Academy of Art University - Housing Worries

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  1. #1
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    Academy of Art University - Housing Worries

    Hello all - my daughter has been accepted at AAU Fall of 08 - Illustration. She & I are both very excited for her. She's only been ready to go to college for the past 2 years of High School (weren't we all?)
    I was trilled to read the reviews here about the school and it's teachers. However I'm growing concerned about the housing situation now. We live in PA and so she is traveling a whole world away for school and seemed only logical for her to sign up for Housing and Food Service for her first year. She has plans to room with a friend who will be out there after the end of Spring Semester.
    She has not been assigned a residence yet. But her first choice was International House, followed by Clara Stevens and last choice was the Commodore.
    Also she signed up for the food plan because she didn't want to have to worry about cooking for herself but be able to focus on her classes and getting used college life.
    So truly what is so bad about the rooms? We don't live in anything fancy here in rural PA.
    And the food, what is so horrible about it. I mean this is girl who doesn't totally hate High School cafeteria food and could live on Ramen Noodles and Swanson Meat Pies.
    So be honest, this is for posterity after all
    Thanks,
    Rachael's Mom

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  2. #2
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    I'd also like to know what makes the housing at AAU so bad. A lot of people say it's more worth it to find your own apartment with craigslist or something, but the dorms are approxiametly 5k a year whereas local apartments (no matter WHAT the district) are about 2-3k a month. So I don't see how renting our an apartment is more worth it OTHER than quality of your living experience. Financially it puts too much of a dent in the wallet... Or am I just looking with the wrong site?

    (Yay, my first post on these forums! ^^)

    Last edited by Kismet; July 9th, 2008 at 01:08 PM.
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    I lived in the apartment housing on 1080 Bush and it was ok. The apartment was definitely far from luxurious but I just basically needed a place to eat and sleep, and it served that purpose well. Being a foreign student who would go home every christmas and summer, I couldn't go and rent an apartment which usually required signing a one-year lease, buying furniture and necessities and paying for everything extra (internet, electricity and so on) etc. etc.

    From what I heard from people I knew, the 21> housing was alright, but the <21 housing was terrible, and especially the International house. Everyone I knew who lived there actually told other people and upcoming freshmen to stay away from it. A few of my classmates stayed there and said the food was most often suspicious, obviously didn't use fresh and/or the best ingredients, and two students in that house actually got food poisoning during that semester. And the restaurants involved in the food plan were nothing but fast food places that didn't offer the healthiest of foods.

    Everyone I knew who had a meal plan were planning to try to get away from it the following semester. It's actually cheaper to go out and buy/make your own food than doing that meal plan really, not to mention that it'd be a whole lot healthier. There are stores, markets and restaurants on almost every block in downtown SF so getting yourself something to eat is not difficult at all.

    But this is only what I heard and experienced from people I knew during that semester. Maybe someone else has a different take on it.

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    Hmm, I see...

    What about the Clara Gil Stephens dorms? Out of all the <21 dorms, that one seemed nicest. Is that one bad, as well?

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    crowded, in need of repair, way over priced.
    Kismit, you can get a small studio or inlaw in SF for as little as $700 a month. If you go over into east bay it gets even cheaper. I'm paying $730 a month 1 block away from I-house and commadore in a large 2 bedroom with living room and kitchen with 2 roommates. Dorms are about 1k a month and you will be sharing a tiny room with AT LEAST 1 other person.
    Also, I know from personally experiance (I also moved from PA). The school is not great about move out procedures. You have to be out by the last school saturday at noon or they will charge you $45 a day even if you have class that day. There are storage services that will come directly to your door ( I shared one with a friend while I was in the dorms) so there is convienence there. However, having to move in and out of your living place every semester is a pain, especially if its not close to home and you have to store everything.

    Honestly the food is not ineddible. It is however usually very unhealthy and if you want to have it taste good consistently you will be eating the same thing every day, probably a hamburger and fries or onion rings or a grilled cheese.

    For someone new to college life dorms are easiest. Convienent, theres always people around and you really dont have to worry. Most of us who complain about the dorms are older and know better. I for one lived in much nicer dorms in my previous school.

    On a side note - where in PA are you from? I'm originally from Philly and my family now lives in Yardley. I go to school all year round at AAU now so technically i live in San Francisco.

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  6. #6
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    Do not live in the dorms of the academy, way overpriced for what you get. You'd think the academy would make housing more affordable in relation the already expensive housing market in the city. I mean students should get a break but the academy charges more than the average rate for the space you get in the dorms. My advice would be to do some research in certain areas of the city. Check out Craig's list and scout out the city. Good luck

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    K lets be honest here- No matter what, dorms are almost ALWAYS more expensive than finding an apartment. I stayed in the dorms for two years at my university, and paid a couple thousands more each year because of it. Also- unless you go to an extremely nice institution and are paying huge sums of money- pretty much all dorms are dives. I mean come on, its student housing, what do you expect?

    IMO, its almost always the best choice to spend your first semester/year in the dorms, if you are going away to college. This way, your meals, rent, utilities, etc are all taken care of for you, during that critical first year that you are no longer living with your parents. If you are already adjusting to living outside the home for the first time, in a city thousands of miles from home, you really don't need to also learn how to deal with paying bills on time and making all your own meals. Just remember that all institutions KNOW this, so they'll gouge you for it.

    My state university had all the problems that sweet has said- penalties for staying in your dorm even 15 minutes past the move-out time, bad accomidations, crummy food, etc. It's just part of being a freshman living in the dorms! Food sucks, you are crammed into a room with sometimes up to 3 other people and stacked beds, and if you actually live in a dorm or suite that has its own kitchen, nothing will work. Thats just how student housing is! It's really not limited to the Academy of Art.

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    Also, keep in mind that the commodore is a hotel that the school hasn't really changed in any way. the Stevens building is probably the best choice out of the three. If you just want to meet foreign students, that is no reason to stay at the I-house.

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    Actually, trying to find a place to live outside the dorm is not that bad. Sure you got to worry about your furnitures and all, but after that you really don't have to worry about anything else, furnitures can be sold off again as 2nd hand items in Craig's list and all or you can buy them too. You can sublet your place out during the holidays.

    As far as food goes, I tend to find foods in the city pretty expensive, although the portion is big enough for 2 meals for me, so I guess it's okay. I prefer to cook simple foods most of the time though to save up better.

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    I lived at 1916 Octavia for a semester and despite pictures of the dorm's rooms being all well-lighted and stuff, I ended up staying in a tiny, dark room in a corner of the dorm. (It's Rm. 105, BTW..stay away from it!) Really not worth it, considering what I paid. The toilet clogged up real easily too.

    Outside housing can easily be found through Craigslist. Rent is really expensive around here, so you don't really have much of a choice but to rent a room unless you have a huge budget. Rooms aren't that expensive, especially in districts that are more residential, which is pretty much everything on the other side of the city -- Richmond, Sunset, the area around SFSU.. The Mission also has a lot of cheaper places. It's farther from downtown, but you can take the BART, which is much faster(and more efficient!) than the MUNI streetcars or buses.

    I didn't get the meal plan, so I have no idea about the quality of the food. Some say it improved this year, but I suggest that you learn how to cook. I didn't know how to cook before coming here, but simply subsisting on instant food and takeout... after a while, it just got tiring. Cooking isn't that hard anyway, and it is kind of fun, too.

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