• Report: #120056
Complaint Review:

Fullsail Real World Education

  • Submitted: Sat, November 27, 2004
  • Updated: Thu, September 27, 2012

  • Reported By:Winter Park Florida
Fullsail Real World Education
3300 University Blvd. Winter Park, Florida U.S.A.

Fullsail Real World Education Ripoff Deceptive Marketing Lackluster Teaching Staff Worthless Overpriced Degrees Winter Park Florida

*General Comment: Full Sail Really???

*Consumer Suggestion: Current Full-Sail Student with advice and information

*Consumer Comment: Full Sail - Lots of Money- Lots of Nothing!

*Consumer Comment: Full Sail is a SCAM!

*Consumer Comment: Completely Untrue

*Consumer Comment: Completely Untrue

*General Comment: Full Sail Scam - The "Big Lie"

*General Comment: Really? And the Backlot Tour was so COOL!

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Full Sail is Full Scam

*Consumer Comment: On the Film & Television program

*Consumer Comment: RE:Full Sail Real World Education Ripoff Posting

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Students aren't the only ones ripped off

*Consumer Comment: Article In Question

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Fullsail: Real World Education (www.fullsail.com) is a private institution located in Winter Park, Florida, a suburb of Orlando. It offers various Associate's Degree and Bachelor's Degree programs in areas of multimedia and production for the entertainment industry. Their's is a powerful and well-oiled marketing machine designed to draw in a constant flow of suckers, err... students, to its school every month.

I have written a detailed article titled "Fullsail: We Take Your Dreams, Seriously."

This school is a ripoff for several reasons, examined in detail in my article. Among them are deceptive marketing practices, lack of entrance requirements, academic illegitimacy, and the list goes on... simply read the article. Fullsail's marketing methodology is shameless, and their teaching methodology weak. They are ruining people's futures by misdirecting them toward unattainable goals, when for example a simple essay or portfolio review would reveal they were better off elsewhere.

Winter Park, Florida

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/27/2004 06:59 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/fullsail-real-world-education/winter-park-florida-32792/fullsail-real-world-education-ripoff-deceptive-marketing-lackluster-teaching-staff-worthle-120056. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 General Comment

Full Sail Really???

AUTHOR: They call me Mr. Tibbs - (USA)

One of the reasons I love full Sail is because they are giving me the knowledge to succeed. My grandma told me when she heard I was in school, "Boy, remember high school, you'll get what you put in". We got to stop running down schools because we didn't make it. If you are going just to get into Hollywood, then this is not the place for you nor any other place. Hollywood is well established and excepting you just for a degree, nope. Full Sail saved my life if I did not sign up my life would be 6 feet under or in a jail sail with Big David, my prison hubby. To succeed in life is all up to you; no matter where you choose your education children. Success starts in you, not with a school, that's extra....hehe. Lastly, stop crying over tuition and just pay the money already. You act like Full Sail is the only institution that is expensive, no they're just an easy target for you when you can't cut the mustard. Plus thank God for easy entry! Just as the tech pack we receive, you can't afford it so thank God that a school takes your word on the loan. I just feel all this madness is because people look at the money in a career and not the passion. Passion makes millionaires.....

-Mr. Tibbs

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#2 Consumer Suggestion

Current Full-Sail Student with advice and information

AUTHOR: Phantomwriter - (United States of America)

Doubters of Full-Sail's programs and processes.

Let's say my name is "Fred". I'm currently enrolled as a full -time student at Full-Sail and am in the accelerated bachelors degree program for Mobile Application Development. I'm married with three children, one of whom is in college for computer science.

I'm a year and a half into the program, which by Full-Sail's accelerated curriculum puts me at about the half-way mark and let me say that it's THE MOST challenging thing I've ever done! I don't have an extensive background in this field (programming) but am VERY tech savvy. I'm also taking the on-line program, which allows me time to learn and complete the assignments at any time I see fit, as long as the work is done by the due date. I've received a Macbook-Pro laptop filled with awesome software that I've only just begun to explore and utilize and from what I've seen so far....I'm extremely satisfied with the whole thing. 

The instructors are extremely knowledgable, professional and willing to make extra time to help when I need it. They don't honor every request at every time that I want, but I realize that just like any other teacher, there are other students that need help and it's most likely on a first-come first-serve basis.

As for the material...awesome! I've received books (not written by Full-Sail) as well as e-books that will be available for me forever. The assignments consist of reading and watching well thought out, information packed videos that cover the abc's of whatever the weeks topics are. They give me access to great resources like Lynda.com, teach you how to create (for me....wiki pages, talking head videos, git-hub accounts and on and on and on) and there's always something to do, research or deploy in this course.

I feel that everything those Craigslist adds are asking for, I will have under my belt when I'm done, including a complete mobile application that I can place on the mobile app marketplace and able to run on Apple or Android devices. Their assignments develop what I call "real-world-skills". There's not a lot of fluff. I'm diving right in and loving the straight-forwardness of the curriculum.

Having said that, take into consideration a few things I'm about to talk about and  the courses that were mentioned and the people who feel that the world should be handed to them on a silver platter in fields that have ALWAYS been hit or miss.

Before I got married, I was a drummer in band for about five years. I played gigs, got paid, met lots of interesting people and have no regrets but I do know that in that industry, whether your a musician, sound mixer, promoter or at any level....it is a dog-eat-dog profession. For those of you who don't know what that means, let me clarify by first saying that there is no-one, I repeat, no-one who can guarantee you success in that industry.  You have to network, move to where the action is (a Florida suburb isn't where you need to be to get found people!) be GOOD, I mean REALLY GOOD  at what you do. They have state-of-the-art equipment that you train with so you don't look like a complete idiot when providing background skills on your resume (resume? I meant to say cd with your skills in action). 

I was a loan officer for five years and during that time studied the craft of screenwriting. I've always been a good writer, had already written several short stories and decided I'd give screenwriting a try because I love good movies and had some great story ideas. During that time I wrote four feature length screenplays (yes, I registered them with the Writers Guild) was an active member of a screenwriters website established by Kevin Spacey and read and reviewed over fifty screenplays written by other members. Since my current endeavors have taken me out of that loop, I can say I miss sitting down with a cup of coffee and fleshing out my ideas and making them come to life.

