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MFA 2020 Freak Out Forum

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So I've been lurking on here for a few weeks, and I noticed there isn't a new freak out forum!

I primarily make work in photography. I received my BA in film production in 2018, and now I'm looking for a Photography MFA. I'm doing my best to find full funding as I don't have parents/money/etc. 

Here are my top schools I would like to apply/attend:

University of South Florida

The University of Texas at Austin

Georgia State University

University of Georgia
 
(Other choices: Iowa, U of M, UNC Chapel Hill, OSU)
 
If anyone knows anything about those four tops school, I would be grateful to know more!
 
~*FREAK OUT*~

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Hi!!

I don't know anything about those schools, sorry..

I'm looking for painting/drawing MFA programs with good funding, whose faculty work I really jive with. Still working on narrowing down the list!

Would love any input/review of my portfolio.. I work mostly in colored pencil and gouache, most recent work (as in last week, and not on website yet, includes gold leaf.) Not sure how that medium combination will go over with schools, hoping to get more input @ NPD.  

Background for my art: I'm primarily a formalist when it comes to thinking.. Topically I get really excited about connections between art and science.

My portfolio

 

Edited by WigglyGoldfish

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I also got my undergraduate (BFA) in film production (in 2012) and am now working on finishing up my applications for an MFA focusing in photography. I'm a bit older than the average applicant I would assume...31.

certainly in freak out mode. Looking for a fully funded program like many others.

any helpful information appreciated. currently living in San Francisco but looking into schools in the south because that is where I would like to work.

California Schools: UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Irvine, CCA (too expensive)

Southern Schools: Tulane, UGA, University of Arkansas

 

I think UCLA and UCBerk are pointless long shots, but they are such great in-state schools ill try my luck.

website/work: www.austonmarek.com

Edited by greenflips

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If you're considering U of Iowa, I'd highly recommend it. The faculty are talented, knowledgeable and very involved. The facilities are solid. More than anything, I'm impressed by the other grad students - there's a real sense of community and an impressive work ethic. My peers are supportive, but challenging and really engaged in each other's work, while really pushing things in their own practice. It's a really good environment to make work in and take risks in.

Also, the program is fully funded. Grads (typically) get TAships that involves teaching 1 class per semester, which cover the cost of tuition, health insurance and a ~$9k stipend per academic year. There's the possibility of teaching more than 1 class and increasing the stipend accordingly.

Let me know if you have questions, I'd be happy to say a little more.

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I’ve been narrowing my list as well. I got my undergraduate degree in visual arts (concentration in photography) in 2015. Went back for a MAT degree to teach and now I feel ready to apply to MFA programs. My interest is only in low residency interdisciplinary programs. So far I have these programs in mind:

Jacksonville University

Wilson College

MassArt

Sierra Nevada College

Goddard 

 

The Freakout is a bit quiet this year. Maybe it’s still early?

 

 

 

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Hi all, I'm thinking about applying to Yale + others for graphic design in the future, but I'm wondering if applying multiple consecutive years affects an application? At the moment I'm trying to get my chops up so I'm curious if it's worth applying, or saving it for later.

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I was waiting to see if this thread got more activity, excited that it is! I am currently in my senior year of undergrad working toward a BFA in Painting and Drawing, but I mostly work in combined media and installation. I am trying to figure out if this is the right time for me to apply, or if I should take some time off to solidify my practice outside of an academic setting. However, I am still going to give it a shot for the Fall semester. 

I make installations that use personal and found domestic items - linens, clothing, furniture and food ingredients. Thematically, I focus on family histories and how they fit into a broader context of history, usually erased histories. My practice and research come together through a process of altering the surfaces of objects I did not make in order to reinvent them or give them a new meaning. (I am also in the process of writing my personal statement, so I am sorry if this makes 0 sense). 

I am including a list of schools that I am interested in applying to, but I am definitely going to cut it down to 2-3 schools:

- UNM Albuquerque 

-Virginia Commonwealth University

-Yale

-Hunter College

-Tulane

-Bard

-Columbia

-SVA

If anyone knows something about these schools, or knows someone that attended, lmk.

I'll post my portfolio as soon as that is a thing that exists in one place. Good luck to everyone!

