The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago
350 N. Orleans Street
Chicago, IL 60654
Tour Your Tomorrow at Our Open House on March 29th
Where do I start?!?!?
In 2009, I transferred from a university thinking that this school would provide better opportunities. Four years later, I am still TRYING to finish my Bachelors Degree of Fine Arts in Interior Design, but the fact that this school is all about MONEY makes it extremely difficult. Their motto should be “MONEY OVER EDUCATION.”
Their admissions directors get prospective students interested by telling stories of past graduates and giving tours of the classrooms full of hard-working students. What they do not tell these prospective students is that, “Yes, we produce graduates but they have to pay a hell of a lot of money to endure tons of B.S!”
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that education is a very big investment and as long as I am getting the quality education I deserve, I do not mind. I thought I had done my research on every aspect of this school, but I soon found that to be short-lived. Shortly after I transferred in and before I could even begin taking classes, I started facing issues with the Financial Aid Department. I knew that by attending a private institution that I would have some out-of -pocket cost. I soon learned that scholarships, academic funding, and other funding was very limited or not available at all. Your only financial options are either private loans or the financial plan. Well everyone knows how extremely hard it is to take out private loans especially if the only bank that’s affiliated with the school is Sallie Mae and we all know about Sallie Mae. My financial payments started out as low as $156/month and are now up in the $1000s/month. It does not stop there, they have to make a profit so they charge a percentage on your balance. Most of the Financial Planners are clueless!!! The school assigns an F.P to every student which changes more often the it should. The Financial Planners take tons of training courses just to read off of a computer screen. I have had a incident whereas an F.P forged my signature on important documents and wasn’t even disciplined for their actions. Every quarter it is something new!
I wish I could say that the education itself is all the ILIAC has but that is slowly going out the window with everything else. As far as the Interior Design department goes, there are some great teachers that have great knowledge and years upon years of experience. Teachers who are still working in the field and really enjoy teaching as well as helping students. There use to be a lot of great teachers until a year ago, the company that runs and operates the ILIAC decided they needed to do “budget cuts” and get rid of a lot of other great faculty members. What I can not understand is how the company could afford to update the aesthetics of the school, but could not afford to keep quality teachers. Basically, my tuition pays for flat screen televisions, carpet tiles, limitless quotes on every wall. When I began taking classes, every class was filled to capacity. Now, there is barely a handful of students to take a class. Therefore, classes are being eliminated and students are forced to take classes outside of their sequence.
My advice to prospective students, high school and transfer students especially, is not to believe the hype! Everything the ILIAC has to offer is to make themselves look good. I recommend attending a university or an accredited institution.
I can not totally down the ILIAC, because I have had great opportunities come about by attending this school. I have met wonderful people as well as have the chance to work with very experienced teachers and professionals.
All I have to say is that in life there are evil evil people who don’t care about you. sadly in some cases, money rules corporate corporations who only want one thing from you. Money. I went to this school for a few quarters and it was probably the best decision I ever made. Why? Because it was a huge mistake that I learned from and I hope to share my mistake with others so they don’t do what I did.
This school is absolutely garbage, some teachers do care about you and they’ll push you and you kind of feel bad because they should be teaching at. Better school. The computers in the school arent even the schools computers, they have stickers that say they are rented. I always like to look at the small details because that’s where you find the bigger picture. I am not one to put peoples dreams down but this school gives you a lot of broken promises. They’ll tell you that you’re going to be an artist. They’ll tell you that youre going to be the next big designer. They’ll show you few of their alumni that actually turned out to be successful and they’ll post their faces everywhere even though, the alumni graduated 10 years ago.
A lot of students that go there just fly through the hallways thinking they’re the best because the teachers expect so little from them. With mediocre work, you can get an A. In the world of art, there is a business side to things which this school fails to show you. For a while I took a intro to web design class and we didn’t do anything. The teacher couldn’t answer my questions and she constantly said curse words. It is a very corporate school and its students are money machines. They don’t care about your education. Their Facebook page blocked me because I suggested that they get somebody to design their Facebook content. Believe me when I say this. don’t go here.
If you want to go to school for art, go to a university or a well known school. You’re better off paying more than having a education that will get you nowhere. Also, when I would tell people I went to this school, nobody knew about it or heard about it.
