I am writing as a parent that has a son that graduated from Full Sail in June 2010.
We did our research on Full Sail, and many other colleges with Recording Arts majors. After visitations, and penciling out costs, Full Sail was indeed the best choice.
First, I would like to address the big complaint - tuition. My son went there on Federal Financial aid and student loans.
However, he was an honor student and kept his high GPA and qualified for school scholarships. The cost of his bachelor's degree was roughly the same as the cost of two years tuition only at an Ivy League School. However, this also included all books, class fees and a Macbook Pro.
Coupled with the fact that he obtained his Associates AND a BS in 20 months, I could eliminate 2-3 years worth of living expenses as opposed to a traditional college setting. I am not sure where or why people are taking out over 100k in loans for this school - I believe we paid around 70k total, 40k of that in loans.
The schedule is tough, but I am glad that it is. He worked hard on his classes, with his project groups and stayed true to his passion in music. He did have friends that went to class then went home and laid around, played video games, etc. Consequently, they aren't doing much right now in the industry with their degree.
Before graduating, he and some classmates went to New York to do some interviews and scope out options for living.
Actually, my son was the only one with interviews lined up, mostly because he took the time to find out who his instructors knew, or had worked for and spent a lot of time in the Career Development Office.
Having industry professionals as instructors can pay off if a kid is a good student and has an aptitude for the major they are in. He already figured out that he would be paying his dues in a studio as an unpaid or low paid intern for a while.
Upon his arrival to NYC, he had several offers of internships and chose the one that he believed would provide the best experience while still allowing him to work another job along with the option for permanent hire. He chose to intern with someone that is a pillar in the industry that owns his own studio and is operating and revamping one for a very high profile music mogul.
My son is still a low paid intern there, however, he works hard, is paying his dues and has been offered a job when his interning time is up. He busts his butt working full time and working full time nights in the studio. It's hard, but you know, LIFE is hard, and we need to teach our kids that the way to success is hard work and being willing to learn all you can.
For students that don't want to WORK, Full Sail is not for you. The industries they serve do not respect slackers or people wanting to work 9-5. They DO appreciate hard workers, and people that are bent on proving themselves.
A word of advice - if you want to work in the industry and you went to Full Sail - LEAVE ORLANDO. The industry folks there are sick of Full Sail students, not because of the school itself but because of the arrogance of some of the students approaching employers with "know it all" attitudes. My son worked in live sound in Orlando while attending FS, but again, was wise enough not to try to impress people by saying their equipment was crappier than what he had at FS.
Parents - coach your kids about the working world, hope they listen, then send them to the best place you think you can afford so they can fulfill their dreams.
Reply from The BestFilmSchools.com
I knew that Full Sail could not be so terrible. What took you so long? A mother who cares enough to promote her son's interest in music and give him the best chance at success.
You are going to be the best asset your son has or will ever have. Too bad other kids don't have that same support. I hope you have 6 kids.
I wanted my son to be a dentist. I was frightened to let him take a chance on film when the same money could have gone to the "For-Sure" route to a stable life.
With his finger's in peoples' mouths all day!
That's why I asked him to do a year's worth of research on film schools in the world that he would like to attend. He did so much work that I could see his passion and he won me over.
It was my own fear that was in the way but we learned a lot and it was not wasted effort. It was tough for me to let go and just support my son, especially when the costs were so high.
What is that worth today?
So, I'm 100% in. I have even started this website and learned how to build it as a way of showing the Kid that I am with him. He might need me as a stage hand in the future.
If I don't support and look after my son, who will? Absolutely no one.
I think your son will do very well but you underestimate what you give him. We need more of your kind in this world.
People who get ahead just do that extra thing that stands out from the average. Sometimes, I think it can be taught but if Parents are a certain way then the fruit doesn't fall far.
Your son is lucky to have you behind him and that may be his biggest advantage. We won't hear much from successful people here.
They just never come to a site like this and write about it because they are too busy being successful.