Headquartered in Winter Park, Florida, Full Sail University is a school that you have probably heard of. They spend a ton of money on marketing so their name is widespread throughout the audio production community. And they have a beautiful campus. It’s very high tech and eye appealing.
I’ll say up front that I am very biased against FSU. When I found out that they received over $380 million in one year from the federal government it put a sick feeling in my stomach.
Here’s the thing…you don’t need them. In fact, going there may hinder your ability to land a job. Or better yet, to start your own business. How so? Number one, the expense.
According to https://www.fullsail.edu/admissions/tuition a Music Production or Recording Arts program will cost $72,000 . SEVENTY TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS! That is ridiculous! In case the web page changes, here’s a screen shot for posterity:
(Update: As of July 9, 2017 the Full Sail University Recording Arts program now costs $78,000!)
Now, don’t get me wrong. FSU may provide a quality education. I have read numerous complaints from current and past students that a lot of teachers/professors or whatever they are called at FSU tell students to solve problems by going on Google/YouTube/etc. Wait…what?
You’re supposed to be the teacher! Anybody can go on Google without paying tuition at FSU. Why don’t YOU look up the answer and then get back with the student. Isn’t that your job?
The other major complaint that I’ve read is that material is rushed. If you teach brand new concepts too fast then it doesn’t sink into your brain. Especially if you are just READING about something and NOT doing. Learning about audio engineering should be hands on from day one if you ask me. That’s number two. How often do you get to use all of the fancy high end gear that they love to advertise on their web site and at open house (behind the scenes) events? If Full Sail has students in a classroom learning too much theory and not enough practical information then they are doing a huge disservice to their students.
I cannot vouch for the quality of a Full Sail University’s education when it comes to audio production. What I can say is that it is VERY difficult to find a job in this career field. And you do not need to go to FSU to learn how to produce/record/mix music. You can call up any number of studios with the fancy high end gear and offer a bribe. Money talks, so if you want to gain experience in a real world studio one way to get your foot in the door is with cold hard cash.
Another path to take is by reading through the web sites like the one you are on right now. I started Don’t Go to Recording School last month in order to save a lot of wannabe audio engineers the debt and frustration.
What’s in it for me, you ask? Well, it’s really simple. If you decide to open your own studio and need some guidance, I hope you consider my consultation services. They are way cheaper than tuition at most colleges. That’s if you don’t want to read through all of the articles on this web site which will put you on the path to not only being a good (and eventually great) audio engineer) but also as a successful business person as well,
If you aren’t interested in consultation services, at least when you go to buy audio gear for your studio I hope that you use the various Amazon affiliate links that are scattered throughout this web site.
That’s it. So, back to Full Sail.
Don’t just take my word for it. Questions about Full Sail pop up often on the audio production message board Gearslutz and others. Here’s one, here’s another and another. Find more with this Google search.
At one point, Full Sail University sued the guy who made FullSailSucks.com, took ownership of the domain and shut it down. That’s how they treat former students, I guess. You can still see remnants of the site on Archive.org though. In my opinion, Full Sail is afraid of the truth getting out there. If they ever sue me, they better bring the full football team because I refuse to get sacked. I’m not afraid of lawyers or judges.
Reviews on the school throughout the internet are mixed. The ones on Yelp are the most interesting but you may have to dig deep to get to the juicy ones. The word on the street is Yelp gets paid off Mafia style by Full Sail but that may or may not be true. You be the judge on why the negative reviews are hidden by Yelp.
The one place they can’t shut down is this YouTube channel. They have a few videos of interest.
My advice? Hit the ground running and start calling up studios. Skip the middle man. See if the studios have any internship openings. If they don’t, persuade them with that green and gold. A spot may just open up when the smell of greenbacks wafts through the phone line. I would rather spend two years interning at a few different studios then spending two years at Full Sail. And hey, maybe one of those studios will offer you a job if you’re good enough?
If that doesn’t work, open your own studio. Read every article on this site and if you still need some guidance give me a call at (718) 303-2543 to set up either a Skype or in-person consultation. A British lady will answer the voice mail if I’m not available.
If you want to hear more opinions from other audio engineers on this subject, watch the following videos: