The Academy of Art
What is the cost of a year as a student:
The cost is nearly $25,000 per year before supplies, transportation, rent and food. These costs can be greatly reduced by looking into getting a Pell Grant from FASFA, and a Cal Grant if you live in California. Look into your states grants and see if they are accepted/transferrable to a Californian school. After you pull out the max in Federal and Stafford loans, you will have to turn to Private loans. So far I found that Sallie Mae has been best for my private loans. I spend an additional $2,000 in transportation, another $600 for car insurance, about $500 in food, and $100-$1000 in supplies, and $250 in private loan debt each year. So the cost goes up to about $30,000 a year before rent and other bills per year. I do commissions and work part time jobs when I can, but no matter what I will have debt, a lot of debt from going to school. If I had gone for nursing though, I would have had debt as well. It’s a lose-lose situation money wise really.
How do you get around the city:
We have awesome shuttles that take you pretty much to each building and run according to a schedule you can find on their mobile app. The shuttles are always clean, the drivers can be crazy at times, but that’s what it takes to drive in the city.
How do you commute to the city:
I take Bay Area Rapid Transport, which is BART. These are fast moving trains that stretch outwards to the bay and are 99% on time. Parking is free at some stations and $2 at other stations. Cost of your ride depends on how far away you are. I come sometimes from the end of the line and it costs about $6 each way, so $12 a day for me to ride. Driving to the city and paying for parking is more. It’s about $20 in gas and at least $15 for parking. If you carpool this might work out for some individuals.
What is the school setup:
Buildings have a ton of classrooms, each classroom is set up to work for the class being taught. I have no complaints so far, I think all of the rooms have been perfect temperature and lighting wise.
What’s the class like:
Most classes start with lecture and end with you working on the assignment/homework. Figure drawing classes/still life classes tend to start with a short lecture followed by drawing, short lecture and then more drawing. Some classes allow time to finish your homework in class, and some have all of the homework for at home.
What’s the homework time:
They aren’t kidding when they say that you need to spend 5 hours a week minimum in homework per class. Sometimes it’s more like 10-20 hours a week outside of class PER class. Definitely Perspective class took me nearly 20-30 hours each week, Color and Design took me 5-20 hours per week, pretty much 5-20 hours each week to get good grades/improve. So if you have 4 classes, the homework alone is a full time job. I find the online classes are smaller usually 5-10 hours a week per class, leaning more towards 5 hours depending on what you take. I take history classes mostly online.
It’s sink or swim, I will admit some teachers are much harder than others, some teachers go easy on struggling students and some have no mercy. If you aren’t super serious about this, then you might want to look elsewhere. Show up to class everyday on time, do your homework and you will do alright. If you want to get better you need to add in additional time doing studies and practicing, grades aren’t everything!
Will I get better:
In my experience so far, you will get better if you put your everything into it. I did things these past couple of terms I never thought I could do. Especially Perspective class.
Are credits transferrable:
Some Community college credits are transferrable to the school, so if you can, definitely get what liberal arts you can out of the way at your community college. It will save you a pretty penny. Realize thought that the credits are NOT transferrable outside of the school. Any schooling you take at AAU, stays at AAU.
Every spring the school hangs a gallery of work from the best of the best. Space is limited but since it is a juried gallery, you can write this up on your resume. This year they set it up a bit crazy and they didn’t set it up/let students know if their work was up until about the week prior. Hopefully next year will be a bit better. I found that for the upper classes, they have employers come in the day of the show in the morning, and students talk to them about job opportunities. Now for us first years in the generic classes most students have to take, we are only called to the show in the evening after employers are gone. I’ll see about this year.
I have yet to get an internship, it depends on each company as to when you can apply. Gaming companies tend to let you apply whenever, and movie companies tend to want you to apply in your junior/senior year for their internships. I do know however that most internships run during the summer though and are usually paid.
If you have any more questions please ask away :)