Insider's Guide - Academy of Art University

Insider's Guide - Academy of Art University

Recent graduate Ling Han, gives us an Inside Look at studying in San Francisco at purpose-based art and design school, Academy of Art University, where students develop their talents and acquire the specific skills sought by the creative marketplace.

Whether you’re already at school, looking to find a new school or even considering moving overseas to study, nothing beats hearing from the students themselves! We speak to Ling Han about the ins and outs of studying at Academy of Art University.

The Rookies - Academy of Art University
Since 1929, Academy of Art University has helped prepare aspiring artists and designers for professional careers by offering 135+ accredited degree options in more than 40 areas of study. Choose from animation and visual effects, game design and development, illustration, fine art, communications, f…

The Specifics

What’s the name of your school?

Academy of Art University

What’s the name of the neighbourhood?

AAU is nearby Soma, which is known for its mix of residential, commercial, and industrial buildings, as well as its art galleries, museums, and nightlife.

Closest train station or public transport option?

The closest MUNI light rail station is the Civic Center/UN Plaza Station, which is located about a mile north of the university.

How long have you been there?

My degree is an MFA, which is a three year Master of Fine Arts program.

Why did you choose to study here?

I watched a short film named Wishing Box, an Oscar-Nominated Shorts in 2019, made by students from AAU. After seeing the film, I looked the school up online and noticed they offered Animation classes that Pixar Animators come to teach. That, and the amazing short movie, were the two reasons I chose to study at Academy of Art University.

What advice do you have for students thinking of studying for your degree?

Reach out to current students and alumni to learn more about their experiences in the program and how it has helped them in their careers.

Be prepared to study hard: Pursuing a degree can be challenging and require a lot of hard work, so make sure you are prepared to put in the effort needed to succeed.

What is your greatest takeaway from your studies so far?

Through the guidance and support of the instructors and resources at AAU, I was able to develop a compelling portfolio that helped me secure my current job.

The Scene

The first thing you see when you walk outside your school?

I usually see other students walking into the 180 new Montgomery building for classes, as well as city residents and visitors going about their daily routines. The campus expands around the city, so it is very easy to encounter street performers, food trucks, and outdoor art installations.

A mandatory stop for anyone new to AAU:

It could be the university's Urban Knights Cafe. Located at 655 Sutter Street, the cafe is a popular spot for students to grab a coffee, a bite to eat, and socialise with fellow classmates. The cafe offers a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, and serves a variety of coffee drinks, pastries, sandwiches, salads, and snacks.

Your school is great, but you wouldn't mind a bit less:

The Academy of Art University offers housing options, but they can be relatively expensive. Consider looking for off-campus housing options, such as apartments or room rentals, that are more affordable. You can try searching for available options through online rental websites or local classifieds.

The unofficial uniform of your school is:

I actually don’t know lol, just wear wherever is comfortable for you, but keep it casual!

What clubs or extra-curricular events are offered at your school?

I remember AAU has a variety of club and events, as an animation student, I highly recommend Tea Time Animation, the club members invites guest speakers from industry professionals and each week has different topics, either related to your study or career.