Having said that, I also learned a great deal about the industry from people who have tried and failed and people who have tried and succeeded. I will say this again, there is no-one, I repeat, no-one who can guarantee you a job in this profession. Yes, you should get training, hone your skills, read other peoples work, good AND bad but please people, don't be ridiculous. Unless Steve Spielberg is your uncle, you WILL NOT be handed a dream job three days after graduation. 

Now, you have every right to pursue any dream-job you want, but when you choose, please have a GRIP ON REALITY when it comes to your expectations of the "after college experience". There is no college that can guarantee you a job. They (meaning most, if not all colleges across the country) have career centers where they assist you in things like being prepared for the interview, gathering and compiling a resume, and that means whatever your field requires, whether it be a cd showing off your skills, your latest pride-and-joy screenplay that you've written and then re-written(at least three times) or completely functioning mobile application. They will not hold your hand and give you a ride to your cushy office where you'll be making $90,000 a year three days after graduation. Like ANYONE ELSE, you need to work your way up, kiss a little behind and do the best job possible. Basically, you need to stop crying about why Full-Sail didn't do it for you.

Tough love? Maybe. The way life is? DEFINATELY! You want to know a scam? Try Barbizon, or the hundreds of modeling agencies that make you pay to meet "industry professionals" who have about as much interest in you as they do a root canal. Do students at Full-Sail have to pay to have industry professionals show up? I don't think so. If you look at Full-Sail's on-line system, you'll see countless students who have gone on to be involved in the making of many great films, albums and video games and when people put down the teachers, many of whom were former students, understand that they were hand picked are probably the best at what they do. They're innovative, go-getters and deserve the right to be there. I can GUARANTEE that half of the people that complain about Full-Sail are the ones that still live with mom and dad and are either too lazy to handle the work or too busy being concerned about their social life(partying, traveling) to really want to succeed.

In closing, you need to want it to succeed. You need to try. You need to understand the reality of how the world works, the state of the economy and the field that you choose. LOTS of colleges have recruiters who are wanting your government checks, why is Full-Sail any different? All I know is that I'll be done with school in almost half the time while working full-time and raising a family. If I can do it, so can you. So get out there and make it happen for yourself!
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#3 Consumer Comment

Full Sail - Lots of Money- Lots of Nothing!

AUTHOR: fightforwhatsright - (USA)

Did you know there are at least three other reports on this school? Thats right theres three that I know of and they all say pretty much the same thing; FULL SAIL IS A RIPOFF!

Im a former student who was hooked lined and sinkered five almost six years ago when I was a senior in high school. After having a great semester in school (in a field that I dearly enjoy but no where near as much as music and traveling) I coughed up the application fee, and applied to school back at the beginning of the year. I then spent all my savings to fly me, and a parent of mine down to the school for a behind the scenes tour where my parents made a lot of acquaintances with the staff and faculty.

While that was all great and how they were vying with promises that they would be sure to help me get the funding I needed, find me an apartment and even get me tutoring as soon as I started having trouble getting funding (for whatever reason is mine) they started backing off or having me try to get funding through another institution.

When that didnt work they convinced me to get into their Hybrid course for Show Production which takes a year longer than normal, which allows it to be cheaper each year. With the scholarship they gave me and government aid the first year was covered. But that was in TUITION only.

The school knew that me coming form a poverty level family that I wasnt going to get help and I wasnt going to be able to get a loan. So they suggested that I start taking my first Four classes online, get a job (who can in this market?!) and move down at the end of my first four classes. They told me that I would need close to five thousand dollars, that the computer and its programs were paid through my tuition and that along with the $5000 I would have to come up with an additional $200 to pay for my seat deposit.

After the first class online I started getting this sinking feeling, then during the second one I realized this was not a good thing and that if I wanted to be in a University of Phoenix like atmosphere where you spend most of your time trying to salvage your grade based off common sense (because thats all the classes are; common sense) I realized that I needed to get out and fast!

Before I could really do anything I was thrown into my 3rd class where I quickly realized that it didnt matter that Id taken a class like this and that Id sent my credits to the school in an official transcript. I spent the first three weeks trying to get a hold of anyone who would give me the time of day because I dont want to have to pay for a class that Ive already taken and I stated that several times.

Full Sail is also saying that its my fault that I didnt contact anyone before the first three weeks were up? I didnt contact anyone?! What do their emails and voicemail have an automatic delete?! The first week I contacted one person thinking they would get back to me. The second week I contacted student advisors (it sends your emails to a generic email pool), my instructor at the time, my financial aid advisor and someone in the education department.

By the second week I had had enough and started working on withdrawing from the school, trying to get re enrolled into a local community college where Ill get my associates in music production/business then transfer to one of three state universites in the country. Oddly after leaving a voicemail with the person that handles withdrawals they sent me and email and asked me to send back those forms filled out. When I brought up my concerns about what was going on I was specifically told in such a way that said it doesnt matter if you didnt want to be in that class we put you there and your paying for it and the entire semester, the computer, the programs and seat deposit!

After reading this and my friend showing me the other complaints lodged here on ripoff report I quickly realized that I may have to gear up for a fight and its not something that I look forward to.

All I want to do is get withdrawn and be done with it and never have to think of this school again! Does anyone know any way I can make that happen?

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#4 Consumer Comment

Full Sail is a SCAM!

