4 answers

Should I transfer schools? [College transfer]

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Hello CareerVillage community!

I'm currently a college student in my second year. I'm about to complete my fourth semester at my public school, where I'm pursuing a BFA in Studio Art, concentration in Graphic Design. I just declared my major as Graphic Design, but the program that I am in is lacking in many, many ways. It's not rigorous enough for me, and I feel like it's not challenging enough for me. My university is definitely not known for this major.

I did want to transfer out in my first year, and planned on transferring out after making a portfolio, but I stayed for the friends I made and the communities I became a part of. But with the major that I'm in, it's a bit of a tricky situation.

Should I be looking to transfer to more professional art schools? I do feel confident enough in my ability, but I have no portfolio. It's too late to make one, and I don't have time to apply as a junior transfer. It's a bit of a pickle. I know it's late, but I really didn't want to leave my school right now, but after spending a semester in upper-level Graphic Design courses, I'm seeing how awful the program is.

Should I stick to my college right now, in a very lacking BFA program, or attempt to transfer to a more expensive school and wait a year to apply? I'm conflicted.

Thank you in advance!

tags:

#art #graphic-design #college-transfer #art-school #fine-art #transfer

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4 answers

Ellen’s Answer

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Hi Brenda

You've already gotten some good advice already. Should you transfer? Maybe, but before you do, are you sure you really have taken full advantage of what your school has offered? You say you spent a semester in one of the upper level graphic design classes and saw how "awful" they were. Awful in what way...the quality the teaching, the available equipment, the assignments, your fellow students...please remember that a large part of being successful in any educational environment is often your response and energy to what is being taught. Ok, so maybe the assignment was a little lame, but how can your response to it still highlight your creativity and art skills?


You also might want to think about....What do other programs have that yours is lacking? Are you being realistic about your expectations of your school and of other schools? Are you prepared for the debt that a private college or university will incur....remember graphic design careers don't start out (or even end up) with high salaries. Also, it seems that, socially, you have become comfortable at your present school, would you be as happy and comfortable at another one? Coming into a new school as a Junior transfer can be difficult in some schools, as many friendships are often cemented during the first two years.


Also, I'm confused as to why you don't have a portfolio....you've been there for 4 semesters, which I'm thinking would mean at least 4 art classes, and nothing to show? Yes, for students like you, portfolios can matter in transferring, and will matter in seeking jobs or internships , so you might want to evaluate yourself and your efforts so far. How are your grades in your art classes? Sometimes when you have mentally checked out of a situation, it's easy to just stop trying. Try to avoid falling into that trap; grades matter and don't come with an explanation (as in "my teacher was a bozo") on the transcript.


Finally, if you do decide to transfer, be "professional" about it, no band-mouthing your former school. This could come back to haunt you; it is a small world out there in many respects. The phrase "It didn't work out for me" goes along way.


If you do decide to stay, talk to your teachers...tell them that you don't feel the assignments (or whatever) are working for you. Try to be diplomatic but specific. Most teachers, really any teacher, would be open to listening to a student's needs.


Best wishes on making this important choice. I apologize if I do not sound supportive, but this is a tough decision and I want to advise you to consider all the angles. If you have a faculty advisor, talk to him or her about your transfer ideas. If your school has any kind of counseling services, you might also want to talk to them too.

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Yomna’s Answer

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Dear Brenda,
I have to say I am really impressed with the way you want to challenge yourself and that you are willing to learn even more about your field. The way I see it is that it is not really late at all. I have known people who changed college or even their major after their third year so you don't have to worry about this. If you are going to wait for a year to get admitted to another school then there is so much that could be done on your part. I believe that you can still stay at your current school till you get accepted in another but during this time you can teach yourself so much about your field and read a lot too. There are very interesting graphic design online courses with certificates on platforms like Coursera and Udemy which you could use to improve your skills as well as start your own projects. You can learn about entrepreneurship and working from home so that you could take up minor projects and improve your skills even further. This will also improve your resume and will get you even better job opportunities after you graduate. It might also get you a scholarship in case your studies will be expensive for you. I think you have a great potential which could be supported by self-learning and hard work to improve your skills. You don't have to feel sad that you are leaving your friends and community behind, you can visit them often and help them with your skills in whatever they need. Who knows you might even work on improving the BFA program at your current school with your expertise in the future :) I really hope that my advice was useful to you and hope it helped you make up your mind about this decision. Best of luck on your journey :) :) :)
Thank you so much! I apologize for this response and how late it is, but thank you so much for the advice. I've been under a lot of pressure but I totally forgot about teaching myself a lot, since so many resources from the internet are available to me. Projects are an awesome thing I didn't think about; thank you for your advice and your optimism! Brenda S. Translate
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Kim’s Answer

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Brenda,

Please do not equate "more expensive" with "better." I left an Associate level Paralegal program at the local Community College and transferred to a Masters Level program (I already have a B.A.) which is approved by the American Bar Association (the "gold" standard). I'm paying triple the price, and honestly, I don't see a whole lot of difference.

I believe you when you say your school is lacking. However, please understand that the only thing you might be gaining by changing schools is the "name" that is on the degree. Contact the other schools, ask to make an on-site visit, and ask to sit in on a class or two!

Also, don't beat yourself up over not having a portfolio. I work with professionals who are looking for jobs, and when I ask people in the arts if they are supposed to have a portfolio, the answer is "yes." When I ask if they have one, the answer is too often. "no."

My thinking is to do what it takes to evaluate and apply at the other schools, even if it means taking off a year from school. Try to get a job in a company that could use your skills, even if in an administrative position. Work on your portfolio. Take advantage of on-line resources mentioned in the previous response. I think you will benefit from challenging yourself to your max potential!

Thank you so much! I'm extremely sorry about the late response, but the past couple of weeks I've been reflecting on all the advice that everyone has given me. It's encouraging to hear that price isn't a factor in real life applications, so thank you! It seems like I'm holding myself to a lot of unrealistic standards when I could improve through self motivation and a lot of self application too. Thank you so much! Brenda S. Translate
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Jennifer’s Answer

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In addition to the wonderful advice you've received, I'll add the following to consider.

In what aspects of Graphic Design are you interested?
Is there a program on your campus with more academic rigor and reputation than the one that in which you're currently?

Have you researched other programs in Graphic Design?
Is there a program that strikes you as particularly intriguing?
How does the curriculum and experiences of their students differ from the one you're receiving what you are?

Before transferring, you need to do your homework / research on the receiving institution's program, admissions requirements and policies for transfers. Bear in mind the difference between transferability and applicability in regard to your coursework to be presented.

It sounds as if you are proactive and realistic in your approach. Solicit the help of your college advisors and the advisors of the college you might like to attend. They are there to help you!

Wishing you all the best in your future endeavors -


#transfer #college-choice
Sorry for the late response, and thank you so much for your answer! These are all awesome questions I hadn't really thought about. The reason why I turned to CareerVillage for advice like this is because the advisors at my university are extremely notorious for being unhelpful, but I guess you're asking the real questions. I think I'll be sticking with staying at my current university, but also working on independent projects too. Thank you so much! Brenda S. Translate
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