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URGENT!!! Gain Vs Lost @ CalArts

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URGENT!!! Gain Vs Lost @ CalArts

Dear All,

I would like to seek some advise on my career/ education path. I have been accepted to CalArts- character animation BFA1, Fall 2005. Unfornately, I now face financial difficulties and could only afford to study there for 1 year.

1) I would like to know what gain I would have if i go only for 1 year. (I have already got a bachelor of Fine Arts degree in my country. So, I am afraid that I will be learning the same stuff in my first year at CalArts with all those basic stuff, even if exemptions exists.) Would i have a better chance to be hired as an animator if i have that 1 year of education at CalArts? or would i be not much different from what i am now?

2) If i don't go, what would i have lost?

i guess that will be all. I need to make the decision promptly. So, if you can, please reply asap please.

thanks so much.


Don't take this as concrete, but to my knowledge CalArts is very protective over the cumulative nature of their program, so the odds are pretty slim that they'll let you knock off courses anywhere, even from the first year. Many majors allow transfer students but to my knowledge the character animation program there is not one of them.

What you gain by going and what you lose by not going is essentially the same thing. CalArts is a very reputable school and machines out very production-oriented people; they also are selective in who they accept as more or less already kicking butt, so congrats on that by the way. So with that single year people will know you have started on a good foundation for your skills, and you'll have a chance to meet a variety of individuals and groups that can expand your opportunities to be expose to new art and perhaps a new avenue for your future development as a career artist.

What you'll hear around here, and repeated most anywhere, is that knowing your school helps people to know how you've been conditioned and how your theory training was structured. Beyond that, it's throwaway compared to the talent you display on your eventual demo reel.

If you had the money, I'd say do it because it's definitely a life experience not everyone gets to have, but if you're plagued with financial difficulties on the -academic- side yes it is positive and fruitful creative surroundings but it would almost take going there to find out exactly how big of a difference it would be from what you've dealt with so far. Even there though, if you have pre-existing skills it never hurts to continually practice them. In fact most people would encourage it.

What is the BFA in?

Dear Scattered Logical,

Thanks for your prompt reply.

My BFA is in fine arts as a general. We don't have a major in painting, sculpture, or photography. Basically, we do everything, bits of everything, incl history and chinese painting. So, you can say i am very talented or you can say i am not professional nor specialized in anything. ha! so sarcastic.

Anyway, I now have another idea. My financial situation won't be so bad if i start working now, say for 3 to 5 years. After that, if i re-apply again, do you think CalArts will accept me? I know you cant say since no one knows how competitive the students will be by then. But in my case, if i turn down CalArts this time, i would have turned her down twice. (I declined last year too, when she aceepted me bcoz i had to finish my first BFA in my local country first) Some people say if the school wants me, she will always want me. Is that true?


Hey Monica-

I'm not a Calarts student, but I've talked to a number of them, especially in their first year. Many of the students who are first year students at Calarts already either have a previous degree, or a substantial number of college credits already, and although the character animation program doesn't really allow for transfer students, they will review the classes you have taken and the degree you have received to see if you can avoid taking foundation classes (liberal arts classes, basic design classes, etc.). However, the nature of the first year classes at Calarts are a bit different from your typical art college, because as ScatteredLogical said, it's very protective and cumulative as far as how their classes are structured. Rest assured, however, that you will learn many things that you haven't already learned, because first year students start animating almost as soon as they're enrolled.

On a side note, have you tried for financial aid? For an international student, it shouldn't be too difficult to find some sort of aid because schools are always looking for a diverse student body. Also, see if your home country has opportunites for those students who are studying abroad. I don't know if the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid-- a U.S. thing) is good for International students, but it's always worth a try.


Dear moot,

thanks for your reply. I don't know much about financial aids. Can you tell me more about it? such as where i can find them? which are less competive? and those international students are eligible for?

I also want to ask if you guys think CalArts will accept me again if i have declined it twice? Would she doubt on my sincerety to study in the school?