AUTHOR: Charlene - (United States of America)

Full Sail is a scam! I earned a real BFA from a real Youngstown State University. Having been laid off I thought it would be a good idea to make my self more marketable in this high unemployment economy by earning a MFA.
I tried to drop out of the Full Sail MFMDA program the first day of the second week when the irresponsible instructor did not bother to show up for the first Wimba session nor did she find a substitute or even cancel. It took several days and attempts to get withdraw papers from the student adviser was on vacation according to the head of the department whom it took several days to contact as well. The program, books and staff is poor quality. The Syllabus is kept a secret until you sign enrollment papers. The assignments are a series of chats with other students, writing research papers about uninformative subjects and elementary level graphic assignments. I did not learn anything by beating the subject of deadlines in a chat nor by providing a spreadsheet of my schedule for the month to an irresponsible instructor.
I have been attempting to return the unread books and unopened headset. I received after withdraw ever since. I have received a bill for items I do not want and 25% of the tuition for a week of nothing! I should have an itemized bill from Direct Loan Origination Center for the computer and software that are open and used only and a way to return the unused books and headset to be fair. I entered this program to improve my unemployed situation not to make my situation worse.
This Full Sail MFMDA program and school should not be associated with Government student loans at all and should be investigated! The complaint phone number provide by Direct Loan Origination Center
Applicant Services (https://studentloans.gov) for college complaint line at 18775578515 is NOT helping, I can not speak to anyone.
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#5 Consumer Comment

Completely Untrue

AUTHOR: Renan - (United States of America)

I am a Full Sail University graduate, with a BS in Entertainment Business, and I have to disagree with your posting. Full Sail University is one of the best schools in the world for its audio technology, game design and entertainment programs. Full Sail University has had many outstanding reviews. Rolling Stone rated it one of the top five schools in the country for Arts, along with Berkeley and Juilliard. It is a highly creative zone where you have the tools and resources to learn and get your career started.

I do agree that it is a bad time for entertainment, with the economy on a downfall, and they do have to invest more in their placement department. Students also have to understand that placement is an aid, a tool, and not the sole solution. In today's job market, students have to take the initiative, especially when you're trying to enter one of the hardest markets to enter.

Full Sail is Nationally accredited, not regionally like other institutions. Make sure that your credits will transfer to the final institution that you plan to graduate from. The reason for this is the following: With national accreditation, you can only change your curriculum every five years. Now, since Full Sail is a technological school, it does not benefit from being Regionally accredited. Full Sail has always been know for, and will always have the most cutting edge equipment and training in the industry.

Now, in regards to ruining peoples lives: Did you know that Avatar (the hottest blockbuster hit of 2010) had eight Full Sail graduates? Did you know that this year there were almost fifty projects that received Grammy's with Full Sail graduates. Full Sail has made a commanding name for itself in the talent that it turns over. That's just the Recording Arts program.

I'm sorry that you did not capitalize on your degree. I personally, do not regret it, and I am exploring the options of going back for a Master's degree in Internet Marketing, one of the fastest growing industries.
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#6 Consumer Comment

Completely Untrue

AUTHOR: Renan - (United States of America)

I am a Full Sail University graduate, with a BS in Entertainment Business, and I have to disagree with your posting. Full Sail University is one of the best schools in the world for its audio technology, game design and entertainment programs. Full Sail University has had many outstanding reviews. Rolling Stone rated it one of the top five schools in the country for Arts, along with Berkeley and Juilliard. It is a highly creative zone where you have the tools and resources to learn and get your career started.

I do agree that it is a bad time for entertainment, with the economy on a downfall, and they do have to invest more in their placement department. Students also have to understand that placement is an aid, a tool, and not the sole solution. In today's job market, students have to take the initiative, especially when you're trying to enter one of the hardest markets to enter.

Full Sail is Nationally accredited, not regionally like other institutions. Make sure that your credits will transfer to the final institution that you plan to graduate from. The reason for this is the following: With national accreditation, you can only change your curriculum every five years. Now, since Full Sail is a technological school, it does not benefit from being Regionally accredited. Full Sail has always been know for, and will always have the most cutting edge equipment and training in the industry.

Now, in regards to ruining peoples lives: Did you know that Avatar (the hottest blockbuster hit of 2010) had eight Full Sail graduates? Did you know that this year there were almost fifty projects that received Grammy's with Full Sail graduates. Full Sail has made a commanding name for itself in the talent that it turns over. That's just the Recording Arts program.

I'm sorry that you did not capitalize on your degree. I personally, do not regret it, and I am exploring the options of going back for a Master's degree in Internet Marketing, one of the fastest growing industries.
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#7 General Comment

Full Sail Scam - The "Big Lie"

AUTHOR: Pietro - (Canada)

Let me say it. 

Full Sail is a scam.  Period.

The worst scam is the 'recording arts' programme.   To anyone considering a career in 'recording engineering', here's my advise.  DONT.  Especially at Full Sail.

The recording industry is in shambles.  Nearly all of the studios that recorded your favorite albums have gone bust.   There are ZERO jobs for recording engineers today. I mean not one, nada, zip, nil.  

Full Sail bullshits you into believing you will have a 'high demand career as a recording professional'  Bullshit.   Nobody is making a living at recording or sound engineering anymore.  

Full Sail want's your money. All of it, if possible.  You will end up with a 100% useless qualification, if you can call it that, from a so called 'institute' that is a complete joke in the industry.

The only purpose of Full Sail is to line the owners pockets with your money.

Do not believe anything they tell you, it's all lies.  Full Sail will lie, scam, cheat, steal and do anything to bullshit you into allowing them to steal your money by offering a totally bogus 'education' in return.

There is no way to make a living as a recording engineer or audio engineer anymore, and attending Full Sail is worse that just wasting your time.   If they tell you they are 'placing' grads into the recording industry they are lying!!!!    A full sail grad can - maybe - get a job as a stereo salesman at Future Shop, if they are lucky.  That's about the pinnacle of a career you can get.

Full Sail is a 100% scam

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#8 General Comment

Really? And the Backlot Tour was so COOL!

AUTHOR: V. Ellis Wade - (USA)

I went on the Backlot Tour with a friend. Awesome looking facility. The tour ended with an awesome Laser lights & smoke show coupled with a video showing how many Full Sail Graduates have "made it" in the industry.

...Then the lady (her name escapes me) giving the "you gotta work for it!" speech said something that sent the entire Tour into the 'this sucks' category:

She boasted about Full Sail's 76% Placement Rate, and how their placement department was the best in the world, then no more than 30 seconds later talked about how no jobs are guaranteed and Full Sail might be able to help one obtain an unpaid internship!

