Posted in HS4CC

Animation Careers and Colleges

Some of you may know that one of my kids is on an art track – likely something in Animation. I posted some of these links already in the HS4CC CS/IT Cybersecurity and Tech Facebook group, but I thought the resources might be useful to our blog readers and families in the other HS4CC groups. If you have useful resources you’d like to share, please add them to the comments!

Career Research

Here is a great interview we did in the HS4CC CS/IT Cyber Tech group April 2022 with Mark Anderson of Archetype Entertainment – worth watching for students interested in Game and Animation art! My daughter and I still talk about this interview – he shared such great information with us!

Careers in Animation Profiles – make particular note of the average salaries and consider using an ROI calculator such as PayScale, or research independently using to compare these degrees to others (or no degree).

Join our HS4CC CS/IT Cybersecurity and Tech Facebook group – we discuss anything tech related – that includes digital art mediums! Last April was Animation and Game Design month and MANY resources were posted!

If a college sends you an invitation to their Alumni events – GO! We recently attended one for Ringling College and it was fantastic! Alumni were very willing to talk about what they were doing, right/wrong paths, networking, career insights, some offered feedback on my daughter’s portfolio on the spot! Thankfully, she had some of her work on her phone, but next time she might bring her sketchbook like 1 or 2 other kids did. She walked away with contact info for 3-4 alumni who were happy to mentor or give portfolio feedback. We only saw a handful of prospective students – I was surprised so few showed up. I will warn you though, I walked out of there trying to figure out how to pay to send her to Ringling. 😉

Building a College List

2023 Top 50 Animation Schools and Colleges in the U.S. – Animation Career Review has MANY different college lists – by state, by country, and by a few different majors. Some of the state schools that didn’t make it on the Top 50 list might be useful to fit a budget. This is a great place to start, but don’t forget about your local in-state colleges! It’s what you can do with your skills that matters in the end.

The Academic Background of Pixar Animators

Look for Animators names on movies or reels or comics you like and check out their online portfolios, which often includes their academic backgrounds. Art Station, Instagram, etc are great places to search for them. If you frequently see a college name come up – consider adding it to your college list!

Look at the 2022-2023 Women in Animation Scholarship winners and note where they’re all attending school!

2023 Pre-College or Summer Camps

Below is a list of possible pre-college or summer camps – this is obviously not an exhaustive list. Following this chart is a series of additional options! I do NOT have specific feedback on the quality of any of these camps. They’re research I’m doing for my own student that I’m sharing. A few of these do offer college credit (in bold), but they’re 1-3 cr total and will almost certainly be electives only. Deadlines are rapidly approaching on many of them, and some had sections with waitlists already, so it’s best to act asap if interested in any of them. A few required portfolio submissions. Most had a need-based scholarship option and a couple had merit based scholarships – all of which have earlier deadlines than the cut off for the camp.

DatesCampLocationAgeLength in daysCost
7/17 – 7/28Univ of Central FLOrlando, FLgrades 10,11,1211$950.00
Ringling Pre-College programSarasota, FLhigh school7$6,200.00
7/3-7/8The Animation Workshop – 3D drawing & AnimationViborg, Sweden16 – ?5$516.00
7/3 – 7/14Gobelins – Summer School in Character AnimationParis, Franceany age. under 18 must stay off campus w/parent11$2,794.00
7/10-28SVA Pre-college – lots of choicesNY, NY14-18yrs (thru rising seniors)18$3,125.00
?VFS Vancouver Film SchoolVancouver, CA16+5$500.00
6/25 – 8/25CalArts Summer Intensivesonline asynch14+56$1,000.00
6/30 – 7/22Parsons – Paris Summer programParis, France16-1822$9,500.00
6/26-6/30GnomonHollywood, CA14-185$895.00
7/10-8/3The Cooper Union Summer Art IntensivesNY?15-1816$4,000.00
6/25-722 or
NY Film Academy 3D Animation (4wks)NY and LAteens20$5,425.00
6/5-9 or
6/12 – 16 or
6/20 – 23
UT Austin Animation & Art CampsAustin, TXhigh school5$800.00
7/10 – 8/3LCAD Laguna College of Art & Design Pre-College Animation JamLaguna Beach, CAhigh school16$750.00
6/5-16UNT (Texas) CVAD Summer CampsDenton, TXhigh school10$820.00
7/12-30MCAD Pre-College SUmmer SessionMinneapolis, MNcompleted 10, 11 or 12 grade18$3,500.00
7.10-14 or 7/17-21Lesley College Pre-College ProgramCambridge, MA10,11,125$395.00

List of programs by ArtProf

The Best Animation Summer Programs for High School Students

Animation Mentor – while not really summer camps, we’ve heard professionals have used their courses to update their skills.

Story Xperiential – $150/yr Youth membership. Lessons from Pixar storytellers, livestreams, peer and support feedback, etc.

Elite Animation Classes

Vertex School – year round classes similar to Animation Mentor above

Tips on Choosing a Summer Animation Program

I think the “best” summer camp is the one you can afford and your student learns comfortably at. Here are a few other considerations:

  • I look to see who is teaching the camps – are they just undergrads or grad students? I’ve sometimes had sketchy results from things taught exclusively by undergrads. It could be creative and fun or it could be a gab fest in which your kid is allowed to play Minecraft all day and goof off – which I don’t need to pay hundreds of dollars for.
  • Are they being taught by actual instructors at the colleges?
  • Is it being outsourced to a “camp company” who is just using space on the college campus or elsewhere?
  • What skills does my student NEED and will the course teach them that?
  • What skills are my student expected to already know before arriving for the event?
  • What software will they be using?
  • Am I providing a laptop and software or is the program?
  • Is the software something actually used in the industry or just something free they’re using? At high school level it should be industry standard software, not Alice or scratch or something like that. I think Blender is fine though – it’s very similar to Maya. Maya is common, sometimes Adobe products, Zbrush, etc.
  • Will my student be working on things that will help build their portfolio for college or career?
  • Might my student end up with a nice Letter of Recommendation? (will other colleges care about that LOR?)
  • Is room and board included or separate?
  • What are the days/hours of actual instruction?
  • Can my student optionally work in their lab after camp? Is there a fee for it (yes a couple had an extra fee!)
  • What are the ages – a few camps I came across included adults – several were in Europe, but still a good thing to be aware of
  • Would my student rather do online or in person camp?
  • If online, is it all pre-recorded or is there an opportunity to interact with the instructors, and other students?
  • Will we need to pay extra for transportation? (one had an option to include a transportation pass or not – it was in Paris, I think).
  • Are there any planned activities or excursions? Opportunities to make friends?

Hungry for more resources?

You might be interested in our wrap up blog post for Animation and Game Design month last April.

What resources have YOU found? Share them in the comments to help your homeschool community!