Hit a road bump. Any advice? [Can't start major]

Hello everyone.

My name is Jordan, this is my first post, and I’m absolutely already asking for advice.

Here’s a quick summary. Was in the Army, fell in love with design, quit the Army to go back to school, spent a year at CC to prove I’m a better student, got straight A’s, applied to the University of Washington, got accepted.

Now, I went to the advisor the other day to register for my classes and was quite bluntly told I can’t study ID because I didn’t go to the design workshop that was held a month before I was accepted, and I have to wait until Fall 2016. She said it’s not so bad because I’ll probably want to change my major anyway, and I can just take other classes like “diversity class.” I wanted to slap her. Why would I change my major? All I’ve been working for is this. I should pay for another year of general classes for the chance to study?

So here I am, with that option, or something else. That’s what I’d love to hear: what else can I do? I’ve been reading design books to try and build work but I’m just lacking real understanding and guidance, which is what I want from school.

My dream is to attend Art Center, but I understand how competitive it is and I want to have something better to show them.

I’ve considered applying to the Academy of Art College in SF, or taking the Product Design certificate course at Pasadena City College.

Here are a few sketches to show how lost I am:

And because I believe in branding as a whole experience, here are some little videos I made to experiment with music and words:

kiss on Vimeo [this was for class. I sketched and watercolored each frame on vellum]

Help me, Obi Wan Kanobies, your my only hope.

Hey Jordan,

If your ultimate goal is to go to Art Center then I recommend looking into Art Center at night, it’s a straight shot into their program.

As far as your situation at Washington, I highly suggest you talk to someone besides the advisors, as I’m sure there are some exceptions that can be made.

While I have no guidance on which colleges on the west coast may suit your needs better, I think Aaron is dead on in regards to your current school. Go find the department chair, explain your situation, there should be something you can do to get around the work shop (or make it up on top of your classes).

In the meantime, things you can do outside of school:

-Start a sketch thread on here, and stick with it! (I’m personally bad at this, but it’s helped a ton of people to keep pushing themselves outside of school)

-Think about giving yourself design projects and using the basic design method (brief>research>insights>ideation>prototyping>concept development>refinement)

-Start to collect photos of products you find inspirational, start thinking about their stories

On a side note, I’d refrain from comments like “I wanted to slap her”. I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt here (as it’s most likely a figure of speech), but in the design world, everyone is going to critique your work, this type of reaction would not be appropriate ever.

I had no idea this Art Center at Night thing existed. This looks fantastic. I’ve e-mailed the professors that teach the classes to see if they would allow me to attend, so hopefully if there’s space and they allow it.

I’ve been trying to give myself projects but the problem I’m having is still not really understanding the design process. I fairly quickly make up my mind what I want to do. But I agree, I need to do this more. The books I’ve gotten so far don’t really explain much about the process unfortunately, just about drawing and presentation.

Inspiration isn’t a problem. My shelves are full of objects that inspire and I’m always adding.

As for my reaction, it wasn’t at my work being critiqued. It was at someone telling me I’ll probably not follow my dream and should prepare to give up. I’m never going to react with someone telling me that in a positive way. Critique my work all you want, shred it apart. But don’t tell me I shouldn’t even try to be a designer.

No worries, I totally get the frustration, much of my professional career up to this point has been at a place with no designer before me, many people every day tell me “that will never work here” or “we’re not X, just do whats expected”; I try not to give them much thought, instead focusing on proving them wrong via successful projects.

As far as giving yourself projects and learning process; if you start a project thread with an object in mind (or even better would be a problem that you want to solve) myself and many others on the board will gladly help guide you through the process! (or post one you’ve recently completed and we can give feedback on that)

As someone that rushed into an ID program without doing 100% of the research, I would just like to give the advice that you slow down and find the right program for you. When I was in community college I couldn’t wait to jump out, I felt so behind from my peers and just wanted to get into the real world.