My friend and I looked at each other with the "did she just say that?" face and couldn't wait to get out of there. We did stay for the free food, but after that speech, and after reading NUMEROUS reviews on this and other sites, I decided that I would have just as good a chance to get into the Film industry by spending half the cash at the University of Central Florida - located just down the street from Full Sail. Not to mention, if things don't work out, at least I will have a degree that might help me get a real job.

Thanks Full Sail, but no thanks.
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#9 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Full Sail is Full Scam

AUTHOR: Former Full Sail Teacher - (United States of America)

As a former teacher at Full Sail, I believe I can speak with some authority on Full Scam, or Fool Sale, as the staff called it.  First of all, they lie upfront when they tell you that they have industry contacts that will help you get a job after you graduate.  NO ONE at Full Sail has industry contacts.  Let me repeat that, no one at Full Sail has industry contracts.  No one working there knows anyone who works in any of the trades they pretend to teach there.

    If anyone at Full Sail had contacts, he would use them to get a real job.  Anyone who could leave, has left.  Almost all the teachers are there because they cant get a job anywhere else.  The ones who remain are long past caring about the students.  Only a few new guys care and try to teach students what they need to know and they get burned out pretty quick because they get no support from the corrupt administrators.  

    Students believe that what they learn at Full Sail will enable them to get a job because thats what the school tells them.  No way.  Nothing in the curriculum will prepare you to compete in the industry, especially against guys with real degrees and more experience.  Its totally superficial.  No depth of training at all and in-depth training and experience is exactly what you need to get a good job.

    Everything at Full Sail is a front to sucker in new students.  Full Sail spends a tremendous amount of money and effort on decorating and flashy equipment to create the impression that it is a high-tech, state-of-the-art facility.  Its not. Its just an illusion.  If all that energy was spent on teaching, graduates might be able to compete in the job market.

    Many are of the Full Sail teachers are Full Sail grads. (I was one of the exceptions.  I went to a real university.) A common joke at Full Sail goes like this:

Whats the difference between a Full Sail instructor and a Full Sail grad?

Three months.
(The three months between graduation and getting hired.)

    The placement program is a joke.  They do NOTHING for the graduate.  They have NO contacts in the industry.  Any industry.  IN order to fudge their placement statistics, they do things like this:

A grad got a job at Blockbuster. Well, thats a job in the film industry, isnt it?

No.  Thats a job in retail.

But they list that as a grad getting a job in the film industry.  Orlando is full of video stores staffed by Full Sail grads.

    Everything at Full Sail is a lie.  They tell suckers that Oliver Stone lectured at Full Sail. Wrong!  Stone gave a lecture at UCF and, as a courtesy, the dean at UCF extended an invitation to Full Sail students to attend.  But they still tell that lie today.  I personally heard this lie told by tour guides at the school.

    What kind of school has 24 hour a day classes?  One of my students told me that he had been scheduled for 28 straight hours of classes.  He fell asleep driving home and nearly crashed his car. Does that sound like a good way to study?  The administrators dont care about the students.  At all.  You could die on campus and they wouldnt care as long as your check cleared.

    How much do you think youd learn or remember with that ridiculous schedule?  Theres a reason Full Sail is the only college in the world to use a 24/7 class schedule with no semester breaks.  Full Sail crams as many suckers through as quickly as possible to make money.  Because Full Sail is all about the money.  And the lies.

    Make your own movie?  Thats what they tell students.  Not a chance.  The teachers pick the script (not yours) and the director and you get ASSIGNED a job on the crew.  Whatever job you get, you dont get to do it long enough to get good at it. I never met a student who was satisfied with the way the film turned out and it was often the teachers who had screwed it up.  And Full Sail provides no continuing education for their staff so every day their knowledge becomes more and more outdated.  I hope you like paying for obsolete training!

    As for show production, save your money and just get a job at a company that does show-pro and learn for free.  Lots of people do.

    As an alternative to Full Sail, if you want to make movies, heres my advice.

Read books on screenwriting.

Write script.

Buy computer.
Buy and install editing program.

Buy camcorder.

Make movie.

Sell movie to distributor.

    Its cheaper than Full Sail, you get to keep the gear, and you get to do what you want.

Former Full Sail Teacher

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#10 Consumer Comment

On the Film & Television program

AUTHOR: Minus props - (U.S.A.)

In case you are sitting there thinking that the above warnings wont apply to your major, I speak to you: The Film and Television Major.

Anyone can be a student.

-          What this SOUNDS LIKE: You will not be turned away because your style is wrong. You wont have to labor for two years in General Education (I.E. High School 2). You can get right into the thick of it.

-          What this ACTUALLY MEANS: Every lazy chucklehead and melodramatic fool gets to call dibs and have an equal chance of calling the shots as you, on every single project. The material is watered down so literally anyone can pass a class.

Full Sail Prints its own books for courses.

-          What it sounds like: A no-nonsense Bible for success customized to the actual course.

-          What it actually means: The book will clock in at maybe 100 pages and will only cover as much material as they will teach you in one month.

The 16mm Project.

The script will be chosen out of your Screenwriting course final projects either by your instructor or via a class vote.

You will not direct it. At best, you will be placed in a committee of four or more directors, all of whom share creative authority and WILL have different views on virtually every shot, rewrite, lighting change or acting tweak. You WILL have to fight just to retain what little authority you can carve out every time the project is being discussed or worked on. There will be no concensus.

You will only have two twelve-hour days to shoot the project.

You WILL spend at least five and up to twenty minutes between individual takes and scenes debating what needs to be changed, how to adjust the line reading, or every other thing under the sun, all while your talent and crew are left rudderless and precious time ticks away.

16mm Editing

You must pair off with at least one other student to do the edit. After three weeks of editing, your entire class VOTES on the edit that will go to disc. God help you if you cant get your copy onto another medium yourself because half the course instructors dont care.


Your final, and only project clocks in at 11 pages. 11. Pages.

Buy some used books by Strazinsky and Syd Field. You will be in MUCH better shape to tackling the true scope of screenwriting. Heck, get a hold of final drafts of your favorite movie scripts and youll be leaps and bounds beyond the average student.


It doesnt matter how hard you work in this class. A group of morons whose final project is a party video will pass just as well as you will with an actual documentary.

