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Pacific Northwest College of Art Reviews

Check out reviews left by other students or leave your own review. You could win a free scholarship.

  • 07/13/2011

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    4 out of 4 people found this review useful. 1 of 13

    Categories Comments
    Great for these types of students

    if you like getting easy a's then you're better off going to a university art program instead because this school will challenge you on a daily basis (seriously, many classes are 5 hours long and require minimum 3-4 hours (usually more like 10) outside of class per week). keep in mind that this school is also more about the concepts behind a piece than about actual technique (which is not to say you won't learn how to make things), so if you're not interested in making statements with your work and are more interested in building technical skill you may be disappointed. however, i believe it's worth the try and if you decide you need to build more technical skill, you can take classes at the nearby oregon college of art and craft that are counted as a part of your pnca classes. if money isn't a problem you will have an easy time getting through the four years (unless you choose not to do art projects for some reason). if you aren't eligible for financial aid and cannot pay for it yourself without huge loans i unfortunately have to recommend you look elsewhere because while this school is absolutely amazing the money side of things is an endless battle a lot of students lose.

    Tips for prospective students

    put together an excellent portfolio. make the pictures of your work look as professional as possible and put in your very best and it is likely you will get a scholarship. do not rely on getting financial aide even if your parents are unemployed; the high (and rising) cost of this school is by far its biggest downside. if you are under 18 think about getting emancipated so your financial need will not be determined by your parent's income during your college years. apply for a lot of scholarships before you start attending; workload here is heavy and you won't have time to do much else, especially if your working as well. definitely come for a campus tour and see what the students are working on; if you want to really build technical skills this may not be the school for you but if you are working towards making work that is meaningful, conceptual, progressive, how ever you want to put it, this is the place.

    Bang for the buck

    no doubt i wouldn't choose any other school, but the money is definitely outrageous if you're middle class, and it's quickly rising. supposedly tuition locks in at whatever rate it is when you start attending, but this last year it jumped up to almost $29,000 for everyone. in less than three years the tuition has risen to that from $22,000. keep in mind that is just tuition. the housing option through the school, goose hollow, is outrageous in my opinion, though it has it's benefits such as proximity to the school. however the school does try to constantly improve its facilities and is planning on moving into a new building in the coming years. for a lot of the students money isn't a problem, but if your parents are considered middle class (even if they're unemployed) it can be real tough to financially make it all 4 years. number one reason students withdraw or are kicked out is money.

    Am enjoying being here

    This place is awesome. Most of the professors are great to talk to and be around and are also completely insane. The library is one of my favorite places to go not only for research but also for naps and lunch break too. And because it's right downtown there is lots of places to go and things to do, plus the school itself puts together many activities. There is lots of clubs and weekly meetings too, like ukulele club, yoga and meditation. The student body is full of wonderfully odd people with ever changing hair, mismatched clothes, diverse backgrounds and beliefs, and a lot of want to make cool art stuff. There's a pool table open for anyone to play in the lounge (though someone stole our 8 ball) and couches everywhere. The building is also open until late to accommodate procrastinators and those of us who work a lot of hours on top of going to classes. It's a great place to be even if you're not in class. And Student Services actually does care about your well being, for example I was having a really terrible week where I was basically homeless and they took me right in and helped me find medical help and gave me a place to take a shower and find a way out of the mess I was in.

    Academic Rigor

    i've been learning a lot about everything here at pacific northwest college of art. so far the professors are excellent at introducing students to a wide range of techniques, theories, and histories. here at pnca, you'll find that even the math, science and english are art oriented and include art projects, often times in place of final exams. the classes cover interesting and exciting topics, such as gods, heroes and monsters and history of laughter. i learned more each week here than i did in a semester at public university.

  • 11/15/2009

    Reviewer is Researching this school. Reviewer has been to campus.

    3 out of 7 people found this review useful. 2 of 13

    Categories Comments
    Will enjoy being here

    My dream school!

  • 08/17/2012

    Reviewer is A past student here.

    2 out of 3 people found this review useful. 3 of 13

    Categories Comments
    Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus

    At least every semester someone turns in a sculpture made out of PBR cans. Have fun talking about that for 20 minutes.

