Academics

At NCAD, our primary mission is to prepare our students for professional placement in entry-level positions in a creative industry.

To accomplish this goal, we have created a program that is both challenging and accelerated, and asks much from our students. It asks that they approach their education at NCAD in a fundamentally different way than they might have relative to their previous educational experiences, whether in high school or at other colleges.

Study Time

In high school students might spend as much as 35 hours per week in the classroom, and many report that they spend an average of 5 hours per week on homework. That is an average of a total of 40 hours per week spent on both class time and homework in high school. Much of that work time is spent in class, under the supervision of teachers.

At NCAD, students spend approximately 18 hours per week in the classroom, and report that they spend an average of 20–25 hours per week studying. This is an average of 38–45 hours per week spent on class time and studying at NCAD. Much of that work time at NCAD is spend out of class, working independently.

It is important for you to realize that you must plan to spend not one but at least 2–3 hours outside of each class on homework in college if you want to be truly successful. Therefore, you might reasonably be spending approximately 18 hours in the classroom and 25 hours outside of class studying, equaling at least 45 hours per week.

Yes, this means that NCAD requires as much as or even more than a full-time job. Many students also work, but it is important that you try to keep your work schedule manageable. First semester students should plan to work no more than 10-15 hours per week if at all possible.

Time Management

At NCAD you will have to learn to manage your time, and that is often much more challenging than it sounds! At NCAD, you are the one responsible for attending class, knowing the school policies and requirements, and managing your schedule.

There will be administrative staff and faculty available to assist you when you have questions — which are welcomed — but you have to take the initiative. It is essential that you learn to manage your own time effectively. There will be classes that deal with Time Management, but NCAD encourages you to learn more about time management before you arrive on campus.

NCAD Instructors

College instructors in general are often quite different from the teachers that you may be used to from high school. In high school, teachers might check to make sure that you’ve completed your homework and might assign grades or “bonus points” for this work. At NCAD, instructors may assign homework, make the assumption that you have done the work, and may expect you to ask questions if you have had trouble so that you will be able to perform in the class.

In high school, teachers might approach you and try to offer extra help if they saw that you were not performing well on the tests. NCAD instructors are available and are very willing to help you, but will expect you to initiate contact if you are struggling in a course.

In high school, teachers may have followed the book to the letter and may tested you only on that information. It is important to realize that at NCAD instructors may not always follow the textbook exactly in lectures but rather may give you illustrations and background information and expect you to relate it to material in the textbook.

In college it is up to you to read and understand the assigned material; lectures and assignments often proceed from the assumption that you’ve already done any required reading.

In high school teachers may have reminded you about tests and assignments. At NCAD, instructors may rely on you to know when things are due. They will furnish you with a syllabus, which is the outline of the course that lists the instructor’s expectations, assignments, grading procedures, and due dates of tests and projects. They will go over this document on the first day of class and will expect you to refer to it for dates and times of class deliverables.

NCAD Classrooms

At NCAD, your classes will also be small never exceeding 30 students per class, and NCAD instructors will always be available to assist you.

At NCAD, we have a very specific attendance policy and it is founded on the principle that it is your responsibility to go to class. Some students might fall into the trap of “skipping” class for any number of reasons— including different attendance policies at past schools; however, at NCAD, this will result in failing that class. Please see the attendance policy in the Academic Catalog for more details.

NCAD Testing and Grading

Tests in high school might cover small amounts of material and may have been given in partnership with homework to result in an overall grade. At NCAD, testing may be usually infrequent and may cover significant amounts of material.

Unlike in high school, make-up tests, turning in late assignments or receiving extra credit are rarley available options. One of the biggest differences between high school and college is that in high school, effort counts. In college, results count. Although your effort can lead to good results, it will not be a substitute for performance. Remember that — at NCAD, just like in the world of work after college, effort will not be considered a valid substitute for performance.

Grading at NCAD can and often will be significantly different from your experience in high school. Many students report that they did very little studying for tests in high school. At NCAD, you will not be able to get away with this if you expect to do well and to prepare yourself for professional practice.

Success at NCAD

Success at NCAD is largely dependent upon a clear understanding of your role in the teaching/learning process. Expect to be challenged at NCAD, and expect to have to grow and learn much if you are to truly prepare for success. It is the choices and decisions which you the student will make that will ultimately determine the success of your college experience. We at NCAD truly look forward to working with you to help you achieve your creative goals.