Dilemnas in Georgia...ID at which college?

Should I go to one of these colleges, or other?

  • Art institute of Atlanta
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Savannah College of Art and Design
  • Other (explain your choice below)

0 voters

Im in a very weird position as of now.

I am a Junior in High School, and i really am interested in Industrial Design. I currently live in suburban Atlanta, and would like to go to college somewhere in Georgia due to financial constraints (however, push come to shove, my parents are willing to throw more money at a better program/college).

I am currently looking at 3 colleges in Georgia that offer Industrial Design.
-The Art Institute of Atlanta
-Georgia Institute of Technology (ga tech)
-Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)

I am willing to go out of state, but, like i said, it has to be financially viable for me, and importantly, not that far from atlanta. i say, 4 hrs away tops., since i want to see my family somewhat frequently.

Is there anything wrong with the above programs? Other than the ones above, which other ones near georgia do you recommend? Of the institutions above, which would you pick and why?

i’ve heard that the georgia tech program does not praise individuality and sketching nearly as much as the mechanics involved with ID (being it an engineering school).
i havent heard anything on this site about the Art institute so can someone elaborate on that please.
and finally, SCAD isnt accredited correct? ive heard that even though it isnt accredited, i should still consider it. WHY?? I know it is expensive though ($100,000 for a bachelors??? come on!). The word around many forums is that they care more about your money than teaching you, and will do whatever it takes to take your money. True?

Thanks for your time


I know nothing of the Alabama school. But GA Tech and SCAD are both good schools in their own ways.

You’re lucky - since you’re close you can easily go visit both schools, see the student works, campuses, studios, facilities, and get a better idea for yourself. GA Tech will be cheaper since it’s the state school, I applied there even since I was out of state in NY but went to VA Tech instead - which also has a similar program that is a bit more engineering focused then art focused.

You’re probably right that GA Tech doesn’t care as much about sketching, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work your ass off to learn how to draw well. Likewise SCAD is an art school, which means the environment as a whole will be much different than the primarily male, primarily engineer GT.

I would say visit each school and see which one fits you best - me personally, I hated the idea of an art school which is why I went to a large university. And $100k for a bachelors is cheap nowadays. By comparision my first choice school at the time (6 years ago) was $35k/yr x 5 years.

Go check them out for yourself, talk to some students, and form your own opinion. The truth is both programs will give you the education you need to make it in the professional design world. It’s what YOU put into your school that will put you ahead of the curve.

If its a neccessity to stay in-state, I would say Ga. Tech but understanding that they are engineering focused more-so than design focused. Since you are close, I would take a hard look at Auburn. They are probably the best all-around school in the south as far as getting the full gammot of design education (methodology, design, functionality, ect.). I know they also have some programs with GA. students that give them in-state tuition if certain criteria are met. Also, the 2007 rankings rated Auburn the #6 I.D. program in the country, and the #2 rating for a public university behind Cinncinati.

Go somewhere that has a reputation and I would say within your 4 hr. radius limit, Auburn and Ga Tech are the 2 best respectively.

GA Tech and The Art Institute of Atlanta should not be considered as options in my opinion.

I’ve been to both, they’re ID programs jokes in comparison. Just much different than a user-centered design approach and much different than other quality institutions out there. I’m sure there are some very talented individuals there, but I did not see a great majority when I visited.

Take a weekend visit to SCAD, it’s ID program tour will speak for itself.

Speak with Professor Bob Fee or Tom Gattis about the accreditation issue.

I’m in the professional design field; full-time and freelance. No one has ever mentioned/brought up this ‘issue’, nor do they know about it, or do they care. It’s a non-issue.

“SCAD is accredited by SACS, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (http://www.sacscoc.org/); this is the same accreditation system that acknowledges Clemson, Duke, Emory, Wesleyan, and more.
SCAD did look into NASAD accreditation. NASAD allows public universities to get accreditation for just one school/department within the University. For private schools they require the entire school to get NASAD accreditation. There were other schools (performing arts, painting, graphic, interaction, game development, etc, etc) within SCAD that did not want to do this so the Industrial Design Department was unable.”