    Bang for the buck

    You'll never spend so much on so little as you will at PNCA. Sure, the school has all the equipment you'll ever need, but I honestly felt like I actually backtracked on my road to becoming a good artist. I never painted *once* in class the entire year I attended PNCA. Not once. At least 80% of class time is dedicated to critiquing everyone's homework. Even if someone brings in a 10-minute drawing, you're going to spend 20 minutes talking about it. So basically, you're spending all that money to have someone critique you're homework for 20 minutes a week in each class. The rest of the time you'll spend critiquing everyone else's artwork, or talking about contemporary art world until you're blue in the face.

    What to do for fun

    First Thursdays! Check out the galleries on Everette, or the art store on the same street.

    Food and Dining

    There's no food and dining at the school, except a coffee shop that is run by one of the alumni. He also runs a food cart by the 3d building that's amazing. His food is great, but everything else in the Pearl is way too pricey. Sushi Land is the only other reasonably priced option.

    Dorm Life

    I never stayed in the dorms, but I hung out in friend's dorms. They're pretty snazzy! But EXPENSIVE! For $800 a month you could get an apartment by yourself, and you wouldn't be stuck with a school-assigned (usually snobby) roomie.

    Academic Rigor

    You'll get more homework than at a community college.

    Tips for prospective students

    Find a different art school, or save yourself the money and just go to a state school. You're not going to get $40,000 a year worth of learning here. The campus is exciting, I know, with the huge printmaking department and all those shiny mac computers, but is it worth the cost?

    In three sentences

    Too much talking! As a painting major, I expected to do some painting. Our time was spent critiquing and debating; you don't get better at art by arguing about it.

  • 01/06/2011

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    1 out of 1 people found this review useful. 4 of 13

    Categories Comments
    Am enjoying being here

    I haven't met a teacher yet that hasn't been kind to their students. Teachers are willing to help you as much as they can. Classes are small and you can get individual attention if you are struggling. students are friendly and are ready to take critique when given.

    Am learning a lot

    I have learned so much on comteporary art. Subjects that I have never heard of in high school have been brought up in the classroom. I have also learned alot about different mediums to work in from very traditional techniques to newer mediums.

  • 05/17/2012

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    1 out of 1 people found this review useful. 5 of 13

    Categories Comments
    Campus Safety

    Pretty safe for being in downtown actually. Located in a really nice area of town.

    Clubs and Activities

    Student Counsel, Anime, Ceramics, Sewing, Printmaking, Painting, Ukelele

    Great for these types of students

    If you are looking for a place where you can explore artistically and learn about art seriously, PNCA is for you. If you take great pride in yourself and your work, PNCA is the spot! Everyone here is constantly driving for new and emerging concepts, we are free and forward thinkers. This place is totally out of the box!

    Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus

    Pretty much every day at PNCA is unusual. There are always live performances or DJ's playing in the commons during lunch. We also are pretty spoiled with a built in coffee shop located in our main building. The shop is run by a kind gentleman named Yo who also runs the most amazing a bento cart during lunch.

    Bang for the buck

    PNCA tries to keep their tuition costs under control. While generally speaking; nationally colleges raised their 2012 tuition on average by over 6% PNCA increased tuition by only 1.5% over last year.

    What to do for fun

    PNCA has lots of student clubs from sewing to anime, ukeleles and meditation. There are tons of opportunity for socializing as there are constant gallery openings happening. (PNCA is the general starting point for Gallery Walks during the monthly First Thursday festivities)

    Food and Dining

    This is a small school so there's no cafeteria but there's plenty of space and kitchens to prepare/eat your food, not to mention the school is in the epicenter of the Pearl district which offers countless refueling options.

    Dorm Life

    Nice apartments located in the heart of downtown Portland. Right next to a MAX line so it's easy to get anywhere from your apartment. As I understand they are planning to build their own private dorms in the near future.

    Academic Rigor

    PNCA's Foundation year is unique. During your first two terms here you will be exposed to a multitude of art forms from Film and sound to animation and sculpture. Be ready to think out of the box. PNCA also has a rigorous thesis year where you are focused on one project.