Slow down, do your research on every program in the country. (heck, check out the international schools as well). If you can put together the proper research on what program is best for your needs and then commit to it you’ll make your life much easier rather than jumping into something and then figuring out the rest later. Also, don’t just check off a school based on what you read on a website, get on the phone and try to get in contact with directors of the ID departments.

Do you like more conceptual work? Corporate? Research? There’s so many different avenues and each program has it’s own strengths, so don’t settle! You’re in a really advantageous position being that you haven’t started a program yet, if you have to take a semester off to find the best direction then so be it.

Modern Man is an Art Center alum.

IMMO, your work tells him you’re not ready to take full advantage of an ID program yet.

Modern Man concurs with recommendations that you get your arse to LA ASAP and take Art Center at night classes - they are a bargain.

Take classes with Randall Smock, Stan Kong, Steve Eastwood - and most importantly Richard Pietruska. Richard has probably literally taught half of whose who in the world of design that studied in America - Jay Mays, Chris Bangle. . . and probably that Yves Béhar kid.

Art Center is a three term, year round program. If admitted, you could possibly start in the fall, spring (January - it’s an LA thing. . . go figure) or summer term.

Application deadlines are Jan 15 for summer, Feb 1 for fall, and Oct 15 for spring. Check with ACCD to confirm.

BE ADVISED: You may have to kiss Kit Baron, Senior Vice President, Admissions and Enrollment Management, on the cheek to get in - AFTER you get passed Richard Pietruska

Also, bring your checkbook - a FAT ONE - and don’t smack anyone!

P.S. It’s a Loooooooong farking road.

Good advice. The reason I’m posting is because I’m cautious about rushing into something. But the thing that’s always on my mind is…I’m turning 27 in November. I’ll possibly be 32 by the time I graduate. People say it doesn’t matter but every moment I’m not in school is a moment a peer is gaining more experience.

Don’t worry, you’ll probably never be able to afford retirement anyway and if you’re very lucky you’ll be able to keep practicing your craft until you’re a 101 years old like Philip Johnson. BTW, he didn’t go to Harvard Graduate School of Design until he was 35 - after enlisting in the US Army during WWII.

It’s quickly starting to look like Art Center at Night classes are good way to go.

Washington works on a quarter system so the 3 term, January spring thing is a little confusing. You mean it would be possible to apply for Spring AC Night classes before Oct 2015, and start January 2016? Spring starts in March here.

Then once in the spring night class, it would be possible to work to be admitted full time by Fall 2016?

Thanks for the input though, Modern Man.

You don’t apply to get into ACAN classes, it’s what they call a public program.

Go see an ACCD Public Programs counselor at South Campus and tell them what your intent is. They’ll guide to the correct classes in the correct sequence. > You register with ACAN (get an ACAN ID), register for the classes you want when registration opens and pay the tuition and fees. > Get your parking sticker > Go to class on time. > Turn off your phone. > Listen. > Do your homework. > Don’t smack anyone!

When you’re ready to apply for what they call the “day program” will depend on your talent and how hard and quickly you work to refine it enough to get in. Some people apply two or three times before they succeed.

Of course, Modern Man only had to apply once and got a scholarship. :wink:

I see. Would showing your readiness also depend on which classes you take? Is there is a “I want to get in” set of classes? I see on the Portfolio Prep page that some classes can transfer credits into the full time course. Also the timing seems that I would be able to take multiple classes at a time.

I really appreciate all the input, everyone.

Modern Man realizes he mistakenly omitted a key word in his last reply.

Restating: Go see or contact an ACCD Public Programs counselor at South Campus and tell them what your intent is. They will line you up with the right courses for what you need to work toward getting accepted for the department/major of your choice.

It’s definitely possible to take two or three classes in a term. I did so myself. Also, Google the Art Center At Night website. There is an online catalogue with class descriptions. Classes are organized into what majors they’re relevant to (e.g. product design, transportation design, graphic design, entertainment design and etc.).