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Post-Bac @ MICA?


jk1978
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Hi all,

This has been a fantastic forum for keeping me as sane as possible throughout this application process. After going 0-6 thus far (my first time applying), today I received a packet from MICA. In the packet I found a letter that stated I was not admitted to Hoffberger or Mt. Royal. However, I was granted admission to the post-bac program. I just opened the packet about 30 minutes ago so I am still processing the info. Here's some background on me:

1. I only took one art course in college and majored in Economics.

2. I discovered art very late and since college I've pursued it with passion.

3. I'm now 30 and I've done the following: 4 solo shows, many group shows, some minor awards, acquired by small museum, directed a commercial gallery, curated several shows, published a book, etc...

I also applied to Rinehart Sculpture but the packet I received today makes no specific mention of a decision for them.

My work operates somewhere between sculpture, painting and drawing, with touches of photography and video. I feel like I am a worthy candidate of MFA programs despite not having an undergrad degree. I'm wondering if any of you have thoughts on the MICA post-bac or post-bacs in general. I will obviously talk with the admissions people at MICA, but is there a general view on post-bacs? Are they valuable in getting you into an MFA program the next year? Would I be better served focusing on my work for another year and not paying so much in tuition. They did offer a small scholarship, but not much.

I apologize for the long post and I thank you in advance for any thoughts/advice you might have.

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Well... I love no on the post-bac. It sounds like you have a good amount of experience in and out of the studio and schools love that stuff, but really it comes down to the work. post-bac are usually offered to people that do not have BFA (you) and the school thinks your work needs to grow a little more before moving on to an MFA. I think you money would be better spent to just keep working. Schools like MICA, RISD and SAIC love the $$$ They will most likely let you into the MFA program after the post-bac, but you still have to apply and there is no guarantee.

Depending on the program you already got into.. I would go with that or wait a year and try again.

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Though this may be unlikely, before you just give up on them, see how much you can haggle out of the financial aid department. If you've got nothing to lose than call them and say "well, I really can't attend unless I get full funding." Worst case scenario leaves you in the same position as you are currently..

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Thanks everyone for your feedback thus far. I've definitely thought about taking the negotiating course and seeing what transpires. Based on the program description, I feel pretty confident that I already know much of what they profess to teach. I think the biggest benefit would be the year of focused work in the studio and perhaps greater odds of getting into a program next year.

Any other thoughts?

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No advice here, but glad to see someone in a similar boat. I took zero art classes in undergrad, majored in Electrical Engineering, and have since had similar numbers of solo shows and a ton of group shows here and abroad. I also worked worked in LA as an illustrator and have been freelancing (but hope to stop soon).

I know what I missed out on from undergrad was the consciousness to produce a really cohesive body of work - however from all the experimentation I think my work is much stronger now. I oftenI see that common thread among the non-academic artists.

I'm a painter also dabbling in video - more animation. I applied to 3 top schools and one backup, was accepted by the backup, but am planning on moving to NY and working in the studio for a year. I'll figure out whether to just keep working in the studio or reapply to MFA's in NY in the fall.

Good luck! For what it's worth, the post-bac doesn't sound like it's worth the money to me. You could probably take 1/4 of that tuition, rent a nice studio, hit up the right bars, and buy drinks for whatever artists/profs/critics you'd like and get a similar education.

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I must say... I am impressed that the two of you seem to a have a fair amount of success within the arts without having much art background, and in painting at that. I know lots of engineers that end up doing new media stuff or going off to ITP.... so good job,

I have no way of knowing, but I know that a lot of these school, especially the top tier schools LOVE LOVE LOVE the postmodern, post-structuralist art school jargon. So read up on your Barthes, Saussure and Foucault and you will be fine... hehe kind of a joke (but not really)

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I really think you should skip the post-bac and spend a year doing your work in a private studio. Having said that, there are some things that you have to keep in mind and this is merely my own personal advice.

Before you start working away, spend a week analyzing and deconstructing your work. What are your personal strengths and weaknesses? Are you really good at drawing, painting, or designing. You want to make sure that your strenghts are highlighted in your work. Ask yourself if they are. Schools can tell.

You also have to question your medium and subject matter. Why are you using oil, or acrylic or whatever. Does it add to the work? or is it simply because you are used to it? Why is this the subject of my work? Then ask yourself, and this is probably the most important thing, Do I have technical mastery over my art?

Once you do that, work away twice as hard as you did the past year. Ask yourself these questions every four months or so and you should be in good shape. Either way, best of luck.