Either way, I’m at a better school now, I’m doing great. My life is on the right path.
it’s horrible to feel like you’re wasting your money. it’s impossible to write anything about education and not evaluate it in terms of waste of funds or worth the cost.
i had such low expectations going into this school, and even those were disappointed.
when i think about my time there i want to stab my eyeballs out.
mostly, i felt sorry for all the other students there who were doing so poorly and never would be hired in their chosen field. i felt horrible when instructors acted unprofessionally and almost shunned the really bad students.
for anyone who really wants to be hirable please put the time and effort into attending a more selective university. i want to say a “real university,” but that just sounds smug.
i hear that the ai schools are a crapshoot. some may be better than others. when i last attended this one it had a long way to go.
Goodness, where do I start. I currently am enrolled in the culinary arts program and I swear the money spent on this place has been completely waste on WHO KNOWS.
I come back to school today for summer quarter to find flat screen 42 inch T.V.’s all around the entire school main and loop campus!! what the hell? my $40,000 a year put towards this school is spent on useless decorative objects and new picture wallpaper. They should be using the extra money on ummmm.. better more new experienced chef’s, updated computers, how about a health club membership???
The more I think and talk about it the more I start to get a little pissed. I don’t like to think about the money I’m wasting so much.
I have always wanted to go this school, I swear the most helpful staff is my counselor, they help me out more than anyone! On top of that they’re kind and polite, they have ALL the info on everything, it’s quite impressive. But the chef’s are anal, rude, sometimes judgmental, and some are full of themselves. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of them are also sweet, very helpful, and are wonderful teachers and I get we’re suppose to have experience and be pushed to are highest limits. But wtf are all of paying you for?? To listen to your smart ass comments and sarcasm? I know how to cook, and I swear I know much more global cuisine then all of them, what they get it from text books? Give me a break. One “good” chef called a Chinese steamed bun a “Chinese Sandwich”. I asked my mom if Chinese culture has a sandwich, she said “what??? we don’t have sandwiches…” I Stared at him with my eyebrow raised for I swear the longest freaking time.
This school, I mean all I got to say is W…T…F… are you doing???? What happened??? I wanted to come here for years and years all throughout high school and my couple years wasted in community college. Sometimes I wish I would have just stuck it out at the community college a little longer for their new culinary program and building just to pay less than half of what I’m paying now here.
There’s so much more I can say but I’ll keep it shut… for now.
If I had a time machine….
This was the biggest waste of money ever. Everything having to do with this school is a rip off. Almost everyone I knew that went here (including) myself transferred and went to a REAL school. I wish I had yelped this place before giving them any of my money. I thought if I went here I’d be able to get a degree in fashion marketing and actually go places with it. I was here for about year before I saw that it was a road to nowhere, and a waste of time because I wasn’t really learning much. Trust me, you’re better off going to a real university or a real art school like Columbia. This place will rape you out of your college fund and give you bogus credits, half of which won’t transfer. And if you do for some reason choose to attend this poor excuse for a school, DO NOT do student housing! My roommate and I paid $2000 together a month for rent (via student housing at Presidential Towers( you can probably get a 3bdrm apt there for that!) who gives the students the crapiest apartments they have! We got a tight studio with outdated appliances and filthy, hard carpet. They put us right by the garbage chute so the smell from the garbage would seep under our door and stink up our apartment, along with the smell from smoke…. Because of my bad decision, my graduation date was set back and I’m still trying to catch up!
I wouldn’t recommend this place to my worst enemy… or would I?
Our minds can deceive us, and we can convince ourselves that this really IS what we want; that having a degree is what’ll catapult us into happiness, fortune and a better life. At least, that’s what I tricked myself into thinking. I told myself that having a degree is what I “needed” next, that there were no other options, career paths or things for me to do.
Like many others, I trusted the fashion design program to prepare me for what I wanted to do with my life. I was paying thousands of dollars a quarter for an education I thought would be worth it – and I’m a questioner, which means in order for me truly learn, I ask a ton of questions.
Well, a lot of teachers there don’t really dig that. They don’t like it when you take up their time asking questions. Most teachers only explain something once and expect you to get it right away. (Sewing 101 – Mrs. O’shea doesn’t really care about you, and will not repeat any instructions. I’m not completely sure why she’s there.) While I was getting A’s and B’s, I felt completely ripped off. I came out of patternmaking 1 knowing absolutely nothing, having spent the last 10 weeks in a classroom with a teacher who said, every class, “I hate this industry. If I could do my life over again, I wouldn’t choose this field.” or “my boss is punishing me by making me teach you guys. I’m used to teaching students who know what they’re doing”. Not the best learning environment. Oh and be aware that these are quarters. You don’t have much time, just 11 weeks to learn a TON of stuff. Most of it you only do once and they expect you to remember it for life.