35mm project

The standards for above-the-line selection are higher and come with a portfolio requirement as well as a written portion to justify your selection. Unfortunately, the committee approach still applies, as well as all of the problems from the 16mm project. The script is voted on once again, so you better pray that there are enough people in your class with artistic merit to NOT pick the Seven knockoff.


Full Sail is not a worthwhile choice. The SCHOOL is a FACTORY for Below-The-Line personnel. It is merely a work-force generator. My advice, do whatever you have to in your own life to allow yourself to work on building your own skills for a year or so, and use the result of that work to get into a real university or college. If that mean you are forced to work full time and become an insomniac to build your own skills because of family rules. DO IT.

In other, better colleges, you have a good four years to study in class, and build your skills outside of class. Full Sail forces you to sacrifice everything just to keep pace with labwork, and the results you walk away with on graduation simply are not worth it.

I wish to God that the above first search postings about Full Sail were around when I was forced to go.

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#11 Consumer Comment

RE:Full Sail Real World Education Ripoff Posting

AUTHOR: Jasonhurley - (U.S.A.)

Hello, I am a graduate of Full Sail Real World Education and wanted to give my side of the story. First as for the tuition for the school... It has come up in price since my attendance, however you must consider a few things when thinking about the annual cost of tuition... first of all it is an accelerated program.. meaning you get 2 years of education for one years tuition... so say the Recording Arts Program now costs 60K for a year... If you divide it by the actual amount of education you get it costs 30K a year.. not to mention your cost for housing has just been reduced by a years rent. To go the NYU it would cost you $100,000 a year, for a year worth of education... so look at the math and you should see that it is not as "expensive" as it is claimed to be. Yes everyone who goes to college(without mom and dad or a scholarship paying for it) comes out of school in debt. That is called life. I had debt when I graduated and so will my children and there children.

I also wanted to comment on the placement department... I would have NEVER been able to have had the jobs I have had If it wasn't for the placement department. I believe the best way to utilize there placement department is to provide a solid clean resume in a form that companies will choose you over the other full sail grads(as well as general public) applying for the positions... which is taught in one of there classes. I got my first mainstream job from the placement department and have been getting job offers since. I think there some issues with teachers in the school... they are not paid very well, and in most cases the positions are rotating doors, but I believe one should understand that first of all that is how this industry works. Most of us do not know what we will be working on after our contracts run out and none of us are promised anything will for sure be there, but that is a choice you make when entering this business. It is not all shiny and bright. There are hard times and with jobs becoming fewer and far between with the economy's ever waving up and down companies want to hire the best they can for the money they have to offer. Most of the teachers I had were good knowledgeable professionals who have either done so well that they wanted to move on to teach there craft or have the knowledge to teach and don't have a lot of work being offered to them at the time.

I believe everyone has a chance when going to Full Sail and what you make of the classes, the labs, the experience as a whole is really up to the individual. I recommend this school and will continue to do so. I have had so many friends go to a college that had basic courses like science, math, history, and language and have been so jealous of not being able to just mainly focus on the major they were there to learn. I got so much more out of going to a lecture and then going to a lab and actually doing what was taught in the lecture. This is another thing most of my friends have been jealous about... they just sat in a classroom and had a teacher tell them what they need to know without one second of real experience.
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#12 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Students aren't the only ones ripped off

AUTHOR: David - (U.S.A.)

My perspective is not that of a former student but as a former instructor. I started with Full Sail when it was still in Altamonte Springs. I left in 1995. This was before they got into "computer animation" and "digital media." Full Sail was a completely different, and better animal then.

Gary, I don't know who you are but you hit the nail on the head in so many ways. Since the early 1990's, Full Sail has promoted the "Big Lie." The Big Lie is not just one grand falsehood but a complete, if not growing, collection of lies.

I could ramble on for pages about bounced paychecks, broken promises (to students and staff), and intentional misinformation and deceit made under the guise of "education." At least two of Full Sail's precious Tech Awards were acquired through a campaign of ballot box stuffing... but that's the least of it.

Nevertheless, at the foundation of Full Sail's Culture of Deceit is this a very big lie:
"Full Sail educators bring their real world experiences into the college classroom each day, giving students the opportunity to learn their craft from professionals who have already worked in the entertainment and media production industry. Students are able to glean tips, tricks, protocol, and etiquette from these industry veterans, giving them greater insight into the career fields they are about to enter."

You can find this on their web site under "Why Full Sail?" in the paragraph titled "Our Educators are Industry Professionals." This is the cornerstone of Full Sail's marketing: more hands-on than lecture and getting your instruction by industry professionals. But I challenge anyone to go to Full Sail's site and find even a partial list of faculty and their credentials. You won't find one. When I left, the majority of lab instructors were students hired straight out of Full Sail. That was very demoralizing for those of us that had experience. That's why starting in the early 1990's the true professionals were leaving in droves or were fired for not being team players (translation: not perpetuating the lie).

As far as hands on training is concerned, I can only speak from an audio standpoint. But here are the numbers: You have six students in a four-hour lab. You have one audio console, one recording device (analog tape or digital) and some outboard gear. Whether you're recording a small rock band or doing audio post, there simply are not enough tasks in that environment for all six student to be doing something hands on during the whole four-hour lab. At best, each student will get approximately 40 minutes of significant hands on time while the other 200 minutes are spent observing. Thank God they don't train commercial pilots that way, but I digress (thank you, Al Schlesinger.)

Back to the industry professionals:
From Full Sail's viewpoint, recent graduates were an immediate and cheaper source of labor; cheaper because they were hungry, had huge student loans to pay off and weren't in a position to negotiate a salary like the rest of us. And since Full Sail is part of the industry and these people are no longer students but currently working for Full Sail, that made them industry professionals. Think not? I challenge anyone that goes to one of those Behind The Scenes dog-and-pony shows to ask tough questions of the presenters / educators. Where did you work before Full Sail? What projects/films/CD's have you worked on lately?

