Always really hard to define the best school or the proper school for a specific person or for training best in any way. This is much because most of us have only been to one perhaps at most two or three schools out of a multitude of them. How does one compare or recommend the one school one has been to with one one has never been to other than it worked for me thus must be good verses didn't go to it thus in the one I went to being great the one not gone to must be substandard.
On schools, there has been lots of past discussions about this and other forums. If you really really want what's best for you, read all past postings and follow the past provided directions by way of advice in choosing a school many in the past have refined and stated.
What's best for me is not always best for you, much less in my own limited experience with other programs limits how much basis for expertise any of us has. How could I attest that say ISU has a better program than NIU even if it is a better program by way of my opinion? I didn't go to NIU, all I can compare is things I was trained in they at times it would seem were not and those coming from that program in getting it in comparision which is subjective in perhaps they get stuff I don't. Even Full Sail has advantages and disadvantages, I know one or two that took away from that school a lot of useful info and training they were there to learn. One or two people that came away from any school ready to go is a good ratio given the amount of schools in the industry. This granted there is still five of us from ISU where I work which makes a bulk comparison possible the now majority of those from NIU.
Was Illinois State University better training than my boss's education at DePaul, his assistant's education at NIU, verses our head crew chief's at Northwestern? Illinois alone in colleges there is lots of them with noted theater programs as one out of only 50 states also having programs. Wisconson has a few great theater schools way back when I was in school, Wisconson had some of the best programs in fact, so is perhaps I suppose Yale a good program one would think. McCandless
, Tipton and Rosenthal come from that school, nuff said. NYU, verses various California schools? What about some university verses conservitory in Ohio? This amongst many shining stars where I work that is the third school most come from - Ithica (Illinois) amongst lots of other places.
Darwin Ried Payne out of Southern Illinois University has written over the years many great books on theater tech, yet it's known as a party school and in discussing it's program, other members of the forum in the past did not recommend it this by way of graduate students getting in the way of both design and good classes. That's a valid point
even if debatable by way of the more graduate students in a program, the larger the program in keeping them busy thus the more classes in theater the undergraduates also have available. Yea, some grad student teaches a beginners class, that frees up a teacher to teach more advanced classes both grad and under-graduate now has available.
For me when I chose ISU (by way of girl friend going to Bradley also with a good program), U of I was the best theater program in Illinois and possibly still in theory is. Problem was in an absolute sense of in having so many students, that even if a great school for theater, your chances of getting the classes you needed was in serious competition and limitation. Good if you went to such a school, getting classes much less shows on the other hand
would prove problematic. Good school but not being able to get the classes you want? This of course as total polar opposite to my first college. Some local town college by way of which by way of a good high school training, in the first year I became a TD and could have gone far in hack design and being the shining star of the school. Will have learned some and gotten lots of shows under the belt, but it had only one class in technical theater - that was the extent of it as opposed to at least two a year per field in tech elsewhere. Is more classes better than more show experience? I say yes, but that's what was better for me in finding my time more useful in studying than being backstage and learning my cues.
Given my main teacher for design went to Arazona State, perhaps that was a better school, or perhaps in knowing some of the teachers at Columbia (Chicago) it's a good school. Have one bright and shinging star of a crew person that went to Lake Forest Community College or was it Lake County Community College, than dropped out before graduating. Forget which as it was a very limited program. She is on her way towards becoming a great crew chief also - more so by way of moving up thru
the ranks and having the aptitude for her career than actual in school training of use to her in the field. A few both in the upper management and crew chief level
that just did the avoidance of college thing.
School lack of it, or extent of it is a question of you. Chould chime in for recommending going to ISU or elsewhere, heck I wish I went to yale much less was still in school. Instead what served me well didn't for the same school serve amongst us from there in the same ways.
Your choice in school is all about you. What you take to and learn while there is also all about you. Do you need a more structured program with safety
net for you, or some part time school while working in the industry? What part of study is the intent to focus upon? How much classroom and assisting people experience is best for you verses show credits and experience with realized designs?
Lots of questions to answer, if only I could go back to school knowing what I do now. Not possible but a fond wish.