I need to make a decision, and quickly, about what school I should go to. MCAD (minneapolis college of art and design) is the most college-ish of them all, and would definitely be the most fun. I thrive in competition with peers. Competition and women are my motivating factors, and in that regard I know that MCAD will be better.

But I'm really concerned about which ones will hone my skills most properly. I do classical oil paintings, and I'm not sure how good MCAD will be for that. Ateliers (Bougie studio or http://www.theatelier.org/) I understand are far more intense and focused on important issues, and there are some good ones in Minnesota. However, there will be no college atmosphere that I want so badly.

I also want some educational freedom. Ateliers seem very restrictive, and won't allow any difference from the course procedures. I learn well by myself, and don't need people to tell me how to paint.

Basically, I want to paint like the old masters. Not necessarily 100% realism, though (at Ateliers they cram bright realism down your throat, at MCAD they cram modern art down your throat. Wish there was a school with a policy of artistic freedom ;/). I want to be able to take TONS of figure drawing classes in particular. As long as I'm ABLE to paint/draw how what I want, how I want, when I want, I will be good to go.

So yea, anybody with any knowledge on the subject have any advice for me? I'd appreciate it a ton.