pratt id masters - any advice please


i was accepted into the masters ID program at pratt, and most likely will go. at first i was thrilled, but i read some other posts about the “horror stories” at pratt, can someone please elaborate on this? i’ve read through most of the posts on schools, but any additional advice specifically about pratt would be really helpful.

i know ID is what i want to do, but sometimes i panic… mainly because i’m about to take on a crazy amount of debt and am completely changing careers.

sounds silly at this point, but any tips/advice about the cost/benefit of grad school in general would be appreciated, i’m having a minor melt down today.

thanks in advance!

First of all, Congratulations! you’ve been accepted :slight_smile:

lol, now keep your cool, Remember School is what you make of it, and if you really feel ID is right for you and what you are passionate just have faith in yourself, just focus on how grad school fits in your grand vision for you life, and what you will be able to do with your new skills.
Listen to your enthusiasm and be your best.

Now like with other schools, there is the good, the bad and the subjective. I read about the Pratt stories, and in the post i have on this forum about my college quest i still included Pratt.

by the way, what career are you changing from? how old are u?

Good luck

thanks a lot for your reply. those reviews are helpful, though pratt’s quality of education is not rated very high… not exactly what i’d like to hear.

i know there is no official “foundation” year, but since a lot of students come from non-ID backgrounds, does the MID program offer foundation-type courses?

does anyone have any advice about what i can do now to prepare for this fall? should i take a model making or CAD class or something?

i’m 27, and have been working in fashion for several years.

MonoNo Aware, where did you end up going to school?

It’s good that you want to have a head start.
You should call the school and ask
I don’t know yet, i’ve been accepted in Marangoni in Milan
I applied to SCAD and now will apply to Arc Center

Pratt has a very solid reputation and is still in the top 5 I.D program. I think one of the problem is that their facilities are not as well kept as it could be, but you’ll get a great education going there.

where are you getting your statistics??

Noodle, congrats on your acceptance. Pratt is a great school. I graduated from their industrial design program in 2001. Most of the negativity you may find about some people commenting about pratt is because they didn’t apply themselves, were more into socializing, or just not listening to what they were told.

There are some great points that I took away from that program which I apply to work everday. I’ve gone back for my masters as well but in international business and even there, my education from Pratt is helping me get through that program as well.

I have done a lot of research before applying for grad. school. There are 2 main parts for my research:
1/ The first part is me so to speak. I have my own company and have been a designer for over 15 years. Going to grad. school is not meant to be a career change, I decided to take a hiatus, and Grad. school is where I want to spend my Hiatus. Because I have acted as one of my company creative directors for a number of years, I have, as you can imagine, seen quite a few portfolio from young designers, and have made up my mind on the training that the various schools provide and how ready graduates are out of school, not just as far as skills, but also the intellectual approach to their work.
2/Forums are very good, especially when designers who have already graduated talk freely about their Alma Mater. I also enjoyed going to sites geared toward parents searching for schools. As far as statistics on school rankings, their are many, with different search criterias. Of course the most well known one, which has become the standard for all, is the annual U.S News best colleges and graduate schools. NewsWeek has also written quite a few articles on Industrial Design. Some relate to Industrial Schools, the have put together a list as well, which is the best 60 design schools in the world. Their list however isn’t sequential unlike U.S News.
There are also studies that I have read which list hiring trends, starting salaries, etc… And then there are the schools themselves, and what their own selling points. The schools that are on the U.S News list for example, will make a big deal, the schools that are not on the list, will obviously try to downplay it. What’s interesting is that if you start looking closer, you will notice that the schools that are on the list usually have graduates with much higher starting salaries, than the one that aren’t. There are other interesting facts that I have notice, but it would start getting a bit long.



Thanks for this info. It is very informative but I do have a few things to add. I tend to question these top ten lists of schools put out, mostly because depending on where you look, every one of them is different.

I agree that Pratt has a great reputation, and I have not attended the program so I really cannot comment on how good it is. What I can comment on is that I have worked with many Pratt grads and while they were not bad designer and some were even great designers, they were not absolute blow your socks off superstars. They were the same run of the mill ID grads with the same skill you get at any other ID school. They had decent sketching skills, knew how to create sketch models and were able to come up with creative solutions.

As far as them coming out of school and getting paid a higher salary…Pratt is a NYC school. I would think these statistics are skewed as most of them probably (and given that I live in the NYC area I see a lot of them) stay and work for a company based in NYC which has a high cost of living than say…Columbus Ohio which would cause them to make more than the student that graduated from Ohio State and works for P&G. Like I mentioned before I work with a few at my previous job and I am pretty certian I made the same if not more than they did.

