I've decided that I want to go back to school, and that I want to go to a dedicated art school. I want to do this and I want to do photography for the rest of my life. I don't want to have to keep the studio "on the side" and have another "day job".
This is a big leap in many directions for me. I have to give up my "day job" income and take out student loans. I have to step back into a world I thought I left behind - college and college students. It's like a step back and a step forward at the same time.
I'm getting flak and support from friends and family. Some think I don't need it and that I already have enough experience to create a business. Others think it's a fabulous idea and are really supportive. I want to learn from the best and be able to dedicate my full attention to it and not just what I can learn here and there from the internet and books. I want to study it fully.
Luckily there is an art school in my area - Ringling School of Art and Design, and I already have an Associates degree in graphic art/multimedia design. Some of my credits should transfer and be able to be applied to a Bachelors in Fine Arts.
It's going to cost me between $30k-50k a year to go back to school full time. Any of you that have a 4 year degree from a university? How much did you spend? Was it worth it for the field you studied?
I have an art degree now, but I'm not using it (photography wasn't offered as a major at my school). I know what I really want to do now. I've found my niche.
So, basically, what would you do? I don't have a mortgage. The only debt I have currently is my car loan. I don't pay rent since I live in a family owned house. Am I crazy to go back to school?
That is a tough decision. I think its a great idea, and I think you would flourish as a photg college student. You have the talent and the drive to be a great pro photog. My worries would be: your house, is there any chance that the family may need to sell it or start charging you rent? and the cost of college itself. imo, that sounds like alot of $$ per year on a college, but Ive never checked into an art school before.
My best advice is for you to listen to your heart and your instincts, mull it over for a while and think about all the positive and negative things.
I think you have amazing talent! Let us know what you decide!
it seems like a lot of money to me too, but from the research i've started doing that seems like a reasonable amount for a "good" school. I don't want to got to a trade or certificate school. I also don't want to goto and online or "chain" of schools like the international acedemy of design or University of Phoenix. I want to go to a 4 year, brick and mortar, art school. The real deal all the way. If I'm going to spend the money I want to do it right. No corner cutting. I want a school with some recognition for being good, not being available to everyone. It sounds snooty, even to me, but after having an associaites degree from a community college and not being well recieved because of it I know that the school makes a big difference in how you are viewed by other professionals. The upside to already having a 2 year degree is that my core classes like english, math, and science should transfer some credit and I won't have to take those again and will I'll save money there.
My guts tells me to do it. I just have to crunch all the numbers and really mull it all over. It would be, at the earliest, Fall 2010 before I could start, so it's a year out right now. I've got to find out if I can even get accepted to the school I want to go to, then figure out how I will pay for it. If I don't get in then it never comes down to the money.
It sounds like an area you would really be passionate about. I would suggest starting by filing a FAFSA and seeing wheat kind of student aid you might be eligible for. Sit down and talk with an advisor in the area of study and look over the current course offerings (are most of the classes during the day or in the evening? Is your schedule flexible enough to attend the classes?)... Also discuss what the univerisity/department does in the way of helping students get careers started and what percent of their students find work in their field upon degree completion...
After you have all that info under your belt, you will be a lot more confident in whatever decision you make. Good Luck!
Beth... mom to Andrea 7-26-97, Gavin 10-16-01, Kade 5-25-08 and Bentli Grace 09-09-09.
I've got my FAFSA in already and my EFC is zero. I should get about $5k a year from them.
I plan in leaving my current job to go to school full time. My first thoughts are to pursue more photo session bookings (i turn away at least 3 a month right now) and possibly look for an industry related part time job. School will be the first priority. Job will be second.
I'm looking forward to getting all the admission info and talking with someone at the school. I know once I meet with them I will have a much more realistic view of what can and needs to happen. I'm kind of off on cloud 9 right now thinking of the possibilities. It's very helpful to bounce ideas off of unbiased people in the real world and gather opinions. Thanks!
Lauren, it sounds like this is what you want to do, your gut is telling you to do it. You should do it. If you don't, you will regret it. Life is too short to have big regrets. Yes, the loans are a lot of money, but if you turn around and become an extremely successful photographer (which is highly likely, IMO), then you can pay that back. What does your DH say? Because he needs to be in your camp as one of your supporters, not one of those giving you a hard time. That support alone will make all of the difference. And because you already have some of the core classes under your belt, you might be able to pull it off in three years instead of four (especially if you do winter/summer session).
I did go to a 4 year university ... and I got my degree in physics. I have not done a damn thing in physics (and don't want to). I discovered computers too late during my time there (Internet Explorer came out my last year of college, I was online before there were browsers at all, and was fascinated by it all). But I ended up getting my Master's in Computer Systems, so I kinda made up for it there. I was in the military, and most of my graduate degree was funded by the military. So I can't speak from the experience of investing my own money into my education (my parents funded most of my undergrad, but it was MUCH less than you're looking to spend, including room and board, about $10k/year). I know I'm better off having the degree, but now I'm a SAHM ... enough said, right? Anyhow, since you asked about others with degrees, I thought I'd answer with my POV. That being said, I think that it sounds like something you need to do for you. And I totally understand the brick and mortar school, I'd be the same way.
Gwen, Mommy to Andrew, Jordan, Natalie & Jack
My blog - all things family, photography and crafty
I know I don't post here a lot, but I was a career college student until May so I think I have some advice, lol.
I say go for it! If you are doing it as a learning opportunity and not for the degree. I don't really think degrees matter, especially in art fields. I guess it would look good to other art photographers but I'm not sure that potential clients would even know the difference between a $50,000 a year education or a $10,000 one. Usually your portfolio speaks for itself. That said, college offers an opportunity to grow that you just don't get online or through books. I would love, love, love to be in your shoes! (after getting a design associates and poli-sci bachelors) I just couldn't afford anything like that since my financial aid has run out and I have student loan debt up to my eyeballs already.
You should definitely look into scholarship/grant opportunities besides what is offered through FAFSA. Check state and private sources. I know there are often opportunities for adults going back to school and things like that.
GL to you! You've already got your mind made up, the world just has to catch up to you
I have nothing to add, just wanted to give you my support. I think you are wonderfully talented Lauren and should pursue what's in your heart.
Investing in yourself and your education is never a bad idea. That said, $30 to $50K a year is a lot - private college lot, and honestly, a BFA is a BFA is a BFA. Meaning, when it comes to employment and paying back those college loans - you really need to balance the best education for the best value. Just because a certain college has a name (and high price tag) does not equal the best education. Make your decisions based on where you can learn and grow the most. In some places, you can get a BA from really great professors who fly under-the-radar, and pay a lot less money. Although, if you'd ever want to teach photography and the arts - you'll want that BFA and to continue on into an MFA program.
I can tell you that I finished my BA 13 years ago and am still paying for it. I think it was a great investment ... but not sure that I would have chosen private college now that I'm looking back.
Thanks for all the insights ladies! It really does help.