major change to industrial design/ student loans


I know Core77 has seen tons of these kinds of posts so please excuse my repetition. I’m turning 18 later this month and I’ve come to realize that if I keep going on the career track I am going (Education) I’m going to wind up like my parents- always wishing and swearing that they would have had a better life if they had pursued their passions. Now, I know no plan or pursuit is perfect, but I feel like the best thing I can do is avoid laying down and dying in the major I’m currently in.

Because I graduated highschool with my AA at 16, I really had no idea what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. However, the moment I learned about ID, I was instantly drawn into it. It was exactly the career that facilitated all of my skills. So Summer '11 I applied to App State and UC- and got accepted to both! But did I go? No. Why? Because my parents were suddenly terrified of letting their little girl go, were wary of my sudden interest in ID, and unsure that I had what it took to succeed. Above all, it was expensive and I wouldn’t be getting In State Tuition. I, too, was scared.

Fast forward a year, and I find myself at an in-state university, majoring (after switching 10x) in a career that’s “safe” and a boat load of credits. But the thought of me actually going all the way with this makes me want to jump off a reasonably high cliff. My family’s stressed that I’ve “wasted a lot of time” switching and all- and they have a point. My thing is, I’d rather spend the time realizing what I DON’T want to do for the rest of my life, than spending the rest of my years doing something I hate.

I find comfort in looking at an industrial design curriculum sheet and knowing that I’ll actually enjoy experiencing each and every one. At this point, I’d rather bust my behind looking for a job afterwards than securing a job I “think” will be waiting for me in teaching - when I really don’t enjoy/appreciate the profession.

So, I’ve decided that I’m a bit wiser and, now that I’m older, able to move further away from home. Plenty of people have done it before. With that being said, however, I know that it will be financially rough. (It won’t be as “free” like it is now.) So really, what I’m looking for here is a bit of reassurance that my rationale is either common or logical. I’m confident that loans will await for me there, so does anyone have any take on the importance/impact of student loans in a career in ID.

I’d really appreciate any and all advice.

Tough situation. On the specific of student loans, I’m sure a lot of us have had or still have student loans, small or large. Is there a program in the state you live in?

Not one that’s really credible. I live in Florida.

You might want to look into the Southeast Academic Common Market.

Floridian students can only use it at the graduate level, and though it’s not always recommended, you could try getting an undergrad in something like ME, and grad in ID.

Thanks for the link. I gave it a look, but it doesn’t seem to offer me much. :confused: Thanks again, though

So, I’ve been thinking about this one some more. On one hand, your folks might say you “wasted 2 years” pursuing the wrong major, but most people find design a little late. As a 16 year old, you got a jump start on the college experience, and I’m sure you have gotten quite a few elective classes out of the way. These are two major advantages you have over the other 18 year olds entering design school for the first time.

If you are miserable on your current path, than any more time spent on it truly would be a waste.

As for student loans, there will be some. Be sure to research scholarships. Really dig online. I believe the IDSA has a scholarship for female students. Some organizations even have scholarships for women entering male dominated professions, of which ID is. There are a lot of possibilities.

I can’t speak to the programs you got into specifically, that said, they are not on the top of my recruitment list. If you want to stay in the South East, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech are good programs. Of course, it has more to do with the student than with the school often times, so UC might be fine if you feel it is a good fit.

I also recommend looking up a local industrial designer and seeing if you can do an informational interview (get coffee) or even job shadow. Jeff Smith who posts on here frequently is a great Florida based designer. Maybe that person can even talk to your folks if that might help.

Long story short, go for what you believe in. Life is to short to be ordinary.

Best of luck,


Here’s a little more insight that might help;

I earned an ID degree after earning a Bus Admin degree but I did so creatively (no pun intended). When I arrived at my chosen design school, I studied the course curriculum for the entire 5 year program (it was 144 credits) and cross referenced any classes that I felt I’d earned similar knowledge while pursuing my previous degree - I gathered all my previous course work and bullet pointed what I had learned from each targeted class then I began scheduling 15 minute meetings with the ID department Director and Dean of the College. I made my arguments clear and concise and eventually was granted over 26 hours of transferred course credit. At the same time I did my best in all my classes, applied for every possible grant and scholarship and entered every competition I could - by the second year over half my course costs were being covered by small grants and scholarships, and the covered costs increased from there. Then to top it off, I took as many summer courses as possible - the result was a 5 year program earned in 3. I’ve never counted up the savings but I’m sure it was substantial. Note, though, I don’t recommend speeding through a program just for the sake of speed and lowered cost - I graduated at the top of my class, so in my case there was no compromise.

Whatever you’ve taken so far, no matter the content, it was not wasted time and will benefit you in the long run.

