One thing I really wanted to do when I moved to the US was to study here and pick up a qualification, it has been a dream of mine for some years to study in a fashion college in New York. Even before I did my Leaving Cert in Ireland I had looked into taking the SATS but ultimately I decided I couldn’t afford to do a bachelors degree in the US.
At the moment I currently have an undergraduate degree but don’t hold any postgraduate. At times I have wondered if I should do a Masters degree and if not having one might hold me back in a few years?
Anyhow, when I moved to New York 18 months ago I began looking into something more feasible than a masters such as a diploma or certificate, something that would be affordable, would stand out on my resume and have flexible hours as I still work full-time.
After a lot research I decided to do a certificate in Brand Management Experience in the Fashion Institute of Technology NY (FIT). Before enrolling in any university it is so important so do as much research as possible and make sure its a good fit for you.
How to Enroll
I really wanted to give some information on how to enroll and get started in the college. It might sound silly but I actually found this very tricky, education in the US is done very different than in Ireland, even small terms they use are different. For example where I would usually say module they say class.
To me class= one class
In the US one class= multiple seminars
I went straight to the Center for Continuing Professional Development because I already had an undergrad degree. There were two options a credit certificate or a non- credit certificate. A credit certificate allows you to use the course for college credit therefore I enrolled in a non-credit certificate.
Once you complete the first class you sign an affidavit which gives you a FIT student card, allowing you access to the college library and student discounts etc.
For my certificate of ‘Brand Management Certificate’ it contains the following classes:
SXB 100 Increase Sales and Performance Through Brand Management
SXY 210 Who Are Your Best Customers and How to Motivate Them to Buy
SXB 250 New World Branding: Social Media Applications and Impact
SXB 300 Brand Management Analytics: Measuring the Value of Your Brand
SXB 400 Brand Lab: Practicum in Brand Test Launching
The lecturers in these classes have been great, some better than others of course, but they are all incredibly experienced and knowledgeable with very good connections with the major fashion brands. After each class we are given a small assignment to complete and then at the end of the class you submit a paper on what you’ve learned or a similar topic.
In this post I wanted to sum up some of the positives and negatives of my experience in FIT and hopefully this will help anyone looking at attending the college or doing a similar course.
There are of course many positives to studying in FIT, I have a greater understanding of the fashion industry and the strategies brands need in 2019 and the course has given me the opportunity to meet new people. Some of the other major positives are –
FIT has a good reputation worldwide, and is seen as one of the best fashion schools globally with esteem alumni including Francisco Costa, Nina Garcia, Carolina Herrera, Calvin Klein and Michael Kors. The lecturers themselves are industry professionals rather than academics, who have experience working with some of the top fashion brands.
- Cost Effective
The diploma in the grand scheme of things isn’t nearly as expensive as a full bachelors full or postgraduate degree. As part of the certificate I take 5 modules or class, each class ranges from $200-$350. Once you begin the certificate you have up to 2 years to complete it, this means that that total amount ($1,550-$1,750) can be paid for over time.
Because FIT is a state school part of SUNY (State University of New York) it is notoriously slow and the administrative end often unorganized. I have experienced this firsthand as the number of classes I need to take to complete my certificate has changed and at times it is difficult to receive accurate communication from the college. If you were to attend a private fashion school such as Parsons, these administrative difficulties wouldn’t exist but you would also be looking at a pretty hefty student loan.
- Time consuming
Other certificates I looked into could be completed in a shorter time, such as one in NYU, ultimately I decided I wanted to stick with FIT but it has come with some difficulties. The 5 classes I need to complete my certificate are not offered every semester and often times when they are offered I have work conflicts and can’t take them, meaning I need to wait until the next time they are offered (which may only be twice a year). I take one class a week for 5 weeks to complete that module/class, it normally goes from 6pm-9pm.
For these particular certificates I think its hard to complete in one year and would recommend being in the states at least 18 months to complete it. Technically you could complete some classes without the intention of being awarded the overall certificate if you were in the US for a short time.
I hope that covered a good amount but feel free to message me if you have anymore questions!