Listen. Before you decide to invest in this art school, I strongly advise you to think about everything you want in life. Is your passion in fashion? Interior Design? Graphic Design? I mean, is this what you see yourself waking up and doing every day? Do you want to travel, go to Europe or backpack somewhere? Because I think these are important things to consider before you invest thousands of bucks into a program here. What happened with me was that I returned for my fifth quarter, made it through one week, and my gut/mind/heart was telling me that I couldn’t do it anymore. It turned out that I really wasn’t into the fashion degree program, and I knew there was something else out there for me. A few weeks later, I got my dream job: Flight Attendant.
I really, really want to stress to you that there are a lot of things you can do on your own. You don’t need to spend all that money for a 11 week sewing class, when you really, truly could watch you tube videos and get a textbook. Same goes for Patternmaking, draping, and fashion sketching. try it on your own, and make sure you design things before you go into this program. I discovered that I love to create, sew and be crafty, but I actually could never be in that industry. Plus, I felt like I wasn’t learning anything.
A degree is just a very expensive piece of paper, and if you are determined to get one, please consider other schools.
I hope this helps, and if I can relay anything to you, it is Follow your gut. Follow your dreams. I took a huge, huge risk and withdrew from school with no job, a newly signed lease, $36,000 in debt (after four quarters) and I got the job that I feel like I was born for. (flight attendant) It is a big world out there, and I really want you to explore it.
Here’s some advice for anyone thinking about enrolling here or at any other school: take some time and do your research because you will be making a major investment in time and money. The thing I noticed immediately about this listing is that the school has paid for a premier listing so that it gets featured at the top AND that a a few of it’s own staff members have posted ratings for it (Paul M. and Elizabeth V. are admissions directors at the school). Ai is a chain of corporate-owned schools and this is certainly a business. Ai has locations across the country which are owned by Education Management Corporation, a publicly-traded corporation. So their allegiance is to stockholders, not students. Ai’s Chicago location (known as The Illinois Institute of Art) cannot call itself The Art Institute of Chicago because there is already a school by that name, SAIC, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (also known simply as the Art Institute) is a very prestigious art school, so please don’t confuse it with The Illinois Institute of Art. The Illinois Institute of Art will accept just about anyone, and most of the students there were suckered in by the admissions (sales) staff. The majority of their students were underachieving h.s. students and some of them even have difficulty reading. My caution to you here is “buyer beware.” Do a little Googling and read up on for-profit colleges before you set foot in this place. Check out the art programs and financial aid packages at UIC (University of Illinois at Chicago) and other local NOT-FOR-PROFIT colleges.
I hate liars, and what’s more, I hate liars who deceive you at the same time.
I transferred to the ILIA after two years at the University of Wisconsin where I completed my associate’s degree. I came to Ai thinking I wanted to someday work in fashion and perhaps open up my own business. As time progressed, I changed my career path and wanted to focus strictly on marketing and advertising; but found myself stuck, literally, in my fashion marketing and management program.
After three quarters at Ai, I started to notice I wasn’t getting the education I was promised or deserved. Professors seemed to know little about what they taught, exams and essays were BEYOND easy, and I never felt challenged. With this in mind, I went to my admissions officer and notified him I was interested in transferring to Columbia and joining their communications program. My advisor, Tim, told me that none of my credits from Ai would transfer and that at this point (three quarters in) I should just finish at Ai. My advisor lied to me, I could have transferred and all but ONE of my classes would have moved over with me.
Furthermore, after graduating I learned that Ai has a policy where they only hire professors who are industry experienced. However, that experience only has to be ONE day in a given field for them to be considered “experienced”. No teaching certificate and little experience equates to a poor class experience. A professor could literally work at Forever 21 for a day, quit, and say he or she has fashion industry experience. This makes perfect sense because although some of my professors were remarkable and had a positive influence on me and my career path, the majority of the staff were under qualified and under educated–unable to answer the questions my classmates and I challenged in class.
The Art institutes are a for-profit school and I urge anyone interested in applying to or attending this school to dramatically reconsider. After $60,000 in student loans, I am left in debt and without the education I was promised.
For more information, read up on Education Management Corporation, a for-profit institution located throughout the United States.
