Univ. of Cincinnati VS. Univ. of Michigan-Ann Arbour


I am a high school senior. I applied to many schools for industrial design, and the two that have made it into my top choices are UC and UMICH. I am very conflicted over which one to go to.

I know that UC is being recognized as one of the top ID schools in the country right now, and the co-op program is a great way to gain experience, and make connections within the industry. I was really impressed with the student work, and the professors. Also, when I visited their campus, it was one of the best campuses I had seen, in terms of facilities. However, I have a major concern that although the design school is so prestigious, the rest of the school is sub-par. The other colleges in the University are not nearly as recognized. I have a concern because if I wanted to take classes in other areas, such as business or engineering, or if the design program collaborated with the other departments for projects, it would not be as valuable. Also, my last concern is although the co-op program is great, I wonder how the students maintain friendships and stability if every 3 months, they are travelling to a new place where they do not know anyone.

The Univ. of Michigan is recognized as a very srtrong school as a whole. However, the design school is not ranked, and I was concerned that they do not make you declare a major. When I visited, they told me that a student gets to basically choose the direction they want to go in. The reason this bothers me is because I have the feeling that their is little structure to their program if everyone is doing something different. The reason I am considering it so much is because of how strong their other departments are. Their business and engineering programs are nationally ranked as some of the best. I think it would be great to work with other departments on projects. However, the lack of structure make me wonder how much I would actually be able to work with the other colleges in the University.

I know this is a lot, but I am having a big problem trying to make this decision, and time is running out. Any responses would be helpful.

do you want to be a designer or something else?

well put no spec.

the other programs at the university of cincinnati are just fine. if you want to be a designer then there is no better place than UC. if you put forth the effort and have some level of passion that school will more than adequately prepare you for the real world and when you leave you’ll have a good idea of where you want to fit into the design community.

i have worked with design grads from michigan but not nearly as many as from Cincinnati. simply put Cincinnati design grads are everywhere.

it is commendable that you are interested in classes outside of design. but to be honest, no matter where you go you are going to be so bogged down with design studio work that you arent going to want to put in a ton of effort in your non design classes.

at cincinnati along with most schools you’ll find it hard just to find non design electives that fit around your studio courses.

cinicinnati is very good at offering interdisciplinary design projects involving students from all design majors, and the business and engineering schools. I’ll be honest i learned more about business and engineering either on co-op or in these group projects.

Without a doubt, the co-op program at Cincinnati would be invaluable to you. I have an engineering undergrad and went to a school with a mandatory co-op program. I wouldn’t have done it any other way. The practical experience and professional connections I gained on the job prepared me for the real world better than people from other schools without co-op programs (U of M grads included).

If you want tons of theoretical knowledge, go to UM; if you want to learn stuff that you will actually use on the job, go to Cincinnati.

Don’t worry about keeping friends when you change locations every 3 months. You will go through it with everyone else in your class, and you’ll keep friends quite easily thru email and such. One problem is moving every 3 months - it gets old after a while.

So, if I were you I’d go to Cincinnati - It is nationally recognized for ID, plus it’s got the co-op program - neither of which UM can claim. If you’re concerned about learning about marketing or engineering, then let your co-op employer know that. They will gladly provide you with the knowledge and experience in those areas that you will NEED as an ID.

you’ve presented your concerns with both schools. Based on what you’ve said, your concerns with Cincinnati seem like secondary ones, while your concerns with Michigan’s program seem directly related to your design education.

I’ll admit my bias as a UC grad, but you shouldn’t be overly concerned with the other programs at the school. As a matter of fact, the engineering and music schools are nationally ranked. Every school will have strengths and weaknesses.

Design firms will only care how strong the design program you attended was, and what you got out of it obviously. They will not care one lick whether your school was in the top 30 in US News & World Report Top Universities. They will not care if the business program was not top ten- they’ll be impressed that you took the initiative to take a business class at all (provided that you didn’t need that extra time for your design work).

Go to UC. Don’t look back.

nobody thinks UofM has a bad program, far from it.

…lots of people change majors and if your not all that comitted to ID, perhaps thats a better choice.

Thanks for all of the responses. You guys have been a real help.

The reason I am having this problem is because my goals are not just restricted to ID. Because of all of the praise Design people have been getting in the business world lately (i.e. Business Week – Design is the new MBA), I am really looking for that strong business side as well as the ID. I am passionate about ID, but I have high standards and hope to achieve more than just designing.

“…I have high standards and hope to achieve more than just designing.”

I can forgive this hubris because your in high school and have no idea just how broad - complex and difficult good design really is.

do yourself a favor and try to decide what’s most important to you, what about a business degree is attractive?

