What School Should You Attend?

In most cases this is a very difficult question to answer because it’s highly depends on the individual’s own strengths and weaknesses along with their own financial stability. This article will describes what I find to be personally relevant factors which should be taken into account prior to making any decision.  Taking the time to look at as many factors as possible is very important since this can save a student several thousands of dollars and mean the different between paying off a loan within a year to over 10.

Educational institutions are first and foremost business oriented organizations which seek to make the most profit possible.  Please keep in mind, however, although this is the mindset of the more lucrative institutions this may not hold true for the teachers or management personnel that works most directly with the students. Often the quality of the educational personnel is a combination of the department culture along with their own motivations for joining this field. As such there can be quite a bit of variability in the quality of the teaching staff as well as the management.  What someone needs to know prior to taking a course for any institution, is whether or not the environment is toxic or proactive to the development of the student who’s applying. In certain countries, a large amount of the tuition is subsidized by the government and as such the majority of the funding cost is alleviated by the taxes payers.  While this help’s to ensure that education is more accessible to the average individual, this also results in educational decisions which are based on what would result in public approval.  These decisions as don’t always benefit the client so much as the institutions overall funding aims.

The first step is to decide which courses would most directly benefit your own preferences and goals.  Because there’s actually a fairly large number of careers which most students are not aware of I would highly recommend doing a descent amount of research prior to finalising any decisions.  For this article I will be using the list provided by www.studentartguide.com/articles/art-careers-List The list which is provided will act as a stepping point from which to begin any further research in the matter.  The next step is to make a list of what you enjoy, don’t like, skills, weaknesses and whether or not you’re doing this for the money.  Making this list will help you decided on a balanced goal of what you want to achieve prior to reading any more information on the courses which are available. Take careful note in what the starting salaries are for any given field since you’ll need to calculate how long it will take for you to pay off your tuition.  If you’re in High School I would advise you to try taking some co-op to get a better feel as to whether or not you’d enjoy a selected course.

Once a list of courses have been decided upon it’s now time to narrow down the scope of the schools in which you which to attend. Create a new list with all of the names of the schools and courses which you are interested in attending.  Factor in tuition fees with living expenses and what the expected beginning salary rate is so that you have a pretty good idea of how long it will take to pay of any loans. Now it’s time to begin assessing each school based on its departments and courses. Start looking at customer reviews keeping in mind that any information on their website is to be considered bias so secondary accounts are far more relevant. Always look at both the positive and negative reviews since both should always be present when searching for a good institution in which to attend.


***Red flags***

  • Are student complaints fully acknowledged and solutions implemented? It is unfortunate, however in certain cases students are sometimes belittled or threatened to keep issues quiet and this is not acceptable behavior.
  • Not finding any bad feedback about the school? The internet always complains about something, so if there there’s a lack of criticism then that may be due to strategies in removing or hiding this information.  This information is the most relevant because it often is a valid indicator as to what the environment may be like.  Keep in mind however the nature of the critique, if it isn’t written in a professional manner then it can also indicate a lack of maturity in the individual who’s making the complaint.
  • Does the course heavily encourage or require the purchasing of technological items which are biased towards any single company no matter their performance specs and reviews. This may be a sign of a conflict of interest which may stem from mid to higher levels of management. Make sure to see if there may be some compatibility issues and find out which technology is normally the leading factor in order to ensure that these requirements are indeed legitimate.
  • Nothing is ever included for free with any payment of tuition. I’ve seen many places of higher learning promoting that they would include hardware or software with the payment of their tuition.  This is something to be taken with a grain of salt since this often means that an exclusive contract has been negotiated with an organization and may not always result in the best value for the student.
  • Does the students receive their marks with a proper critique prior to handing in their upcoming assignments? A student should be able to look at the feedback they’ve received so that they can implement these improvements for future assignments. If the feedback is given past the midpoint of the following assignment, then the student will not have enough time to implement changes and reinforce this new knowledgebase.
  • Are there complaints about mis-management of the course? A problem which can easily become very problematic for the students is when there’s a severe miss-communication among the heads and the teaching staff. This is often a problem when teaching staff and heads haven’t fully grasped what educational requirement are most beneficial to the student populace.
  • Are due dates being changed or extended on a regular basis? This is normally a clear sign of mis-communication in the initial planning of the course outline.  Often this will result in deadlines overlapping each other which will only contribute to higher stress levels.
  • Is the teaching staff professional and do they arrive on time? A sign of professionalism in being on time and course schedules should always be organized to allow teaching staff enough opportunity to reach their destination within a reasonable time frame.   If the staff member is unable to do so with enough time then this is a clear sign of unprofessionalism.  Professionalism also includes treating every student with the same level of respect and making attempts to curb any inherent bias. Group critiques in which the staff members do not know who they are critiquing can often lead to a much more balanced marking strategy.
  • Will the student learn what they need in order to get the job? Although a teacher may inform their students that they require knowing certain software this may not always be the case. It’s highly recommended that the student looks into what the industry as a whole is currently requiring and what may be of value in the future. Soft wares and their interfaces are constantly changing and it’s very important to remain relevant in any industry.

Even after doing all of this research, not all of the information will always be available online. A great way to tell if an educational institution is best suited for an individual is to visit the department corridor 1 or 2 weeks prior to the end of the semester.  Tensions are normally high and sitting around in a public corridor a couple of times will allow a person to hear some interesting information on the school’s environment.   It’s also preferable to arrange for an interview on the same day so as to give a legitimate reason for a person’s presence.   Keeping quiet without any parents and just listening while not disturbing is the main focus at this point.

Choosing an educational institution is a very important decision which should always be undertaken with the greatest amount of care. I sincerely hope this has helped those of you who are interested or looking to find a physical institution in which to attend. With the accessibility of the internet it is worthy to mention that there are great options available online which can help those who are highly self-motivated.  These online options are normally best suited for courses which do not require any form of certification or can be used to help supplement an individual’s current curriculum. I which you all the best of luck and hope to see you guys again soon.



Yasmeen completed both the 2D and 3D animation course at Algonquin College and worked in the animation industry as a freelancer for a number of years before being hired to manage the 3D printing services at ItsYeBoi. While using the Alias of "Jenny" during her services, she was responsible for the testing, maintenance and upgrading of the machine while also filming and developing 3D printable assets for various projects.