Art Institute Of Chicago Essay Prompt


36 S Wabash Ave
Ste 1201
Chicago, IL60603
(800) 232-7242

I personally love it. I came to this school as an ACE (adult continuing education). I'm in the midst if a career change and felt that learning HTML/CSS would be useful. So I looked around and settled on SAICs programs. The class times offered for working adults were great. The office was quick to respond to any of my questions. Paying was a little bit of a headache. I wasn't a full time student so there were no online account for me, which I guess was to be expected. The payment and registration had to be filled out on paper. It was just old school but still simple enough. The reason why I give this a five star rating is because of the teachers. So far I've had Hope Esser and Ryan Swanson. They've done wonders to accommodating to my hectic schedule and the amount of patience was incredible. I really feel like they took the time to teach us fundamentals so we can continue to learn on our own, or in classes, and not just to meet metrics. I definitely learned much more than I could have ever expect in each 5 week summer courses. The facilities are great. My time was spent primarily at the Maclean building where we had access to these amazing Macs, which I need while I get my groundings in my new path in web design. The price was fair ($540/class). [I've attended U of I as an in-state tuition (cheap) for my bachelors and also a masters at Northwestern]. It's $504 if you're already an SAIC member, which I am now. I hope this was helpful and I hope you enjoyed SAIC as much as I am.

As a visitor to the campus the lady at the reception desk for admissions was anything but pleasant. She was eating and we were clearly bothering her. I was interested in information about the college and we were in town so we stopped in. Maybe they are an invite only college? I'm really not sure- however - I think they should reassess their admissions set up- first it's on the 12th floor- what what? No arrow? No artsy "go that way" No smiling staff. I asked if they had a bookstore and she snickered and said "um no"- I asked where do students get their supplies - she said "across the street at blick" It's not across the street, it's about quarter mile away. I don't think that person should be working with humans, but especially not in an admissions role with artists! Not the best impression of this learning institution.

I have tried couple of schools before I got here and I really appreciate it here a lot. I love it and I am so happy here. I love how all of the courses are credit or no credit and I loved that students can just pick any class they want. No need to stick to one major! The majority of the faculties are great and nice. I am an artist, but also focusing on fashion. The only thing that I believe needs to improve at the school is the fashion core program. I didn't have a good time there. The teachers weren't helpful and they expected me to be very conceptual. I am not conceptual at all and I prefer simple design. Since they did not wanted to push me in a direction I did not like, I decided to leave it and stick with fashion electives such as shoe making, machine knitting and bag and hat making. It worked out much better for me. The food is not great but its good. At least there is a lot of healthy food.

***This review is only for the tech help desk. Students should know! After just having had a really basic IT call where very basic information needs to be relayed back and forth to solve a problem, it wouldn't pain me to hear someone had been canned for hanging up on people mid conversation, failing to utter a 'hello, what's the problem' and rambling headstrong with argumentative tones into 'how you solve your problem'. The person on the other end (names were never mentioned) took any question I had as an attack on their valued knowledge, and I could all but hear the eyes rolling back and forth in their sockets as any molecule of patience is most certainly not this guy's virtue. Strange conversation for such a little thing as tricky password recovery (which wasn't working properly), and as an incoming student, I'm struck not only by the lack of professionalism, but the sliminess of the actual 'vibe' on the other end of the line. Very excited to be attending the school though! Will post a review that reflects actual education, but since yelp is most valuable in terms of service and product reviews, I couldn't help but post it.

Started the continuing education class for intro to sewing. Teacher was more concerned with talking to suck-ups in class that were already experienced rather than helping students who were true novices and could have used more instruction. Horrible "teacher." I repeatedly asked for help and she kept saying "I'll come back and check on you." Never came back, but yet still had time to chit chat about another student's portfolio. This happened for 2 classes straight mind you and after getting to far behind with no assistance I just counted my losses. I wish I had access to instructor ratings before actually taking the class. Maybe it's an ok class if you have some experience but if you are brand new to the craft and get stuck with an instructor who doesn't know how to prioritize and would rather talk to other students about their "embroidery" rather than assisting a student who needs help related to the classwork, then don't bother.

