is it too late?

Im in a big boo-boo,

well during high school i kinda slacked off and even though i knew, i 100% wanted to be an industrial designer, I didnt take any art course untill this year (senior year)

I dont have a portfolio really ready and I applied to only 2 schools. Both schools dont really require art portfolios.

This first was Academy of Arts University in San Fransisco- I got in

The Second was University of Cincinnatti- They didnt let me in because of two reasons; my GPA/Rank was too low and The course was closed, instead they accepted me in as a “exploration” major in their college of Arts & Sciences rather than their college of Design, Architeture, Art & Planning.

I didnt apply to any others yet(and it’s probably to late), I was going to refine my portfolio and just try my luck at applying to Art Center in March.

My GPA is only a 3.09 and my rank is 198/400

I need help! i really want to get into a good school and take it all the way but i dont know what my best path is right now. And if there are any tips on what i should put in my Portfolio that would be helpful, thank you.

I wouldnt stop sending your portfolio/ and applications to schools. what has your advisors at your high school said to do? or the art professors? I would think they could be helpful.

also for tips on what you should include:

what do you have already? and maybe you could post some work/ so we can help push it further/ comment/ crit

from what I remember schools like Parsons and Pratt had priority deadlines/ but also had rolling admissions. if you go to I believe they can give you more specifics on the schools your interested in and what there deadlines are etc.

good luck


Yes, you don’t have a high enough GPA for Cincinnati. They generally want an unweighted 3.5 and decent SAT for their DAAP program. However, the DAAP program in most areas is THAT GOOD! In fact, it is probably better rated than the other schools that you mentioned. DAAP also has amazing REQUIRED coops where you will get fabulous experience and also make great job contacts.

Frankly, with your GPA, I would consider going there and working like a dog during your freshmen year. If you do well, you should be able to transfer to the DAAP program. If not, you can always work on your portfolio, which I would do during this summer, and transfer to another school.

In addition take at least two courses this summer in your local community college or, even better, at Cincinnati. If you do pick a community college, take liberal arts courses that would transfer such as psychology, history, sociology etc It is imperative that you try to get “A’s” during your college career in order to get accepted. Nothing less than a 3.5 would be acceptable to them.

I should note that some of the the DAAP programs are harder than others to get admitted to. The hardest are Architecture, Interior Design and Industrial Design , although Digital and Graphic Design aren’t a cinch either. Fashion design and Urban Planning are the easiest, although by no means easy.

By the way, I am familiar with Cincinnati because my daughter just got admitted to the digital design program. If you have any questions about them, feel free to email me at

Good luck

Thanks for responding :slight_smile:

by the way here some more info of me: (if you want anymore, i like questions)

I am 17
and i live in Honolulu, Hawaii

my SAT is
570 for reading
580 for Math
470 for writing (i know-…that is horrible huh, heh!)

my ACT is
26 for composite (23 Eng/27 math/27 reading)
23 for writing

my grades have been a roller coaster- but this year so far I’ve been achieving 3.5s except idk about this quarter heh!
i have trouble with this one teacher, the teacher flunked me the first half of last year in AP chem its my fault I am sure. The rest of my grades last year were fine though. I have this teacher again, but for physics, i didn’t want to take it but my counselor urged me to take physics for ID in college, I’m doing fine, but I’m still struggling, the worst part about it is the fact that i can do physics equations fine, just when it comes down to the life lessons and student teacher making us to rubber band racers i fail! but outside of the class room were fine.
To the guest,

i talked to my art teacher allot, i know hes really helping me, but it seems everything i do “has been done before” he reminds me to keep reading more so that i know what has been done before.
i enter photography contests with him even though i know that has little to do with industrial design-- i just take allot of pictures for fun.

while working on my portfolio i do allot of concepts, things i see everyday and try to make my vision of it. i know my drawing skills are not great and i do sketches, more like concepts; stove tops/ kettles/ lamps/ and ps3 haha! when i fix them to a ‘pleasable’ ill post them up,( a bit later i have a school deadline comin up soon.

To Taxguy,

thanks again for your knowledge of UC, i am reluctant about my grades, but I’m glad i have another chance!

i will definitely take your advice about the community college over the summer. I am really sure I’ll like industrial design, more product design. I was unsure if i should jump into AoAU in SF and start working on my major immediately or if it is worth more to me in the long run to get into UC and hopefully transfer later to ID later. they set me up with acceptance under “exploration” what is that? haha!

I’m so glad you on this board, are you an ID? I’m glad for your daughter as well, is their any other paths, other good schools i should try for if its not to late, I’m feeling overwhelmed with anxiety… wooh.

thanks again for the help, ill keep ‘me’ posted.


