How to Choose a Game Design School
The first - and most important - step to beginning a career in game design is choosing a game design school. Aspiring game designers may have searched online for game design schools, only to find the options dizzying. If one doesn't know what to look for, it can be hard to sift through all the choices and pick the best school.
When deciding upon a college to attend, the aspiring student must take into consideration his or her needs.
Should the school be close to home? Must it offer evening and weekend courses?
Does on-campus housing need to be available?
By looking at individual needs, the game design student will surely be pleased with the decision made.
Here are some factors to take into consideration when choosing a school:
Area of Game Design
Determine what area of game design you want your education to emphasize. There are schools that offer art centered game design programs, and schools that offer programming and computer science centered programs. Some schools even offer a combination of the two. Why does this distinction matter? There are game designers who design the graphics and artistic function of the games, and then there are designers who program the movements and storylines into the software.
Find out if the schools you are interested in offer placement assistance. Placement assistance is important because it connects graduates with potential clients and employers. Some of the placement assistance that schools may offer includes help with resumes, interview advice and guidance, job fairs, and full service job listings. Some design programs partner with local design firms, and may boast a 100 percent placement rate, but be prepared to pay more to enroll in these programs.
Find out if your prospective graphic design school offers internships. Many schools that have good relationships with companies arrange internships to further a students study and give the students hands-on experience. Often, an internship is a degree requirement, in which case the design school is more likely to help place students in them with partnering design firms. Not only do game design internships offer a unique learning experience, but they also enable students to make connections that will aid them in their future job search.
A design program, no matter how excellent is not going to be good for you if it's not affordable. There are many options available to aspiring designers in order to make their dreams a reality. Many schools have federal financial aid available in the form of student loans. Design students may also find work programs within the school that will allow you to work off a portion of the tuition. Sacrifices can be made for the sake of education, but know your financial situation and consider whether the school is truly a viable option.
Find out about class schedules. It is important that school can fit around your life and your schedule, especially if you have a family or a full-time job. With many students returning to college after entering the work force, some programs will be a better option, especially those that include evening and weekend options. Make sure the school you are considering fits your lifestyle.
Considering all these will considerably narrow down the schools to the ones that best suit you as a design student. With the current demand for game designers and subsequent growth of degree programs on the rise, finding the school that meets individuals' needs should be easier now than ever.
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