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Reputation vs Reality (MFA)


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Just wanted to get a sense of what people think of various programs. I know SAIC is highly ranked, but at lease around my school it seems to be living off its reputation more than anything. Yale also has a great rep, but from what I have heard... it deserves it. Hunter and VCU seem to be gaining more popularity recently.

So... what do you guys think of the programs out there... living off their past, or really great schools?

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I recently found out SVA offers no funding and is not non-profit. Great school or not, i desire to be free after school and not a slave to my loans which is what SVA would offer me. I see their grad students winning all sorts of awards as well as being published in annuals but... I would like to be free to pursue whatever direction I feel i need to pursue when i graduate and not get back to the daily grind just to pay back 120K in loans. I feel like the reality of it all is that BA or MFA it is what you make it. If they have willing instructors and you have drive it should be successful combination but the schools with better reps may open doors once we are all done with our terminal degrees.

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I have no idea how Tyler stayed so high in the rankings before moving to the Philadelphia campus. I attended there in the last years of the suburban campus, and the place was falling apart. Literally. A studio collapsed there. No one was hurt, but it really makes you wonder where the hell your tuition dollars are going.

I would say that faculty and your own drive are the biggest factors, but don't just accept somewhere without checking it out. Visit, ask questions. Don't take a website's word for it.

PS The new Tyler building is supposed to be great, and I'm sure they are worth the tuition nowadays. But 5 years ago? I feel bad for my fellow alumni.

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Seriously...I would highly suggest thinking about another school if people were planning on going to SAIC. The work that comes out of the program is generally pretty weak. of course there are exceptions, but for the amount of people they graduate (close to 200 MFAs a year!!!) the percent of "good" work is VERY low...

Also, while SAIC rules chicago (simply because most artists here have some affiliation w/ "the school"), Chicago is not the place to be if you want to "make it". it's a great place for cheap(er) rent, and has a pretty good level of events (galleries, lectures...ect).

I would be very weary to suggest SAIC, unless you received full funding...in that instance...do it to it!!!

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I could really use some input. Having studied in the humanities as an undergrad, I am not super hip to the reputation or realities of some of the nation's art schools. And, as a printmaker, I was looking for schools that were committed to printmaking and had not yet abandoned it or combined it with painting or something.

A good friend of mine who went to RISD as an undergrad and is at UCLA for grad school in painting was really negative when I told him I was applying to Pratt. Pratt was the only NY school I applied to. And low and behold, it is the only school I have been accepted to so far. I was waitlisted three other places (Tyler, UTexas Austin, and SAIC).

So, I guess I am wondering what is Pratt's reputation/reality for MFA in studio? And what about the other schools? Am I wrong in perceiving their MFA studio programs to be very structured/less independent? Hey, and if you know anything about printmaking specifically, all the better.

I am going to visit Pratt, but again, looking for the word on the interweb.

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