As possibly the most informed person on these boards, how would you rank the digital design programs at DAAP, RIT and CMU?

Grafix,Now is not the time to get overwhelmed. In my daughter’s first semester senior year she:

  1. Took two college courses
  2. Applied to six different schools
  3. Finished writing her research paper for her magnet program
  4. Prepared for a 45 minute power point presentation for her paper
  5. Defended her paper before a penel of teachers
    6 Participated in pit orchestra for the play “Charlie Brown.”
    7 Also had her usual high school courses such as honors english, art etc…
  6. OH yes, finished 5 pieces for her 15 piece portfolio, not to mention did the RISD home assignment

Thus, if you think you have it tough, just remember what she want through… and she had better grades than you to start with; thus, didn’t need to kill herself.

My point: You messed up somewhat in high school. It is certainly fixable IF you put in a LOT of hard work. You need to take courses in summer. You need to work hard on your portfolio in case you don’t get into Cincinnati. I would also take courses in summer on some ID 3d modeling software.

As I said, I would seriously consider going to the exploratory program at Cincinnati. They put people here who are undecided or who haven’t gotten ijnto the program of their choice. Get rid of the liberal arts requirements. Work like a DOG! Don’t get distracted. Your goal should be at least a 3.5 and NOTHING should stop you. Making friends, getting a girl friend, having fun is immaterial. You need to focus on your goal: getting admitted to DAAP. In fact, even if you dont’ get to transfer into DAAP, having good grades will help you with other schools and maybe even get you a scholarship.

Here is your chance to see what you are made of.Don’t let yourself down!

If you have documented ADD, you should request accomodations such as tutoring, more time on exams etc. Check out whether UC, or any school that you are interested in, has accomodations.

You should always seek help and tutoring for subjects that you don’t understand. My older son has the same problem. He gets help whenever he has problems by asking friends, seeing teachers and going to the learning center. He also worked VERY hard on weekends especially. He will graduate from Fairleigh Dickenson with honors. It is hard but DOABLE! You just need to be very motivated and willing to work hard and do whatever it takes to succeed.

Someone asks, “As possibly the most informed person on these boards, how would you rank the digital design programs at DAAP, RIT and CMU?”

Interesting question: my daughter applied to all three schools, and we have exactly the same question.

They are all very good. Let me give you some pros and cons of each so you can make informed choices:

  1. DAAP: Very strong reputation. Strong digital design program but is mostly combination of digital design and video with some communication design added. Fabulous coop program. Great school spirit with good teams. Fabulous facilities. In fact, it may have the best facilities among all three of the schools. However, don’t leave the school because of crime among the city. Also, every 10 weeks you will be moving, either back to school or to a coop. Thus, you need to be planning where you will be living every 10 weeks. The school will help but it is a major pain. You will also need to grow up quickly by the end of your sophomore year since you will actually be living on your own and working at a paid job. Oh yes, coops are paid! Overall, this school may be the best of the bunch but it probably second among employers in overall reputation among the schools noted. DAAP,however, is the cheapest among the three. The tuition is $23,000,but everyone who gets at least 3.0 GPA in high school can get as little as $5,000 yearly scholarship.

Also note: Cincinnati’s DAAP and music schools are very strong, hard to get into and well known. They also have a good engineering school. However, the rest of the school is very mediocre. Don’t expect good liberal arts courses taught by well-known faculty. Also, academically, many of the kids are mediocre other than the schools that I noted above and for some of the graduate schools such as medicine and law.

  1. CMU: This is probably the most prestigious of the three schools. Everyone who graduates gets a job. Lots of companies recruit here. Their program is most in communication design but you can get some good digital training with flash and html. Remember, CMU is a computer oriented school. I really liked CMU EXCEPT for the $32,000 in tuition alone! Also, they rarely give merit money. In addition, I didn’t like the design building nearly as much as I liked Cincinnati’s. CMU design is in a nice but only historic building. Studios look clean but not that new, unlike that of Cincinnati. CMU also has no real sports to speak of. Thus, there isn’t alot of school spirit. It is also a very hard school. They are very research oriented and give tough,sophisticated senior projects.

  2. RIT: this has what I felt was the best overall program in its “New Media program.” It is very balanced between graphic design training and digital training. I was really impressed with the program. However. There isn’t much to do at the school and not much school spirit. It is also very, very cold there. Tuition is also only $23,000, which is very inexpensive for a private school. RIT had some very good facilities too. It is in my opinion, however, the least prestigious of all the schools mentions. RIT has almost a 95% acceptance rate.However, make no mistake: this is also a tough school. Think of RIT as a CMU wannabe! RIT is also male heavy. There are about 3 guys for every two females in the school.

