I think it is a good college if you want to go into art but are not sure exactly what area of art. You get what you make out of the classes and professors but smaller/lesser specializations in majors often do not get classes or many classes. (example: 3D animation and modeling have many classes but classes for lighting, story, and stop motion are few in comparison).
The college is in the middle of transferring its Oakland campus to the San Francisco campus, which has caused a lot of headaches for students and faculty. Overall the facilities on each campus are ok, at this point, you can tell which campus they are putting more priority into. I think something all current students can agree on is that the public safety staff needs to be increased, as well as the shuttle services to the school's current off-campus housing apartments.
CCA is a good art college and I would suggest it to anyone that wanted to get a taste of what the art career field is like or get a head start for a stronger art program that you're interested in, but I would not recommend CCA if you are looking for a 4-year college.
It seem like a wonderful college
California College of the Arts is an extremely encouraging and all-encompassing school that is open to any state of mind or personality. We are all wierdos here, and embrace that mindset to diversify our art. All our teachers are working professionals who love what they do and know how to do it.
Receiving my admission packet was an unforgettable moment, it signified my hard work and dedication to my craft. Finally my achievements were encompassed in a sleek folder showcasing the design potential of my future school. At that moment, I wouldn't have imagined or expected to experience the things that I did during my first year at CCA. The first day was exciting, moving into dorms and meeting a bunch of faculty and student RA's who all were eager to help. If only that same enthusiasm rang throughout the year.
Sure, CCA offered a multitude of resources but overall the school lacked in a lot of important areas. Housing for students were ridiculously subpar with many plumbing issues, insect/rodent problems, mold, and poor fix-ups. To pay over $9,000 a year for housing that could barely support the students, it was ridiculous. Many students couldn't even use the wifi provided in their dorms. We always had to leave our housing and do our work elsewhere. The lack of availability and dorms for second year students is even worse. Many students are forced to live off campus and very little choose to stay on campus due to the lack of space and information on dorms. They throw you in and expect you to accept what's given to you. A total scam!
CCA as a school was tremendously insightful with faculty that really care about their students. The problem is that CCA doesn't have many full time professors. Many of the incredible and amazing professors work part time and split their time with another college. To be such a progressive school and still fail to pay and appreciate the professors for their hard work and dedication, it's truly disappointing. I support the professors and their dedication to their craft and their student but I don't support the higher officials and people like Stephen Beal who refuse to acknowledge the real problems at our school.
The School has a very nice atmosphere overall. The course topics can very from pretty easy to extremely difficult depending on the subject. Almost all classes sign a lot of homework though, so expect this. The people are friendly and the teachers are usually there to help on numerous occasions when needed.
My struggle with CCA is paying for school. It is extremely challenging to pay for tuition, art supplies, food and dorms. CCA is expensive and I've been trying to look for help to pay for school since I got admitted. I think its a reality that the majority of students are having the same situation as mine. There should be more opportunities and help. Specially in work-study program, it should be more accessible. Its difficult to get into work-study program and I really need it. I don't get why do I have to be worrying so much about this instead of worrying and focusing more in my classes.
I really enjoyed my time at CCA. It prepared me for the "real world" in so many ways. I was very involved, and took part in almost everything I could. I was part of student council, gave campus tours, worked as an ESL / writing coach and was part of the Students of Color Coalition.
The best part about CCA is the culture of inclusivity and the number of resources that are available to students to help them succeed. The career development office provides resources for job-searches, help you with your resume and cover letters, hold an annual career fair and workshops throughout the year for students to easily transition from college to professional life. Student council is an active entity on campus and advocates for students, conducts regular community building events and mentors new generations of student leaders. There are student coaches for academic classes such as math and writing. Student coaches are students who are selected because they are well performing in a given area and can provide guidance and tutoring for those who need it.
As far as studio classes go, the small class sizes make your professors and lecturers very accessible. One-on-one critiques are part of the normal day to day studio curriculum which is fantastic because you get that personalized feedback from your teachers and can ask the questions you need to. I had professors who were happy to take the time out of their day to get lunch or meet outside of class-time to help me with a project or provide feedback. The faculty at CCA is incredibly dedicated to their students, and most of them are working professionals as well which means they can often provide students an "in" to the industry. One of my internships during my senior year was for a professor's firm.
There is so much more that makes this school fantastic, and I could write pages and pages worth of praise. I had such a great experience at CCA and am so thankful for CCA providing me just the right foundation to truly succeed in my chosen field.
In general, I believe California College of the Arts is a good school. Professors are especially helpful when you ask for help. First/foundation year at CCA can be boring at times because students are required to complete their core studio courses as a prerequisite for their desired classes for their majors. There are diverse group of students, full of domestic, out of state, and international students make up most of the classrooms. Social life can be lacking because of the small amount of students that attend, but the school is located in the Bay Area, an epicenter for entertainment and social activities.
