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CCA or SFAI?

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Just received my Funding package in the mail from CCA. They gave me 9K each year in scholarship. is that alot...considering these are expensive schools it seems like that is not very much. wasn't impressed. If they gave me more, I might give the SF schools a little more attention. any thoughts?

Mine is even less than that. I got confused when I was at the financial aid office and thought I got more...then when I actually got my letter, I was sad.

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Mine is even less than that. I got confused when I was at the financial aid office and thought I got more...then when I actually got my letter, I was sad.

hey,

it seems like we have some similarities in terms of school interests and background. i went to yale undergrad and read philosophy, and went into art from there, we both got into cca, but not calarts or ucsd, etc.

i'm curious to know which way you're leaning at this point in your decision-making, or if your risd acceptance makes it a no-brainer?

i interviewed there (painting), but have yet to hear back. personally although i would much prefer to be in the bay area, risd's reputation is i think just so much stronger on the national level that i'd have to choose their program, if the money was the same.

did they offer you any funding?

good luck and allbest

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hey,

it seems like we have some similarities in terms of school interests and background. i went to yale undergrad and read philosophy, and went into art from there, we both got into cca, but not calarts or ucsd, etc.

i'm curious to know which way you're leaning at this point in your decision-making, or if your risd acceptance makes it a no-brainer?

i interviewed there (painting), but have yet to hear back. personally although i would much prefer to be in the bay area, risd's reputation is i think just so much stronger on the national level that i'd have to choose their program, if the money was the same.

did they offer you any funding?

good luck and allbest

Yeah, seems like we are in a similar situation!

I also would much rather stay in the bay area. I love it here, and I have a lot of important people in my life here. I have a house which I would have to sell, which really complicates things also. The house would make my life complicated if I went to CCA too because it's too far away for an easy commute. I don't have any financial information from RISD, but I think that if they both are equally expensive RISD would be the better choice. Long term, I think RISD's reputation would open more doors for me in terms of jobs, and I also think it might be a better fit for what I want to do. I really want to bridge painting with technology, and I got into RISD's Digital Media program, which would be perfect for that. At CCA, I got into the interdisciplinary program, but they really aren't doing much with technology there though I really like the school a lot. Eventually, I'd really like to teach in a Digital Media program, and I think going to RISD would be a lot better for that. Apparently MFA students in Digital Media at RISD get to even design and teach their own wintersession courses, which is an amazing opportunity. I can't rely on teaching to work out right away of course, but I also think a Digital Media MFA from RISD would be way more helpful in finding any sort of jobs in design if I needed another way to support myself. So, in conclusion, right now I'm thinking RISD's reputation might be worth moving back to the east coast for awhile, though I'm not crazy about that at all! I'm going to go try to visit RISD in the next couple weeks, and hopefully that will clear things up for me.

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crey01, on 25 March 2010 - 07:20 AM, said:

Just received my Funding package in the mail from CCA. They gave me 9K each year in scholarship. is that alot...considering these are expensive schools it seems like that is not very much. wasn't impressed. If they gave me more, I might give the SF schools a little more attention. any thoughts?

@sophiab user_popup.pngMine is even less than that. I got confused when I was at the financial aid office and thought I got more...then when I actually got my letter, I was sad.

I haven't received mine yet, I really hope its a decent amount but Im worried it will be small because there are so many students

Edited by Spaced Out

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Still no aid letter from CCA

I went on a tour of SFAI today...I didn't get any money from them at all. I wasn't crazy about the campus either...I thought CCA was a lot nicer. Also the grad studios are 45 minutes away from the main building by public transportation, according to the tour guide. I was told if you were to take any studio electives, they would be in the main building, with that 45 minute commute from where the grad building is. I didn't feel like going to see the grad studios after my tour of the main campus, but I'm told that they are really big but have curtains and no doors. I definitely like vibe and facilities of CCA a lot more. I'm going to visid RISD soon, and it will be between RISD and CCA for me.

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Still no aid letter from CCA

where are you located? because you should have received it by now. I would call them. It seems pretty irresponsible of them to just leave you hanging like that especially when the letter of intent in coming up.

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I went on a tour of SFAI today...I didn't get any money from them at all. I wasn't crazy about the campus either...I thought CCA was a lot nicer. Also the grad studios are 45 minutes away from the main building by public transportation, according to the tour guide. I was told if you were to take any studio electives, they would be in the main building, with that 45 minute commute from where the grad building is. I didn't feel like going to see the grad studios after my tour of the main campus, but I'm told that they are really big but have curtains and no doors. I definitely like vibe and facilities of CCA a lot more. I'm going to visid RISD soon, and it will be between RISD and CCA for me.

