College review by Diane Forman and Linda Kay, guest blogger
Pratt Institute is located in the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn, 25 minutes from Manhattan, and is the only New York City art and design school with a campus. It is ranked amongst the top ten art institutes in the country. The campus has 25 acres of greenery, trees, brick paths, and historic buildings. Art is an integral part of the campus, and Pratt contains a beautiful outdoor sculpture garden. The Brooklyn campus has a library, gymnasium, studios, and five residence halls, and is home to most of Pratt’s undergraduate and graduate students. Pratt’s location provides students with easy access to many museums, galleries, and studios in the area, as well as to Manhattan, with its abundance of commercial art galleries, museums and cultural activities.
Pratt’s Brooklyn site is home to most of its 3,000 undergraduate and 1,700 graduate students, and most students reside on campus. The student body at Pratt is very diverse and come from all over the United States and the world. Pratt has a second campus in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan that offers two-year associate programs, an undergraduate construction management program, and several graduate programs. Pratt also offers another undergraduate option at the Munson-Williams Proctor Arts Institute located in Utica, New York, known as PrattMWP. Students in this affiliated program spend the first two years of their bachelor of fine arts degree program in Central New York before they complete their studies at Pratt’s main campus in Brooklyn. This is a good option for students who are not quite ready for a city experience.
During the first year at Pratt, students participate in an intensive Foundation year, (the fashion department has their own curriculum), where they study Survey of Art I and II, and English. Students also take the foundation core that includes drawing, 3-D design, 4-D design, and a light, color, design class. By honing their skills in a wide variety of areas, students are better able to select their major sophomore year. Foundation Year is the most structured, and will be the most assignment-based year of the four. Students work extremely hard, as they take six courses per term, including a six-hour studio course. As a result, many students find themselves spending long hours in the studio at all hours of the day and night. Following the Foundation Year, students can choose from an array of majors including Architecture, Communications Design, Digital Arts (animation), Fashion Design, Fine Arts, Industrial Design, Interior Design, Film/Video, and Photography. There are also majors in Theory, Criticism, and History of Art, Design, and Architecture; Art History, Writing, and Critical and Visual Studies. Pratt offers Study Abroad options with exchange programs in ten countries. Fashion Design students can spend a year in Milan.
Students who apply to Pratt must prepare a detailed portfolio except for Architecture students with a GPA above 3.7, for whom it is optional. The portfolio should contain 12 to 20 pieces of two and three-dimensional work, and 3 to 5 of them should be observational pieces. The portfolio does not need to be major specific. Students are encouraged to draw every day, be creative, and use artwork that they do just for fun and are passionate about. Pratt offers portfolio reviews in advance of submitting work, which prospective applicants can utilize. The average accepted GPA of accepted students is 3.56 and SAT scores are in the mid-500 range. Pratt offers Early Action, and the deadline is November 1. Merit Scholarships are available and range from $5000 – $20000/year. All applicants to Pratt are considered, and awards are based upon the student’s portfolio, GPA, and test scores.
Pratt students benefit from a 10:1 student/faculty ratio. The faculty, who are practicing professional artists and scholars, are a big draw for students, and they are very involved with student success. Professors help students make contacts for their first internships and future jobs. Graduating seniors benefit from a career fair with an array of 500 companies who come to campus to recruit for potential jobs and believe that graduates of Pratt have received some of the finest training in their craft.
Pratt Institute is not for the faint-of-heart. There is a healthy sense of competition built into the culture, and students benefit from critiques of their work from their fellow students and teachers. Sleep and relaxation is at a minimum; students need to learn to manage their time in order to complete assignments. But it can be an idyllic place for a serious and focused student who is looking for a residential campus experience surrounded by a community of artists. Pratt Institute offers students a multitude of art and cultural events and experiences in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and the opportunities for internships and careers in their chosen field.
DIRECTOR: MAI M. GRAVES
WILLOUGHBY RESIDENCE HALL, FIRST FLOOR
LEVEL OF SERVICES: COORDINATED
Students with disabilities can register with disability services to receive accommodations and additional support. Pratt is dedicated to helping their students with disabilities as evidenced with a talented staff in the office of disabilities.
Director: Mai M. Graves
The director of the disability services works with the students one-to-one throughout the year. She reviews the documentation, provides accommodations, helps manage any issues and will advocate for students if necessary. Ms. Graves also works with faculty, educating them on the best teaching strategies for different types of learners. She believes students who know what services they need and actively seeking support will be successful. In addition, she is very open to communication with the parents.
Works one-to-one with the students teaching learning strategies and study skills. In addition, the current learning specialist has a degree in art history and teaches the students ways to study art history, a two-year requirement at Pratt.
Time Management Consultant:
Works one-to-one with the students to help with time management and organizational skills. This is very beneficial for helping the students learn how to complete their projects on time. In addition, he conducts three time management seminars during the semester.
Two tutors are part of the disability staff to help students learn the software necessary for various classes such as design and digital media.