    Tips for prospective students

    If you attend PNCA be ready to work hard. Most students probably think Art School is easy, but its not. Faculty will demand a lot more from you than your high school teachers ever did, so be prepared to focus and take this opportunity seriously.

    In three sentences

    PNCA has not only world class faculty but world class curriculum. This school is on the cutting edge of art and has major connections to New York and Los Angeles. PNCA has designed a program that is forward thinking equipping future graduates with highly marketable skills.

  • 10/31/2012

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    1 out of 1 people found this review useful. 6 of 13

    Categories Comments
    Campus Safety

    In terms of personal safety, I am surprised by how safe I feel in an old warehouse in a commercial district. Unfortunately, there are some problems with stealing, and you should never leave any object unattended-- even an eraser.

    Clubs and Activities

    There are a lot of student led clubs and they're all great! I do wish that there were more free events like you get at a bigger campus, but given the size they do a great job.

    Great for these types of students

    Hard workers, people who can't live without creating, the open-minded

    Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus

    The mascot is a sloth, and having a campus in the middle of a commercial/arts district is definitely different.

    Bang for the buck

    PNCA is extremely expensive, but also very generous with scholarships. If you apply and can't afford to go, talk to their financial aid department because you can probably work something out. Sometimes I get depressed with how much it costs, but the academics are so strong it ultimately feels worth the money (I do wish I didn't have to pay for health insurance since I can't afford the deductible, but that's not their fault).

    What to do for fun

    Hanging out on campus can be really fun! There's always something going on either within the school or in the neighborhood, though the neighborhood functions can be a little stuffy. Portland is a great town for partying; I'm not a partier myself (don't have the time) but there's always a concert or a party you can go to for cheap and many of them are all-ages. Look in the Portland Mercury, they have an events page that you will probably find something fun on.

    Food and Dining

    Food is rarely provided on campus, excepting clubs (meager fare) and Student Council (great curry). There are a lot of food carts and restaurants in walking distance, but they can be pretty expensive. I usually pack a lunch, go to Safeway, or pick up some curry from Yo's cart on campus. There is also a little cafe in the main building.

    Dorm Life

    I don't live in the dorms, because they are way too expensive and don't have any options for students with families. I have heard horror stories about bedbugs, but have also noticed that the kids who live in the dorm have more friends and a happier demeanor than other students.

    Academic Rigor

    This school has an intense workload; I have never been worked as hard as I am here. Attendance is especially stringent. Do not miss class if you are not dying, because your grade will definitely suffer for it. You are going to be doing double the work at home than you are at school, so if you're taking 15 credits (standard workload at PNCA), you're going to be doing 30 hours of work outside of class, minimum. I usually do more like 90.

    Tips for prospective students

    If you consider yourself an artist and you love your work, and want to work really hard and improve really fast, then this school is right for you.

    In three sentences

    PNCA is a small and varied art college with big ideas. It is constantly growing and evolving. PNCA offers many opportunities both to improve in your study, and to make connections in the community.

  • 05/06/2011

    Reviewer is Accepted here and planning to attend soon. Reviewer has been to campus.

    7 of 13

    Categories Comments
    Great for these types of students

    Anyone with inspiration, imagination, and art sensation!

    Tips for prospective students

    Keep your mind open to everything. You never know who, or what might inspire you somewhere along the road.

    Will learn a lot

    I am so excited to attend PNCA. Every dollar is worth it! I visited campus and the school is amazing. I felt like I was walking into a massive studio completed with creative thinkers and dreamers, just like myself. Anyone with a real dream and goal in art needs to look into PNCA. The meaning behind the artwork is the heart of the piece. PNCA teaches you the vital pieces of art, not just how to paint a pretty picture.

  • 03/13/2012

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    8 of 13

    Categories Comments
    Campus Safety

    very safe facilities team that are dedicated to helping the campus

    Clubs and Activities

    sewing club students of color coalition queer union anime club design club painting club draw club printmaking club animated arts club ukulele club working artists club

    Great for these types of students

    independent workers

    Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus

    peanut butter and jelly days

    Bang for the buck

    much cheaper than other art schools and has better faculty

    What to do for fun

    the portland pearl district has limitless posibilites!