The Big Question to ask them is: What projects are you currently working on outside of Full Sail? The fact is that anyone who is on staff as any kind of instructor is not allowed to work on outside projects without Full Sail's permission. 90% of the industry is comprised of free lancers. Most post houses, studios, etc., know this and even encourage it! Not Full Sail. You owe your soul to the Company Store, as old line in a song goes.

Here's another slick marketing ploy from their web site:
Of the 1,930 trained students who graduated from October 2001 through September 2002, 76% gained initial employment by December 2003.

At first glance, those seem to be pretty impressive number except what really means is that nearly a fourth of the students didn't find work at all and it took up to 15 months for the rest of them to find initial employment. Those number are even less impressive knowing that they are padded by Full Sail's practice of providing initial employment for recent graduates.

Full Sail is not only an over-priced diploma mill but it's a stockyard of sorts providing its own cheap source of labor like cattle. If you're thinking about Full Sail, leave it at that thinking about it. Run, don't walk in the other direction. Check out their competitors. They don't hide their faculty and they don't cost as much.
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#13 Consumer Comment

Article In Question

AUTHOR: Gary - (U.S.A.)

Ripoffreport failed to include my link to the article, so here it is. Go to Geocities and after their URL add fullsailexposed.

Fullsail: We Take Your Dreams, Seriously
A critical look at Fullsail and how it beats you.

There are many aspects to attending a college, and Fullsail is no exception. Issues such as duration, cost, quality, facilities, and staff are all things that should affect your choice of where to attend. This analysis attempts to examine the Fullsail experience from beginning to end, and subsequently exposes where students are either let down, deceived or outright cheated.

First Point: Cost to Value Ratio

Whether you believe FS is a good school or not, do the math and ask yourself: "Do I really want to spend all this money, this fast?" For example: look at their most popular degree, the recording arts program, which costs $37,995 and lasts for 12 months. $37,995 divided by 12 months equals $3166.25 per month for tuition. Divide the tuition by the number of total classes in the curriculum (19) and each class comes at an average cost of $1999.74. For comparison, $2000 will pay for 20 credits at University of Central Florida (just down the road) at the in-state tuition rate, more than an entire semester.

Pricing and duration of programs offered at Fullsail (from catalog vol XVI ed. 2, 7-04): Program Tuition Duration Degree
Computer Animation $38,660 14 months Associate's of Science
Digital Media $38,275 13 months Associate's of Science
Film $37,075 12 months Associate's of Science
Recording Arts $37,995 12 months Associate's of Science
Show Production $37,005 13 months Associate's of Science
Game Design $58,775 21 months Bachelor's of Science
Entertainment Business $25,800 Add 9 months to AA Bachelor's of Science

Tuition, however, is not the only factor in the cost of attending Fullsail. Additionally, the hidden costs of relocation to Florida, housing, utilities, food, entertainment, incidentals and other various expenses can add upwards of an additional $1000 per month, simply to live within commuting distance of the school if you are not a native Floridian.

Second Point: The Quality of Your Classmates

Unlike most two-year and four-year colleges, Fullsail does not require applying students to submit anything along the line of an essay for admission. Those who market Fullsail often ask applicants, "What are you passionate about doing?" but don't ask applicants to put those thoughts down in written form. Not only does this prevent Fullsail from screening out persons with absolutely no written communication skills, but it's also a ridiculous question that if answered on paper would look excessively trite. They don't ask for it because applicants who read what they write may just realize how foolish they sound.

Because Fullsail deals so greatly in art-related studies, it is also disturbing to note that Fullsail has no requirements for portfolio submissions to enter art-related programs. Any art school or university offering a visual arts program requires a portfolio submission to assure the applicant possesses both the ability to create art, as well as the ability to think like an artist. Although there have been many talented artists to attend Fullsail, the lack of a portfolio requirement allows the entry of persons who lack any artistic talent, nor the ability to think creatively. Hence, these persons are being set up for failure; spending vast sums of money working toward a career goal that is unattainable. Sadly, far too many of Fullsail's students fall into this category.

Third Point: Fullsail is Not an Art School!

The entertainment industry (which Fullsail ignorantly claims to have such renown with) knows this. Students of other schools such as Ringling School of Art and Design, Savanna College of Art and Design, and Vancouver Film School all have portfolio requirements, and their students consistently put out work far superior to that of the average Fullsail graduate. Simply by attending Siggraph, an annual convention at the heart of the computer graphics industry, you can see that the graduates of these aforementioned schools are regarded quite highly among the animation community. Their animations consistently make it into the Electronic Theater and Animation Showcases every year.

Although there are "traditional" art courses included in certain programs, Fullsail does not teach one how to be an artist / DJ / director / or web designer. What you learn over your 12-14-21 months at Fullsail is how to press buttons. Like a monkey training to be shot into space, you are shown every menu, every aspect of how a particular software program works. The flaw in this methodology is that software is always changing, and the program you learn in Fullsail might not be the same as what you end up using out in the real world (assuming you can find a job).

Fullsail lacks the requirements of an essay and portfolio for a very good reason; they don't want to turn down your money. At almost $40,000 a piece for tuition, you can see why, but that is the sad truth. The only requirements for attending Fullsail are money... and a heartbeat. Hence why some circles refer to Fullsail as a "Diploma Mill," because if you have the money, you have a diploma. Not only are many graduates unmarketable, but they have a degree that's not worth the paper it's printed on.

Fourth Point: Is Fullsail a "School" at All?

Fullsail asserts that it is an accredited institution, which is why it can offer degrees rather than simple certifications for its programs. The truth is that the rest of the academic community does not feel the same way. Credits from Fullsail are not transferable to any other institution besides Fullsail. This means once you get out of Fullsail and realize you need to go get a real Degree (i.e. a Bachelor's or Graduate Degree), you'll be starting as a freshman (with $50-60,000 in debt right off the bat).

The reason for this, is that Fullsail is "accredited" by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT) (school #055214), which has standards that are a far cry from the accrediting agencies that sign off on state universities and private four-year colleges. You can always contact the ACCSCT and check with them to see if and how many complaints have been filed with them against Fullsail.