As a Graduate from SCAD I am very happy with the education I received. The school’s ID department is a fast growing well rounded program. They offer great facilities, knowledgeable professors and not to mention that the city itself is gorgeous.

Cyberdemon brings up a good point and that is that GT and Auburn are very Engineering based and not as much “Design” based. This is something you have to ask yourself is if you want to be in a school that is more creative focused or more technical focus. In my opinion ID is both. I don’t believe you can have an ID program without caring about sketching. That is probably the most important skill of our job. At SCAD this will get pounded in to you along with human centered design and user experience.

To you comment about them caring more about taking your money than teaching you…That is every school. College is going to be what ever you put in you will get out. If you go in there with that kind of attitude than no you will not learn anything. But if you go in there and plan to work you will get a lot out of it. I graduated in 2002 and have a wonderful job (2nd one) and have do tons of freelance work. I have been so happy with my education that I have convinced my current employer to take a corporate project to them last year and allow the students to get some real world experience and also give us some great ideas.

I guess what I am saying is that obviously I feel that SCAD was a great school and actually does have a good reputation with graduate at some of the largest design firms in the country. It gave me a great education and I feel if you are looking for the creative environment than I think it is you best choice. If you are not looking for that and would rather have the more
technical enviroment than go for the others.

I am probably biased becuase I am a graduate of Auburn but I wouldn’t classify it at all as having an engierring focus. I basically look at Ga Tech, Auburn, and SCAD as three very different was to teach ID. Not that one is any more correct than another but this is the way I look at their programs.

SCAD: Big focus on creativity and conceptualization but may not concentrate on functionality and process as much. I’ve seem some really cool stuff from here but question its feasibility alot. Not sure what type of co/op program they have.

Auburn: Big focus on methodolgy, process, with a decent mix of creativity and functionality. Doesn’t have as strong of a focus on creativity as SCAD but does push it. Also does a good job of teaching manufacturing processes and has good co/op relationships which are a big help when job hunting comes around (I currently work for one of the co/op sponsors).

Ga Tech: Big focus on functionality and engineering. Also has good co/op relationships but may restrict you from a creativity standpoint.

Go visit the schools. It doesn’t matter what the program is - college is still a place you’ll have to spend 4 (or 5 or 6) years of your life. If you don’t like the campus or the people you shouldn’t go to a school just because people said the program is good. I’ve seen work from all the schools in the IDSA southern conference and they’re all producing good work. Just because one school doesn’t focus on sketching (my school didn’t) doesn’t mean you can’t push yourself and your classmates.

Our school underwent a huge push towards improving sketching ability and 90% of it was student driven. School is there to provide you with the resources to succeed, not cuddle you for every pretty drawing and good idea you have.

Another major thing i am considering (like i pointed out in another thread of mine) was that I wanted an art school that will let me study abroad (most notably in Japan) also.

no schools that have been listed will let me do that for Industrial Design, HOWEVER,
is it possible for those schools to let me do my general, core study in japan?

In my other thread, Taylor told me SCAD let him/her kill off their electives and core art history classes in UK/France

could i do this at Auburn/ GT/etc, but in Japan?

thx again, everyone has been very helpful so far. :]]


You can go at the end of your freshman year. I went to France for about 3 months my sophomore year, and London for about 3 weeks my junior year. I almost went back to France for the ID program my junior or senior year.

All classes are in English by SCAD professors who go over for the program. They all teach at SCAD, Savannah - so there is no issues. This is the case for all the different countries, including Japan. Additionally, you can take a language while you are studying in a foreign country, which was cool.

It was very easy for me to sign up for the off-campus programs. I still don’t know why more students don’t take advantage of it… fear of traveling, perhaps? Laziness? You go to the meeting, pick your courses like any other semester, and then fly over. Done.