Degree and College Advice

polycounter lvl 6
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aajohnny polycounter lvl 6
Hey,

I am currently enrolled in a private college and I can go for free since my mom works here. I am majoring in Graphic Design, but I don't really like the program and the people here. I have been looking into some Online College's and The ones that I noticed were Full Sail and AI of Pittsburgh. Do you necessarily need a degree for getting into the game industry? or a BOA? I feel that if I spend my time modelling these next 3 years it will make my time worth while. I need advice because I am kind of getting stressed out :/

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  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 12
    A degree helps with Visa - you don't need a degree to get a job, it's based on your portfolio. You'd be crazy-nuts to turn down a free degree. As far as not liking the people, you'll find a lazy, uninspired student body in most for profit colleges - they open the doors for anyone willing to take on $40-$80k of debt (or willing to let their parents take it on)
  • aajohnny
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    aajohnny polycounter lvl 6
    A degree helps with Visa - you don't need a degree to get a job, it's based on your portfolio. You'd be crazy-nuts to turn down a free degree. As far as not liking the people, you'll find a lazy, uninspired student body in most for profit colleges - they open the doors for anyone willing to take on $40-$80k of debt (or willing to let their parents take it on)
    That's true, but I just don't like where the art program is going though.
  • ambershee
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    ambershee polycounter lvl 11
    A degree generally isn't what will get you into a job, and even less so if you're not aiming for a particularly technical vocation. A degree can certainly help however, and a high-level education isn't something to be sniffed at since you cna pick up a fair few skills for later life.

    I'd be careful where you look though; some for-profit colleges like Full Sail are painfully expensive (a Bachelors course falls into the region of $65-75,000 USD after all is said and done - which IIRC works out at something like $3-400 USD per hour of tuition). I'd generally recommend avoiding those kinds of institutions as they are more likely to be financially motivated rather than motivated by maintaining high standards of education. This said, there are far worse places out there than Full Sail.

    You may find your local community colleges may offer something that might not sound quite as enticing (well, they haven't spent tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising), but you'll pick up many of the same valuable skills whilst you're there for a fraction of the cost. A large part of your college education isn't just what you get out of tuition directly.
  • Skillmister
    Realistically the 2 years of my degree so far have been pretty pointless as far as getting a job will concern and my time would have been far better spent on 2 years of modelling rather than enduring crap modules and ridiculous group work. On the other hand its given me life experience and a wider view on possible career paths so it's not all bad. Not that this really helps but its my experience :p
  • Paul Pepera
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    Paul Pepera polycounter lvl 9
    If you want to go to college maybe consider studying fine arts, such as painting, illustration, sculpture, or even photography. Like you said, you can teach yourself 3D modeling in your own time - perhaps the years spent in college would be more valuable studying something more rounded and traditional.

    And I disagree that turning down a free degree is crazy nuts; even if a degree is free you could still potentially be wasting 3 or 4 years of your life by doing something that is not right for you.
  • ambershee
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    ambershee polycounter lvl 11
    On the other hand its given me life experience and a wider view on possible career paths so it's not all bad. Not that this really helps but its my experience :p

    Don't discount that it's also valuable networking. The people you're working with now might just be in the position to land you in the perfect job 5-10 years down the line ;)
  • Alberto Rdrgz
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    Alberto Rdrgz polycounter lvl 7
    If you want to go to college maybe consider studying fine arts, such as painting, illustration, sculpture, or even photography. Like you said, you can teach yourself 3D modeling in your own time - perhaps the years spent in college would be more valuable studying something more rounded and traditional.

    And I disagree that turning down a free degree is crazy nuts; even if a degree is free you could still potentially be wasting 3 or 4 years of your life by doing something that is not right for you.


    +1
  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 12
    It would be a complete waste if he was going for culinary art and hated cooking, but 3 years of free graphic design training? That really has nothing to offer him? 3 years really isn't that much time - especially when you don't have to spend the next 20 years paying for it.

    The alternate would be to switch to a degree at the free college that you can fall back on.
  • Paul Pepera
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    Paul Pepera polycounter lvl 9
    It would be a complete waste if he was going for culinary art and hated cooking, but 3 years of free graphic design training? That really has nothing to offer him? 3 years really isn't that much time - especially when you don't have to spend the next 20 years paying for it.


