So, I’m trying to decide where to go to school. I’ve been accepted to University of Cincinnati’s Industrial Design program and I’ve also been accepted to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. I really wanted to go to CMU’s School of Design, but I didn’t get in (not surprisingly, I didn’t really have much of a portfolio…). I liked CMU because they have a good design program, and then there are great programs for Computer Science and Engineering. I guess it’s been my dream to work at Apple, so I’m interested in aesthetic design, but also the technical side like how people interact with technology and how software is designed.

RPI doesn’t really have an ID program, but it has Computer Science, Engineering, Innovation, and Product Design programs. UC just has a very good ID program, but I don’t think it has much else that I would be interested in. I’m not just interested in the physical form of things, but I’m not exactly looking to get a mechanical engineering degree either.

Personally, I’m leaning towards RPI, with the possibility of transferring later on to CMU or somewhere else (only if I hate it there), but I’m still not sure if I would be better off going to UC, because the ID program there is very well regarded. Anyone have some advise?

I’m usually the DAAP fan boy advising people to go to DAAP but if you are not really interested in the physical aspect of design and more the UI, interactive I don’t think DAAP would be the best fit. As far as being well regarded and all, that really doesn’t count for anything if you’re not getting the experience YOU want out of the program.

Sounds like RPI has the program that you’re looking for, you could probably create a similar experience over at DAAP if you were persistent and ambitious but it might not be worth the effort.

Good luck!

It seems pretty obvious that CMU is where you want to be.

Why waste the time and money somewhere else? Have you considered a gap year? Get a part-time job (an internship would be beneficial as well), knock off some gen-ed courses, and work on the portfolio for another year. It’s not a race to get in and graduate.

I wish the idea had been presented to me following graduation; now I’m at a school (which I like) but doesn’t have the major I want. You’re in a similar situation, and my advice is to wait it out.

Thanks for your responses.

I am interested in the physical aspect of design, but I guess what I’m more interested in is Interaction Design. That’s typically a graduate program anyway. I think RPI is closer to what I’m looking for only because the technical side of design is better represented there, but they don’t really have an ID program.

As for a gap year, I’m really not interested in that. I want to move on with my life, and I rather spend time at a school for a year, working really hard to get good grades while working on a portfolio and then trying to transfer, or maybe considering CMU from graduate school (since they have an interaction design program). It’s not that either school doesn’t have the major I want… I have a feeling that part of my problem is I’m not even sure what I want to do. So, I’m guessing that RPI would give me better a better opportunity to try out different things related to my interest, while UC… well other than DAAP, there would be nothing else for me.

I really wish I could go check out UC in person, but I live in Boston… it’s not exactly easy (or cheap).


When considering that you’re about to invest 4/5 years and +$30,000 into your education. A $400 plane ride isn’t that terrible. Email some professors, or some UC students and I’m sure they would be glad to let you shadow.

As for interaction design. Ever looked into SCAD?

I have heard of SCAD, but the problem there is it’s just an Art and Design school. My brother went to RISD, and I would have applied there had I A). had a portfolio and B). wanted to go to a school that’s just a design school. Also, I can’t apply there anyway, my college admissions season is over. Though, it is something I would consider if I do decide to transfer.

I think I’ve answered my own question here. RPI is probably a better place to start because I’m not sure ID is 100% right for me. I’m still going to try to visit UC though.