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@JAPA

I think this has been discussed in previous years but the general ...rumor... with Yale and Bard, is that they will not accept someone straight out of undergrad except for in exceptional circumstances. Basically, it is super rare. The average age at Bard is 27. I'm not sure what the average age is at Yale but I've never heard of someone going straight through to Yale. You should ask around of course as this is just what I have heard. I do think I remember looking at Yale Painting student's C.V.s and seeing a couple who went straight through. 

Of course, if you took time off before undergrad, working etc. then this is a different situation but you need to make that clear in your personal statement. 

I was an undergrad at Columbia and I would not recommend Columbia MFA. The grad students seem pretty unhappy and everyone is competing and obsessed with the industry. I've also found the big shots in the departments to favor men. I've been friends with a lot of Columbia MFAs over the years and they complain about the program all the time. Also, the program is super expensive. Just my opinion.

Edited by nevermind777

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So I find myself about ready to extend my education further, I'm 31 now, with a little bit of work done over the last 5 or so years. I'm looking to applying at the following schools,

 

UCLA

UCSB

Yale

Rutgers

 

I'd love to see everyone's progress through this year long trip, wish the best for all of y'all :)

Also I'd love to hear of any more recommendations, I'm looking to leaving the South and experiencing more of the country, I'd love to talk to anyone that thinks my work would be a good fit somewhere. :)

www.marcoshdez.com

 

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On 9/25/2019 at 9:47 AM, hinata said:

So I've been lurking on here for a few weeks, and I noticed there isn't a new freak out forum!

I primarily make work in photography. I received my BA in film production in 2018, and now I'm looking for a Photography MFA. I'm doing my best to find full funding as I don't have parents/money/etc. 

Here are my top schools I would like to apply/attend:

University of South Florida

The University of Texas at Austin

Georgia State University

University of Georgia
 
(Other choices: Iowa, U of M, UNC Chapel Hill, OSU)
 
If anyone knows anything about those four tops school, I would be grateful to know more!
 
~*FREAK OUT*~

Lots more programs with full/significant funding. Definitely do a broader search if funding is a priority. 

On 10/15/2019 at 2:06 PM, greenflips said:

I also got my undergraduate (BFA) in film production (in 2012) and am now working on finishing up my applications for an MFA focusing in photography. I'm a bit older than the average applicant I would assume...31.

certainly in freak out mode. Looking for a fully funded program like many others.

any helpful information appreciated. currently living in San Francisco but looking into schools in the south because that is where I would like to work.

California Schools: UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Irvine, CCA (too expensive)

Southern Schools: Tulane, UGA, University of Arkansas

 

I think UCLA and UCBerk are pointless long shots, but they are such great in-state schools ill try my luck.

website/work: www.austonmarek.com

Most people in my program are around 30, and I would expect that to be similar elsewhere. We do have a few people ranging from 40-50 as well. 

On 10/19/2019 at 11:35 PM, aosd said:

Hi all, I'm thinking about applying to Yale + others for graphic design in the future, but I'm wondering if applying multiple consecutive years affects an application? At the moment I'm trying to get my chops up so I'm curious if it's worth applying, or saving it for later.

I remember seeing somewhere on Yale’s site that if you are not accepted after three tries, that you should not apply again. I would look at current students in the program and see how you compare. Also look at what previous grads are doing now and if that exemplifies your goals/appears worth the time and financial commitment. 

On 10/22/2019 at 12:10 AM, JAPA said:

I was waiting to see if this thread got more activity, excited that it is! I am currently in my senior year of undergrad working toward a BFA in Painting and Drawing, but I mostly work in combined media and installation. I am trying to figure out if this is the right time for me to apply, or if I should take some time off to solidify my practice outside of an academic setting. However, I am still going to give it a shot for the Fall semester. 

I make installations that use personal and found domestic items - linens, clothing, furniture and food ingredients. Thematically, I focus on family histories and how they fit into a broader context of history, usually erased histories. My practice and research come together through a process of altering the surfaces of objects I did not make in order to reinvent them or give them a new meaning. (I am also in the process of writing my personal statement, so I am sorry if this makes 0 sense). 

I am including a list of schools that I am interested in applying to, but I am definitely going to cut it down to 2-3 schools:

- UNM Albuquerque 

-Virginia Commonwealth University

-Yale

-Hunter College

-Tulane

-Bard

-Columbia

-SVA

If anyone knows something about these schools, or knows someone that attended, lmk.