CCA claims many things. Which reputable institution wouldn't want to claim its own greatness?
CCA does indeed have some of the most amazing and bonafide faculty there is. Within each of the departments of the school, there are professionally practicing instructors who offer a lot of wisdom, mentorship, and individual attention. The ability that students have to connect with their instructors is what makes CCA a powerful tool in gathering a higher education.
The thing is, CCA is highly unorganized and terribly so. Outside of in-class time, where the class is in session and the students' attention is directed towards their instructor, all other activities are completely unmotivated. This is to say, there is no appeal given to turning students on to extracurricular activities. But more importantly, the students at CCA are being pulled every which direction because of the demands of multiple classes.
At CCA there are two major forces that compete with each other for the student's attention. These are academic classes and the intended major field of art in which the student intends to work within.
Take me for example:
I'm an Animation major. Animation, like so many of the other arts, is vastly time-consuming. So much so, that it is impossible to explore the medium of animation while also meeting the requirements of four other classes, each of which has an independent focus. This isn't to say that we as college level students SHOULDN'T expect multiple fields of study required as a blooming and intellectual mind. The problem is there is no room for art to be truly explored in this situation. I have witnessed so many students, my peers, deliver work to a critique which they didn't apply themselves to in the slightest. I want to see art explored at my school, not forced out because a student had too many conflicting responsibilities.
There is still much to be gained from attending CCA, but ultimately, the administration of the school does little to help. It almost feels like the school doesn't care about us as students or artists. Though the instructors so what they can to help and mentor us. The instructors for me, are the redeeming quality of CCA's otherwise apathetic conduct towards empowering students.
California College of the Arts is the perfect school for the student who is interested in social justice, experiencing all aspects of city life, and looking for accessible professors and provoking conversation. I was an illustration major, and speaking for that program, it is very well-attended and the professors are working professionals in the field, which gave us great access to the current temperature of the illustration industry. They would share their experiences working as freelance illustrators with art directors, going over how to properly email clients, the ins and outs of the industry, and the many options for careers we could start working towards building. This is also one of the only illustration programs that has a class specifically dedicated to the business aspects of being a freelancer — how to do your taxes, how to advertise your business, how to register for a business license, all of the taxes you will be required to report, as well as which purchases can be written off. I left CCA with very practical knowledge of how to make it as an artist professionally, and am so grateful to the program for that. The assignments that we are given are put up to be discussed and critiqued by the whole class, and in this way our art and style are constantly being discussed with the intent on making better artists and thinkers. As a CCA student, you are required to give thoughtful and researched reasons why you make your art, what story your illustration is telling, and who your audience is. Group discussion is then used to ascertain whether or not you’ve succeeded in your execution. I left CCA knowing how to talk about my work — something that has proven to be essential. The only other thing to know about CCA is that it is located on somewhat of the outskirts of San Francisco. It’s not an easy place to get to if you live off campus, and my commute would regularly be an hour to and from home and school. Campus housing is expensive, and outside housing is unreliable. Many students live outside of SF in the surrounding Bay Area, and would drive to school, but it was often the case that the cost of driving and parking (parking tickets included) would not be worth the money saved on cheaper rent outside of the city. Public transportation is available, but costs a lot in time and is also unreliable. Really what I’m trying to say is, I’ve lived on campus, off campus, had a car, didn’t have a car, did public transportation, did exclusively uber, tried every combination I could trying to make city life work for me, and in the end, I would recommend just eating the high cost of on-campus housing, because it will save you so much time and money and drama trying to get around the city. To be able to walk home and eat dinner, and then go back to campus all within an hour is no small privilege. The neighborhood is growing with a lot of construction, so it will only get better in terms of restaurants, grocery stores, and amenities. The most difficult part of CCA for me was the city aspect — constantly being surrounded by strangers, having very little personal space, the school being big for a city but small for anywhere else, the high cost of living, these were my personal trials. With that being said, the school itself and the education I received was simply stellar, as can be attested to by our alumni — thoughtful and successful artists who’s focus is to make the world a better place.
The California College of the Arts is a great school. The professors are nice, who is patient to help you to go through your problems by their profession. Also, they are always concern about the students. The academic resources are very abundant. The advantage is students can freely use the studio to do their work. Even though they are graduating from the school, they can still make an appointment with the studio to use a specific machine. The disadvantage is the safety of the campus and the dorm conditions. Regarding to the area, the student needs to walk in group.
Great School! Very hands on.
California College of the Arts is an excellent community of creative minds, adept professors, and opportunity. Most people have a clear vision of where they would like to see themselves and are actively taking steps to achieve these goals.
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