Pratt ID Graduate Prep Classes

So I graduated from Binghamton University (in upstate NY) this past May with a bachelor’s degree in economics… After realizing that the two main things I could do with that were finance or an econ PhD, neither of which I ended up wanting to pursue, I decided to get serious about pursuing a design-based career. I’ve done a lot of Photoshop graphic design work in the past, mostly things in my free time, some spec ads, graphics for my college newspaper, etc… Since graduating, I got a job doing graphic design and some HTML layout design. All in all I have a decent portfolio right now, but it’s almost all photoshop, and definitely needs to be expanded.

Anyway, after a lot of thought and research, I decided recently that I want to pursue industrial design. My plan is to apply to schools next fall, if possible. And since I want my portfolio to reflect skills more relevant to ID programs, I’ve been looking into into some continuing ed programs near me. I live in the New York City area, and Pratt’s graduate prep classes seem to be just what I need… before I spend real money to start taking them though, I figured I’d ask you guys to make sure it seemed like a good idea.

Basically, it’s a 4 class program, for people who don’t have a formal ID background but want to apple to grad programs. They focus on drawing, 3d model making, and eventually portfolio building (and it’s about $600-800 per class). Does this seem like the right move for me, or would there be a better way to get the experience I need? Like it’s not a crazy amount of money (and I can afford it), but it’s still a lot, so I want to make sure this would be the best thing to do…

Thanks for any advice!

Sorry if this response is a bit late, but I recently took one of the graduate preparatory classes at Pratt and thought I could contribute my two cents…

If you are considering applying to ID programs during the next cycle, and uncertain if this area of study is right for you, or if you don’t feel sufficiently prepared to apply, it’s definitely worth the time and money to “test the water”.

My background is in studio art, and I spent the past few years following undergraduate study working in an art fabrication studio in NYC. I’d been considering a Master’s in Industrial Design, but I wasn’t confident that my portfolio was adequate to compete with professionals or students with ID bachelors degrees. I enrolled in the Product Design class at Pratt last May hoping to get a taste for the school/program/workload, and develop some additional material for my portfolio. I think they really try to make it a realistic preparatory class, so be prepared to spend some significant time and possibly money (for materials), if you aim to impress. It can be challenging for people with full-time jobs, and there were definitely a few in the class who were not prepared to do the work. The instructor covers model-making, concept development, various materials and processes, and some (limited) portfolio advice. Even with a background in art fabrication, I found the instruction and feedback to be helpful. You will, however, probably make a huge mess in your apartment and have to transport your projects on the subway, just to warn you.

Ultimately, it ended up being a great experience for me that allowed me to build a relationship with several faculty members, meet the department head, and create some solid portfolio pieces. The class was good mix of mostly working professionals in various fields and everybody was really engaging. I didn’t take the portfolio development class because I ended up moving out of the city, but it’s worth starting with one class (perhaps the one you think would be most valuable to you, based on your current experience) to see how you like it, then considering others. Even if you find that Pratt’s not for you, it doesn’t hurt to have ID coursework on your resume if you want to gain some experience in the field. I applied to the program and was just accepted last week, so I’d have to say that it paid off.