    No offense to anyone that has a graphic design degree but in this day and age it is a complete waste of time. Out of 30+ people I graduated with in my college I was the only non-graphic design major - and I still am the only one to have landed an degree-relevant job. And it seems like any recent graphic design grad I talk to these days can not find work, or is stuck working in some catalog firm doing a job they hate.

    aajohnny, the point I was trying to make is that you need to do something you love. Don't settle for something that you feel is not right for you just cause it is free. You said yourself you don't like the program; quit tomorrow and pursue your true love.
  • aajohnny
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    aajohnny polycounter lvl 6
    My thoughts is that a Degree is just Paper in the Industry (I could be wrong) and if I spend 3 years at my computer working my tail off on modelling for 3 years rather than 3 years of hearing about Shakespeare and other stuff that I really won't use in my life ever, I will benefit. I just don't wanna get "Screwed over" later on and have to work at Mcdonalds the rest of my life.
  • ambershee
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    ambershee polycounter lvl 11
    I'd argue less that the graphic design degree is necessary worthless, and more that it's too popular and there are simply far too many people who have them actively seeking the too few roles that are out there. At the last university I had any experience with, they had something like 60-100 graduates a year coming out of it. Are there 60-100 graphic design vacancies in a small city? Naturally no.

    If you're not aiming to work in graphic design, but still want the college education and the value you gain from that, it's not necessarily a poor choice. Let's face it, it's not going to be worse than a generic 'Game Design' degree. Now that is worthless.
  • aajohnny
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    aajohnny polycounter lvl 6
    No offense to anyone that has a graphic design degree but in this day and age it is a complete waste of time. Out of 30+ people I graduated with in my college I was the only non-graphic design major - and I still am the only one to have landed an degree-relevant job. And it seems like any recent graphic design grad I talk to these days can not find work, or is stuck working in some catalog firm doing a job they hate.

    aajohnny, the point I was trying to make is that you need to do something you love. Don't settle for something that you feel is not right for you just cause it is free. You said yourself you don't like the program; quit tomorrow and pursue your true love.

    Thanks man, I gotta take a long time to think about this, I just want a opinion from all the professionals and experienced.
  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 12
    Honestly, if I could go back in time I'd get a management degree. If you love art you don't need a teacher telling you how to do it to learn. Advancing your career in the game industry relies more on time & people management skills rather than artistic skills.
  • Andreas
    aajohnny wrote: »
    Hey,
    maybe I'm blind :/

    Quite possibly. There have been several threads on this in recent times. You might not be college material if you can't use a forums search tool properly.
  • System
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    System admin
    If you love art you don't need a teacher telling you how to do it to learn

    This This This

    If I could go back and not do my design degree and instead devote the same amount of time to developing my art skills, then I would without question.
  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 12
    also, how far can you take this free schooling? Could you get a masters degree? That opens you up for being a full fledged professor rather than an adjunct professor (basically low paid contract). That will give you a decent paying teaching job after the 50% percent chance that the game industry will burn you out in 5 years (just stating a statistic).
  • Stradigos
    I did search the forums for similar posts, but I couldn't find anything... maybe I'm blind :/
    Quite possibly. There have been several threads on this in recent times. You might not be college material if you can't use a forums search tool properly.
    My associates in animation was from a cheap school with crap computers and crap lessons, but you know what? I took education into my own hands and, being the resourceful bastard I am, knew were to find answers and ask questions. If you can't search a forum properly, that's minus one to all your stats come job performance time.

    In my opinion, you need a degree to fall back on. My associates in animation wasn't that great, but my experience, personality and portfolio (and connections!) got me the job. Now I'm almost done with my BS in Computer Science. My point is, forget Full Sail, Digipen or any of those other high class schools. You will no doubt learn something there, but you will sacrifice so much. Go some place you can afford that will provide you with a piece of paper saying you can learn and use your time wisely to increase your skills on your own.
  • Neavah
    online AI is shit straight from a dogs ass.

    I went to AI and had classmates taking some online classes (I believe it goes through Pittsburgh) and the learning outcomes were a joke. They weren't taught a fraction of what in class students were taught (not at Pittsburgh campus).

    Ex:
    My 3d animation class we had 9 assignments to do, each one varying in difficulty and emphasizing different principles of animation.
    Online student (same class) had one assignment - model a room and animate 3 objects in the room.

