Is the school you go to really that crucial???

There seems to be lots op people asking “which school?”… and im wondering as im not from the US, if the school you go to is so paramount in landing you the job of your dreams. Being a mature student (26 years old, 2nd year BSc), what i learnt from my employment prior to Uni is that as most people recognise, who you know and the contacts you actively make plays a big factor in getting what you want as well. Surely you can go to the best school and have the best work and still end up knowhere if you cant communicate and build rappor with people easily and naturaly. Obviously you need amazing skills but is the university you go to gonna gaurantee you the best job?? Im not so sure. The school i go to in England is not one of the best (on reputation) such as Brunell or Loughborough but im know that my absolute determination, practice, practice, practice and personality will give me just as good a chance as any other kid from a better school. After all, knowone can TEACH you how to draw, anyone can learn software, science, theory etc

Opinions please :smiley:

The school you go to can certainly help, but it will never gaurantee placement. It is really that odd combination of skills, networking, and luck that is going to pan out for you. Might as well polish up on the first two as much as possible… and having a good drawing instructor really pays off.

The best combination is of course a really talented student with great people skills coming out of a shool with a great rep. Pretty much bullet proof, that person is getting a great job. You can be really skilled and come out of a not so good school and still get there, but you might have to do some extra leg work, unfortunately you can be not the best, come out of a great school and luck into a job as well, I’ve seen it.

Although a school reputation is good, it really comes down to portfolio and who you know (meet). The school reputation can be an asset in an interview ( getting one ). That is about it.

A school is good for a reason, most probably because of the standard of work the students produce, and the students being you. So it goes in a circle, and yes, the school is important.

A good school can be very helpful from an education and reputation standpoint. A less than reputable school, though, by no means equals a dead-end. I went to a private university with a decent to non-existent reputation and was able to land a job at a consultancy right out of school (in 2002, a HORRIBLE time to find a job). My instructors in school were pretty lame, but I didn’t approach it from a “teach me” standpoint but as a frame work for assertively creating good design and a great portfolio.
I’m now at a great design-centric company(swoosh!) having a great time…not bragging… just making the point that it is your personal talent, work ethic, people skills and presentation skills that matter most, disperse your work everywhere and if it is good, you will get responses, make contacts and secure a job. It’s that easy…

individual effort already covered. to continue MCow’s thought and respond to

"After all, knowone can TEACH you how to draw, anyone can learn software, science, theory etc "

good school rep attracts top talent. talented people in same class breeds tough competition. fuels individual effort. raises personal standards. drives people to work longer and harder and produce outstanding work. best reason afaic going to a good school is important. forget instructors. facilities. and the rest. its the quality of your competition. motivated people get better w tougher competition to spur them. thats why employers look to those schools first. they can find what they need. sometimes they just never get to the other schools.

uhm… word up, totally true

[quote=“ykh”]individual effort already covered. to continue MCow’s thought and respond to

"After all, knowone can TEACH you how to draw, anyone can learn software, science, theory etc "

good school rep attracts top talent. talented people in same class breeds tough competition. fuels individual effort. raises personal standards. drives people to work longer and harder and produce outstanding work. best reason afaic going to a good school is important. forget instructors. facilities. and the rest. its the quality of your competition. motivated people get better w tougher competition to spur them. thats why employers look to those schools first. they can find what they need. sometimes they just never get to the other schools.[/quote]

There are some good points there. Peer competition is a critical point. You do make an oversight in regards to faculty. No matter how good the students and school reputation, you are still on a good ship with a good motor and no one to steer it. You have to aviod the rocks.

Good faculty push, teach, stimulate, challenge and foster peer competition and learning. They are critical to establishing a great program.

“They are critical to establishing a great program.”

disagree. entirely. sometimes faculty is neutral. my experience:

-no rendering instructor. learning by sitting in car classes, reading books, spreading knowledge.
-pathetic processes class. as engineer i saw failings. taught by outdated engineer. no new processes. turn-of-century stuff.
-faculty presence essentially non-existent. could go weeks w/out seeing them. and in my final year - outside of two or three worthless class crits - i spoke with faculty about my work once. for one hour. thats it. and that faculty member was not my instructor.

at final reviews many in my class had no ID product faculty in attendence. mine included one non-ID foundation instructor. one ID graphics instructor. and one honorary, non-teaching ID instructor i’d not seen in two years. others didn’t even have three.

after all that, my class has many success stories. owed to internal competition and attitude. not to faculty.

after all that, my class has many success stories. owed to internal competition and attitude. not to faculty.