I'll post my portfolio as soon as that is a thing that exists in one place. Good luck to everyone!

The general consensus is to wait at least a year after undergrad before trying to start an MFA. I would think this is especially accurate with big name schools. If I remember correctly, Yale even explicitly states that they prefer applicants not straight out of undergrad. This would be worth looking into before applying.

Personally, I waited a year before applying. I would have waited longer too, but a previous professor of mine suggested I apply. I am glad I took the time off. I couldn’t imagine going right into an MFA program out of undergrad. Working on your own is a great experience. 

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21 hours ago, EastCoastPhoto said:

Lots more programs with full/significant funding. Definitely do a broader search if funding is a priority. 

 

What programs might you suggest?

Edited by hinata

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Hey! This forum was a big help for me when trying to decide on grad schools a couple of years ago. Fast forward to now and I'm currently in my second yr at Georgia State in the MFA photo dept. I wasn't really sure what to expect going in..but I can say now that it's a pretty underrated program. We receive a full-tuition waiver every semester which is huge, and a monthly stipend, and there have been other funding opportunities presented to me as well (awards/supplemental funding I applied for). We also get to teach if we want to. The program itself is moving in a more interdisciplinary direction it seems, and faculty are really supportive and open of us working across different mediums/taking whatever electives will be beneficial to us. I will have taken at least 4 film/video classes before I graduate..which I wasn't anticipating at all but that's the direction my practice is moving in so I'm happy I've been able to dig in...and make connections with the Film professors here. I also have come to really love Atlanta and its art community. The environment here (GSU's MFA program and Atlanta in general) has never felt overly competitive or pretentious, it has felt really nurturing and supportive actually, and I moved here knowing no one and never having been to the South before. The program is academically rigorous though (we are required to take more art history & graduate seminar courses than the average MFA program but it feels worth it..and I've become much more articulate of a person in general because of it.

Below is a screenshot of our MFA poster/ visiting artist list in case anyone is interested.I'd be happy to answer any questions!

Edited by ChippedNails92

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On 11/11/2019 at 9:27 AM, hinata said:

What programs might you suggest?

Anything fully funded, preferably with a healthy stipend, that is also near where you want to work after school. But working with the right people may certainly be worth a little less funding/stipend.

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19 hours ago, EastCoastPhoto said:

Anything fully funded, preferably with a healthy stipend, that is also near where you want to work after school. But working with the right people may certainly be worth a little less funding/stipend.

I understand that - but it sounds like you know of some names of schools that have this healthy stipend. All of the schools I'm looking at are fully funded, but I would ideally like stipends that are something over 15,000 - 20,000+ a year. Plus I'm looking for more interdisciplinary photo programs.

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Cu Boulder isn't advertised well but they've got great facilities and most departments have full funding plus a stipend.  You're given a class to be the instructor of record, so you've got very little oversight teaching and can design your class as you wish. The current stipend is around 2200 a month plus full tuition remission. Plus you get gold health insurance, bus passes (which are good for the bus to Denver as well) and family and faculty housing is available and pretty decent.  I was amazed more people don't know about this program. I actually found out about randomly.  Boulder is super nice and has access to all the art activities you can desire in Denver and obviously tons of outdoor opportunities. It is a 2.5 to 3 year program depending on the department. Nice woodshop, CNC machine, metal shop, great printmaking facilities, strong in painting, and sculpture, and is highly ranked in Ceramics, private studios in a well ventilated building,.  They usually take 2 to 3 people in each department every year. I think applications are due in Dec, but check the website for more details. 

 

Downsides is that Boulder is pretty expensive to live in, but if you're rooming with others you can find a place for around 800 a month. A single in student housing runs around 1250 a month. The school tends to be quite conceptual, however if you take a glimpse at the website you'll see that students make a lot of different work. 

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17 hours ago, hinata said:

I understand that - but it sounds like you know of some names of schools that have this healthy stipend. All of the schools I'm looking at are fully funded, but I would ideally like stipends that are something over 15,000 - 20,000+ a year. Plus I'm looking for more interdisciplinary photo programs.

