in need of advice & answers for future

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  1. #1
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    in need of advice & answers for future

    Hi, Im extremly new here. The moment I found this site and then noticed threads about college and whatnot, I was so happy! I need advice on several events in my life plus questions. First I should probably explain things about myself, I Live in the Chicago area, and I wish to either go into Graphic Design, Illustration, basically something to do with cartooning or character designing ( Im unsure were that would actually be listed, illustration?)In Highshcool I was enrolled in 8 art classes and passed 2 Advanced classes in which I recieved a 3 and was granted 3 hrs in College credit, 4 years of Graphic arts, 2 advanced classes. Also in Highschool my gpa wasnt great. Now I am 20 and in my second year(still a freshman though) at a junior college and sadly I am actually not doing so great with my gen eds, mainly because I have narcolepsy and have missed a good deal of classes and in the process screwed. My gpa is extremly low, but I really want/need to go to an art school. I feel like I waisted my life away at this junior college because I wanted to wait and make a choice for an art school, etc. I know some art colleges dont really pay too much attention to gpa's, but since I went to a junior college will it affect my chances? Did I dig a horrible gaint sized grave?

    I also was originally thinking of going to the American Acadamy of Art in Chicago, two years ago I was actually accepted, and then I also had a chance with The Illinois Institute of Art Chicago(the school that is everywhere in ILL, not the one connected to the Museum in Chicago). Are either of these schools worth going to? Do I have a chance being accepted here? Are there any other Colleges in the Illinois area that have good classes concerning illustration or graphic design, as well as maybe look past my gpa or Jr college situation?

    Is it true that AAAC & IIAC are just art and not gen eds? Because that is what Im hoping, I have a hard time and struggle with them, but I excell with art, its all that I am good with. Are there any other schools with a cirriculem like that?

    Would Illustration or Graphic Design be good choices for a carreer?

    Would having logo design's that have been purchased and now used be a plus to being accepted ( I have worked for a company downtown Chicago, just made some post cards and created/sold a logo to a concrete company).

    Could there possibly be a way to recieve Scholarship now at my age and situation? Could I be able to rack up enough, I have money problems as well, Im on financial aid.

    Do I have any chances at anything stated? Have I possibly let anything out that could help in illustrating my situation? I may need to ask this question somewhere else, but Im just really scared about my situation at the moment and advice would great! I know that this may seem sloppy and unbalanced, Im just throwing things out of my head as I try to remember them. Thank you for reading this long long invitation to help.

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  3. #2
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    No problem with being new here. We're all virgins at some point.

    First off... its never too late. And besides being 20 is still mighty young.

    A few things I noticed right off the bat with your inquiry. I see that you're interested in graphic design AND illustration and yet you want to go into character design. I would probably steer you to go into Illustration a little heavier just because there's more opportunity for you there to draw and evolve your skills. That's not to say that you shouldn't take some graphic design classes either- any and ALL art classes will help and will just make you a stronger artist.

    Most art colleges DO look at GPAs. But given a strong portfolio, they might allow you a semester of being on probation- to which you'll be given a chance to prove yourself. Not knowing your GPA & school of choice, you'll have to ask the school you want to go to. Be honest with them! Explain your situation and see what they say. Worst case scenario is that they'll tell you to get it together and you'll have to pump up your GPA or get some more pieces for your book. So no... it's not a death sentence by any stretch. You can still move forward with your dream.

    As far as the schools themselves, I can't offer any recommendation nor can I say they're lousy. I've always found it to be a personal choice. You'll have to go there and find out if it's a fit for you. Ask them about their alums, their placement programs beyond college and get those questions answered before making a sound choice. Ultimately you've got to choose a school that fits your needs and then you've got to look beyond that school as well. Can they give you everything you need in order to get a job in the field that you seek??

    The logos that you've created can most definitely be used for a portfolio piece but I would only use them if they're strong pieces for your portfolio. Do NOT put them in just becaus they were printed. Only your best stuff goes into your portfolio- nothing else! Don't let a weak piece (even if it was printed) drag down the rest of the good pieces in your book.

    As far as getting money for an education at your age? By all means! Apply for Financial Aid with the government and then hit the school up for scholarships, grants and any other forms of money they can offer. At where I teach 95% of the people are on some form of financial aid. Your situation is not that uncommon.

    It's never too late to get going in a career that will make you happy.

    Good luck!

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    Staypuff85,
    I'll echo a few of Storyboard Dave's comments. Put only your best pieces into your portfolio. A great unpublished piece speaks far better than a mediocre printed piece. Art schools (and prospective employers) will be looking at your ability to conceptualize a creative solution, not at how good a salesperson you are.