Yeah, I know I am sort of going out on a limb here, but basically what I am trying to get across is that I want to be able to function in the well in the business world as a designer. Does that make any more sense??

we hardly work in a vacuum - we all funtion in the business world as designers!

however, functioning in the design world as a businessman is a different question.

here are some tips

-I would go to michigan if you want to be a design director/mba type
At UC, we spend a lot of hours in studio working with our hands, not reading books

-beware of the business week buzz, its trying to push mags

-the other programs at UC do suck for the most part

-if you have any doubt of ID go to Mich, you can go to one of the best business schools in the country


…and about missing your friends, when we are together we just drink three times as hard - dont try this at home


The end.

No comparision.

Nothing else to say.

I am curious as to why you have such a strong opinion?

lol I think Yo’s post was funny. Yo has been supporting UC in the Industrial Design school thread, but I think you’ve read through that. Hm, palval87, I know that you were accepted into University of Illinois- urbana champaign, and I was wondering why you took that out of your choices for college.


UC would still be your best bet if you are “really looking for that strong business side as well as the ID” (although I’m somewhat insulted by that comment as well). Just because you’re in a school that does well in it’s business major, doesn’t mean you’ll get it through some sort of osmosis by being in the design studio of that school. Honestly, where you really get an understanding of business is by actually being out in the working world and getting hands on experience. UC’s co-op program is bar none, THE BEST out of any design school you’ll find. This is the reason they’re so highly ranked. I’m sure their classes are well taught too, but the big turn on for employers is knowing they’re getting a fresh graduate who STILL has loads of experience under their belt.
If you’re still not sure, check yo’s post.

1> Experience = Gold, and witht eh coop program you get that
2> Based on the portfolios coming out of UC that I have been seeing
3> Based on interns I’ve worked with

Being that you are coming right out of high school my best bet for you is to "LOOK AT EVERY SCHOOL no matter what unless you are afraid to leave your mothers embrace"…and if so you will get over that quick so don’t be afraid to try something new and go overseas or something like that. There are tons of schools all over the place that each will give you a unique experience and allow you to absorb allot more than your never-ending workload. I based allot of my decisions about my college career on the teachers who I was going to learn from rather than what co-op program I was going to be in. Not to talk any trash but I read an article about Cincinnati and I would not go there just based on the one teacher has the Pontiac Aztec under her belt and I would not want to learn that thought process for anything. Many great colleges get such things as sponsored studios and in my opinion this is great and equal to any co-op program because it gives you the same experience and many times if you are good enough you will get a job offer…and or internship for the summer and still get the same benefit you would with co-op. These sponsored studios will happen all the time if the school is good and has the creditability to bring in some solid companies. Just be happy with where you are going and feel confident that your wad of cash u will drop is going to be the best fit for you. I had a classmate in college that love design but just did not fit with the college. After 2 years he quit…went and did some freelance work as he worked on getting some of the academics out of the way. Only to then enroll in college in Europe and finally find his stride and best atmosphere to develop his skills to suit his needs. In the end man…look at 10 schools….shoot maybe 20 and get every bit of information you can about them…and their staff. U will find out within the first 2 years if design in for you so to have a school that has more options might be best….but if you feel strongly about really wanting to do design…keep shopping. Also to comment on the business side that is great…but to reinforce a previous response you will learn allot about this when you work for a studio. I would rather have a solid designer that can sketch new and actually see their product in 3D and let the design manager deal with the business plan. Anyways good luck to you….you are young be free and design your heart out. Also lense flair filters in Photoshop are not good ideas to make your drawing pop….and just because it is clear plastic and has an LCD screen does not mean it is a good idea….just thought you should know this before hand.

[quote="ViolentTIK"Many great colleges get such things as sponsored studios and in my opinion this is great and equal to any co-op program because it gives you the same experience.[/quote]

actually they are exteamly different. A sponsered studio is nothing like a co-op. A sponsered studio is a class where you might meet a professional a couple of times. A co-op is an intenenship.

I am not basing my opinion on my personal experience, I went to neither of these schools. I’m objectivly basing it on portfolios I’ve seen over the past 5-8 years.

I think the sponsored studios differ depending on where you go. In my case I had professional designers come in every class meeting for the sponsored studios I worked in. This allowed me to have valuable feedback and it even gave me my first internship for 9 months following the studio. Without the CO-OP program I still developed a very diverse and strong skill set that allows me to take on anything that is thrown in my face from 3D SLA’s and renderings to hand skills. My diverse college atmosphere has allowed me to land jobs without even drawing…or thinking about a particular product I will be designing until literally days before I sign the contract… and this is all without the assistance of CO-OP. I would be interested in finding out how many of those CO-OPs turn into solid offers in the end. Don’t take this wrong as I am dissing the whole co-op thing because it is great. But to wrap it all up you will get many of the same benefits if you were to dedicate yourself to developing your design skills at any of the credited colleges for design. Colleges can only show you the door and you get out of it what you put in. Maybe it was just the professors…or the luck of the draw in having a phenomenal class to draw inspiration and diversity from. I followed your link “Yo” and realized you work closely with an old friend of mine that also might have an interesting take on colleges and design….pass along a howdy to mayden from an old class mate adam weber. Pick the right college and love what you do and you can never go wrong.