    Food and Dining

    no dining

    Dorm Life

    no dorm life

    Academic Rigor

    i have to work hard in all my classes to maintain a's

    Tips for prospective students

    apply even if you think you can't afford the school- they give out great scholarships and grants to all their students. pnca is an amazing school

    In three sentences

    a wonderful community of artists that i fully enjoy being around. the staff and faculty are intimate and have been nothing but helpful to me. pnca has helped me grow and is still helping me develop into the best artists i can be

  • 03/28/2012

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    9 of 13

    Categories Comments
    Campus Safety

    The security guards are always on duty and are kind and mannered to everybody. They keep order in an otherwise quite weird, but structured, school.

    Greek Life

    This community doesn't have fraternities or sororities embedded into its culture, but its community in a way is its own Delta Nu or Sigma Chi in its own small campus population.

    Clubs and Activities

    There are a variety of clubs and activities at PNCA. The Students of Color Coalition meets with a diverse group of students to talk about racial issues across the nation and our own school. Queer Union works with students who identify themselves as queer, as well as straight allied students, to create a community that feels more safe and accepting to students. Draw Club meets to sketch models in a more abstract way, while another drawing club meets after school to sketch models in a more uniformed way. Anime Club meets three times a week to discuss Japanese art and culture as well as a love for animated films. Print Club meets to create screens and become a more close knit community. And Ukulele Club meets to build their own ukuleles and learn to play together and have an enjoyable musical experience.

    Great for these types of students

    Creative students who aren't afraid to try a variety of different forms of art and learn it's history while thinking in a more conceptual way of working, rather than a commercial way of working.

    Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus

    A tradition that all of Portland likes to partake in once a month is First Thursday. The first Thursday of every month the school, and galleries across Portland, like to open up its doors around 6 p.m. and show various amounts of locally created art or art created by pretty famous names. Another pretty great location that's pretty close to the school, is Voodoo Doughnut, which sells a variety of weird doughnuts, for example captain crunch or coco puff covered doughnuts.

    Bang for the buck

    Although the school seems quite expensive, you won't even mind paying as much since the school gives a pretty gratuitous amount for scholarship and it's classes are of great quality.

    What to do for fun

    During school hours most students like to sit in the commons together or hang around the commons and talk with each other. Outside of school hours most students like to explore the city of Portland, Oregon with its many small thrift stores or tea shops and its very kind and colorful people.

    Food and Dining

    PNCA doesn't have a meal-plan, but right next door to the school's main building sits a Safeway grocery store and a few locally owned or chain-run businesses that, although most on the more expensive side, are quite very delicious and satisfying.

    Dorm Life

    Dorm life at PNCA is very diverse and a warm community of students living in the Goose Hollow Student Housing building. Although bedbugs have been known to infest some of the rooms and a very small number of people can't seem to be able to live together peacefully, the dorm life at PNCA is something you could only get from this small little community of students.

    Academic Rigor

    This school has a very unique way of academics. Of course, being an art school, it focuses on art a whole lot more than basic English Composition courses or mathematics, but the basic English Composition classes I have taken are the best creative writing, essay evaluation classes I have ever taken. The art history classes, from what I have gathered are very on point with many degrees of art and time, while the theory and practice classes are something you hear upperclassmen raving about since you begin attending the college.

    Tips for prospective students

    Keep a sketchbook with you at all times, and try not to be too upset over constructive criticism.

    In three sentences

    A very successful,small school that likes to work with each student individually. Each member of the staff is very welcoming, and know you by name within the first semester. A very diverse, creative, competitive community of students who are very accepting, supportive of each other, and enthusiastic at what they want to be doing.

  • 04/04/2012

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    0 out of 1 people found this review useful. 10 of 13

    Categories Comments
    Dorm Life

    I don't live in the dorm

    In three sentences

    Its a great place to learn everything about art. I found this school to be a great pick, I couldn't be happier. Its a lot of work, but you learn a lot.