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I'm a painter also dabbling in video - more animation. I applied to 3 top schools and one backup, was accepted by the backup, but am planning on moving to NY and working in the studio for a year. I'll figure out whether to just keep working in the studio or reapply to MFA's in NY in the fall.

jasonsho: curious what schools you applied to and got accepted to. I am in a similar situation. Applied to 2, and wished I applied to more. Thanks.

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Thanks for the continued feedback. I am currently 90% against the post-bac opportunity. I just feel like I already have accomplished much of what they profess to teach in the program. And $28k can be spent elsewhere with more productivity.

Today I received a rejection from VCU Painting but the letter mentioned that I could apply for their summer studio program for free. It's an 8-week program and costs $5k. I live just 2 hours so this might be a better idea for me. Does anyone have any thoughts about the VCU summer program?

My current thought is to quit my job (as I would have done anyway) and put focused time in the studio and other short term programs like the VCU summer studio and residencies (off peak times when acceptance is more likely). I think this would allow me to save money (compared to the post-bac), build my resume and push my work forward. What do you think?

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My current thought is to quit my job (as I would have done anyway) and put focused time in the studio and other short term programs like the VCU summer studio and residencies (off peak times when acceptance is more likely). I think this would allow me to save money (compared to the post-bac), build my resume and push my work forward. What do you think?

I think if your job is very intense and you work late, it IS better to take a part-time job or something much more laid back, so you can focused on your art. I think this process of applying to MFA in a way has really pushed me in my art even without being in school. BUT, is it going to be easy for you to not work full-time? Many of the residencies deadline for Fall already passed, and even some of Spring's.

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I am sort of in the same boat. I am still being considered for the post-bac at SAIC. I realize that it is a big expense, but the way I look at it, it could be about the same price as doing a three year MFA at another school. I have been accepted to Art Center, which has a three year MFA. I am seriously considering taking the SAIC offer if I get it since it would be about the same price. SAIC was one of my top schools and from the research that I have found, they accept a large percentage of their post bac students into the MFA program. One year they accepted every post-bac in the program. Additionally, you could look at it as an extra year to be in an environment where you receive critical feedback from other artists and another year to network. Admittedly, a very expensive extra year. don't know... hard decision.

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I have seen many friends mull over a post-bac, none of them have done it, many now have MFA's but all of them had an academic background in studio art. Without a BFA or BA major in Studio Art (aka "formal training"), artwork is considered naive. I am sure it has been done, however, trying to shed the "naive" label via an MFA is a tough route in a very tough field. A MICA post-bac could get you into schools you dream of, but it most certainly will get you into school studying art. There can be a lot of bs in art classes, but with that experience under my belt, I can at least know how to sort through it and how to produce in the academic machine; how to work my ass off for back to back 3 hour classes, return and produce for another 4-6+++ hours that night, get the most out of my crit the next morning, then wipe it all down and start again. I am not assuming that you don't know this but I have painted both in and out of academia and there is a real difference. Knowing and experiencing fine art classes in academia first hand is extremely valuable to success at the graduate level. I never thought I'd hear myself advising someone to consider a post bac and I have been resisting from replying to this thread because I don't want to sound snobby. With little academic experience in fine art, you could benefit from a post bac and your work will improve exponentially. Just the vibe of being in an art school environment will get you moving in new directions. I am no expert, so take whatever you want from my opinion: I have learned a lot from my profs, my mentors, my friends, and my enemies in art classes.

atb

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Hello,

I am in a similar situation. I was accepted to Tyler's MFA program for painting and went to an interview at SAIC, where they recommended me for their post-bac program. I am having trouble deciding because I already have my BFA and one residency experience at The Vermont Studio Center. Usually, post-bac programs are for students with only ba/less academic art experience.

So, I know that Tyler's program is much more affordable, but I loved the students and faculty I meet at SAIC. I feel that it is possible that the post-bac program could lead to bigger and better things, but it is just such a large financial setback. I am torn 50/50! Anybody have advice?

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As someone who applied to Tyler Painting and was rejected, I can't imagine any situation where I would choose a post-bac over Tyler's program. Seems like a year wasted, in both time and money. I'm currently facing these options:

1. Post-bac at MICA

2. Waiting list at Cranbrook

3. Quit my day job and rent a studio for a year

Option 1 is a distant, distant third. I've only taken one 6-week art course in my life and even I feel that a post-bac can't offer anything comparable to what I've already accomplished on my own.

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