Having toured both campuses I would say that CCA is a little more equipped to handle MFA students (and ranked higher, for what thats worth.) The facilities are new and the studios are very nice (and pretty good size, I've been on a lot of tours and those are one of the best). most of your life/campus/ etc will be in SF as opposed to oakland...which is nice. I LOVED SFAI's russian hill campus....its a great place BUT then you realize that maybe SFAI is a great school for undergraduates and not grads...kind of like Otis in LA. Their undergrad is great but the grad is a little on the so-so side. I did the same thing as you... visited the main campus but then was over seeing the rest, from what I've heard on this forum, I think the curtain/no door thing plus it being in oakland is a bit amateurish, but guess I can't judge too much without seeing them. if you are deciding between the east coast or the west coast, I am biased...the west coast is the best coast! I think our art scene (LA and SF) is more on the radar recently than the obvious favorite NY. I am from LA and even with the norcal/socal rivalry I can say that San Francisco is an amazing city. some of the best food in the country...again, I love LA but have to admit the SF food is better. Ok, enough ranting. Good luck with your decision and congrats, both GREAT schools!

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where are you located? because you should have received it by now. I would call them. It seems pretty irresponsible of them to just leave you hanging like that especially when the letter of intent in coming up.

I still have yet to receive my aid either. going out there sat. hopefully clear things up. Really want to go and hope I can get some dough

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Having toured both campuses I would say that CCA is a little more equipped to handle MFA students (and ranked higher, for what thats worth.) The facilities are new and the studios are very nice (and pretty good size, I've been on a lot of tours and those are one of the best). most of your life/campus/ etc will be in SF as opposed to oakland...which is nice. I LOVED SFAI's russian hill campus....its a great place BUT then you realize that maybe SFAI is a great school for undergraduates and not grads...kind of like Otis in LA. Their undergrad is great but the grad is a little on the so-so side. I did the same thing as you... visited the main campus but then was over seeing the rest, from what I've heard on this forum, I think the curtain/no door thing plus it being in oakland is a bit amateurish, but guess I can't judge too much without seeing them. if you are deciding between the east coast or the west coast, I am biased...the west coast is the best coast! I think our art scene (LA and SF) is more on the radar recently than the obvious favorite NY. I am from LA and even with the norcal/socal rivalry I can say that San Francisco is an amazing city. some of the best food in the country...again, I love LA but have to admit the SF food is better. Ok, enough ranting. Good luck with your decision and congrats, both GREAT schools!

Good to hear about CCA facilities! Excited to check it out. What kind of questions did you ask? Im trying to run some through my head but feel like Im going to leave and realize I should have asked more. Im accepted for Painting/drwng

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Good to hear about CCA facilities! Excited to check it out. What kind of questions did you ask? Im trying to run some through my head but feel like Im going to leave and realize I should have asked more. Im accepted for Painting/drwng

Glad you're checking it out. what I would ask:

What kind of access to faculty? are they doing regular studio visits.

I would ask them to explain more about the written thesis that accompanies the exhibition. most schools don't do this and CCA feels very strongly about it. I think its a great idea, getting a chance to have a critical focus on artists writing about their work...most artists don't know shit about writing. I think getting more info from them on their thoughts about the written thesis would be important.

ask about access to facilities...I found out that some of the schools I visited had very limited access (super strict about interdisciplinary facility policy), while others encouraged you to learn every trade, trick, and machine in the school. when I visited, I think they told me that they support the interdisciplinary thing.

also ask about the SF art scene. It's still a big mystery to me. I know its strong and people are really into it but what interests me is the super close knit community. some of the artists that work at both SFAI and CCA are super rockstars in SF but don't really go outside of the scene. its definitely different than LA or NY...but maybe in a good way.

How are the studios selected? some schools have a lottery, some just figure it out (lord of the flies), etc...

and of course the usual suspects of : teaching assistantships? connection of the school to the art scene?

hope that helps. good luck and have fun...

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Glad you're checking it out. what I would ask:

What kind of access to faculty? are they doing regular studio visits.

I would ask them to explain more about the written thesis that accompanies the exhibition. most schools don't do this and CCA feels very strongly about it. I think its a great idea, getting a chance to have a critical focus on artists writing about their work...most artists don't know shit about writing. I think getting more info from them on their thoughts about the written thesis would be important.

ask about access to facilities...I found out that some of the schools I visited had very limited access (super strict about interdisciplinary facility policy), while others encouraged you to learn every trade, trick, and machine in the school. when I visited, I think they told me that they support the interdisciplinary thing.

also ask about the SF art scene. It's still a big mystery to me. I know its strong and people are really into it but what interests me is the super close knit community. some of the artists that work at both SFAI and CCA are super rockstars in SF but don't really go outside of the scene. its definitely different than LA or NY...but maybe in a good way.