This is my take on all three schools. Hope this all helps.

Darn, I wish we can edit our prior posts.

I thought of some additional comments regarding each of these schools.

Although we really liked the RIT New Media Design program, we didn’t like that fact that they require two full years of art history. This should be contrasted to that of Cincinnati that requires only 4 quarters.

In addition, RIT requires a bit more liberal arts courses than any of the other two schools Cincinnati required the least; however, there is a math requirement.

If you are applying to Cincinnati’s DAAP program as a freshmen, it is too late. All applications need be in by October 1.They really have an early deadline.

Both CMU and RIT are very portfolio oriented. The portfolio counts as half the admission score. Cincinnati doesn’t require a portfolio at all. However, if you have a good one, I would send it in as well. Who knows>? Maybe they will look at it.

Average SATs for RIT imaging arts is around 1200. Average SATs for CMU is around 1280 for their College of Art. Average SATs for DAAP is from 1200-1300. Thus, academically , they are somewhat in between RIT and CMU.

I typed up a 10,000 word analysis for each school that can be found in the alphabetical forum listing for each school. My thread says something like "overview of our visit to (name of school).

Hope this all helps

Short story.

  • Worked hard enough to get through HS had a slightly above average grades
  • Had no idea ID existed but knew what I liked to do.
  • Thought Mechanical Engineering was what I wanted to do, I knew I didn’t like math though.
  • Went to a State school for engineering for 2.5 years, then found out about ID and started looking at schools.
  • Did one year in Graphic Design and what they called Industrial production drafting (wanted to learn the 3d modeling programs and have some hands experience)
  • I did very well in all my classes once I got to college other than the math classes for ME, but I didn’t like it so again I wasn’t interested
  • So after 3 years I transferred to one of 2 ID schools in WI, I am at MIAD now.

I am now about to finish my final semester in ID after 6 years and the longer stay in college has been worth it to find what I really love to do! I have always known I was a hard worker but never knew what I could really do. In ID you will work your butt off but if you love it, it will all be worth it. On the grades end I couldn’t be happier just having interest in what I am doing makes all the difference.

The point:

When I was looking at schools a few different designers told me the place to be was UC and at the time I didn’t really consider it for different reasons. I am very happy with where I am and my education but I can say I am usually impressed with what I see coming out of UC (the intern program is great too). I guess what I am trying to say is, it isn’t too late you can go where ever you want, it just might take you a little longer to get where you want to be. Don’t give up if there is somewhere you want to go. Do keep in mind that school is what you make of it, the more you do the more you will get out of it. I don’t think you can go wrong widening your horizons before you get into your program of choice. I wouldn’t trade the engineering and other experiences for anything I had before I transferred into ID. Best of luck making your choice and just make sure where ever you end up, enjoy it. If you don’t there are a lot of other choices out there.
Hope this helps some.


sorry if i sound a bit whinny

well compared to your daughter i do sound immensely whinny
I’m usually not very whinny-heh…, i know i messed up - I’m just really glad there is a glimmer of hope for me, thank you everybody.

i will work like a dog-maybe harder- like a horse. hah! well you have brought me to a 97% sure that i want to go to UC. Having Friends and all that won’t bother me, i try to be anti social in high school anyways(idky).

As for broadening my horizons, i was thinking about it before. I do like math allot- i find it enjoyable, but maybe because it comes easy to me. I just know that i will become an industrial designer, i must. I’ll work harder- I’m trying to convince my self. haha! woo~~~

ill tackle ID first, if i need to know more, ill learn it whether engineering to graphic design, that’s my plan

if you guys have more advice or tips or if you thinking I’m making a huge mistake or even questions, I’d love to hear it.

one big problem i know i have is, being unsure about everything

No one has really mentioned AAU yet but it is a great school. Its just that very few have taken the time to discover this.

It is a great school with fantastic people running it, and fantastic people teaching in it. And with out having been to a large degree exposed to other schools I would wager that AAUs staff has a commitment to the program that is totally unlike any other school. Because there is a certain perception and the only way to quash it is with equal or superior work out of all grads.

The admissions policy is great because folks with out a portfolio to start with can get in. It’s also bad for the same reason. BUT if you are will put everything (time, heart, soul, and copious amounts of prismacolor pencil) into to an education than AAU is just as good if not better than any other school in the world.


PS (that sounds like an add but its just the opinion of a student who is tired of seeing his school derided for poor work when such a thing is mear street myth now)