GA Tech

I’d like to hear some unbiased comments on GATech’s undergraduate ID program. It is of primary concern to me as it is the only decent school that I would be able to receive in-state tuition for, making it one of the few affordable to me.
Thom

Hey there

I don’t know all that much personally about G.Tech, but we had 4 exchange students from there here in Sweden, and I was really impressed with most of them. They are definately better at the research part of the proccess then most I have seen. Sketches were good, not fantastic, and they mostly hadn’t used most of the 3D programs. I think they had used Form-Z though, now that I think about it.

Very business oriented and professional program, I’d say. Might just need a bit of a creative kick in the rear.

Best of luck!

I am a Georgia Tech graduate from the Industrial Design program. Overall I think the program is pretty good academically speaking. However I do regret the fact that they focus more on the technical aspects of design and put too much emphasis on building prototypes rather than exploring innovative ideas. When I was there a good percentage of the time we spent building foam models for our designs. The “exploratory”, idea-storming process was not as intensive as it should be. Maybe if they spent more time developing the ideas the overall creativity in the projects of the students would improve. I also found that many times the faculty tries to impose too much their own ideas on the designs, which in most ocassions resulted in products that lacked an innovative edge. Sometimes you just had to “go” with what your professor wanted just to be able to earn a good grade.

Another thing to consider is the fact that the ID department shares facilities with the architecture department and sometimes resources, such as computer labs to work on large computer files, are compromised. Which to some extent is responsible for the fact that most of our models had to be done by hand rather than in a 3D modeling programs as most design firms do nowadays.

Even though I might be scaring you a bit I do not regret having gone to Georgia Tech. It is a VERY well-known school and that reputation can take you very far. Just make sure that you don’t depend on them to learn your computer skills (i.e. learn more programs besides Form Z!). Also very important: keep digital pictures of EVERY single project you work on. Oh, another thing is that the ID department is not too big on finding future employers for their students so make sure you do your networking ahead of time before you graduate.

Again, there might be a few things that the program needs to work on to improve, but overall Georgia Tech is an excellent school and the id department is getting there. I hope this helps and good luck!!!

If you HAVE to stay in GA, then Tech would be the cheapest, by a long shot.
The ID program is competitive, and NASAD accredited. If youre there, go visit the school, walk through the studios, talk to the students.

With respect to the previous posting by a GTID grad: now computer modelling at tech has actually taken off, with a lot of kids relying on alias for their final deliverables (good or bad, I dont know).

I also heard a rumor thay are substituting Form-Z with Solidworks…I wish they had done that when i was there.

anywho, I feel the lack in the program is visualization: effectively showing your ideas through sketches, photoshop renders and illustrator. they kinda gloss over it but you have to pretty much learn it yourself.

From what I can tell, GT is very competitive with the other schools in the southeast. The faculty is overall really strong, with a lot of either teaching experience or real world experience. I don’t know that making models is emphasized over anything else, its just that there is this attempt at an artificial balance of time between ideation, research, and final models or whatever that isn’t always beneficial to final results.

Anyway, everything here at Tech gets better every semester. Rapid prototypers may be coming by next semester, we have an amazing CNC shop, there are classes in Alias and Solidworks and you can teach yourself Rhino and Cobalt and some other stuff. The whole department will move into a more spacious space around the time that you might enroll, our accreditation was just confirmed, and a new director will be in place soon.

I think the key here is to engage your instructors. I haven’t seen that much willingness on the teacher’s part to be direct with students about strengths and weaknesses early on. If you ask them, they’ll talk to you for hours about how you’re doing, but they expect a lot of self-motivation. That’s cool and all, but it can catch you off guard.

The students here tend to be really smart since to get into the ID program, you have to meet admissions requirements for the university (not just the College of Architecture). They are also getting better at design every year. The work that the former director (Lorraine Justice) did while she was here improved the reputation a lot and I think has attracted more strong students and faculty.

