So you’ve decided that you want to pursue a career in audio engineering, and are thus, looking into the vast array of audio engineering schools. With a large number of schools dedicated to the profession, and even more schools with an audio engineering major and courses, it can be rather overwhelming to decide which of the schools will be best for you and your future. While we can’t decide what school you will attend, we can give you as much information as possible to help you choose the best of the audio engineering schools considering your needs and interests.
When choosing the school or college that best suits you, there are a number of different items that must be considered. These various items should at first be broken down into the most basic needs. By first focusing on the primary necessities, the process of analyzing the many audio engineering schools is facilitated tremendously. With so many schools in the United States, and worldwide, its easy to be overwhelmed, and thus, its very important to eliminate those that you’d never be able to attend in the first place.
So you ask… what basic essentials should I consider first? That question may seem simple, but when seeking out a school that will be the best to helping you step into your LIFE-LONG career, its actually quite intimidating. However, we’ve broken down for you the absolutely basic yet important determing factors in choosing the school that is best for you. These determing factors include location, cost, size and facilities, reputation, and specialization.
Location: When choosing any school, university, or college, its critical that one considers location. You have to ask yourself one question. How far do I want to travel to attend one of these schools? Do you want to live at home to cut costs? Living at home may be an excellent option if possible in that it will save you money. However, it also takes away from the networking possibilities that may surface while dorming. Maybe you want to move to another part of the country? If you live in, for example, North Dakota, and want to attend IAR or SAE in New York, you will have to take into consideration living arrangements, and how often you will travel home. While some students are able to establish a maximum distance they are willing to be away from home, others may not have that luxury, and thus, must determine whether pursuing an audio engineering career is even possible.
Cost: The financial determing factor may at the surface level seem simple in the decision making process. However, one has to examine a variety of elements in the financial costs of attending an audio engineering school. For example, do any of these audio engineering schools offer scholarships? Are there government grants available that will help you in paying for school? What kind of loans are available to me? Private student loans? Government student loans?
Will I be able to consolidate these student loans at any point in time? Obviously scholarships and government grants are the ideal financial options available. However, they may not be available to you, and that is when you must consider student loans. Government student loans are generally far superior to private student loans, and I’d actually try to avoid private student loans as much as possible to avoid ridiculously high interest rates upon graduation. Finally, another option to consider is working while attending the audio engineering school of your choice. However, with that option, you must consider if there will be time to do so.
Specialty School vs. Liberal Arts/University: Are you looking to attend a school that specializes strictly in audio engineering, or would you like to attend a school that offers a wide range of majors? While schools that specialize strictly in audio engineering often offer more access to high end studios, as well as networking opportunities, they are also limited in terms of career options. What happens if you go to one of specialized schools, and then find out you made the wrong career choice? What will you do then? Liberal Arts Colleges and Universities may offer this safety net option, but they generally also limit you in terms of networking options, and leave you working with inferior equipment.
Reputation: Lastly, you must consider the reputation of the audio engineering schools in which you may be interested. Surely, you don’t want to spend thousands of dollars, or drive yourself into debt attending an audio engineer school, only to find out that it has a poor reputation that greatly affects job placement rates after graduation. The goal in attending one of these schools is to graduate, and start your career, and thus, its important to find a school that is well-respected in the industry.
Now that we’ve broken down the basic determing factors in helping you choose an audio engineering school, stay tuned for part two, in which we will take a look at some of the audio engineering schools available to you.