Love this school! ! My daughter went there for the MS Art camp and she love love it!! She will definitely come back for the summer. Very great school.

The school is good, and has unusually fine facilities. What has nothing to do with the school, but is utterly insufferable, is the number of 'reviewers' here who are snotty, overprivileged, 'entitled' little brats who think they are just the snarkiest things around for their PATHETIC attempts at condescension to anyone noting the exorbitant cost of SAIC. 'not getting the coveted five stars?' You actually think YOUR lousy little Yelp review is vital to the future of this school? Really? ROTFLMFAO!!!

It's art school. And it's a good art school. It's going to be expensive. If you don't know this going in, then I don't know what to tell you. For the most part, my graduate education from SAIC was superb. Most of the professors in my department (creative writing) were wonderful; they not only really got to know their students, but they also got to know their work and offer them the support needed to take said work to the next level. The program was challenging, but if you worked your ass off, it was also highly rewarding. That we were also encouraged to explore other mediums was helpful. And it didn't hurt that museum admission was free. Of course, there are one or two drawbacks that keep it from getting the coveted 5-stars. While most of the professors at this school were wonderful, there were one or two I found to be a wee bit unprofessional. Interdisciplinary Critique Week comes heavily to mind as a shit show of said unprofessionalism. Rumor has it that professors from other departments are resentful of having to read writing students' work beforehand - they'd rather just go to the space, see the art, and comment on it without having to do work beforehand - but I don't know how much stock I put in that. I just know that some of my classmates had bad experiences with Interdisciplinary Critique. I also wish the program would have been a year longer than it actually was (2 years), but then again, I'm also that asshole who likes school and needed an extra semester to whip my thesis in tip-top shape. In short, it was a good program. I definitely got my money's worth. I was also happy to sit down with a friend last October and recommend the crap out of this school to her. She is now a graduate student there as we speak (though in a different department).

Not sure if this is where this review should be, but I'm posting about their annual student Holiday Art Sale. Love it!! Lots of variety, lost of different price points. A perfect way to "shop local" and support the arts. If you missed it this year, be sure to go next year!

Expensive. Not just in tuition but supplies and food are really expensive too. If you can get past that it is an amazing school. The interdisciplinary nature of the curriculum is daunting but really pushes you to explore every extent of your art form. I'm a photo student and exploring lighting, sculpture, and sketching are just a few of the things I've tried out that are extremely relevant to my practice while still allowing me to stay working in photography. Exploring every aspect of art is important to your own form, once you accept that the school is a lot more fun. Make sure that you talk to people and research things, if you talk to the right people you can make things happen in this school. There is a vast selection of classes that are all very small minus the art history lectures. Highly recommend.

