Parsons and CCS

I want to major in Product design, and the two schools in america I am applying/applied to are Parsons or CCS

Recently I have been accepted to CCS, and I am still preparing for parsons, since applications are due feb 1st (already have had a review with a parsons rep.)

both schools have strengths that appeal to me, and I cant decide which school is better for me.

I decided to make my final decision based on student work quality, since that is one of the things I see as important.

I went on coroflot everyday browsing through student portfolios and I couldnt determine which school to go to… both schools had a range of people that were good, and both also had a range of people that seemed like they didnt know sqaut about what they were doing.

so undergrads, and grads, and people who are in the industry: what are the strengths of these schools and maybe even weaknesses?
for what reason should I choose one school over the other?

If I end up going to CCS, should I enroll in their “crown jewel” trans desgin program, or is the product design program good too?

yes of course I understand that its not the schools but hard work and skill that matters later, but Im really lost…

Thank you.

( I am also applying to Northumbria and Coventry)

I am a junior at Parsons (PD) at the moment so I can’t comment on CCS, since I don’t know it really.
I believe that Parsons has strength in Presentation and Computer skills, as well as the obvious advantage of being in NYC while drawing skills and the industrial side of things might not be as strong. You will need a conceptual mind. So there is not much in terms of designing a power drill or a bike helmet, but more furniture, ceramic work and so on.
Your sophomore year is very woodshop heavy, but there is no sketching/product illustration class.

Good open shops if you are into (ferris/non-ferris) metal, wood, ceramic. Good accessible equipment such as 3D printer, plotters and laser cutter. Not a lot of space though, very cramped. After all it is in Manhattan. The shops are all quite laid back and you can work on a lot personal projects if you have the drive and energy.

The Faculty is good, if you get the right teachers, but I guess that goes for every school.
I do think though, you have to be the right person for Parsons and just the fact that NYC is right there should matter to you.
Also, it is quite expensive… (I don’t know how much CCS is though).

The international student community is huge, a lot of students from Asia (mainly Korea) which makes it an interesting and diverse environment. Would you be an international student?

Let me know if you have any questions, glad to help.

The product design department at CCS is awesome in my opinion. They recently got a new chair Vincenzo Iavicoli I think is his name. He has black-rimmed emo glasses and a little stubble of beard on his chin so I’m pretty sure he’s legit. He has taught at other schools and is overall a pretty nice guy. While I am no longer at CCS, my old pals are doing pretty well in the program (one switched to animation but I don’t know why). CCS is very competitive and a lot of the kids are there because their parents have the cash for it. It’s definitely not cheap, but you probably already know that.

I don’t believe you can enroll in the Trans program until your sophomore year. In fact as I understand it, they only hand-pick a very small number of people. It is one of the top trans design programs in the country, but very few graduates actually end up finding a job in the car industry upon graduation and if they do, it’s something unlike they had expected. But I could be wrong.

I would also like to add that a few people who go there have gotten held up at knife point AND gun point as they were walking near the campus. This is despite the fact that it is in Midtown – where Wayne State is. Excellent school, crappy environment.

Thank you both for your answers

Yes, I am an international student, and yes I am korean too!

the tuition, with room and board I calculated 30000~40000$ with variables.

so does parsons not teach electronics or more tech based product desgin, or does it just come later?

how are internship opportunities and employment after graduation?

Is it true that the school does not give out scholarship to korean students easily(compared to others…Im not as loaded as the koreans in parsons presumably are)?

for the reply regarding CCS, i get a good sense of the environment(sort of), but you havent really described what the program is like…maybe strengths or weaknesses…details that you can give me as a student(or graduate in this case)

Thank you

no, electronics is really not a focus at Parsons. You can gear your education towards gadgets if that is what you like but you won’t get a lot of faculty support since non of the concept teachers (at least for now) are designers with a strong electronic based background.
What might help is to check out the faculty and google search some of them.
You can find the list here:
Important names might be Andrea Ruggiero, Anna Rabinowicz, Peter Allen, Gihyun Cho, Seth Nagelberg,

The idea of the socially and common good is a heavy factor at Parsons. You will rather be designing for blind children and for homeless people than a new smart phone. If that is something you are into, cool. If not, you might get a little frustrated with the sometimes quite pushy nature of the school.