I suggest searching “fully funded mfa visual arts” in your search engine of choice—there are already multiple lists with tons of schools.

What do you mean by interdisciplinary photo programs? An interdisciplinary MFA program refers to artists working with different mediums within the same program, whereas an MFA Photo program would be only photography (or sometimes video too). 

Edited by EastCoastPhoto

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What up people.  I was accepted to the University of Maryland's MFA program last go around and have been there for the better part of 1 semester. 

Pros:

$18,000 total stipend with fellowship, TUITION IS FREE!!! Cool folks in the cohort right now, 10 total for all three years.

 

Cons:

this part of the united states sucks ass, but also that could just be my perspective.  You need a car if u wanna hit up Baltimore...DC seems hella stiff. Rent is about 650-1000 a month out here

As a brown dude from Texas I'm real disappointed with the lack of diversity in the program, it's just me n another grad out of 10 who are POC.  Also I've had some wack interactions with 2 faculty, that said there are some dope ass faculty and humans here.  

That said...if youre committed to ur studio practice and have a good self care routine, you'll do good out here.  Feel free to reach out if u have any questions 

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@TheRealHankHill I’m trying to figure out if your program’s extra year is a good or bad thing. I do enjoy the crazy pace of the two-year program I am in, but an extra year of stipend, mentorship, and cohort camaraderie sounds damn good as well. My program legitimately feels like fine art boot camp, in a spectacular way, and with less yelling.

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Hey folks! Is anyone else thinking about programs outside of the U.S.? Particularly Royal College of Art (London)... would love to know if anyone's heard about interviews from the first round of applications?

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Hi everyone. I'm applying to a handful of schools this year, wondering if anyone has ideas about state schools vs private: are they really worth that much more in tuition?

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On 12/2/2019 at 4:16 PM, RedPoppy said:

Hey folks! Is anyone else thinking about programs outside of the U.S.? Particularly Royal College of Art (London)... would love to know if anyone's heard about interviews from the first round of applications?

In Dutch art schools, interviews happen in late winter, early Spring.

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22 hours ago, Vlad the INpainter said:

Hi everyone. I'm applying to a handful of schools this year, wondering if anyone has ideas about state schools vs private: are they really worth that much more in tuition?

Hi again, just saw this reddit post on r/gradschool that answers my question. Though I would repost here because there is a lot of, unusual, information on it.

To help those of you in application season: here is a frank list of MFA Fine Art degrees ranked by tuition and semi-informed opinion

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Putting together some first-hand information gathered through the years on MFA in Fine Art programs in the US (in order of tuition expense, otherwise unscientific methods.)

University of Texas School of Art, Austin, MFA Fine Art, Austin, Texas. https://art.utexas.edu/graduate/studio-art Flagship state school means great resources and low tuition. Excellent student body, drawing particularly from the region due to cheap cost of attendance for Texas residents. Excellent facilities, and accomplished international faculty. Overall focus of department is pretty mainstream, not super innovative, but not overly conservative either. Very fun, big university campus in a great little city filled with fantastic food. Austin is pretty chill, but Texas is a very extreme state - the Saudi Arabia of the US - with very problematic politics, so if you are different in any way, not even Austin is safe. Weather is almost perfect, just a little too hot in summer, but moderate year around. The location is far from other centers, isolated, and limited in culture generally. Cheap tuition (particularly if you live in Texas) with TA and scholarship possibilities. Currently: $12,000 for Texas residents and $22,957 for out-of-state students.

University of Michigan Stamps School of Art and Design, Ann Arbor, MI, MFA in Art https://stamps.umich.edu/graduate-programs/mfaFlagship state school means great resources and low tuition. Emphasis on technically accomplished but conservative work from faculty, and thus students: art as glossy and unchallenging appeals to mainstream culture. If you wish to join this track, then here it is. Michigan is very pretty, winters are brutal, and Ann Arbor is a great little city, if you can avoid the endless tailgating and profoundly annoying Go Blue garbage. Detroit is not far, but not convenient for close contact with the growing art scene there. Cheap tuition (particularly if you live in Michigan) with TA and scholarship possibilities. Currently: $12,000 for Michigan residents and $24,591 for out-of-state students.