Disclaimer: This is only a review of the Continuing Education Studies Adult Program that is offered at SAIC. When I first started the Graphic Design certificate program here at SAIC I had some enthusiasm and some concerns. I was at a crossroads at this point of my life since I was out of the job for over a year. I've decided to go back to school to brush up my skills that would be used in the Graphic Design field. Let me breakdown the parts of this review. Curriculum: For the most part I felt that the curriculum in the two years that I've participated was very detailed and offered a good degree of challenge. In some of the core courses for the certificate they first teach you how to use the Adobe Creative Suite and then they try to guide your creativity. Also, some courses challenge your creative thinking to where at times you really have to think outside the norms (which I think is beneficial to any career dealing with creativity). Instructors: The instructors for the most part are real great, but there are some that I've encountered that I really felt they shouldn't bother to teach at a community college level. If you happen to be in the Graphic Design certificate program you'll get your monies worth with classes instructed by John Rabias and Ryan Swanson. I think those two are probably the best instructors I've ever had since not only they do share their knowledge to the subject real well, but they do provide feedback (whether positive or critical) that helps you in learning to be a good Graphic Designer. Even though I had a good experience with most of the instructors here, there are some bad seeds that kinda make me feel I'm not progressing well enough (particularly with the Web Design Courses with an exception of Ryan Swanson). Although I could give the Continuing Education Studies Program a 4 or a 5, the program here at SAIC only deserve a 3 mainly due to two things. 1) Administrative issues: The program itself isn't expensive (especially if you're a member of the Art Institute), though at times you would have to deal with the billing department if they don't give you the correct tuition amount. Also, one thing they didn't mention to me until I discovered it a few months later at the old CS webpage was that you would have to fill out a progress form in order to get your certificate. You would think at this day of age in technology they would at least notify you that you're at the end of completing your certificate. 2) Continuing Education students treated as second class students: I do feel that there was a lot of resentment directed towards the continuing education students from the undergrads and grad students. I think the main reason why is that most of the continuing education students come from business backgrounds or dress more conservatively than the undergrads and grad students. Even after completing the certificate program there's a sense that you''re really not an alumni at this school. When I tried to get an alumni card I got rejected since they stated that only give them out to those who got a degree (even though it did state at the alumni benefits page - ) Also, the career services department at the school only serves the undergrads and grad students. Therefore, I'm pretty much SOL when it comes to career guidance. Finally, even though this doesn't warrant another star being deducted from this review is the value of obtaining the certificate in the job market. It's still up in the air whether the certificate holds any value when applying for a job in what ever creative field you apply. Even though I felt that I have enough skills to get an entry level position, the main problem is that ( as of when I wrote this review) there's not enough positions out there. In conclusion, you'll learn a lot from the program being offered at SAIC, but expect a few minor administrative issues and being treated as a second class citizen while attending there.

