Platt College offers San Diegans Media Arts Degree to Keep Up With Changing Business Landscape
“Our festive campus shined. We all did! We were happy to be together, happy to see the creative beauty around and happy we all belong to a Platt great circle of friends. Life invites us to create, to care and to enjoy. There is nothing we can do alone. Only together we can become complete. And it feels good when at one time and one place people find the same vibes. I think that Friday we all did,” blogged Marketa Hancova, the 5-year Dean of Education at Platt College about the fourth annual Winter Art Festivities “Celebration of Creativity” on December 3rd.
The Platt community of students, professors and administration gathered together the first Friday of this month to celebrate each other and their collective talents, exhibiting them with refreshments and a raffle.
Because Platt is a small local, privately-owned Media Art School (actually the first school in San Diego to offer Media Education) the art exhibited that night ranged from fine art to digital art; including music, dance, poetry, clay art, painting and drawings alongside samples of video, animation and web.
Last Monday, Marketa was interviewed on 1700 ESPN Radio and DJ Derrick Evens commented, “One thing for sure, no matter what, you can never give up…you should never count yourself out of anything. You can restart yourself at any point in time and if you have passion around something I suggest that’s the direction you head.”
In 2006 Google Inc. acquired YouTube and with today’s communications going online with video and graphics one can see why a Media Art degree is hot. For the past 30 years, Platt College has been educating San Diegans and giving them another chance to find their passion and a solid career. Platt currently offers classes, averaging only 20 students per class, in video production, 3D animation, graphic design, development multimedia training, game animation, video game design and website design.
Platt is unique not only in its size (totaling 350 students) but in its ability to educate quickly. Platt offers Associates and Bachelor Degrees with an alternative to the traditional educational path at a 4+ university.
At Platt, students are able to take one class at a time (each core class completed within 5-6 weeks) and can enjoy professors’ one-on-one attention with the smaller class sizes. Instead of it taking 4 years or more to obtain a degree, Platt offers an 11 month Diploma for Graphic Design, a 15 month A.A.S. Degree for Graphic Design or a 2.5 years B.S. Degree for Media Arts (study in 3D, Video Production or Web).
The curriculum is condensed and fast paced and it makes Platt students marketable right away by allowing them to start their GD courses first.
Because of the small school size Marketa says she is able to reach out every Friday to students who did not make it to class that week, checking in to make sure they are okay. Platt has strict attendance with the accelerated course schedule: four hour classes per day, 25 days in a row and Marketa doesn’t want them to miss any of the curriculum in their absence. Marketa knows the students on a first-name basis and they know she cares.
“Family is what makes Platt College unique. We are not a big school, we are not nationwide. We’re one school here in San Diego. All teachers go on a first name basis with the students. We want to create that family atmosphere,” says Professor Fred Winton.
One Platt student says she decided to enroll in Platt’s Animation Program because, “my Mom plays video games and so did I and it was kind of something that was always around the house.” Student Matt Drover looked at multiple schools before choosing Platt College because his wife challenged him to find the best option for him. Student Bill Ims chose Platt’s Video Program because “in high school I started to develop this passion for film making. As soon as I saw that they did Final Cut Pro Class and After Effects Class I just said yeah this is the place I have to go.”
Marketa explains that Platt must hold a 75% graduate employment rate to maintain federal aid benefits and Platt has accepted that challenge, staying on the cutting edge of technology. And with the national average drop-out rate at 40% for college students, Marketa says Platt’s low average is around 11%.
High academic standards upheld along with a small community feel make Platt an inviting place to jumpstart a career in Media Art technology.
Marketa offers a few tips for the prospective student,
1) Anyone is welcome at Platt, whether you have natural art tendencies or want to develop them – it’s never too late for your education. Platt has younger students and older students too.
2) Research various schools before enrolling. Take a tour of the school, meet their Admissions Representative and sit in on a class. Look into their Counseling Department and find out what tutorial systems they offer.
Marketa says, “Don’t ever feel ashamed to ask for help because you are the one who recognized you need help and it’s already one step to the victory. ”
And as the Dean, Marketa, originally from the Czech Republic, aims to create a well-rounded student body. One that knows the “virtual” world but compliments that knowledge with the “real” world around them. She tells her students, “each one of us has to ‘nourish’ a story we carry inside and make it interesting for sharing.”
So Marketa has made it one of her personal goals to contribute to each of her students’ stories by taking them, once a month, to theater, symphony, opera, exhibitions, ComicCon and concerts (Platt paying for most of the expenses), getting the students involved in the local community and offering annual trips abroad.
Platt teams up with local libraries for art exhibits pro bono, including their recent exhibits (showing how animation comes alive, describing web design and displaying creativity) at the Spring Valley and Point Loma Libraries. The local visual art school has also designed a permanent exhibit for Central Library and has worked with the African-American Theater and for the past 6 years with the San Diego Repertory Theater, designing their printed material.
Platt works with local elementary schools including Silvergate by helping with their Silent Auction Gala brochures and invitations and Vista Grande elementary, sending Platt students to present about animation, publishing their poetry books and sponsoring a student field trip to tour the college.
Platt has worked with the Asian Film Foundation for the past 4 years, co-presenting an animation show and co-hosting Youth Day. Platt hosts their own, “Platt happenings,” about once a month where coffee and muffins are served and current events are discussed.
Lou Romano with Pixar/Disney – Production Designer/VO Talent says of Platt, “I was really impressed with Platt College San Diego. It is an intimate, specialized school with professional faculty and equipment, developed primarily for each area of concentration. The thought that has gone into the curriculum shows devotion for the students to become more artistically well rounded. I was also impressed with the co-curricular programs offered like going to museums, the symphony and trips to Europe and Japan. I strongly feel this allows the students to see a bigger picture from which to draw creativity for their chosen area of specialization.”
Once a year Marketa takes students on a cultural trip abroad. In Marketa’s blog, she notes: this year Platt visited Greece and Italy. Platt believes that traveling is an inseparable part of any curriculum.
In 2007 Platt students visited several beautiful cities in Italy – Rome, Tivoli, Assisi, Florence and Venice. In 2008 Platt traveled to Spain and in 2009 Platt journeyed to the Land of the Rising Sun to discover the unique culture and unparalleled landscapes of Japan.
Platt’s well-designed and educational tours allow the students to learn not only the gems of Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classicist and Art Nouveau architecture and paintings, but also gave them the opportunity to experience different cultures, foods, music, fashions and customs.
The observant visual art students endlessly commented on billboards, graphic styles of menus, ads, posters, tickets and anything “visual”. The trips abroad are an excellent way to open up new horizons – horizons that inspire us to learn more, to see more and to employ boldly our creativity.
New friendships have been created, many pages of sketchbooks and journals filled and new passion for travel well established. Thus – our goal was met – to show our students a new unexplored path that becomes an inseparable part of the Platt College-San Diego education, blogs Marketa.
Platt offers job placement assistance and financial aid for their low, all-inclusive tuition costs (which includes tuition, books and all materials). There is no application, parking or monthly material fees and Platt locks in tuition costs so there is no increase in price for the program enrolled.