the fullest to make my ideas come true to benefit reality. I am almost sure if not entirely sure that design is going to be my future. But I want to ask a few questions to help me on my way. First I have made up my mind that i want to go to college in New York City, I wonder what colleges are highly rated their, Ive already found one that interested me. Pratt Institute is a college that seemes well enough, but I was wondering if anyone knew any information/first-hand info on it. I Think the type of design that best suits me is Industrial Design, I was wondering how much money could be made in that field. Right now im messing around(more like “hoplessly” learning) on a CAD program called powershape-e but I was wondering which program would be the best to use in industry based design. I would also like to hear about people’s experiance in Design. I want to know all i can about being a designer. Thanks.
OH Yea, I also would like to know the best places to intern during the summer for a Highschool student.

Pratt is a great school, and if you want to be in NYC then it’s really your only choice. On a personal note, I decided against Pratt since I grew up in NY and realized I generally disliked most of the “artsy” crowd, which is certainly what you’ll find. But thats just me. :slight_smile:

Another comment I’ll make (which is a generalization based on what I’ve seen) is that Pratt tends to focus a lot more on more artistic/style based projects. Footwear, furniture, housewares, fashion/jewelry, things along those lines. If those things seem interesting to you, then you’ll do good. On the other hand, if you tend to think more along the lines of engineering, how to make something work, etc, perhaps it’s not the best choice. There are other schools that might not be in NYC, but can still be within driving distance and have connections to NY internships like RIT and Syracuse. They all have solid programs in the northeast, visiting the school before you apply would definately be worth it.

If your parents tell you it’s too expensive to go visit a school, just tell them it’s more expensive to go someplace that costs $30k a year for tuition and then transfer after your first year cause you hate it. :slight_smile:

As far as CAD software goes. Play around with whatever you can get your hands on, you don’t need to worry about being good at CAD till your second/third years of school, and they’ll teach you what you need to know. Having a background and learning some stuff now doesn’t hurt, but it’s not required. If you’re going to do anything, I’d spend a lot of time drawing. Pratt requires a Portfolio to get in, so you’re going to need some sharp work just to make it past admissions.

Regarding money. If you want to be rich when you grow up, get a business degree. You can make a good living as a designer, but you won’t see many designers driving around in Ferraris (as much as we’d love to). The tradeoff is you get to do something you love for a living, while still getting paid enough to survive (most of the time). It’s a worthy trade off in my opinion.

I’d definatley suggest trying to tour some schools before you apply though. I never visited my school (Virginia Tech) before I had already gotten in and accepted my admission, but I suppose I had a good idea of what I wanted in a school, plus I couldn’t afford to go anywhere else. :slight_smile: Worked out for me though.

Don’t worry too much about internships, just see what you can get your hands on. Theres so many odd jobs that designers do that can all be beneficial. I have lots of friends with construction and graphics backgrounds, myself I interned designing web pages in HS. There are lots of fields that have skills that designers need, even if you’re not designing anything.

Hope that helps.