The More Advice The Merrier!

I have spent a few days mulling over the forums for an answer, but I haven’t found anything that really fits my situation… I just get the impression that every school is good for a different kind of person.

So if any of you have a quasi-case-specific answer for me, I’d flip out in happiness.:open_mouth:

Here’s a brief run-down of things:
I’m 24 years old.
I’m a Florida resident, with lots of AP/IB credits under my belt and a great SAT score.

My junior year of college, UF wouldn’t let me switch my major to architecture (from mechanical/aerospace engineering) so i dropped out. Based on my lack of enthusiasm for my undergrad major, my college GPA is nothing to be proud of.:blush:

However, since dropping out, I’ve discovered my true passion lies with design. More specifically, I had been working on finding my own personal philosophy on life (corny as it may sound), and this has led me to design. I am inspired by all ‘designs for humanity’. From Rocket Stoves and the Hippo Rollers designed for developing nations to the nearly cliche IDEO shopping carts.

I’ve been surrounding myself with Google and TED talks, reading some IDEO books (as well as some Kurt Vonnegut), I’ve practiced hand sketching, Modo302, Rhino3d and SketchUp. I’ve even submitted to a few design competitions.

BUT, what I REALLY want to do is go back to school and nurture my design education. (I enjoyed reading the forum posts about never being too old) I want to learn how to be a better designer, and surround myself with others who share this interests. (yay for collaboration!)

I’m looking for a good Industrial Design program to enroll in.
Obviously places like Carnegie Mellon are awesome, but I’m trying to be a little more realistic.
As ‘Kayto Theo’ and ‘Infini’ pointed out, some schools are infamous for what they called “training beautiful CAD-monkies”. This is NOT what I want.

I’m really not picky, I just want decent program that will accept me.
While cost is a factor (as it is in everything), and cheaper is probably better, I am not adverse to taking loans.

Thank you all so much in advance!!‘:D’

welcome to core,
As you’ve read, there is no single best answer we can provide.
I assume you intend on applying next fall for undergraduate admission in 2010.
this gives you lots of time to explore and work on your portfolio. I suggest you go to the nearest businesses and ask to shadow some designers for a day.
go look at SCAD and GA. Tech to see two very different environments. and lastly get back into your old school now and take Human Factors, Business and Marketing. and anything else related you have time for

I’ve created a Doc to help me make decisions.

the 19 schools are the D-school recommended by businessweek and USnews paired with the sometimes strange (and sometimes blatantly incorrect) information given by

:exclamation: this is currently an ongoing project, and will be frequently updated.
any advice will be gratefully accepted and carefully considered. :exclamation:

I’m in almost exactly the same situation (down to the Google Spreadsheet). I was/am looking towards cost and engineering focus. I basically put together every school I could find and went from there:

Sorry I can’t give any advice (since I haven’t even started school yet), but I’m happy to share my spreadsheet, maybe save you some time looking around the cluttered websites.

i had one question for you, and i’ll make it public, so others wont have to ask later.

in your Doc, there is a column entitled ‘portfolio’ when you made a Y or N under it, what are you referring to? (requirement, scholarship, or just beneficial?)

I noticed you have Kean on your list. I would really do some research on this as they are a VERY new school and still have a lot to learn.

I’ve created a Doc to help me make decisions.

Mark is wonderful, about time. - Google Sheets >

the 19 schools are the D-school recommended by businessweek and USnews paired with the sometimes strange information given by

this is currently an ongoing project, and will be frequently updated.
any advice will be gratefully accepted and carefully considered.

This is a tough question. I would be careful looking at websites like and buisness Week. Even though these seem to be great resources, they work off satistics and reputation.

Each design school is different. Design school A could have a great reputation and statistics and run their program one way but may not work for you. Design school B could not have as good of a reputation but really works for you. School is a bit of what you make of it as well. As you said with your last school you were not motivated and did not work for you. This could also happen in ID school.

My suggestion is to start contacting these school. Go visit them and have a talk with the ID professors. I personally went to SCAD. I loved the town, I loved the school and I like the fact that the ID dept was growing at an extremely fast rate. Now this is also one of the criticism of the [program as well from other people. I did not work for them, but it did for me. I don’t know how close you are to SCAD but they will give you a nice tour and have a discussion with you. By looking at your list there are some really great schools on there. RISD, Cleveland Institute of art, College of creative studies, all have great programs but are completely different schools.

Requirement, some schools it wasn’t immediately obvious.

I don’t have a great portfolio (just random works), but it did get me an extra $2,000.

same document, now with much more information.


please let me know if I’ve blatantly missing any critical information.

Doc dosen’t work.

