Originally Posted by Jen
I think that you are taking it a bit too far here Brian. Certainly, I am generally in favor of a well-rounded liberal education, but I believe that your 4-year university has a strong program in design, doesn't it? You are certainly not going to develop the practical skills that you need to succeed as a designer with a degree in philosophy (or mathematics for that matter). What's more, many of my friends who finished art degrees at four-year universities did choose to take an MFA (often with several years spent developing their portfolio in the interim). From what I can tell, they didn't do this just to waste time and money, but to gain contacts and credibility in a very difficult industry.
Well, the path I chose (4-year university with reputable and large design program) is going to bias my perspective in the matter. I didn't mean to advocate getting a degree in philosophy or another unrelated major and then going into design. In fact I agree with everything I quoted, I just worded my post horribly.
What I meant to say I am against is being a non-student who works or lives at home and does nothing, and going straight to art school with no background except the stuff you've messed around with in your sketchbook. It's a huge investment to go to a school with a big name, and unless you have a solid foundation and knowledge of design to work from, you're not going to get much out of that $15k / year tuition.
There are specific choices out there that are much better for someone wanting to learn skills - for example, Pasedena City College's design classes are taught by some of the same teachers at Art Center, which is the top design school in the country (or world). The people who produce really great work are the people who grind their asses on their projects, emailing the teacher in their off time for extra critiquing, and their work is just as great coming out of a city college than it would be coming out of RISD.
Graduate school is a bit different. I'm not there yet. I'd love to go to grad school at Pasedena or RISD (who knows if I'll ever be good enough). Getting an MFA maybe the only way to get you into a firm like Pentagram./
I guess I'm saying that, instead of paying the huge tuition to go to FIT, start with a city college or 4-year in a good area and save the fancy school till after graduation.