Is my skill level good enough for ACCD/CCS/CIA?

Hi, currently I’m 19, and I’m thinking of applying to Art Center and College for Creative studies as well as Cleveland institute of arts and going for Transportation design. I was wondering if my ability is good enough to start making a portfolio now and applying to them now or to do it later when I improve. Here are some of my sketches:

I apologize for all the pics, but I really need your advice! These will probably not end up in my portfolio, as I intend to take 5 months off working on it. Would I be good enough to compete with other applicants?

Are you kidding me? Is this even a question?

I am sure you will get accepted to all of the schools. I am also pretty sure you will receive quite an amount of scholarship from CCS.

You’ll do great. I assume you are not coming straight out of high school? I know that when I submitted my HS portfolio at CCS & CIA, I had a much more general portfolio -life drawings, self-portrait, still lifes, etc- and i was accepted at both. Include a diverse selection of pieces, but like MC said, if the rest of your work looks like this, you will get some great scholarship offers.

Thanks for the comments guys! And yes I do intend on putting some still life drawings/renders in my portfolio (about half). So far I have done 1 year of engineering at university (and hated it) but I do not have any education in the arts (except for one art class in highschool). I hope that won’t hurt me. Also I was kind of concerned about CCS’ low acceptance rate.

Hopefully my actual portfolio will have work that is better than this, as I improve constantly.

CCS’s low acceptance rate is for Junior and up. They take in a lot of Freshmans every year, so you don’t have to worry about not getting into the school.

The real challenge is to get into the actual trans program. It’s a combination of skills and ass-kissing, just like how it works in the real world.

Another thing to note. I always thought your portfolio means everything for a fresh graduate. Well not quite. You are just as valuable as how much the industry needs you. I heard that no one from the 07 class got a job as a car designer. My friend who is a very talented individual, only got offered as an Alias modeler. If he didn’t defer his graduation by a year, he would be making big bucks and drawing hot cars now.

Wow, if true that’s brutal… Shows just how bad things are in Detroit right now. I graduated in '01, when the bottom was just starting to fall out -there were very few openings, and only 2 or 3 trans classmates got immediate offers (i was in the product dept). Though within 6-12 months people were falling into open spots. The Big 2.5 know when they want somebody, sometimes they just wait for the right moment to hire them in -talented people find an opening, eventually, when they’re persistent.

Yes I’ve heard a lot of stuff like this, that’s why I’m considering just going to CIA and getting an industrial design degree instead of trans design.

If I were to go to CCS or ACCD and get a BA in Trans design and not be able to find a job in the auto industry after graduation, would the degree allow me to work for other companies that focus more on general industrial design? Or is it better to just get a BA in industrial design (which would still allow me to apply to auto companies)?

Yes, a trans concentration would still position you for jobs in product design and even the entertainment industry (Hollywood). At CCS the degree you are granted is a BFA, whether your concentration is transportation or product (unless they’ve changed things recently?)

One of the good/horrible things about the trans department is that it is unbelievably rigorous. No matter how good you are when you get there, it will challenge you to take yourself up several notches. You get the chance to design for very focused target audiences and present to industry big-wigs (and grow a thick skin) -valuable experiences no matter which industry you choose to apply it.

I’m not trying to create a CCS infomercial, I believe this applies at CIA and Art Center, too.

wow that’s great! I’ve also heard a lot about how hard it is, but I’m willing to go through it, especially considering I LOVE doing it. Not like Engineering, which was a ton of work and I hated doing it (thus making it seem like actual work).

One final question though, I live in Canada, therefore I would be considered an international student. Would that significantly reduce my scholarship opportunities? I can’t afford the cost at all, and I’m depending on scholarships.

Trans and Product train their students in very different schools of thought. Trans is all about form where as product involves more human. Also, your portfolio will determine what kind of job you will get into for a start. So, if all you have in your portfolio are cars, then you will have a hard time getting general product design jobs, and vice versa. So, choose your path wisely.

CCS gives scholarship to almost everyone depending on your entrance portfolio. So the better a portfolio you submit, the more they will give. The highest I’ve heard is $9000 a year for all 4 years. That talented friend I mentioned was awarded $8k a year.

Also, you can choose to live in Windsor if you like. I heard that if your permanent residence in Canada is within a certain number of miles from the border, then you can choose to reside in Canada and commute to school… or something like that. It could mean lower cost of living and even freedom to work. That makes CCS a better choice.

On the other hand, if you are serious about product design, I suggest U of Cincinnati for the simple fact that there are way more industrial design opportunities there.

They said designers are among one of the last jobs to get axed in the big 3, and they did. Ford laid off some designers I heard.

Thanks for the feedback guys!

One last thing that does concern me somewhat is my age. I’ve read that the average age of applicants to ACCD is like 24, and most already have some sort of ID degree (or have at least studied it elsewhere partly). Clearly those guys will have better portfolios than mine, so does that reduce my chances of admission/scholarships? Or do they generally take age into account too? After all a 19 year old with no education in the arts like myself won’t be able to compete with 23-24 year old with ID degree experience.

You never know until you’ve applied. I don’t think Art Center gives out scholarship of this nature.

So you would assume that I would have a better chance at getting in and/or getting a scholarship if I took ID somewhere first and then transferred/applied? Wouldn’t it be more fair for them to factor in prior ID experience/degree when determining wether anyone gets admitted/scholarships? Clearly the guy that has already taken a couple of years of ID is going outclass me…

All of those concerns are not necessary. You should just apply and see what they offer you.

I second that… I’m a student at Parsons right now and am seriously envious of they way they set thier students up. The facilities of U. of Cincinnati (DAAP) are amazing plus they have an awesome CO-OP plan. My friend in product design there has worked for new balance, aveda, and hasbro toys/games (all paid internships) and is only in his Jr. year…

Not to say that it’s any better than other programs, but if it’s job oriented that you want, UC would be my first choice…Plus Cincinnati is a cool city and liveable…


Yeah I do intend on applying to UC, but I’d rather go into trans design than industrial.

Also I wonder about ACCD and CCS scholarships, are their talent based scholarships the same as need-based? For me to be able to afford any of those schools, the tuition would have to be halved. Is that possible?

Also, Art Center’s trans design degree is a bachelors of Science, why is CCS’ a BFA? Is there much difference between the two?

I think Art Center includes some math classes to make it Bsc. CCS has some math classes too but those are really easy ones. I don’t think it makes any difference at undergrad level.

i have a lot of friends who have gotten into art center with full scholarship ($100,000) trans to art center. There is ALOT of money in trans design scholarships. However if you want to go in product, illustration… scholarships are in the 4 digits. Entertainment design scholarships also gets a lot of money. But my friends who have gotten full rides are pretty much the best artists/designers ive ever seen, and thats going INTO art center… imagine them after. Also, Every single one of them has switched majors to entertainment. I wanted to do trans my whole life, but just a few months ago i decided i wanted to do entertainment. And starting 08 there will be an official entertainment major at art center. Thats where ill be at. But yea, the money is in industrial design. Car companies will give hundreds of thousands to students along with movie companies, Etc. anyways, if you compare yourself to 4/5th term art center students and you rank well, Youll have no problem getting half tuition.