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Art, MFA Fine Art, Richmond, Virginia. https://arts.vcu.edu/programs/graduate/Extraordinary art department housed in a mediocre public university in a somewhat reasonable little city in the northernmost deep south. This department has resources, connections, and a mildly radical reputation. Art faculty are very well connected professionally, and alumni are visible across the artworld. General atmosphere of production is high degree of experimentation and mildly political. Like many schools, the department and degrees are divided by fairly conservative media traditions, painting, sculpture, photo, etc, rather than anything post-media, post-studio, or interdisciplinary. (This is a pity because most artists work across several disciplines these days.) This department is well-supported, well-funded and beloved, a particular achievement for a public school. Students are highly supported by nurturing faculty. Isolated little region, but not too far from DC. Richmond itself is building a Portland/Brooklyn-like reputation with craft stuff, etc, but still mostly a de-industrialized southern capital city with an ok quality of life overall. Scholarship and TA opportunities, and a reasonable tuition rate. The MFA in sculpture is currently fully funded. Currently: Virginia residents: $12,134 out of state: $24,741

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, MFA Studio Art, Knoxville, Tennessee https://art.utk.edu/mfa/A solid, growing department in a well-funded but underperforming state school. This department has decent resources, brand new facilities, and are hiring new faculty, so is is one to watch. General atmosphere of production is craft-based, reclusive studio productions. Like many schools, the department and degrees are divided by fairly conservative media traditions, painting, sculpture, photo, etc, rather than anything post-media, post-studio, or interdisciplinary. This department is well-ranked on several lists, well-supported, well-funded and growing in reputation, a particular achievement for a US public school. Students are supported by nurturing faculty who are not art stars, but have solid careers. Knoxville is an isolated little region in a deeply conservative state, next to the Smoky Mountains, a day drive from DC, Atlanta, Memphis, St Louis, etc. Knoxville is a mostly de-industrialized, southern regional city with a mild climate, and an ok quality of life overall. Scholarship and TA opportunities, and a reasonable tuition rate. Currently: Tennessee residents: $12,724 out of state: $31,144

University of Oregon, MFA Fine Arts, Eugene, Oregon https://artdesign.uoregon.edu/art/grad/mfaA solid, growing department in a well-funded and growing state school. This department has decent resources, and generous facilities. Interdisciplinary emphasis, supported by practicing artists. Students are supported by nurturing faculty who are not art stars, but have solid careers. Eugene is a funny little former hippy town of people who have been coming here to drop out for a century, but it became hipster crafty like Portland. Scholarship and TA opportunities, and a reasonable tuition rate. Big funding available, some spots fully funded. Currently: Oregon residents: $16,659 out of state: $28,161

UCLA MFA Fine Art, Los Angeles, California. https://www.sca.ucla.edu/graduate/index.htmlUC system is Ivy League quality (of endowment anyway) and high degree of resources, resulting notable research, but in a public school. Excellent student body, drawing particularly from the state due to discount for California residents. Excellent facilities, and accomplished international faculty with a few youngish up-and-coming artists. Weather is LA perfect, that is, too hot and smoggy mostly, but blue skies. LA is one of the world’s art powerhouses along with NY, London, Berlin, and Beijing in terms of galleries, museums, audience and artists. This means that any recognition will be amplified to distortion levels. UCLA used to be cheap, 11k a few years ago, but it has increased quickly. TA and scholarship possibilities. Currently: $17,272 for California residents and $32,374 for out-of-state students.

Pacific Northwest College of Art Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies. MFA Visual Studies. Portland, Oregon https://pnca.edu/academics/graduate/vsUrban campus setting with great studios, and fantastic facilities. Motivated students who prefer alternatives to the NY-LA vortex. Strong visiting faculty, committed department heads, and mentor-based teaching that is very student-centric. This is an interdisciplinary degree of study, students choose to work across media. Notable is MFA is in Visual Studies and includes a written thesis, emphasis on content, and opportunity for dual major in Critical Studies leading to both an MA and an MFA. Oregon is absolutely stunning, with the windy coast and volcanic mountain ranges an hour drive from the city. It rains a lot, but in fact has less precipitation than some cities in the East coast. Portland has great food, is cheaper and less busy than other big cities, but has enough on offer to keep anyone busy for years. This is an up-and-coming school and degree program, gaining in reputation and prestige of the faculty, and starting to see alumni turn up in shows around the world. Students come from a range of backgrounds, but the common feeling is the willingness to create new tracks to success off the beaten paths. There are TA possibilities, and generous funding available for accepted students, but not fully-funded. Currently $34,279 per year