How are the studios selected? some schools have a lottery, some just figure it out (lord of the flies), etc...

and of course the usual suspects of : teaching assistantships? connection of the school to the art scene?

hope that helps. good luck and have fun...

Yes that does help Thanks! I think I do recall during my interview that he said they were really open about students working in other disciplines.

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C’mon guys – let’s try to be more balanced in our statements about SFAI and CCA.

SFAI did not experience a “financial collapse.” It is operating in the black. It awarded some $8.6 M in scholarships in 2008, according to its most recent IRS Form 990. SFAI owns publicly traded securities of nearly $10M. If SFAI had experienced a financial collapse five years ago it would not now be rated #7 for photo or #14 for painting, or even #30 overall. The difficulties caused by the financial meltdown in the Fall of 2008 affected most schools including for example, MICA, which at one point announced a freeze on salaries and RISD, which laid off staff. However, markets have recovered and schools are doing better now.

It is not the case that most or even many faculty ever transferred to CCA. There has always been some movement in both directions. However, adjunct faculty frequently teach at several schools. SFAI has fantastic, famous grad faculty including George Kuchar, the filmmaker, Renee Green, artist and author, Hou Hanru, who has curated many international biennials , and many others. SFAI would not he so highly rated if most faculty had left.

SFAI is a leading art school, very highly rated among 220 schools. It has an impressive visiting artist program. CCA is also fine.

This clearly reeks of a graduate admissions counselor. SFAI is a disaster don't go there I have heard nothing but terrible things about their program for the last couple years. I have made that"45 minute" walk several times and while it is not scary... I wouldn't do it alone at night. CCA on the other hand has not only been producing some of my favorite young artists the last few years, it has also been making amazing contributions to the field at large.

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This clearly reeks of a graduate admissions counselor. SFAI is a disaster don't go there I have heard nothing but terrible things about their program for the last couple years. I have made that"45 minute" walk several times and while it is not scary... I wouldn't do it alone at night. CCA on the other hand has not only been producing some of my favorite young artists the last few years, it has also been making amazing contributions to the field at large.

It is obvious that a few on this forum have strongly negative feelings about SFAI. But it is difficult to know why this is the case given the high level of generality of the criticism. SFAI is only in the top ten for one program – photo, in the top 15 for another – painting, but still this is pretty good out of a total of 220 schools rated by US News and hardly justifies the extreme negativity. A Google search for SFAI MFAs reveals many recent grads who seem to be doing and showing very well. Ryan Hackett, for example, a 2007 MFA has been showing around the country and internationally and was a finalist last year for the Sondheim prize in the mid Atlantic area. FYI, I am not an admissions counselor or otherwise affiliated with SFAI, but I am likely to apply next year. Let's try to be more reasonable. thanks

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It is obvious that a few on this forum have strongly negative feelings about SFAI. But it is difficult to know why this is the case given the high level of generality of the criticism. SFAI is only in the top ten for one program – photo, in the top 15 for another – painting, but still this is pretty good out of a total of 220 schools rated by US News and hardly justifies the extreme negativity. A Google search for SFAI MFAs reveals many recent grads who seem to be doing and showing very well. Ryan Hackett, for example, a 2007 MFA has been showing around the country and internationally and was a finalist last year for the Sondheim prize in the mid Atlantic area. FYI, I am not an admissions counselor or otherwise affiliated with SFAI, but I am likely to apply next year. Let's try to be more reasonable. thanks

hold up. my criticism of sfai is based on my personal experience being an MFA student in the photo department (which is their strongest department next to new media).

here's a recap of what i am critical of, which i feel are valid complaints:

1) grad studios are very far from the undergrad building, and you do need to be at both campuses for classes, library use, etc.

2) the grad studios were sub par in that there were major issues regarding the structure itself: overflowing toilets were the norm, as were frigid temperatures (average 55 degrees indoors). my friends in the painting department couldn't paint because their hands were so cold and wearing large gloves made it impossible to work. as for me, i couldn't stand being in the darkroom in that building because it was just too damn cold to have my hands in and out of cold water and chemistry. so i did the majority of my work in the undergrad darkroom, which was actually much nicer because there were private rooms. but that meant i had to split my time between chestnut and 3rd street every single day.