  • 06/16/2012

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    11 of 13

    Categories Comments
    Food and Dining

    Portland has some great food and dining but not a lot of it's cheap. The dorms are conveniently close to a safeway and the school is pretty close to the food carts which give great portions for the price. But most everything else in the Pearl district is overpriced.

    Dorm Life

    The dorms are leased out apartments which are pretty nice digs, the building feels safe and you get the experience of living with other students. The downside is you never know what kind of roommate you'll get, I didn't have much luck in that department.

    Academic Rigor

    PNCA has some great teachers and I've learned a lot so far. But it's hard to find a balance between critiques that are so kind as to be useless to so cutting and focused on the concept so as to offer nothing constructive about how to actually make changes or what could be changed in technique.

  • 09/26/2012

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    12 of 13

    Categories Comments
    Great for these types of students

    Critical, creative thinkers and makers

    Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus

    Our mascot is a sloth. Our only sport is kickball. Our only opponents go to OCAC, the craft school in portland.

    Bang for the buck

    For a private school with highly qualified faculty, this is a pretty inexpensive institution.

    What to do for fun

    Portland has lots of things to do on the cheap. Free art and music, inexpensive yet delicious food carts, lush parks, block parties, second run movie theaters, etc. Our culture is youthful, progressive, and out to have a good time.

    Dorm Life

    You basically share a two bedroom apartment with up to four people, but the hallway smells really weird and the dorms are miles from campus.

    Academic Rigor

    You will never be finished with your work. I took a semester off this spring, partly for financial reasons, and partly to read all the stuff I skimmed over last fall. Everything you make, write, and say is open for critique. This art school isn't for finger painters, unless they are critically engaged, well-researched finger painters.

    Tips for prospective students

    If you can figure out how to be a full time student without a part time job, you will be much more focused on your coursework. Being a student here is a lifestyle that takes a lot of commitment physically, financially, intellectually, and emotionally. This place is amazing, but if you have too much going on in your life outside of class, things will be difficult for you. Do what you can to save money before enrolling. If you find yourself starving while you're here, there are resources to help you, but sometimes the best thing you can do is to step back for a moment and take a semester off to work.

    In three sentences

    PNCA has a rigorous environment with dedicated students and faculty who are genuinely interested in their fields of study. Courses are challenging and rewarding. Being part of this community means thinking critically and working creatively.

  • 12/08/2012

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    13 of 13

    Categories Comments
    Campus Safety

    Portland is pretty safe in general. The school has shuttle buses that take you from campus to college housing throughout the day.

    Clubs and Activities

    Plenty of clubs!

    Great for these types of students

    Mellow, strange, smart, hardworking, creative, and even people who don't think they're very good at much. The teachers and students will encourage you and guide you so don't be afraid!

    Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus

    Our school does not have a single staight wall...it's a pain when you're doing your perspective drawings.

    Bang for the buck

    We can use as much of the art supplies, within reason, that the school has as long as we're students here.

    What to do for fun

    If you have a car, the options are a lot more vast. If you don't, the train is pretty convenient. There aren't a lot of things to do here in Portland, so be prepared for a lot of quiet days where there's not much to do.

    Food and Dining

    There isn't a food program, but there are cheap places within walking distance from PNCA. Sometimes the school offers free lunch, but that doesn't happen too often.

    Dorm Life

    It's pretty quiet in our apartments. You don't have to worry too much about crazy people keeping you up at night unless it's the weekend (and the crazies aren't even from PNCA.) The apartments are pretty big and you get to choose your own roommates.

    Academic Rigor

    This school isn't too hard and if you find the curriculum difficult, there are always teachers willing to help and there's a program that will help you with your papers.

    Tips for prospective students

    There are probably better schools for photography but everything else is very helpful. Come here expecting to have to manage your time wisely. We always have new projects to work on and they can pile up pretty quickly if you don't get them done in a timely manner.

    In three sentences

    It's a pretty great school. There aren't many students so the community is pretty close. The teachers are always willing to help and give great advice.