This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

October 21, 2010

Choosing between a private college, a community college, or a University for Graphic Design

Choosing between a private college (such as The Art Institute of Phoenix) a community college (such as Glendale Community College) and a University (such as Arizona State) is difficult. I've taught at The Art Institute of Phoenix and Glendale Community College, and I was a student at Arizona State so I have a little bit of knowledge of what is best for what.

First of all, any college degree is only as good as what you are willing to put into it. If you are expecting the teachers to force you to learn something that you are not interested in, choose something else. It doesn't matter how good the curriculum is or how strict the attendance and grading policies are, if you don't like it, you will find a way to fail.

Personally, I recommend a community college for people either right out of high school or for people interested in starting a new career. A community college is the least expensive way to find out about a career. Take a few classes in it. If you like it, great, if not, try a different class. I am adjunct faculty at Glendale Community College, and as much as I would like to have everyone in my class to be "gung ho" for Graphic Design, I can understand that it isn't for everyone. Taking a class at a community college lets you see what that career path will be like. I've seen many, many people say, "hey, this is cool" and find out that they are good at, for example, Adobe Illustrator.

If you really, really know your career path, choose a private college, like The Art Institute of Phoenix. You will get your degree fast and be very-well trained. Private colleges like this focus on one thing: student success. I taught at The Art Institute during the 90s and I can tell you that some of those grads are the very best in the industry, making a good living today.

A University degree is more "well-rounded". You will be obliged to take a lot of classes that are not directly related to your major. A University is not a "trade school". Don't get me wrong, ASU taught me real-world skills that I built my career on. But it also gave me a whole lot more. It seems like a luxury, but choose the University degree if you can cut it. The way I did it, and what I would recommend, is to take the first two years at a community college, and then transfer the credits over to a University.

If you would like to get personal on-site software training in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or Dreamweaver in the greater Phoenix, Arizona area, please contact me.

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