Thanks so much Michael. I decided to just go with my gut and not continue to waste anymore years in a school/major I didn’t like. I did my research and applied. (As for UC, their design program only accepts applicants in the Fall, and there are only about two classes that I could take in the Spring that would cross over. I really wouldn’t want to spend two semesters out of school or pay so much money for part-time credits. I can start App State’s program immediately in the Spring.) I spoke to my parents about my decision and they are much more supportive this go-round. So I’m glad I made my decision. I really appreciate your insight. I’ve always said that I wanted to travel the world and live in other places, yet I was scared to move to NC. I just couldn’t live with the mental hypocrisy anymore. I’m in a much better head-space, less naive, and am just going to go for it. Like you said, life is too short to be ordinary. :sunglasses: Thanks again.

Wow, that’s pretty incredible. Thanks for the wonderful advice. I’m planning on being as proactive as possible. Thanks again. You’ve definitely given me things to think about!

don’t have nearly as much insight as the other pros on here but I’m attending ACCD right now, and the average age for my summer incoming term was 25. If anything, take your time. And another, I’ve never worked so hard in my life, but i’ve also never been so willing to work so hard in my life. I’m honestly not “playing” anymore, mainly because i spend more time at school then at home, thats including sleep time(this is pretty normal for ppl in this major, i think). Its hard to control things that are monetary and out of your hands, but if you practice on the side and make a steller portfolio, you can get into anywhere and have a great scholarship. And back to the first point i made, you have PLENTY of time to become great, so don’t sweat it too too much. Do all that you can right now, and make it happen if it is what you want

Thanks, I appreciate that. Right now I’m having a tough time deciding which school to go/apply to because of the varying entry terms between Appalachian State and UC. I don’t know whether to simply transfer to App in the Spring (if I get in), stay at my university for the spring and transfer to UC in the Fall (if I get in) or go transfer to UC in the spring and then re-apply for DAAP in the Fall. I’ve been calculating the pros/cons on a spreadsheet. So many decisions…

But thanks. I’ve got an excellent work ethic and I want this so badly the second time around. I’m willing to give it my all.

Your post made me think of one more comment - I highly recommend researching every program you are considering - we see plenty of talented recent-grads whose talent did not grow and was not cultivated because of poorly run ID programs. That can kill one’s chances of obtaining high level ID employment.

Thank you! I plan on speaking with directors and alumni to get more info.

After speaking to a few fantastic people about different ID programs across the US, I’ve decided to hold my horses and apply to DAAP for the Fall 2013 semester. I really really hope I’ll be accepted again. I don’t know what advantage/disadvantage I’ve got by being a transfer student who’d already applied once before. Instead of taking the semester off completely, I’ve decided to stay at my university and enroll part-time so that my aid will cover my tuition and I’ll continue my job on-campus to save for the Fall. The two classes I plan on taking will be a drawing course and a photography course.

Seeing that cost is relative at this point, as I won’t be able to pay for college without loans/scholarships of some sort, are there any other colleges around UC price range that is just as great a program. I don’t really plan on living south of North Carolina. Just throwing that out there.



I would like to get some tips/advice on my chances of being admitted in UC (again) as a transfer student.

Unweighted HS GPA- 3.9
Weighted HS GPA- 4.0+
Rank- top of my class- valedictorian

Institution Hrs:31 @ 3.76 GPA
Transfer Hrs. 63 @ 3.82 GPA
Overall GPA- 3.8

Thanks! :wink:

Great grades. That said, I doubt you need anyone to tell you that. Why not post pics of your portfolio work for critique? I don’t know of a top design school that puts too much weight on academics. This major really isn’t based off of grades so even if you are entering a school that is a larger university, thus having stricter grade requirements, you know your grades won’t be a problem. The way I see it, when applying to design schools: Your grades, no matter how good, simply allow the school to check the “Does Not Have Terrible Grades” box. After that point, its all about the portfolio, and your portfolio will decide whether you get scholarship or not, or how highly the people in your department see/value you. That’s my insight having gone through the application process for multiple design schools. It could be, but I doubt it’s vastly different from schools like UC

That’s my insight having gone through the application process for multiple design schools. It could be, but I doubt it’s vastly different from schools like UC

Thanks for the compliment. UC’s a bit different because they don’t require portfolios upon admission, so I didn’t include one in this application (both now and before). That’s why I was just trying to see what my prospects were grade-wise. That said, I’ve begun to devote more and more time out of my day to sketch. Practice makes progress, and because I took such a long break from drawing, I know I’ll need as much practice as I can get. Either way, it’s a joy to do and I don’t see it as a burden. Once I feel like I can post some work without immediately deleting it, I will. You’re right. Thanks again @sswelan! :wink:

For some reason I miss read UC, I was thinking of UNC when you posted before.

UC has one of the best ID programs in the country. I would definitely go there if you can.

Oh yeah, definitely! That’s why I was kicking myself for not going the first time I got accepted. I’ve reapplied for Fall '13 and am crossing my fingers. Thanks Yo!

Hello Scott,

Do you think it would be a good idea to venture on a graduate design program?

I have an undergrad and masters in mechanical engineering.
Have been working for 2 years in a design consultancy as a mechanical designer mainly, but have been involved in a few industrial design projects too.
I really want to get into the industrial design track and was thinking I’ll do a Masters!

What do you think? Mind sharing your insights??