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I'm going to graduate from high school in a few weeks. Unfortunately, I very recently decided that I'd rather work doing what I love than base my job off of money/security/whatever. I can see a few reasonable paths to reaching that goal, but I need some advice on which choice is best:
a) Go to some in-state university for its art program. I'll have full tuition and books for any public school in Alabama for four years, but I haven't heard of any particularly good art departments here.
b) Go to a great art school somewhere else and pay the entire ~$40k/yr on my own.
c) Go through a single enlistment in the military so I can get $1200/month for school after I get out plus any other savings from that period. I've considered going with the Navy so I can possibly see the world a bit and focus on art during my free time.
I'm really having a hard time deciding on my own, so any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Also, I scored a 30 on my ACT and my GPA is something over 3.5 - would these help much for scholarships at an art school?
I'd like to be a concept artist working on video games or something of that sort (who wouldn't?), but really any sort of illustration job in the entertainment industry would make me happy. I haven't had much experience with animation, but I won't rule that out yet either.
I don't know if you've already looked at this (maybe it's changed?) but I believe the Navy only funds certain majors. If it will pay for you enrolling in art, it's actually a pretty cool possibility. My Mum was in the Navy for 20 years and they give you a lot of support and seeing the world was definitely awesome. On the down side, there's tons of bureaucracy and not much individual freedom. Not the path I chose to take, but you might find it a really good way to fund school.
If the only reason you'd enlist is to pay for education, is it worth getting sent to Iraq and possibly returning minus some limbs?
Have you checked out all Alabama schools?
Have you checked out Max the Mutt in Toronto? I think we still have 3 or 4 seats left for Sept. '07. You can check the threads on this site, check the web site (www.maxthemutt.com), or contact Van Olson (1-877-486-MUTT, firstname.lastname@example.org). We offer a top quality education and our mandate is to be available (i.e. affordable) to talent. Tuition is $9500 Canadian per year. Dorm housing including breakfast and dinner is about $700 per month. You can also contact Max students who have entered comments on our thread by clicking on their ID and choosing "send private message."
If you would enjoy the challenges, risks, and experience of being enlisted for a while, go for it.
What you do college-wise depends on what type of art you want to do. If you want to do anything illustrative or related to games, avoid fine-arts programs. Also, click the "games industry" link in my sig.
I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.
Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.
Also consider going to a local AL school for two yrs for free, then transferring to an art school for the last two. It's less of a bill for you, but all of the schooling benefits. My fiancee did just that and transferred all of his courses from UAB to SCAD.
I'll second Mirana. I'm normally pretty tepid on state school fine arts departments, but fortunately for you, Ben Shamback is doing really good things at the University of Southern Alabama.
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Thanks for the advice everyone! Supposing I knock my core classes out of the way here and transfer, would I really get the same level of art education as I would by going all four years at an art school? It seems that by going four years I'd have twice as much time to practice what I learn.
It depends on the school. Most 4-yr types tend to make you do quite a bit of academia and foundations before you get into your major-specific courses. I took a few lower-level arts courses (Drawing2, Painting2, Web Design, Computer in Art, 2D and 3D Design) and while they weren't spectacular, I still learned more than what I'd started out with. You can forgo doing any arts courses if you think they'd be lacking, but take a look at them first. See how they compare and even try contacting some of the 4-yr art colleges to see which AL schools they like.