Things to consider before choosing a Graphic Design School
There are a multitude of graphic design schools and programs located throughout the United States. As a student wanting to study graphic design it can be difficult to decide which school to attend. There are actually many things you should consider before making your final decision and committing to a school.
Quality of instruction is one of the things that should be at the top of your list when deciding on a graphic design school. You want instructors that teach you the skills and knowledge you will need to get a career in the field once you graduate. Degree completion rates and job placement rates are two good indicators of quality instruction although you should take the time to visit the campus and meet the instructors. Ask them what they teach, how they help students learn, and what you can expect from their classes. This will help you identify whether or not the instruction offered at the school is a good fit for what you want to learn. You may find that although a graphic design program is offered it doesn't provide much instruction or experience in areas you want to specialize.
When discussing the classes with the instructors it is also important to find out more about them and their background. Ideally you want to find a school that is full of instructors with experience in both the classroom and the industry. While almost anyone can teach out of a textbook, it often takes working in a professional environment to truly understand the graphic design field and make it applicable to students and what they're learning.
Class size is also another consideration you should have about a graphic design school. Having individual feedback from your instructors is critical as a graphic design student since this helps you to learn what you did wrong and areas where you can improve. Large schools or graphic design programs generally have more students in each class which means that you will have less time to discuss your designs with your instructor. On the other hand these large schools and programs can often provide experiences that smaller institutions cannot. You'll have to decide which class size is more of an advantage for you as a student.
Location may be a factor for you especially if you're nontraditional. Spouses, children, and jobs often prevent nontraditional students from attending any graphic design school or program in the country. Instead they must find a program that is near their location and has a class and curriculum schedule that works with their busy lifestyles. If you don't have these restrictions, location may not be a factor since you have more flexibility and can relocate more easily.
Finally it is important to consider the cost of a graphic design program and whether or not it is affordable as a student. Grants, loans, and scholarships often provide assistance if you are financially unable to attend although these aren't guaranteed. Instead they often depend upon your financial need or your qualifications and character. When visiting the school you should ask for a cost sheet detailing the expenses involved with attending as this will help you to determine if it is something you can afford or if financial assistance is needed.
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