When looking for graphic design or art programs there are many things to consider. Do you want to be full time or part time, do you want to attend regular classes or take the course online, do you want a accelerated focused course or a all round degree from a recognized college or university?
Once you have answered these questions here are 5 things you should consider:
Courses are expensive, if you are not sure that this is for you consider taking some part-time or summer courses before taking the full-time plunge. Many cities or states even offer free courses or seminars to help their citizens find work. Getting a taste of the program before you apply can be one of the best ways to make a final decision on schools-and a great test to see if design school is really what you want to do.
The larger the city the more options you will have for design courses. Also certain areas of the country tend to be design centric and will have more and better courses. This is especially true for specialties like Game Design there are pockets of expertise in places like Seattle that are above and beyond other larger cities. If you intend to work in Florida it may be a benefit to take your courses in that state as the employers will be more familiar with the schools and their quality. If you decide to pursue an online degree, remember that often you eventually need a local option for critical hands-on work and studio time.
Make sure your design school is ranked at the top, find out what current students and alumni have to say about it. Visit the school, see if the environment is one in which you will find comfortable, do you want to spend time with these people for the next year? Do some research on whether or not the school can help you get internships and jobs, either through name alone or sponsored placement, what is their graduate placement rate?
Matching your interests to a program's strengths is crucial. If you're into the gaming end of the design process, don't pick a school that specializes in fine art. Also realize that some programs are really conceptual, while others focus on tangible skills. If you are not sure which area you want to pursue pick a school that has a more general focus and a wide range of different classes. This way if you decide after the first semester that you are not happy there may be room to switch specialties while retaining most of your earned credits.
Some schools have lecturers who are big well known names in the industry. This may help you when it comes time to find work. Any connections you make at school can lead to internships or employment later. See if you can sit in on some classes before you become a student so you can see the faculty in action.
Remember technology changes quickly but good design skills will be needed and usable forever.
If you decide to pursue an online degree, remember that often you eventually need a local option for critical hands-on work and studio time. For your undergraduate degree, you can choose to attend a college in a smaller city such as universities in Greensboro.