Saturday, May 24, 2008

Choosing a School: Why Question At All?

Students choose schools for all kinds of reasons. At the community college level, it's often based on proximity to home more than anything else. With four-year schools, it could be anything from geographic location to campus size to how pretty the campus looks to which school one's boyfriend/girlfriend is attending. It's easy to ignore the quality of the school.

Complicating things further, schools have a process set up where you have to apply to attend there, which immediately puts the prospective student in a position of perceived weakness. After all, you can't attend at all unless they say you can. If you are accepted, you should thank your lucky stars (because there's a line out the door and around the block of people waiting to take your place) and not ask any questions. Interviews for game industry jobs can feel similar to first-timers.

If you're a student looking at game schools, it's worth remembering a few things:
  • You're paying an extreme cost in time (4+ years) and money (more than a new car, unless you have really expensive taste in cars). It's one of the largest expenses you'll have in your lifetime.
  • You wouldn't buy a new car without at least kicking the tires and taking a test drive. You wouldn't buy a house without taking a tour and getting it professionally inspected. Do your due diligence the same way you would for any other big-ticket item.
  • Screw this up and you'll graduate with a degree that makes you unemployable. Or you'll drop out and owe tens of thousands of dollars in exchange for no degree. Think about your next steps after you're done with school, and realize that your options change based on your school experience. It's worth taking the time up front to make sure you'll get what you're looking for.

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