    If you're looking for a degree, yes, grades will count--even in an associate's program (though, SbD is in the education field, I am not, so listen to his advice there).

    I am going through the pains right now of finding an art school for my oldest son. He's a great student, with very high marks in all his academics, but very little to show in a portfolio. I'm not saying that to make you feel worse about your GE's. But only to show, we're sitting in opposites ends of the same boat. I am very concerned about his ability to launch a successful career in the creative arts, because as of today he hasn't a thing to show for it. But, just as your desire will propel you along, so will his. Have no worry.

    Though I don't recommend this path, I know of several people in the creative arts who have no degree. I am in a position to hire creative professionals. I can say from my personal experience, the only thing a degree does for me is show a person's text book knowledge of the subject. It's a strong portfolio which gets someone hired.

    Personally, I am a graphic designer, focusing on book design. This I will tell you; never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be using so much algebra in graphic design (point of reference, I failed algebra in middle school, and scrapped by the same subject in high school with a just passing grade).

    For financial aid, what I am finding is many of the art schools seem to have several tracks; creative-, academic-, and need-based. And yes, at your advanced age of all of 20 (makes me feel really old at 41 ;-) ), I think you could count on some financial aid, but you have to pursue it. Nobody's going to give you money just because you're such a wonderful person. Check out http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebA...sp?tab=funding as a place to start. There's also lots of art-related assistance. And with your narcolepsy, I should think the ADA would have some kind of program you could take advantage of.

    Best of luck!

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  5. #4
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    Man I'm pretty much in your same situation. I turn 20 on the 17th of this month. However bad your grades are, keep in mind that I dropped out of high school which definitely doesn't look good on a transcript. In the link below is my plan right now, I hope it opens your mind to some possibilities you hadn't considered. Best of luck.
    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=55167

    And thank you for that link and advice Usherwood. I hadn't even considered looking up Diabetes scholarships until you mentioned the possibility of narcolepsy ones.

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  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Usherwood
    If you're looking for a degree, yes, grades will count--even in an associate's program (though, SbD is in the education field, I am not, so listen to his advice there).
    I'm only an adjunct faculty member. I teach two classs MAX and the other days of the week and whatever time I can finagle, I'm still working fast & furiously in the field. I've never enjoyed the teachers that teach out of a book- I can BUY the book! The only reason I've even got a fingernail into the educational field is because it's my alma mater- I'm not so sure I'd teach with the same sort of energy elsewhere but then I've never applied anywhere else to teach. I enjoy working first & foremost (to call it work is almost a sin at times!) and then bringing that first hand knowledge to my classroom.

    Every assignment I give in my storyboard class, I've worked on and have gotten paid for. The only difference there is that the students have a few weeks to complete it where I only had a few hours.

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    I would still suggest getting a degree. These are just a few of the reasons and it's just an opinion on my part and it shouldn't impune on the talented people out there that have no degrees.

    --just in case you ever want to teach. Academia likes that sort of thing.
    --on the odd chance that you end up working for a corporation that needs to lay off people, the human resources people (who might be in a totally different building, city or country) might decide to lay people off just based upon degrees or no degrees. I've seen it happen to some technical illustrators in this town. The bean counters just might need to lay some folks off arbitrarily and you don't give them any reason to.
    --it's a sense of accomplishment.
    --pride for your friends & family. My mom was more proud of my graduation than of my marriage!
    --the comeraderie you establish with the people who endured and survived with you. I know I made friends for life with some of my collegiate friends.
    --and while I don't have kids, it's something that if I ever had to encourage them to get a degree, I could say that I did it.
    --tuition's only going to get more expensive! I've never seen prices drop.

    But if you can, please give it a shot and get that education.

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  8. #7
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    Thank you all, but I was also wondering, would anyone know of some good college's in the ILL, Chicago area? Im really thinking about the American Acadamy of Art or ILL Art Institute of Chicago (AI) Are these good choices?


    Also, Im having a rough time with these gen courses, should I complete this semester and one more to do a transfer, or should I just drop this college and attempt to apply at the ones desired?

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  9. #8
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    Well I have now decided that I am going to the American Academy of Art, and that I will start this spring, I do have a good chance of being accepted, only problem is that I need scholarships and ways to pay for college, does anyone have advice, links, articles, anything that may help?

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  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by staypuff85
    Well I have now decided that I am going to the American Academy of Art, and that I will start this spring, I do have a good chance of being accepted, only problem is that I need scholarships and ways to pay for college, does anyone have advice, links, articles, anything that may help?
    Once you've determined which school you're going to, I'd contact their Financial Aid office and appeal to them directly. They know more about school specific scholarships and grants than anyone else.

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