I dunno why it didn’t work for you… but both links still work for me, even when I’ve logged out of google.

(P.S. to the teacher at SCAD, I’m sorry you had to leave before i could answer your question. the answer was: In a moment of shallow loftiness, I decided I would not want to live in alabama, but now I will go back and review them for both their sake and possibly mine.)

(P.P.S. Everyone, tomorrow is the big day!! I am calling all of the schools and will have much more information and decisions to make by the weekend)

First I just wanted to say that you are putting a commenable amount of effort into making this choice spreadsheets, calls, etc. Good for you, its definately a hard choice especially with something as broad and diverse as design.

One thing I did want to mention is as a current UC ID student I would have to say the program is much more method based than you have it ranked, if I understand your scale correctly. The fun thing is the schooling is pretty rigid, all the projects are pretty specific and each teacher has a method that you must follow pretty closely, but as you get out in the real world you quickly realize there are a million different ways to sucessfully design, and you will learn to make your process work for you.

But its definately more process/method based than experimental, everything after your sophmore year is also based very solidly in the real world. Teachers will get on you about the real world constraints and ensure you are not designign in a vaccum.

The last thing I wanted to say is don’t sweat it too much, you have done your homework and if you put the same effort into school as you are in finding one you will be very sucessful. Fit is important, but I can’t tell you how much different you will be in four or five years than, and a lot of those changes will happen as you start to integrate into the culture around you so even if a school feels a bit off a first you will grow into it.

Very thorough. Good job.

Thanks so much for all the good advice and feedback I’ve been getting!!

I really think I’m starting to get a feel for where my interest lie, and with a few deadline-crunched schools, I’ve already started the application process.

Sadly, however, I’m realizing how late I am starting the whole “Application Game.” So I’m stuck working like a cracked-out mad-man on my essays, teacher recommendations, and compiling a portfolio.

At this point, if anyone has a helpful connection, or knows any school-specific advice, this is the time that it would be ridiculously invaluable to me.

Thanks again!

You do know SCAD is not in Alabama right? I know this was probably directed towards someone else just wanted to clear that up.

I noticed that you ranked University of Cincinnati as a 5 on the interest meter, so to speak. I strongly, suggest that you raise this score.

In today’s environment, having internships and coops is crucial for both experience and for getting a job. Cincinnati is one of the only schools on your list that has coops built into their educational experience. It is a FABULOUS program , and I would certainly rate it higher than RISD and many other schools that you have shown higher interest.

In addition, being a state school makes it less expensive than most private schools. Moreover, the paid coop positions, make this school much less expensive than any other on your list. In fact, it is even possible to get “instate” status in later years with good planning.

Finally, if rankings have any bearing, it is one of the most highly ranked ID programs in the country. Only Art Center is more highly ranked.

To clarify, the interest scale I have is based on a range between 0 and 5. Also, While the idea of a co-op definitely does appeal to me, the cost is not so much a factor.

I dont know if you, or anyone else had noticed, but there are tabs along the bottom of my spreadsheet, each with a slightly different aspect of my search.

One in particular is called “hierarchy of needs” and it shows how i am (attempting to) make my decisions.

I am curious what you are citing in your rankings, as I would love find more in-depth examples of school comparisons…


After much delay, I arbitrarily present the five schools I will be applying to (in no particular order):

  1. California College of the Arts
  2. RISD
  3. U of Cincinnati
  4. College of Creative Studies (t’was free to apply)
  5. SCAD

If anyone has advice for me in terms of facilitating acceptance to any of these, please let me know… Really, I’ll need all the help I can get.

Also, If I have blindly not applied to a school which you think is a must, you may voice your disgust for me now. :smiley:

if cost is not so much an issue - you can expect to be admitted to every school you apply to.
you’ve picked the cream of the crop, perhaps some smaller schools or ones with good connections to European schools might interest you too…why not spend a year abroad?

Thats a great idea, and I will try looking into it.

However, as far as traveling abroad…I would love to travel, but my funds are not liquid, so while i don’t worry about school costs, i don’t have the money to travel the world.

On top of that, I’m currently working a great job, and I’d like to keep it as long as possible until I leave for further education.

Do you have any great ‘small schools’ in mind? I’d love to check them out, but I really haven’t been able to find any way to meaningfully sort through them all.

I think that the academic costs of a study exchange year can be worked into the standard payment process.

Art Center closed their UK branch school but I think they still have th EU one open. RISD’s school in Italy is mostly about Art/Arch history and Gen Ed stuff. CMU probably has connections everywhere, but again, may not be a portfolio building time…

Western Washingon is a small program but excellent regardless - strong sustainabllity emphasis.