I'd like to echo Zach and Greyson's sentiment, and push it a step further. So yeah, if you just put 150k into the education machine and all you got was this paint palette of a shirt and existential angst, your an idiot, don't waste space on here for potential students with comments of "You wasted my money!!" If your a potential student, or a parent of that student, listen up. The simple formula for success at SAIC is this: The more you put in = the more you get out. It's a commitment that really "Takes a Village." I have a friend that was able to get access to more scholarships than I, simply because her mother was consistently the squeaky wheel for her daughter. I'm not gonna waste time with the debt, I signed the papers, I wasn't stoned, drunk, or depressed, during the loan origination paperwork. I knew what I was getting into, and you should too. The economy sunk a year before I graduated, and by the grace of my mother alone I was able to get the last 2500.00 I needed to complete my BFA. All five years were tough.... **To clear this up for everyone, you have a certain number of credits you need to achieve the coveted Bachelor's degree, at the time I graduated I believe it was 135 credit hours, this is more than 5 years time in a 15 week semester cycle, you can drop that "5 year" time frame, IF you take 18 hour courses more often, take Winter/Spring/Summer courses in your break periods, or you have transfer credits, NOW quit bitching about being there for 5 years!!! You can find these things out by speaking with the lovely staff in the student counseling offices (Or whatever the hell they have renamed that office by now) It's called a CREDIT AUDIT, do it and do it often. In fact I did it, and did it so much I made friends with the counselors, to the point that when there were issues with my account I was able to calmly call people I KNEW rather than complete strangers who have no vested interest in you. To address any of you who had a bad social experience at SAIC, I'm sorry you were a pariah while you were at there, and you didn't make social connections, but this was your second chance after what must have been a painful high school experience, much as mine I would assume; but life is hard, and Art School wasn't, you wasted your time because you wasted your energy on brooding, blaming, and excuses. I worked in the studio around amazing people, I worked for some really great bosses that I know I can go to in a moment's notice for a recommendation, and I tried to talk to anyone who would engage me back. Would I do it over again? In a hot minute. I met the love of my life there, friends and colleagues that form a network of support globally , some of the most sincere and honest people ever (Matt Groves, Peggy McNamara, Burt Schlingman, etc, etc) and I shook Jeff Koons hand, he was a very kind person. I loved it, but like a true love, there is always a dark side to romance. Here's the slings and arrows of my love letter o' Alma Mater, -Your bedside manner is horrible, get yourself some customer service lessons to those pierced faces, it's not fair to let those kids just have a slack job and not inform them that your work ethic, and your smile are some of your greatest resources when exercised out in the real world, especially in the studio. I respected my fellow students and cleaned up after myself, even when they were rude rat bastards and did not because I loved being in the atmosphere of art and respected the space. -FUCK paper time-sheets, automate that process, and direct deposit student worker pay, you ask your student population to accept Peoplesoft, and other automated services yet you don't even maximize your use of the programs? MADNESS! -As a non-profit you do achieve a healthy budget at the end of the year through capital gains and it shows in bamboo flooring and flat screen tvs. But the flash is just spectacle, please focus your efforts on more visible art spaces for your students and keep bolstering your already awesome technical aspects like top notch filtering engineering, amazing printing technologies, some of the finest plaster casting facilities, amazing artists library full of actual acquisitions, rent-able Rockband and PS3, etc, etc, etc.. And as a closing statement to any of you still in those hallowed filthy halls, enjoy it, and savor the good things, quit smoking, and get your ass in that studio as much as possible, if not for your work than go help someone else make their giant happy thing. Don't watch tv (Unless that's your performance) eat well, go easy on the caffeine, and say "Hi" to Sonny for me and buy a "Snapple Apple". Watch what you spend your money on, and talk, talk talk, use that crit time to talk because nobody cares about you in the real world, you are not a special snowflake, and going to art school is perceived by some to be a waste of time. However if you don't believe that, it isn't, it's a great system of experiences...and I miss it every damn day.

