Here are some commonly asked questions we receive often through our e-mails. Hopefully you can find some of your questions answered here through this section. Thanks~!!
Common asked questions about the school:
Q - Are CDA courses accredited?
A - All of our classes are non-accredited courses that are purely focused on foundation skill training and portfolio development.
We focus on training our students to build a strong portfolio, professional attitude and working network as they are the key attributes to help our students to start their careers.
Q - Do you require portfolio review for all your classes?
A - Our "Foundation", "Intermediate Design", "Digital classes" & "Monthly Workshops" are open to everyone without portfolio review. Only the Advanced Courses requires portfolio review for admission.
However, we do strongly recommend all new students to start with our foundational courses first as it is the backbone of our program that all the later classes build upon.
For your reference, please review our curriculum suggestion page to help you plan an effective order and focus in your art and design training:
Q - Do CDA offer a full time program?
A - CDA is operating under an "A La Carte" system where the students can have the freedom to pick and choose the amount of classes they want to take each term and with which teachers they wish to study under as long as the class is available at the time of their sign up.
Many of our students are current working professionals looking to further improve their skills. We also have many local college students and international students coming to train in specific design or foundation areas that their school might not offer of focus on.
Q - How many classes should I take each semester?
A - If you are a full-time working professional, we would recommend to only take one class per term as there are a lot of homework with each class taken.
If you are a dedicated student and wish to take classes at CDA as your full-time study, we recommend taking 3~4 classes as a comfortable work load to start with.
Once you are comfortable with 3~4 classes, then you can consider 5 classes if you are very efficient with your time management.
In general, we do not recommend anyone to take 6 or more classes.
Bellow is a breakdown of average homework (HW) time required for each class tier for your planning reference:
"Foundation" level classes = 8~12 hours of HW per week per class *
"Intermediate Design" level classes = 10~15 hrs of HW per week per class *
"Storyboard" focus classes = 15~20+ hours of HW per week per class *
(* = HW time will vary a bit depending on a student's drawing ability, time management, and ability to understand/resolve the HW assignment needs. Advanced level courses will typically require more hours as the teachers' expectation for quality are higher.)
Q - Do you offer job placement?
A - We do not offer any formal job placement program at CDA. All of our job placements are through personal recommendations from the instructors, school staff, or through the professional students you meet in the classroom.
In general, a job referral is something that have to earn through hard work, strong portfolio, and showing great professional attitude on every project the student take on.
At CDA, we ask all students who are taking the intro or intermediate design classes to treat their time in class as a job internship. The instructors teaching the classes are usually an Art Director or Senior Concept Artist in their respective studios and the student's performance in the classes will help build their work reputation to both their peers and with the instructors.
Q - Do you offer unscheduled walk in school tours or free sit-in's?
A - For students who wish to visit our school or meet with our staff, we recommend to e-mail us first at firstname.lastname@example.org to make a visiting appointment before stopping by.
We have a strict policy for no sit-in's for all of our classes and do not accept unscheduled walk in's for classroom tours or portfolio reviews.
Common questions from students new to art & design field:
Q - I am a new to art and I only have one year to train to get a job. What classes should I take?
A - Even though designing for animation, games or film can be a very rewarding career, it is also very hard work that requires a lot of training and dedication to be competitive in the field.
Realistically to do something well, it generally takes about 4~5 years to learn the craft. First year to learn the basics (your tools), second year to learn how to use it, third and fourth year to start to make it your own and create something good with it.
This skill can only be achieved through a lot of mileage and working hard everyday to perfect your craft. Unless you are already very well trained and just wanted to add an extra skill set to your career, one year is definitely not enough to learn the craft from bottom up. Make sure you reserve enough time to learn and set up realistic goals, so you don't set yourself up for failure.
Considering you will be doing this for the rest of your life, it is a good idea to invest in a solid foundation (your tools) to use everyday in your career :)
Q - There is so many things I need to learn, it is overwhelming. What should I start first?
A - If you are a new artist, consider learning in this sequence of priorities:
1) Learn how to draw (study and understand what you see around you and how to best communicate it)
2) Learn how to light and organize value & color (learn how the human eye sees and how to compose images)
3) Learn how to design (identify and creatively solve problems) & at the same time learn how to color and light
4) Learn specific production pipelines and working in teams (creating art direction or follow art direction)
(All the above can be learned through both traditional and digital mediums.)
Q - I only have a limited budget, what classes should I take first?
A - The more limited you are with budget, the more focused you need to be with your training and know what is your first career goal (first step).
Focus on the skills you need to learn to improve, even if it is the foundations. Jumping ahead too far in design or rush into building portfolio when your skills are not ready can often be very counter productive and eat up your budget with very little results.
Once your drawing, painting and design foundations are strong, it will be easier and faster to adapt to various pipelines and industries. Strong foundations will help make everything you create look good. Bad foundations will make everything you design look amateurish and unusable for portfolio.
Q - Will I master the skill by taking one class?
A - Each class at CDA is packed with information that the instructors have learned through years of production experience. It is not very uncommon for students to retake a class 2~3 times to fully adsorb the contents taught. Each time a student repeat the class, they very often will learn something new that they didn't noticed the first time.
Remember, taking a class do not mean mastery until you are able to freely use the skills taught for what you need. The only way to speed up that process is through working smart (use the teachers feedback to help see and work on your weak points. Take advantage of the resources available to you and learn from your peers) and working hard (through consistency and good work ethic).
Common questions from international students:
Q - Do you offer international student visa?
A - CDA is not an accredited school and is not qualified to issue international student visa. Most of our international students come study while using their 90 days visitor visa. As long as the student is not taking over 18 hours of courses per week, a student visa is not required under the standard US regulations.
Q - When should I contact the school for international student enrollment?
A - For international students, we have a different enrollment schedule and fee ($150 international student enrollment fee) to help the students secure their class spots before traveling over to the states. In general, we ask all international students to contact us 2 month before the semester start date so we can get the communication started.
We run 3 semester in a year and each semester starts on these timings:
- Spring term usually starts on the first week of February
- Summer term usually starts on the first week of June
- Fall term usually starts on the last week of September
(*** International student enrollment is created to help students who have to relocate from overseas in order to attend the classes at CDA. To qualify for international student enrollment, you will need proof of foreign citizenship and traveled to US within a month before the semester starts.***)
Q - Do you offer dorms at the school?
A - Unfortunately, we do not offer dorm service at CDA. But our location is situated in conveniently between two colleges, so there are a lot of apartment housing around the area.
You can find many of the apartment offers through Craig's List to help you get a feel of the apartment rental pricing and offerings around the area.
(For international students who have enrolled through the international student enrollment process and have paid the international student enrollment fee, we offer a blog service where current and past international students can communicate to find apartments, room mates, second hand goods, travel tips & exchange housing info.)
More FAQ to come in future month.... stay tuned~~!!