So that eliminates the factor of faculty entirely from the education equation? I can’t understand how the program you attended was even in existence if the learning environment was like that. Imagine if the faculty was good, how much more positive the experience could have been at your school and the success stories of you as well as the others who might not have been so lucky. Some students have needed the faculty more than others.

I agree peers are a very important part of the educational process, I didn’t feel as much like I was ‘competing’ with them when I was in school (different schools, even different class years in the same school can really be the source of this), but they were very important in sharing discoveries, discussing ideas, and keeping you in studio working and having fun instead of out where ever. A good group of people is the best inspiration, a good professor can help steer that energy and inspiration somewhere we wouldn’t have ventured without their guidance. Good teachers take us somewhere we wouldn’t go without them, and learn things we couldn’t on our own.

Really it comes down to having a good group of people around to discuss and interact with and learn with/from. You don’t have to be a teacher to be intelligent and share wisdom, but having a good teacher who is a resource for your education, an inspiration, and can impart some of their experience really should be part of any educational experience.

To the original question, does the school matter? As someone who looks at resumes quite often, I’d say it plays a role, but mainly in terms of preconceived ideas I might have about a school, not as an end all kind of thing. In reality though the work samples, even the cover letter, are more important to me at that point in time. In the end it is about the personality and abilities of the person, which an education plays a big part in forming.

“So that eliminates the factor of faculty entirely from the education equation?”

didnt say that. please keep my comments in context.

i responded to two things. first was on choosing school. to repeat - “best reason afaic going to a good school is important” is the other students. next response was to “You do make an oversight in regards to faculty.” “They are critical to establishing a great program.” i disagreed. no oversight on my part. to repeat - “sometimes faculty is neutral.” no where do i extrapolate my class’s success to mean faculty are not a factor in education. just not always “critical”.

Sorry, wasn’t trying to take your comments out of context, just read it differently. I’d say critical to a program, yes, to a successful education, important, but we’ve all seen cases where regardless of excellent teachers and peers, some just don’t seem to apply themselves…it works both ways. Apologies for misquoting…

ykh,

??
I did not say that peer pressure and self motivation is bad! Your experience is a great example of what can be done with peer pressure and self motivation. All the success stories amoung your class is great!

BUT,

Imagine if you had a good rendering instructor? Maybe two?
What if you had a great teacher that made you all understand process?
Imagine sponsored classes?
What about a great Graphics based instructor?
Professionals involved on a part time basis?

The fact that your class did great does not mean that the school will be great for the next class. If good faculty was in place, it would mean a more consistant experience for all classes. That is why I say that good faculty is critical for a great school.

“I did not say that peer pressure and self motivation is bad!”

i said you did? was responding to comment that i made an oversight. thats all. i did not discount faculty. or facilities. so no oversight afaic. just believe that on comparison basis, school faculties are mostly similar. facilities too. big differentiator is students imo. that makes the biggest difference afaic.

“The fact that your class did great does not mean that the school will be great for the next class. If good faculty was in place, it would mean a more consistant experience for all classes. That is why I say that good faculty is critical for a great school.”

expected this comment. my class was one of several in stretch that i saw like this. my alma mater is one of those almost always recommended on this forum. some have even suggested it is a “great school”.

"expected this comment. my class was one of several in stretch that i saw like this. my alma mater is one of those almost always recommended on this forum. some have even suggested it is a “great school”.

I also expected that you would bring up your alma mater and it’s reputation. Are you proud of your school, or proud of your class? I do not mean that in a sarcastic way, just curious.

I to am a graduate of a schools suggested here as a “great” school. I am very proud of my alma mater. At the same time, in the mid to late 90’s all the faculty retired. The program is not the same, due to this.

Currently, I am a part time faculty member at a school in my city. The school has gone through huge changes over the last few years. Watching the program change first hand has solidified my opinion about faculty. The faculty went through a huge change as well when I started ( almost half new ). I would advise someone to attend the school I teach at over my alma mater. We are producing “real world” designers.

As you mentioned, facilities are about the same. Your school may have run through a series of great classes. Very possible and more than likely true. I still firlmly believe that if there were great faculty in place, everyone at your alma mater whould have been better. In addition, all the classes would have a more even skill and success level.



As you mentioned, facilities

not “proud” of either school or class. during my time there were faculty issues. probably not what most expect or consider. certainly none anyone could really know. but they’re human too. those things affect all schools. which levels the field even more.

again. my only point was calling faculty critical. sometimes its the students, year after year, that continue tradition on their own. nothing to do with pride. more to do with just who they are. that’s worth alot imo.