ughh....Ivy or Design School?

I’m so sick of college decisions but I still haven’t reached a final decision. Basically I have the option of going to Upenn, getting an BFA with a concentration in graphic design, or staying at CMU and graduating with a BFA in graphic or industrial design. I would just stay at cmu but the whole “ivy” thing, better networking, and more liberal arts education at penn is slightly enticing.

Anyway, that’s for me to worry about. My main question is this: Will design firms not bother with me if I only have a “concentration” in design from a non-accreditted university? I just can’t figure out if I’ll be able to compete with only a handful of design courses. I know portfolio matters more, but I’d really like to figure out this whole degree business.

Any help would be great, especially since tuition is due in a week.



if your school is non-accredited, you better have a pretty nice portfolio, in fact, better have a nice portfolio either way. I would stay where you are and just finish. Ivy sounds cool for grad school.

Your portfolio is the most important aspect.

Your degree/schools accreditation isn’t as important as the connections and contacts that you can make through that school.

Stay at the school you like the best. If you aren’t happy where you are now then don’t struggle for a few more years by staying there.

if the network you are trying to build is one that is directly linked to the arean of design, usability, engineering, interaction design etc then CMU would seem to win on both fronts

only if you are trying to remain networked in with more business (maybe some engineering) types etc would I think that UPenn would have more to offer you in the way of networking

just my two cents

Staying at CMU means you have already started their program right? What was the reason you applied to Upenn in the first place? Was it just because it was an “Ivy” school? Being a Penn architecture alumni, I would say their art/design dept. is becoming surprisingly progressive, in terms of teaching methods and size, but I am not sure you would get the same design experience as you might at an “art school”, CMU. It sounds like you are pursuing an undergraduate degree, but I might go even further than IDiot. If your goal is to be a designer, design school would seem like the better option to me. If your goal is to be more of a design consultant/manager Upenn would be the better choice.

ScriptD: Yes I’m talking undergraduate here, you were in the graduate program correct? I would like to eventual progress as a design manager, but I’m not sure if Upenn would give me the managerial skills since we’re talking art department and not Wharton.

I just really need to know how much schooling plays a part in the job process.

I actually studied architecture as an undergrad at Penn. In the end, the school you choose makes little difference. The experience at each school is ultimately up to you. Networking is also something YOU take charge of at any school, i.e. attending events, speaking with alum/faculty, etc. It is not really something that is handed to you. Design students are a special breed because we have to learn and execute design as well as sell ourselves as interesting/worthy people.

All that being said, Wharton could be used as a great resource for learning managerial skills through elective coursework, resources, and networking.

Ivy schools mean little to nothing in the design world.
CMU is a different story, they’re in my top two (for interaction design.)

Stanford is not in the Ivy-league, that title means nothing anymore.
CMU is First Teir regardless - stay put, unless you think you’ll do better work somewhere else.

Thanks for the tips guys, I think I’m staying at CMU. We’ll see how that turns out 10 years from now :stuck_out_tongue:

Good choice!

Bachelors of design from CMU then get a MBA from an IVY.