    That was a few years ago, so maybe it's changed? But if I took the online - I would be pissed at all the shit I wasn't learning relative on campus students.
  • Geezus
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    Geezus mod
    aajohnny wrote: »
    Hey,
    I did search the forums for similar posts, but I couldn't find anything... maybe I'm blind :/

    You are, absolutely, blind.
  • sprunghunt
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    sprunghunt polycounter lvl 12
    aajohnny, the point I was trying to make is that you need to do something you love. Don't settle for something that you feel is not right for you just cause it is free. You said yourself you don't like the program; quit tomorrow and pursue your true love.

    Well from another point of view you don't always know where these things will take you. it seems like a lot of people have some very set ideas about how useful art training is and what makes it useful.

    You want a course that will train you in good fundamentals of art. Colour, composition, art history etc. These are the important things that will always help you in the creative fields. There's no reason why a graphic design course wouldn't teach you these things. (and in this case it's free!)
  • Karmageddon
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    Karmageddon polycounter lvl 7
    I graduated from DigiPen, it was my ticket out of the midwest as an 18 year old. I don't recall where I placed that piece of paper but it does manage to sap my income every month.

    HOWEVER as much as paying for school sucks, I have a huge network of other DigiPen-related people which makes it much easier now. I learned a lot of useless crap like Flash and 2D animation, learned a lot of useful things too. Probably could have cut the degree in half though cause they make you take gen ed classes too such as mel scripting and physics, scriptwriting, film etc.

    I know for a fact that DigiPen keeps tabs on people who post about them on forums and whatnot so that's all I'll say at this point. Feel free to message me privately if you have anything else to ask.
  • aajohnny
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    aajohnny polycounter lvl 6
    Andreas wrote: »
    Quite possibly. There have been several threads on this in recent times. You might not be college material if you can't use a forums search tool properly.
    Maybe not, but I was just wondering if there is one thread in which you don't troll?
    Geezus wrote: »
    You are, absolutely, blind.
    Thanks
  • Geezus
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    Geezus mod
    A simple search on "degree" in the General Discussion forum.

    http://www.polycount.com/forum/search.php?searchid=1735141
  • aajohnny
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    aajohnny polycounter lvl 6
    I searched "College" and "School" I probably should have done "Degree". Thanks and sorry.
  • Nitewalkr
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    Nitewalkr polycounter lvl 7
    A degree helps with Visa - you don't need a degree to get a job, it's based on your portfolio. You'd be crazy-nuts to turn down a free degree. As far as not liking the people, you'll find a lazy, uninspired student body in most for profit colleges - they open the doors for anyone willing to take on $40-$80k of debt (or willing to let their parents take it on)

    This, also its good to stick to what you want to achieve, and make your portfolio so that people might get inspired around you and hopefully do the same.

    My plan is to go to Sheridan college, in first year have some sort portfolio ready so I can look for students for group work. It really helps for the final year term project and to start a small business. If you do not wish that, than I suggest you should just stick to the course and get your degree. Which is free ofcourse.
  • Andreas
    aajohnny wrote: »
    Maybe not, but I was just wondering if there is one thread in which you don't troll?

    Do we have to do everything for you?? Fine, here is a search list of threads I have posted in, you can look yourself ;)

    http://www.polycount.com/forum/search.php?searchid=1735594

    Sometimes the truth is hard I know; and you can call it trolling if you wish. But four of us can't be wrong. A search of your activity shows that 95% of your posting time is spent in GD, so you must have seen other college threads before... hell this is probably the third this month alone.

    Good luck with your search...

    I'll repeat what many of us have said in many threads. If you want to work outside of your country during your lifetime without having to jump through hoops, yes, its best to get a degree to be safe. If you are perfectly happy with living in your country forever, it's mostly down to your portfolio. However I have seen at least five games companies in the UK and US that state a degree is needed in their requirements.

    (EDIT: Well, at least these threads are more legitimate than 'Where's my drive' threads...)
  • makecg
    -haha.

    Good luck johnny I don't have any advice. just try to keep producing for your portfolio.. - I might take up some traditional art classes myself..
  • jcamp
    Which country are you residing? Have you heard about Germany's education system? The country's universities have been tuition free since the start of October. The German government fully funds the education of its citizen and even of foreigners. Take note, even foreigners and of whatever course. Sad thing it does not cover graduate degrees cost. I hope that one day the tuition fees for graduate school will be covered too because it is a smart fiscal and career move.
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