Having graduated in 2011 I'd like to update my ideas about good 'ol SAIC. I had a great time here, and had wonderful teachers. If you get the chance, transfer your AP credits and save some dough. They are very lenient about this. They have really great study abroad programs during the summer and winter periods, and will give you great financial aid for them, if you ask. I received a whole semester's worth of credits while in Prague, Vienna, and Florence. In Prague, everyone got studio space in the fine arts university for a month. In Florence, you're taken to see a recently discovered studio of Michelangelo's that isn't open to the public. Wonderful. I spent this year searching for graduate schools and have become more and more and MORE impressed by the facilities this school offers. Their AIADO department and Fibers department, especially. I picked CalArts in the end, but I pine for their kinetics lab daily. They have a tendency to give out money more so than some schools. Don't be afraid to call and ask. My education there was worth every penny, but please be aware that they will treat you like shit during your Freshman year. It's a vetting process.

I got my BFA here in 2002. I'm not sure I really appreciated what an incredible program I'd been a part of until I went to grad school elsewhere and realized that art school CAN be a completely disorganized shit show run by absolute clowns. This school is well run and the undergraduate program is, in fact, rigorous, contrary to what some people I've met seem to think about fine arts academics. I noticed what a complete and thorough education I'd received here when, in graduate school, I realized that most of my fellow MFA candidates had received no comprehensive education in art history in their BFA programs - and my god did SAIC force that knowledge right into my brain. So that's one point for SAIC right there. The (now known as contemporary practices) first year program's broad spectrum of foundation classes all rolled into one serves to force every student to experience methods of art-making and creative theory that he or she might not otherwise consider attempting. Well! That's a big effing deal post-BFA, when you're looking to collaborate professionally with other artists, expand your own artistic practice, or even OMG GET A JOB. I have shifted my "process" a million times since undergrad and I have the tools to do so effectively because of the rudimentary but crucial skills I gained in my first year. I came in as a photographer and left school as a filmmaker because of what I learned my freshman year. I've made work in all sorts of media because of what I learned that first year. The professors I had at SAIC were nothing but intelligent and involved. Even my youngest, least experienced professors seemed to possess a deep understanding of the subjects they taught, and I didn't encounter a single professor who seemed anything short of passionate about his or her field. I didn't realize how rare and special that was until I went to grad school and found myself with teachers who didn't show up every week, neglected to actually teach the subject of the course (I left my graduate digital photo class with NO SKILLS), completely phoned it in (which is a gut punch when these professors are supposed to be advising you on YOUR THESIS), or otherwise seemed to be there just to cash a check. I'm still in contact with several of my former professors from SAIC and I think they're brilliant artists and inspired educators. That is just... man, you'll likely appreciate the professors more than you imagined when you get out of SAIC. They push you and if you meet this challenge you will become a better artist. That's kind of huge. I only wish I had taken greater advantage of my time at SAIC because seriously, other art schools pale in comparison. SAIC IS THE HOTNESS.

Art school is expensive, and it's not for everyone. Do your research. This school has a big concept scene--not my thing, but I've learned from dabbling a bit in conceptual art. There's a interesting diversity in classes. You'll get the weird, can't understand artworks that you'll pass by in glass cases and TV monitors, and you'll see the usual paintings and drawings. I just finished my first year here, and I'm about to start my second year in a matter of weeks. The first year program ranges from terrible to great, depending on the teachers you get. I was lucky to get great teachers for my first year programs. I've heard horror stories of some really terrible and confusing teachers and a just as terrible class environment. You'll just have to plow through these classes. The advantage is that you'll meet people of various majors and skill levels, teachers who you never would've imagined working with, and an introduction to the school's various and wonderful facilities. The facilities here really are great. You've got two wood shops where you can also learn to make your own canvas (I was unfortunate to be part of a two hour lecture and no chairs to sit on around), and use various wood shop tools (I never used a wood shop, so that was pretty exciting). There are also multiple painting studios in one of the buildings, and there's even one in the school dorms that are enormous (you'll be entertained to find globs of dry paint in the high ceilings). There are also laser cutters, spray booths, a sort of fashion museum where you can touch old clothing, and various others I'm probably not aware of. There are also programs, student exhibits, artist talks, art sales, conventions, etc. that you can attend. The Gene Siskel theater is also, literally, right next to one of the school dorms and shows an awesome variety of movies and documentaries. I really enjoyed my first year. I learned a lot of gained a lot of different skills. I don't plan on working on conceptual art, rather, wanting to become an illustrator. There isn't an illustration department (even though there's a push for one), but there are a slew of teachers and classes you can take that can help attain that goal. For now, I'm enjoying where I am, and I hope it takes me places.

There is a reason this school has been named the most influential art school in the US. If you are seriously invested in your work, if you are dead-set in remaining in the art field for the majority of your life, and if you are able to stand in front of a canvas for 6+ hours, consider this one of your top picks. Yes, you'll find kids here that sit on their laptops all day and waste a studio, but there are a great deal more who wander the halls at midnight, finishing their pieces. Save for some in the first-year/humanities departments, the teachers are great. The best will make you feel like shit until you make something so mindblowing that they'll be the ones to feel bad. The financial department is awful, which is a totally new observation that no one's yet pointed out. But yeah, it was not fun coming here from a working-class family. Career services are surprisingly good. They helped me land my current internship, in which I'm helping open and write for a new company. If your heart is not in this, you will not gain anything from this place except empty pockets. But if it is, you'll have the best school experience, period.

I think everyone needs to visit a museum once in awhile - its good for the mind and soul. This is very nice museum! They have a nice variety of exhibits that I found interesting! I also ate in the cafe. The food is pretty good - the soup was excellent! :)

Came for the holiday student art sale, which was a lot of fun: a big two level ballroom full of creative and low priced (for the size and materials) art, great opportunity to see what people are doing now and explore tastes and support upcoming artists. Of course I went with the bleached out porn pictures, which seemed popular....where to hang that...