I don’t feel that your salary is based off the school you went to but more on the portfolio you present, and the portfolio you present is not always based on the where you went to school. When I interview a student I really don’t care where they went to school, I want to see their work. I want to know that they can think on their feet and come up with creative solutions. Part of this comes from where you went to school, but a lot of it comes from talent, drive, focus, and determination. If you have those you will succeed in any program.

Sorry to sway from the topic.

To be fair in my field, which is motion graphics and visual fx, I would say at least half the best designers I know didn’t go to great schools or in quite a few instances, are self taught. But the guys that went, let say, to Art Center or Yale, got to leading position and higher salary faster. When I see a young designer ( for possible hire ) from a top school, there are ready now, when I see someone from a lesser school,they aren’t and I know more training is going to be needed. That facts really became even more apparent when I started shopping for a school for myself… In each instances I made a point to visit with faculty, meet grad. students and attend one class. The result was that the difference between my visit in some of the top schools and other schools was shockingly contrasted. I could really see an incredible difference in the overall vibe, work ethic and maturity of both faculty and students. I am not naming schools anymore because I think some of my past posts have probably hurt some people that were from those schools, and frankly in any career, school is very subjective…
Having a good portfolio is good, but it’s not the most important. Actually I would venture to say, it is becoming less and less important, especially in Industrial Design… Most people don’t care to see if you can design a pretty phone or a cool car, they want to know if you think of a new communication system or engineer a new transportation platform… They want thinkers, they also want people that understand what a budget is, understand that a successful designer is someone that can create a successful compromise, that restrictions can be you friend, etc…
The cool, photo real great product portfolio is a nice gimmick for a lot of schools to get you in, but doesn’t do much in a leadership position.

Oh, and I don’t really think Pratt grads. make more money because they live in N.Y.

Having a good portfolio is good, but it’s not the most important. Actually I would venture to say, it is becoming less and less important, especially in Industrial Design…

Are you kidding?
maybe you are confusing a “good” portfolio with a “pretty” portfolio.

A good folio shows that you are in fact a well informed thinker. I have been stressing this point a lot in these forums. Portfolios are being judged here most on technical skills and almost not at all on concept. If the sketches are hot, nobody seems to care what is actually being sketched. Maybe because nobody thinks that a student can come up with a good concept. High gloss goes a long way here and maybe that is what you mean.

I believe though that a good portfolio can get you any job, no matter where you are from. But of course it should not just show pretty renders but rather production methods, technical drawings, full size prototypes and mock ups, inspiration, material choices, market research and placement, user testing and thought process.

How else is a student supposed to convey these skills?

And how else would you like them to show these skills. I agree that a successful designer needs all of these skills and it certainly helps when hiring them and getting them start right away, but how do you plan to judge this without a kickass portfolio. If you were to walk into my office looking for a job and tell me that you have all these skills and don’t have the portfolio to back it up, you would be told “Thank you and have a nice day!” I don’t want to hear you tell me what you can do, but rather see what you can do. Anyone can talk a big game and interview well but that does not mean you have the skills. Words me nothing in the design world. We are here to create things and comunicate visually.

Also, I have experience working in NYC v/s outside of NYC and salaries in general are higher there. The cost of living is higher which demands a higher salary. It is simple economics.


I went to Pratt undergrad as a grad aged student. Grads and undergrads have a lot of upper level classes together, so I spent a decent amount of time with the Grad students. I also spent a lot of time talking to them outside of class because we had similar concerns.

Here’s how I look at it. Pratt is like an old, ratty, sweater. You look at it sometimes and think it looks like shite but you would never give it up because it’s cozy and does the trick whenever you’re cold. Pratt has lots of problems… It’s disorganized. The facilities could use some work (there has been some improvement lately in regards to the facade.) Not everybody is into being there and can waste your time in critique and studio work. But, with all that said, Pratt has a scrappy heart. There’s something special buried beneath all of the dirt and grime in Pratt Studios. You’ll get a unique ID education there that will set you apart and give you an understanding of 3-Dimensional form that few will have. You will miss out on the foundation year, which I didn’t do either because of prior schooling, but you will get a pretty amazing crash course in a new visual language that might take a while to get, but once you do, it’s pretty darned cool. And, with your creative background, you might be fine anyway.

In the end, like has been mentioned before, you need to take a certain amount of responsibility for your education wherever you go. If you care, and are focused, you will get a lot out of your time at Pratt. There are some great instructors there. Look for them. Keep an open mind. Work hard. You’ll learn a lot.

Every place has their strengths and weaknesses and you’ll always find some program that’s lacking in something. Pratt is lacking in some resources and could use a little more focus on the technical, but it’s made up for in aesthetic focus and a certain soul. Pratt ID has a heritage that still runs through the program and, after doubting it for a while, I came to understand and appreciate its value. Sure, I think I would’ve been happy going to Art Center, but I’m not disappointed I went to Pratt.

If you want to know more, feel free to PM me.


thanks for all the replies and good advice.