Cranbrook School of Art, MFA Fine Art. Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. https://cranbrookart.edu/departments/Storied history of US modernism in gorgeous campus setting. Great studios, and fantastic facilities. Very highly motivated students who go on to professional activities. Strong visiting faculty, and committed department heads. Like many schools, the department and degrees are divided by fairly conservative media traditions, painting, sculpture, photo, etc, rather than anything post-media, post-studio, or interdisciplinary. (This is a pity because most artists work across several disciplines these days.) Student results are highly accomplished, but perhaps because of the price-tag and lack of funding opportunities, the emphasis is on conservative and obviously “nice” art. Has been financially unstable for a few years, long-term faculty in other departments have been leaving. Potential for more cuts and instability that will affect educational experience. Inconvenient distance from nearest major city, Detroit, very boring and inactive, car-centric, suburban setting (a cloistered existence). Michigan has 4 distinct seasons, winter is too long, and summer is humid. Low risk for extreme weather events. Very expensive, not many scholarship opportunities. No TA possibility since only grad school. Currently $37,828 per year

Yale School of Art, MFA Fine Art, New Haven Connecticut https://www.art.yale.edu/aboutIts the ivy league, so this is privilege and power. New Haven is sort of sweet when you get to know it, but actually terrible when you stop and think about the weather, expense and depressing conditions of living. "Cohesive, investigative body of work" and an overall conceptual practice is emphasized, appealing to the top cultural sectors of the US and the world. Graduates have direct access to power in the form of top curators and galleries. Great facilities, and access to top resources across Yale. Top practitioners pass through, and highly accomplished artists as teachers. Downside to having successful artists as teachers as that they are usually too busy and self-occupied to teach much. Very connected to New York City via high-end professional tracks, although the commute is tedious. Very, very motivated students, but also demonstrating ugly entitlement that does not always match student abilities. Furthermore, even at the top, the funnel into conventional art career success is defined by scarcity, thus the majority of students even here at Yale are guaranteed failure (of the conventional career variety). The kicker and reason why people hustle to get in at Yale is the 5%-10% who win the artworld lottery, and make it big, unlike most other schools where the percentage is more like .01% or less. Extraordinarily expensive, but this rich school can hand out grants. Great if you can get in, and get funding, and win the lottery. Currently: $43,230 per year

CalArts, MFA Fine Art, Santa Clarita California https://art.calarts.edu/programs/art/mfaThis school, founded by Disney, has been connected to LA money since the beginning. It has a sky-high reputation, but the reality is somewhat less ideal with an absurd cost of tuition with negligible comparative results. The facilities are good, but not the best, even some state schools are better equipped. Faculty are shooting stars (how many burn out?). CalArts has made an obvious effort to hire a younger, more politically engaged, more diverse faculty. This should have the result of improving the relations with students, but since most students are among the most privileged in the world, there is a strange and slightly hostile disconnect between the newish faculty and the students. Nevertheless, students enter an extremely competitive environment, that claims to be meritocratic, but students are accepted into the art world power system via more privilege, and somewhat arbitrary trends. (Percentage of success vs failure situation is similar to Yale). Santa Clarita is a nasty little exit off the highway in the lost hills above LA. Traffic is hell on earth, but the recently functional train is functional if you are going somewhere near the stops. Weather is perfect except when there are fires burning in all directions. Outrageously, Prince of Monaco expensive. Currently $50,850

RISD, MFA Fine Art, Providence Rhode Island. https://www.risd.edu/academics/graduate-study/ This is the top ranked, and obviously a good choice, but only for certain people. Hard to get in, expensive, emphasizing making over thinking, direct paths into the art system (Whitney curators drop in, etc.) Skills are emphasized. Top facilities, studios, and faculty. Providence is cute, lots of flowing water and colonial era buildings, but also bleak, far too expensive, and cold (weather and people). Can actually walk around the city if you can afford to live somewhere in the center. There are some scholarship and TA possibilities, but cannot offset the absolutely stratospheric tuition costs. Currently: $50,960 per year

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