Given a guided tour by my sister, an employee of the SAIC, I can only say I found the space to be very nicely arranged compared to her undergraduate and graduate schools. Friendly staff, plenty of space, and a seemingly endless list of rooms, supplies, and courses there is a reason the Art Institute of Chicago ranks so highly on so many lists.

Apparently the main complaint is the cost. Uh, that's original. Because RISD, Parsons, they're not expensive schools. Go to a public school then or work your ass off in high school and earn the right to a scholarship. Also, do your research beforehand as there are a lot of options otherwise. If you didn't tough it out past freshman year then you've probably missed the whole point and don't have much to comment on as a whole, it's like going to a movie and you didn't like the first 15 minutes so you left and talked about how awful the movie was when the ending revealed the meaning of the whole film. They weeded out the students in order to find the ones with the combination of personal stamina and determination. Are there a ridiculous amount of untalented, pretentious, egotistical airheads who are well respected? Of course. Every single school, office and art profession has that. Either the aggravation motivated you to bring this to the attention to your peers and push harder through your own work, or it didn't. There's always the reputation of a school issue, a bad professor or two and generally work we less than care for. Do what I do, give a critique and save it as a story to tell your friends so they can remind themselves of how glad they are that they picked sensible professions and how jealous of how entertaining your school is. I certainly have my gripes and indignant moments, but this isn't about the political motivations of the school. The facilities are pretty top notch, especially in the fibers and fashion department. Definitely the best rated art history education and one of the few schools in the U.S. to have an extensive performance art program instead of a drama arts/theater major. A leading conceptually motivated school with one of the more thriving art communities for upcoming artists. The "pass or fail" grading system is actually optional, but better for students who want to focus on their abilities rather than a letter grade as compensation. You'll either love it or hate it, it's certainly not everyone's cup of tea.

Blur Lines. Break Conventions. Reinvent.

At the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), our interdisciplinary curriculum is designed to prepare you for life as a 21st-century artist and designer. Through our nearly 150-year history, we have recognized that you need the freedom to explore without boundaries in order to realize your creative vision. You will be encouraged to experiment whether you remain in a single discipline or move across departments to achieve your goals.

Your Vision, Our Assistance

At the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), we understand choosing a college that is the right place for you is a significant endeavor. We also understand that as a visual scholar you have questions about how to discuss your work and organize your portfolio.

Applying to SAIC

So how do you apply to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC)? Even though our curriculum is unlike any other school, our application process is similar to other art and design schools. You will need to fill out an application and submit your standardized test scores, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. And most importantly, we require a portfolio of your best and most recent work—work that will give us a sense of you, your interests, and your willingness to explore, experiment, and think beyond technical art and design skills.

Meet with Us

We want to meet with you and assist you through this process. We invite you to attend our SAIC Days Near You and National Portfolio Days and visit us on campus to have the opportunity to engage with our representatives about SAIC, your work, and our curriculum and get a better sense of what it is like to be a SAIC student.

We Are Here to Help

Our Office of Admissions understands that as a visual scholar you have questions about how to discuss your work and organize your portfolio. Admissions advisors are available to:

  • Help you understand SAIC's distinctive approach to educating emerging artists
  • Engage in thoughtful dialogue about your work
  • Provide feedback to help you develop new ideas and strengthen your portfolio
  • Assist you with details regarding deadlines, applications, and admission requirements

Our Admissions and Student Financial Services departments work closely together to provide you with the support you need to make your college ambitions a reality. They are here to have one-on-one conversations with you about your individual circumstances and concerns.

Every year, we have the pleasure of really getting to know our new students—individuals who come to us with diverse experiences and aspirations. We look forward to getting to know you.

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