San Jose State University -- Think it's a good choice?

Hello Core77,

For several years now I have been a daily visitor to this site. I have to admit that next to the influence of my own father (who is a design engineer), this site has been the largest influence in my desire to become an industrial designer.

I live in the Bay Area of California and I hope for economic reasons to go to a school that is fairly local.

San Jose State University is geographically the closest school to me that offers industrial design, after that there are several schools in San Francisco.

I am writing on this forum to get the opinion of people who are in the industry and have the experience and knowledge to help someone who’s greatest desire is to work in the field of industrial design.

As someone with that goal in mind, is San Jose State a school I should apply to?

Thank you!


Why not CCA?

Applications are cheap. Going to the wrong school for you for the next 4 years is not.

I would apply to every school you could even remotely consider. Often times you will receive scholarships from these schools and that could lower the cost of admissions by enough to make it an option. No need to bottle neck yourself this early on in the process. Once you get accepted into these schools then the hard choices happen.

Virginia Tech
Arizona State
and so on

There are some differences between SJSU and others in SF. As a state univ. they are comparatively inexpensive. For a fact that I have known, they have great alumni and connection in silicon valley. So, it may be easier to land a job. Some of their graduates start interning at small companies run by previous SJSu students that may lead to big corporates. The instructor are good, some great. The class could be 20-25 students, so you need to push yourself and self motivated, as it is in any other schools. Probably engineering heavy, they admire details in design. Not likely to be conceptual, more practical. But depends on the instructor and their requirements.

I went to The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. For me that school worked out great. Once I graduated I got some very good internships and work experience and have since gotten full time employment in the product design industry of my choice. Also I have about 20 or 30 friends from the school who have also found good employment opportunities in the industry. Over all I am satisfied with my investment.

The school does not have the reputation of CCA but it does produce employable students and quite a few even in a recession. My biggest complaint with the school is it does not really teach design thinking. It is very heavy on technique sketching, rendering, 3d modeling, etc. There are some other problems I had with the school but they were personal and not really relevant to the topic. But in the end I am happy for the great foundation it provided.

SJSU is probably the best bang for the buck in the Bay Area in terms of ID schools. They have a lot of alumni in the industry and many former SJSU IDers have started design firms or are running corporate ID departments. I’d go to a student mixer and talk to people and compare. I would rank Bay Area ID programs like this. This is my personal opinion ofcourse…

  1. SJSU
  2. AU
  3. CCA
  4. SFSU

Stanford is a different category and not really “studio” ID, more like mechanical engineering with design appreciation.

Thank you very much for the thoughtful replies! Sain made a very good point about how applications are cheap. I have already decided to apply everywhere and take my pick from the schools that accept me (Isn’t this the current norm for college bound individuals? :laughing: ). I’d also like to thank Shyamsun, Singletrack, and Mpdesigner for their words of wisdom.

Applying to college is no doubt the hardest experience of my life, so keep your fingers crossed that I ultimately make the right decision.

These schools cater specific interest. Some are conceptual, some are functional, some demand graphic skills, some for engineering, etc. You should select from your interest. Best way is to check students gallery.

Ah ok. Could you elaborate more on the different interests? I believe I know what you are saying, but in the words of Mark Twain “better to be thought an idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” I’m going to keep my mouth shut :laughing:

Based on the portfolios I’ve seen and the people here, I’d put CCA at the top of the list… but I would not limit yourself geographically… it is a big world out there, and even a big country, spoken from someone that has moved coast to coast 3 times. The earlier you adjust to being mobile, the greater your potential pool of opportunities.

I’d go to a student mixer and look.

Anyone know when the next Bay Area student mixer is going to be? Most school shave a show and sometimes all the schools have a consolidated show where they all show at the same time and place.

What are you interested in? I believe you would know the general areas of concentration. Are you into trans? consumer electronics? furniture? toy? Your school selection should be related to your area of interest.

As Michael points out CCA may be the best around here. They have great instructors, but if you are into trans, then AAU or Art center may be best in CA. Check students gallery.