If you wanted to see the place, you could pretty much drop by any time and find somebody in IDSA to show you around. Or you could go the official route and get somebody in the dept. to show you around, but that may not be as useful.

I’d say that maybe the biggest problem with the undergrad program here is all of the school-wide curriculum requirements that aren’t always useful on any level and really tend to get in the way of all of the design work that is required. EVERYBODY here has to take computer science, calculus II, and 2 lab sciences. At a school like Tech, none of these classes are cakewalks.

In short, GT is a pretty good option if you want to stay pretty local or save money. If you’re willing to work individually on improving or learning skills (like sketching, computer programs, etc.), then there’s no reason why you can’t come out of here being super competitive in the work force.

VERY good info guys. thank you for your time. i am calling them tomorrow and will plan a trip down within the next 2 weeks. also teaching myself 3D studio viz as supplementory education.
chickens in the egg still though. how about my chances of getting into the program? i’m 23, GA resident (on vacation in NJ now) i was dean’s list both semesters senior year, at nearby emory university. art history major. arch. minor. 3.5 GPA, 1400 GRE, 780 math, 620 Verbal, 5 Writing. pretty good at drawing, very good at thinking up new ideas, thats my best strength. need to put some of them into my portfolio.
Thanks again,
Thom

You dont need a portfolio to get in, but I would strongly advise you to make a portfolio to SKIP the first common year, especially since you have an arts related background.

…you won’t be getting any ‘unbiased’ comments around here, not sure they exist anyway.

Based on GA Tech, well, you pay for what you get, to some degree.

yes… i can only ask people to try for unbiased. i guess unbiased opinion is an oxymoron

Thom,
Based on your stats, I’m not sure why you want the undergrad degree. Do you think you have a better chance of getting in? You sound like a prime candidate for the grad program. The previous posts about non-id required classes are true. Calculus and Physics will take up half of your first 2 years-and they no longer offer the ‘football’ multiple choice versions I took. You need to visit admissions in person with all your documents and talk to them about what required courses could be waived based on your exisiting degree. Undergrads are selected by GT, and Graduates selected by ID.

We don’t really use viz in the ID program, you’d be better learning rhino-fairly intuitive from what I hear. (I use formZ professionally) formZ, Alias, and now Solidworks are taught here-Viz taught by Arch program. Self-motivation is a big thing, and keep in mind that this program is an offshoot of Architecture/GT, and so there is some beaurocracy that the program must conform to. I suggest continue with the sketching-and not of buildings-maybe do a quickie concept design such as that vacumn cleaner to show thought process.

Other than that, I’d be happy to talk to you some about the program as I see it-a recent graduate who is still involved there. I am biased, but I’m not going to gloss over things. GT is not going to hold your hand.

thanks equus, although it may seem clear to you that i could make it to the grad level, i’ve never seriously considered it possible. i guess thats the art history degree talking.
i would like to take calculus and the like outside and in advance, in order to free up more time for core ID work, but without any idea of whether i’d make it into the program or not, i’m waiting on that. i’ll be travelling back to GA in the immediate future and will visit with the ID program.
i have quite literally, dozens of pages of sketches for (as far as i know) entirely unique ideas, but i am very sensitive to the fact that i have no idea about ID, so how could i producing anything relevant? am i going about it the right way? i know, there is only one way to find out, expose myself. for that reason i’m developing them slowly and carefully as i pick up attitudes here and browse the portfolios available to see, so i can step into the light with a good foot.
i’ve got to say, though i have no right, there are some pretty damn stupid ideas out there. i don’t want to fall into that, so i’m ruminating over and shaping my ideas until i’m relatively convinced they are worth showing. i will have some examples here posted in the near future. since deciding on ID i have not drawn a single building, those came from when i was studying baroque,ancient and modern architecture.
rhino? shit! i just finally got a legit copy of 3Dstudioviz.
talk to you guys soon
Thom