Most four-year institutions are held to a higher standard. Most professors you will find possess at least a Graduate Degree in their area of expertise, giving them authority over what they teach. Fullsail, on the other hand, still has many instructors who have at the most an Associate's degree in only a quasi-related field. I have been informed that the school is attempting to strengthen their teaching staff's credentials by insisting that all new hires have at least a Bachelor's degree or the equivalent amount of work experience. Sounds like a step in the right direction, but current staff members are "grandfathered in," thus not being affected by the policy change, and said policy is only being sporadically enforced for new hires. Last month's Fullsail graduate could still be next month's Lab Instructor. Ironic, considering that by Fullsail's standards, a Fullsail graduate is not qualified to work at Fullsail.

Fifth Point: So You Decide to Go to Fullsail Anyway

So (assuming you know of the above stated circumstances) you've decided that none of these things bother you and you're ready to seriously consider Fullsail as your next school. Whether through your Fullsalesman (admissions advisor) or through attending the monthly "Behind the Scenes Tour," you start getting the big sales pitch. The pitch can have many facets, but there are several points Fullsalesmen always hit on.

I will brief you on the "Behind the Scenes Tour," where you will fly to Florida and are taken on a luxurious tour bus from your hotel near the airport, to Fullsail, where a dazzling lightshow awaits you. They play a short introduction video called "Define Your Future," where the bass throbs and the words "Knowledge, focus, attitude, skills, inspiration and confidence," materialize on screen with definitions that, in conjunction with the sounds, make your hairs stand on end. Once they have your attention, Gary Jones, president of Fullsail bursts on stage through the smoke. The audience claps like a group of trained seals.

What follows is a well-structured sales presentation designed to play off of your hopes and dreams, as well as overwhelm your ability to think critically. Some of the selling points they use to part you from your money are:

Follow your dreams: So you want to make a career "doing of what you love," what you're "passionate about?" Making music, movies, video games or traveling the country with your favorite rock group is the quintessential wet dream of your professional life. You are treated to a video montage of various recording artists' music videos, segments from motion pictures, clips from popular video games, etc., below which the names of Fullsail graduates appear who "made it," in the entertainment industry. They may even parade a couple of graduates up of stage to talk about how they "made their dreams a reality." You start thinking, "Hey, all those guys made it, maybe I can too!" Believe me, I know firsthand that for far too many of Fullsail graduates, your dream is, and will remain just that; a dream.

But even if you "make it" in the business, that's no guarantee of success. It's hard work, and the average career of many industry professionals is quite short. You will still be making student loan payments on Fullsail loans long after you have changed careers and become an accountant, barber or homeless transient.

The staff and equipment: They then tell you how their school has all the latest cutting edge equipment and the best instructors who are right out of the industry. As I mentioned earlier, there is a reason these persons are no longer in the industry. Think of the old proverb, "Those who can't do, teach." I personally had no problem with the instructors as people, but they lack qualifications, and taught several outdated techniques pertaining to the computer animation discipline that put graduates at a disadvantage in the real world.

As for the equipment, it is possibly their best selling point. They'll tell you how they have million-dollar recording consoles and labs with over a million dollars-worth of gear, and that it is updated on a constant basis. Although the gear is high quality, and possibly their best selling point, this is all very deceptive. Look at the monitors in any computer lab, and you will notice several that need replacing due to permanently distorted colors. Equipment is not updated as frequently as they lead you to believe, nor is the majority of your tuition going into paying for it. Through bulk software licenses and corporate sponsorships, Fullsail spends surprisingly little of your tuition on gear.

Rather, much of your tuition goes to pay for the very marketing machine whose gears you are now being churned up in. Fullsail maintains a fleet of small vehicles, busses, and tractor trailers that constantly tour the state of Florida visiting high schools attempting to recruit additional students. Additionally they run print, radio and online advertisements in/on several of the most popular industry-related periodicals, websites and radio stations.

The school runs 24/7: They say this because they want you to think this hectic class schedule, where you could have labs running as early as 1am-5am, better prepares you for your new career in the industry. In reality, it affords Fullsail the opportunity to push through more students per month than if it ran on a more orthodox schedule. This kind of schedule, however, is very stressful, and before a student even completes his degree, he/she can suffer from "Burn out," whereby they will simply give up and lose all interest in their work for a period of weeks or months. Unless you believe honestly that you can avoid this condition for 20-30 years, (and most people can't) your career in the industry will be relatively short (again, assuming you can "make it" in the first place).

The "Magic drawer full of jobs," speech: So here's the big bombshell; selling you on their placement department. A woman named Debbie Mills will walk on stage and begin with hitting on the placement rate of students into "the industry," which according to them (that's right, the figure is not independently verified) hovers around 70-80%.

First, Fullsail's definition of "the industry," can encompass many different jobs. If you get a job working behind the scenes on a movie set, naturally, you are considered "placed." However, if you get a job working behind the counter at an AMC theaters, Sam Goody, Electronics Boutique or Blockbuster Video, you are also considered to be placed (and guess which one occurs more often). Whatever placement rate they tell you, divide by 4.

Secondly, they may paint you a rosy picture of how the entertainment field is growing, and it probably is, but not so much domestically speaking. India, New Zealand, China, Australia, the UK, Canada; all these countries are seeing additional jobs come their way. Jobs in animation, video games and motion pictures are going overseas where the cheap labor is, while at the same time Fullsail, and dozens of other schools like it, are churning out boatloads of graduates here in the United States. Domestically, the growth of the industry is far eclipsed by the flood of new "talent" entering the workforce, leaving said "talent" to fight over the leftover scraps not consumed by the industry veterans who have already been established for years.

So what is the "Magic drawer full of jobs," speech? Debbie Mills will tell you there is no magic drawer full of jobs for you when you graduate. If you want to be in the industry you have to work and fight to get your foot in the door. You may have to work an unpaid internship as an "audition" for a job (assuming they offer you one afterward). But what you should take away from this speech is that Fullsail's placement department will not find a job for you, nor can it help you find one for yourself. By their own admission, Fullsail's placement department is worthless. Fullsail puts out a majority of graduates that lack the skills, attitude and intelligence to work in the entertainment industry, and the industry is catching on. Of the few studios and venues that exist in and around the Orlando area, most have already been turned off by their experiences with prior Fullsail graduates they have hired and have blackballed future Fullsail graduates from consideration for employment.