3) the faculty are quite disgruntled. and by disgruntled i mean uninterested in their students becuase they are so busy worrying about whether or not they will get paid and/or have a job at the end of the semester.

to provide further criticism, the administration didn't seem to know its ass from its elbow. there just seemed to be a breakdown in communication from student to admin to faculty.

i can't compare to CCA b/c i've never seen their studios or encountered their faculty, but i do go to Thee Parkside quite often where many CCA grad students hang out and I never hear them complaining (whereas any time i went out with my cohort, the conversation was almost entirely a long drawn out group rant about how bad the program was).

just my two cents.

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what did people think of CCA after they visited on the 4th?

Yep, I'm wondering too. What DID people think of CCA after visiting on the 4th, and where else are they considering going?

I'm on the fence right now between CCA and Penn, but leaning towards Penn as it looks like Matthew Ritchie is getting primed to take the chair.

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I don't know anything about the rankings, but I visited both a few weeks ago.

I went in preferring SFAI. I'm not sure why now, but I changed my mind. Part of it was that the faculty I met at SFAI Seemed pretty... I dunno... tired and unenthused, while the opposite was true of those I met at CCA. The other thing is that the facilities at CCA were about a hundred times better. Multiple wood shops, CNC routers, vacuformers, non-cramped studio spaces, large outdoor working areas, etc. SFAI's main building was pretty cool, though a labyrinth, and the grad facilities were way out in Dogpatch... a not great (though not bad) neighborhood that I had trouble getting to. That building was pretty bleak with grad students like sardines and sharing space with ad agencies. CCA's main building, on the other hand is an old train station (Greyhound station?) that's a giant glass tube full of daylight, gallery space, and work area. All of the facilities are in the same area, which was easier for me to get to than either of the SFAI campuses.

Though I didn't go into it that way, and I didn't get in, CCA became my first choice. I'm a painter.

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After visiting SF and the CCA campus I must say I am quite enamored by both the facilities and the work coming out of there. I loved the huge open expanse of the main building and also liked the village like feel of the fine art MFA studios. I felt like I was in an artist collective as opposed to an art school. I didnt get the feeling from any of the students that they were particularly unhappy with the program either. The only thing im a little bummed/ worried about is the funding. I didnt get as much as I was hoping but I also feel like I know what Im getting into and feel its worth it. This is opposed to going to a good school in the midwest where I would not be surrounded by a vibrant street art culture and ind. art culture like I imagine I would in SF. It just felt right I guess is the bottom line. I have pretty much made up my mind. just need to send some $ to make it official

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CCA is a more craft based, SFAI is a conceptually driven program. Once you are accepted into SFAI, you can work with any faculty member you want to - I would choose SFAI.

I thought I would start a separate topic for this since I saw other people were wondering about this too. It looks like I am choosing between CCA and SFAI. I got into CCA Interdisciplinary and SFAI Painting. My interest is in both painting and in writing computer code that generates dynamic paintings/installations.

I know that CCA ranks a lot higher on usnews overall (CCA is #11 and SFAI is #30) and also in most of the subareas, so I guess that means CCA generally has a better reputation? I don't know too many people who are personally familiar with the schools, and I could use more to go on. Does anyone have any input on choosing one school over the other?

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CCA is a more craft based, SFAI is a conceptually driven program. Once you are accepted into SFAI, you can work with any faculty member you want to - I would choose SFAI.

I second this comment, I got my undergrad from SFAI...loved it.

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I second this comment, I got my undergrad from SFAI...loved it.

I actually was wondering the same thing, but for undergrad programs in photography. Does anyone have experience or information about which school has a better undergrad photography program? I'm actually waiting for news about my visual studies/art history grad apps, but my partner just got into both schools, SFAI and CCA, as a photography major, and she's stuck...not sure which she likes better/or which is better.

Any input would be great guys, thanks!

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has anyone received their CCA funding letter yet?

Sorry, I have a general question:

is funding letters only for folks that actually been accepted?

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Hello to all of you,

I applied to different MAs through the US (I am currently living in Paris, France), and got actually accepted to the MA in exhibition and museum studies at SFAI and to the Curatorial Practice at CCA. I don't know if anyone of you may advise me about both MAs because it's kind of difficult to make a choice; even though I would be more attracted by CCA's program. Thanks for your help !

Pierre-François

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I am applying to the MFA photo department at SFAI. Any interview tips? What were you all asked? Is the interview centered around a portfolio critique, or is the discussion about your art philosophy/future art endeavors?

Thanks for your help!

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