For those of you who don’t know, a for-profit institution’s first goal is to take your money, make profits, pay professors, advertise, and THEN teach you. Whereas not-for-profit institutions do things in reverse.
I strongly advise you to stay away.
I do not regret my investment to attend this college because I did learn tons.
However, I do feel that I got cheated on about 4 or 5 classes due to the staff. Several of my professors in college had “personal issues” that basically left the class paying about 1,500 for nothing more than to be “handed” an A for learning absolutely nothing.
For example, one of my teachers was losing a parent at the beginning of my quarter (11 weeks), instead of getting a sub for the class; she tortured herself by trying to teach during this difficult time. Which basically resulted in dismissing everyone only15 minutes into class which is normally 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Handing an entire class an A is not helping or preparing us for graduation and is DEFINITELY not part of a higher learning curriculum that this school boasts.
In my opinion, there is a HAND FULL of teachers at this school whom are competent enough to be teaching toward a degree which probably surpasses their own education.
They seriously need to change their name–the current name confuses people into thinging it is the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, which it is not. It is nothing more than a for-profit school.
I currently attend this school as a Fashion Marketing and Management student and I really do enjoy it. I skimmed a few of the other reviews and everything is pretty much based on tuition. So far, I think it’s worth the money you put into it. Though there are plenty of negatives about this school, there are equally as many positives. The teachers are very knowledgeable and have experience in what ever major they are teaching in.
The things I hate about this school is the Financial Aid dept. and the gen ed. classes. Financial Aid is a complete mess and charges you for things that you have no notification of so make sure you keep up with everything in that department. no joke. Gen ed classes are dumb. I recommend taking those classes at a community college or something.. it would save you a lot of money too. I’ve notice the dumbest people in a few of my gen ed classes and I can’t believe they even got into this school. Seriously.. you don’t know how to calculate perimeter..?? Yeah it’s an art school, but EVERYONE should know how to calculate that before entering college. REALLY! perimeter?!??? I learned that in grade school.
This school is accredited unlike many other specialty schools. The faculty is incredibly helpful, and the art classes are educational and you learn the skills you need once you graduate.
I have a really big issue with people rating colleges based on tuition. News flash: Unless you come from extreme poverty or want to attend a school with 30-60 a classroom, you are going to pay for it.
AI focuses on the arts part of learning, not the gen eds. Their philosophy is based on the fact that artists should learn valuable skill sets, not how to algebra (unless it is needed for the job, like an interior designer using AutoCAD). Check out some of their graduates-they work for Disney, Michael Kors, CNN….you get out of it what you put in. If someone is creative in nature, they may not be the cookie cutter college student. Expect some differing personalities and backgrounds.
They do require portfolios for some of the media degrees (now-maybe not when others were here) and every student is reviewed by a committee of faculty members ONLY. So, admissions may encourage them to apply, but they have no say in the final decision on admission. The people in class are chosen by the very well versed faculty.
The school is regionally and nationally accredidated. They were not always that way but most “trade” schools are only nationally. AI is not a trade school. The faculty is awesome. I can list out where they came from and what they are good at but I really should not have to.
The school has made some significant changes in the last 5 years. Goldman Sachs is a major stockholder (started 3 years ago) and since then, the culture has significantly improved. Besides-with so many stuck up schools in Chicago, I think it is a breath of fresh air to have a school look at what students COULD BE with instruction, rather than judge them so harshly and require portfolios for everything. What kind of encouragement is that for people who love it-but are not sure how to do it yet.
Every school will have a few people you won’t like and along the way, it may even cause you to go a little broke. But that is college life.
Check out what one grad says…
I’m a current student who also graduated with an associates in graphic design in 2001. I came back to save credits, hoping the school would have grown and improved. After one semester, I am so disappointed. They DO let anyone in. I think it’s true that you can learn here but you’ll have to teach yourself for the most part. It’s just poorly run and it’s run like a business, not a school. Sales, sales, sales. It’s really too bad because they COULD have a much better school. Some of the teachers are really talented people who really do care. You can get a lot of information out of them if you want it. The resources are all there, the administration just spends so much time trying to bring in new money, I mean, students, they spend no time on the current ones. They don’t have a quality product. I wish they did.
I’m just there to get the piece of paper with the BA on it so I can get a flippin job.
PS – If you are a student here, audit your own financial statement often. I just found $3 grand worth of overcharges. I doubt it was intentional, they’re just sloppy.
AND THE WINNER IS…