The grand finale: After one last round of applause and the light show draws to it's close, you tour the school. You will see the building and campus (which as a student I noticed got a thorough cleaning and fresh coat of paint every month just before the weekend... my tuition dollars at work), as well as sit in a few of the classrooms and labs. Throughout the hallways are dancing lights, glowing monitors and the projection of Fullsail's animated logo everywhere. Every other day of the month all of these pretty things are shut off and put away. While sitting in the labs a resident course director may tell you a little about what goes on in lab and talk about the equipment and software being used. They may even guide the group through a simple tutorial exercise on the gear, a tactic known by car salesmen as getting you to take "mental ownership," i.e. the more you touch the more you think it's yours.

Once the tour is complete you are taken to an area with food and drinks, where you meet up with your Fullsalesman (i.e. admissions representative). After you tell them how much you enjoyed your tour they attempt to close you by saying something innocuous and non-threatening, like "When do you think you might want to start?" At this point you've been pretty heavily stimulated; you have been treated to transportation, food and a show, and all they want is for you to go to school there. You think, "This place is a lot of fun, so why not?" and as a result many of their prospects sign up.

Sixth Point: So Now You've Signed Up, but How To Pay for It?

Fortunately for you, Fullsail has "special" loan packages "tailored to fit the needs of Fullsail students!" These loans are through preferred lenders Fullsail has established business relationships with. My first loan was for over $20,000; payable before I even set foot in the classroom. Why? Because Fullsail also makes a great deal of money from their students financing their education. It pockets a large amount of money up front, and sits on it, gaining interest through the banks. Also, if Fullsail is anything like a car dealership (and I'm willing to bet that it is) then the school could be receiving kickbacks from their preferred lenders for all of the business they have brought them.

One more little scam is dealing with "Living expense" checks; loan money taken out in addition to the tuition amount to pay for the essentials while students attend school. Fullsail issues out checks on a quarterly basis to students so they can pay for their rent, food, gas, etc. What they don't tell you though, is that they get every dime of your living expense money upfront, and then dole it out to you when the time comes. Meanwhile they are earning interest on your money, while you are accruing interest on that same money from the day the loan was taken out. Had I known this fact I would have demanded all of my living expense money upfront.

Amid my time at Fullsail their "preferred lender" changed, and the interest rate for my loan for the second half of the program nearly doubled. It was explained to me that this new lender had very stringent credit requirements, but there is an alternate theory that is far more likely. The theory is that the prior lender was no longer willing to take on the liability of Fullsail students who fail to repay their loans. According to the Department of Education website, the default rate of Fullsail students is approximately double that of students attending the University of Central Florida for repayment of Federal Family Educational Loans (FFEL's) (which include Federal Stafford Loans).

Bottom line: the first lender, and the second, are both well aware that Fullsail students are a far greater credit risk than average for failing to repay their loans. As you may guess, this may be directly related to the number of unemployed Fullsail graduates out there.

Seventh Point: Time for Class

Most classes at Fullsail are one month in duration. I could say, "How can you learn [insert skill here] in only a month?" but that isn't what I'm trying to point out. Most lectures are 4 hours in length, and the pace is fast and furious. By the end you should be able to complete the class' final project successfully. Your books for this class will either be a bound, photocopied text written by your course director, or an occasional printed book like you would find at the bookstore. At the end of each Fullsail course you will be given a chance to fill out a course evaluation form, which allows you to make comments and express concerns over the course curriculum, course directors, labs and lab instructors.

Whatever you write, chances are it will take upwards of 6 months to be implemented (if it happens at all). The hectic class schedule prevents course directors from being able to update their textbooks, alter the curriculum, or take other measures to react to student input on how to improve their course in a timely basis.

Eighth Point: Why Pay for a Steak, Just to Wind up with a Hamburger?

From this evidence it is plain to see that the best option compared to Fullsail is a 4-year school (art school or otherwise), state university, or a full-blown art school such as Ringling, SCAD or VFS. These schools are held to higher standards, and so are the students. They require time, talent, patience, perseverance, and intelligence to be successful. Unlike Fullsail, these schools give you an opportunity to learn and grow, have a social life, and make some lifelong friends. You may have athletic events, extracurricular activities, clubs and organizations on campus, the possibilities are numerous.

Tim Naylor is a featured graduate on Fullsail's official site, who "made it" in the industry working for Industrial Light + Magic on the Star Wars films. I saw him speak at Fullsail one day while I was still early in my program. He told the audience that work needs to be left in the workplace, and you absolutely need to have your social/personal time. The irony is that this contradicts Fullsail's philosophy that you should "Eat, sleep, live and breathe" your work. Choke on it, Fullsail.

When you take the longer path, you will have more time and be able to do more than just scratch the surface of a subject. Employers are not impressed by an Associates degree, or two or three. I know this as fact. When you tell them you graduated from Fullsail, employers will either say "Oh, Fullsail." or "What's Fullsail?" Not a good foot to start off on. But when you say you graduated from University of Central Florida, or University of Virginia, or Yale or SCAD, the employer knows where you're coming from.

In Summation:

Fullsail offers something different than a "traditional" college. That's good, because conformity sucks, right? Not where your academic career is concerned. The "traditional" college exists for a reason, and employers respect degrees from such colleges for a reason; because they mean something. Graduates of traditional 4-year schools are better qualified as a whole, period.

Fullsail merely teaches their students how a software application works and what buttons to press. As the industry changes, your skills will soon be outdated and you will either need to learn something new or go back to school to get caught up. They work to a different standard, which is no standard, and will give anyone with $40,000 and a heartbeat a degree. A Fullsail degree isn't worth the paper it's printed on, so getting a real degree is a far superior choice.

If you are still interested in being in the entertainment industry, look for schooling alternatives. If you don't think you can handle the stress of working in the industry, or of the process of job hunting in said industry, without suffering burnout in only a few short years, go to a university and get a degree that is more widely marketable than "Recording Arts," or "Game Design." That's what I'll be doing...
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