The quality of education does not fit the bill.
by Amanda Oliver
Whether or not this is an intentional scam, I cannot comment on. However, my time at Full Sail University has left me with a hodge-podge of projects somehow intended to be a portfolio, minimal connections in the industry and a boat load of debt.
I graduated from the online Game Design program in 2017.
I was told that this would be the most difficult thing I have ever done. It wasn't. I busted my ass in high school, taking as many advanced placement courses as I could, ending my Junior year with a 5.0 G.P.A. I was involved in multiple extracurricular activities and pushed myself for future success. I was told by my first advisor that there was a certain level of expectation that Full Sail had for their students. We would not have our hands held, and the tools for success would be given to us. I appreciated that sentiment because I fully believe that many things are made much too easy for people in my generation, and the idea that I had to push myself was enough motivation to go for it. I know the industry is competitive but I was up for the challenge and excited to start making connections with my fellow classmates.
The first year at Full Sail University seemed quite easy; however, what I did not know, was that they were altering the curriculum WHILE I was taking these courses. The group that I remained with throughout the course ended up receiving classes out of order. We did not have Programming Fundamentals when we needed it, which gave us a significant disadvantage for the rest of the classes we encountered. After discovering I should have had it 10 months previously, I started paying more attention to what classes we were being pushed into. Often times the syllabus would not match the course description, professors were not reachable nor did they unlock assignments for us on time. The rubric for several classes were poorly structured, with some set up to where it was impossible to earn any other grade than 100%, 70% or 0%. This set us up for mistakes we didn't even know we were making, as often times we would be penalized for things never mentioned in the instructions.
Had I not made such a close group of friends, I doubt we would have passed merely due to instructor negligence and poor class setup. I would spent countless hours in the online help labs just to grasp programming concepts that should have been taught to me months prior. The
aid that was helping me actually questioned why I had not taken Programming Fundamentals yet. That was a question I could not answer. Later that year a family friend took her life, so I requested to have 1 month off of classwork to grieve with my family. Upon returning the following month, I fully expected to have to take the class I had just skipped, and yet I was still on the same course path as the rest of my original classmates. The class that I should have taken ended up being completely removed from the course altogether. I then tried to reach out to my advisor to see why this was the case, but was told he had retired and was no longer working there. It turns out, they took the class out and added certain aspects of it to future classes. So then were my classmates ripped off having to take that class when I didn't? I didn't pay for the class, since I didn't take it, but they did. And yet we all remained on the same class schedule for the remainder of the program. It did not make sense to any of us at all. Additionally, I had 5 different advisors during my time at Full Sail, of which I only spoke to 3. I rarely had any follow up calls, and they did little to nothing to aid in the mess that we were continuously given each month.
After graduation, my classmates and I banded together and started an Indie company called Bad Panda Games, Inc. The University took little to no interest in our accomplishments. We ranked 3rd at the Terminus Convention in Atlanta for best game design document. When we notified the school, there was a tiny blurb down at the very bottom of the news page briefly mentioning it; while students from other courses were being praised for work requiring far less effort with huge mentions across the home page.
I am well aware you reap what you sow. But to make yourself seem like an esteemed University that requires you to "bring your A game" I was extremely disgusted and disappointed at how much they dropped the ball. I DID bring my A game, Full Sail did not. For a course that costs as much as this, they need to at least have the decency to place their students in classes that are in order, well organized, and well executed. Any excuse countering to that is pure idiocy and should not be taken as a credible source of information.