"Name Brand" Schools

Lately I’ve been wondering how much value a “name brand” school on my resume will be worth after I graduate. By name brand I mean schools like Art Center, Pratt, CCS, UC, etc. I understand that some employers come to these schools to look at portfolios, but if I decide to send an employer my resume and portfolio, will they see that I’ve gone to CCS and will therefore be better in the work place?
I guess what I’m asking is why spend the money on these schools when I feel that I can be just as prepared attending a local state school?

Portfolios from those schools tend to be consistently better. State schools tend to be as good as the student allow it to be. The student body might not consistently push each other like the top tier. There tends to be a few shining portfolios- and they get hired fast.
I have seen poor portfolios from ACCD but they tend to be the exception. Look at the portfolios on core using the school filter and it should be immediately obvious, which schools you would like, and the type of people they attract.

There is a reason those schools have made a name for themselves. They cultivate great designers. It is more of a boost in terms of the designer you become than in a name drop in a resume.

I would say it is more about the peer group. Great designers come from all types of schools, but the water level tends to be higher at the schools you mentioned.

I think what makes the “name brand” schools different is the attitude of the professors that is a professional undertaking from day 1. Extremely stringent rules, deadlines, and grading policies prepare students to work properly and at a high level of achievement. I would say it is the serious environment of the school that make people respect it and yes, it does help to have it on your c.v.

Good luck!


I second the huge value of the peer group at the “top” schools. Without them, you will miss out on a lot. They push and inspire in more ways than you could imagine until you experience it for yourself.

I was talking to my daughter about this. She isn’t that impressed with many students at Cincinnati. In fact, many folks in her groups want her to do coding and other major aspects of projects.

She thinks, at least with UC, that it is the coops that make the huge difference in the skills of the designers,although she felt that most of the professors were quite good and knowledgable. Kids who have worked hard at top coops seem to get the best skills. Coops at Cincinnati seem to matter most as to their effect on the kids in addition to the student’s work ethic.

Well honestly, it all comes down to faculty. If the faculty is lacking, where are the students supposed to pic up their knowledge?

I always go and find out as much as I can about a prof before I commit to a class. It should be the same with choosing a program.
What kind of people are being hired by the department says a lot about where the dept is heading.
Yes, looking at student work might give an insight, but checking the style and qualifications of the fac is just as important.
Nobody would want to do an internship at a crappy firm, why accept a crappy teacher?