You are right about the scholarships. They are very hard to obtain if you are an international student. It is not just Korean students though. That goes for all non-citizen students.

Hope this helps,

If you have an exceptional portfolio and background your chances at a scholarship increase, these schools recruit students that are going ton enrich their environments. As far as any electronics background you might encounter more of that at CCS. I went to CCS about 6 years ago and I believe there were some opportunities to take electives in the program, and I recall that you could take those electives at other schools, like Wayne State, right next door. Detroit is not safe, you need to pay attention to your surroundings when off campus, but don’t let that deter you from CCS, it’s a great school. And not all of the Detroit metro is bad, there’s some good areas not far if you want to get away and have a good time, there’s always stuff to do in Royal Oak, Birmingham, Ferndale, Pontiac, it’s not all bad.

so maybe if I centered my study in furniture and lighting design in parsons, I could get involved in interior desgin and architecture sort of right?

and in CCS, Ive heard about the elitist approach the trans department before,

If I to trans design, I definitely dont expect to become like jason castriota or anything, but is employment hard?( of course it is but, you know what im asking)

and as a person who does not have a US citizenship, do I have a disadvantage in internships?

just out of curiosity, why is Parsons so popular with Korean students?

I’m a sophomore in the CCS product program, our part of the ID department isn’t as big as the auto/trans depts. but if you take the right teachers the experience can be as rewarding. From what I’ve witnessed, CCS isn’t as focused on conceptual design as parsons, we do more production oriented projects. The two biggest sponsors in the product area are Nike and Motorola, I believe there’s been talk of pulling in more sponsors. As a 3rd semester student, I haven’t had many projects yet anyways.

And yeah, Detroit isn’t the safest city around, I saw a guy get arrested for mugging somebody yesterday on woodward, right near the school, which is usually pretty safe.


I agree with greenman and scyth regarding crime in Detroit. The city is basically one giant ghetto… and unfortunately life and property is not particularly respected.

The cities surrounding Detroit - NOT Detroit itself – are fairly safe, except for a few areas like River Rouge, Ecorse, maybe Inkster and maybe the odd bordering city like Ferndale the nearer you are to Eight mile.

Having lived in the Detroit area on and off since 1998, I have to say that Detroit cops could give a shˆt about you. They’re underpaid and too busy finding people with guns and drugs to care about your house getting broken into and having your laptop stolen. There are a TON of home invasions in Detroit. Yes I’ve personally witnessed a nasty carjacking of two women. I’ve been at parties where people randomly came in and robbed everyone at gunpoint. Of course I was not very wise in going out to these places, but have since become somewhat wiser in that respect.

The campus of CCS is very safe, and they do make good use of your tuition money and have ON-Campus patrol 24 hours a day. They are very good about security and do not take threats lightly. When you first sign up you have a badge which you must have on your person at all times. I never saw anything happen on campus, but I did hear of, and witness lots of violent activity just off campus. Don’t get me wrong though, most students especially ones that live in the dorms will be alright. As long as you don’t go looking for trouble and stay in groups if going off campus like to Little Ceasars (pizza) you’ll be fine.

I transferred to a different college and do not attend CCS any longer, but there is a sizable student population that hails from South East Asia including many students from South Korea. I can’t speak for all of them, but the ones who were in the ID department did some mind-blowing work!!! CCS is a darn good school, and if you are an over-achiever with a highly competitive nature, then I believe you will fit right in. It is definitely not a school for people who cry during harsh critiques. I would have loved to stay at CCS, but I neither could afford it any more, nor did they have the furniture major which my current school offers.

CCS is not an easy school. All nighters are not a joke. They are a reality.

However… if for some strange reason you happen to have some free time and wish to venture somewhere fun, then go to where Greenman said: Royal Oak, B’ham, and Ann Arbor… If you like hittin the bars and clubs, you’ll find some decent places in those cities… Royal Oak is closest and is quite safe at most hours. Also, the DIA (Detroit Institute of Arts) and MOCAD (Contemporary museum) are located within walking distance. They’re alright but kinda boring after a while. I’m not much for art museums… I prefer factory tours and historical museums myself. Also Dearborn is pretty close (15 min drive)… ya gotta go there to see the Henry Ford Village and Museum (when it’s not freezing outside of course)… and definitely visit Henry Ford Estate… he was THE MAN!

Good luck in your academic pursuit!