I'm looking to go back to school. Please help.

Hello everyone,

I was posting a bit in one of the stickied threads and realized I’m going in different directions that didn’t fit the thread topic.


I graduated from Northeastern University in Boston last year with a bachelor’s in Computer Science and Psychology. I’m currently working as a QA Engineer at a software company. I realized that I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to program, I don’t want to do network security, IT, etc etc. I thought I would because I love computers … but not like this.

I’ve made up my mind that I want to get into Industrial Design.

Now, I’ve only started researching this for the past week, so I don’t know much at all.

I decided that I want to go into Product Design.

How do I do this with my situation?

Do I basically have to start all over? I see that MassArt in Boston has an ID program. I was thinking of just going there if I end up staying in Boston. My girlfriend may get into school in Ohio, in which case I would go there and apply for a school there. (Case Western for her … so I’m guessing Cleveland institute of Art for me).

So let’s say I wanted to go to MassArt because she got into school here in Boston.

How does Art School work? I have to make a portfolio to apply? Similar to how Universities look at SAT scores? Does my current degree count for anything? If it doesn’t, then I obviously have to start over. If it does … should I start from there or should I start over anyway so that I can learn the basic skills?

Any insight into this would be greatly appreciated. I feel so lost, but at the same time I feel like I’ve found my dream. I’m already 25 years old and I keep telling myself that it’s now or never. Either I’ll wake up 10 years from now wishing I had done design, sitting at some computer job hating every day of it … or I’ll wake up and WANT to go to work.

Many of these questions should be answered by the website of the school of interest. Go to the ID department webpage, and they should tell you exactly what is required in terms of portfolio. Most schools do require one.

Also, the question of whether your previous degree will count for anything is best answered by the specific University in question. Many people who get a second bachelor’s degree can do so in only two years because their general education courses transfer over. BUT, this is not always the case for design programs, because they often have sequential studio courses that need to be taken over a period of three or four years. So in that case you may end up taking a lighter course load than your first-time-around counterparts, or just have room in the schedule for more cool electives, but still take the full four years to graduate. Each school and each program within a school has their own policies regarding these situations.

good luck!

I know this is common in architecture, but may be slightly different in ID or product design.

Look into masters programs. They are generally two year programs for those with design discipline backgrounds, and three for most other majors. Basically, they are extremely intense courses, free from the general ed requirements of a four year program.

The advantage of this type of program is that the students are ultra-committed, generally older (most are done with their partying days), and the schools that offer masters programs have a decent commitment to their art and design programs, and have worked hard to have good relationships with businesses in the area.

disadvantages:
$$$ --most of the programs that I have looked into (arch.) run between 40k to upwards of 90k per year.
You have to really dedicate a ton of your time and money to supplies etc. It can also be taxing on any committed relationship, or job.- (my class at univ. had 5 divorces and countless breakups as a direct result of spending “too much” time at studio. Hell, I missed a girlfriends birthday because I had a final crit the next day, needless to say we we not seeing each other for much longer)

If you are really interested is seeing what you are in for and to assist in deciding if this is something you want to persue, find out when critiques are at a local school, and go and talk to the students, and see some of the crits.

thanks for all the info guys.

as a result, i have asked some recent ID grads at massart to help me out with some information about their ID program. i’ll be talking to one of them next week.



i have one more question. i asked someone if the school mattered or if the portfolio is what matters. he told me he never went to school for ID. he told me i could get a copy of solidworks, learn how to use it proficiently while i continue to work and save money. he then said i should develop a portfolio using it and then after i save enough money, go for a design internship, even if it is unpaid. then, continue this route, going for more internships until i get a really good one and then completely devote my time into design.

given my situation, i would LOVE to go this route … but is it actually feasible? i mean, i already have NO money and i’m already paying back my loans from my undegrad, and i am so afraid that i’m going to go into financial debt if i pay for school again.

so to all the experienced ID’s out there, or to anybody who owns their own design firm … tell me, would you ever hire someone who never went to art school?

i’m very committed. i will work at my current job, come home, and design on my own for the rest of the day, everyday, for as long as it takes. i will learn solidworks, rhino, illustrator, and photoshop. i might even pick up some night classes for those applications.

what do you guys think?