How do I know if I’m good enough to get into the program? Almost every potential student who walks into The Circus doubts if they have what it takes to produce the type of work they see on the walls of the school. The question is less about skill level at the time of application, and more about passion and natural creativity. Our Admissions team is here to help students determine if The Circus seems like a good fit based on their interests, goals, determination, work situation, etc.
What kind of background do I need to have? No two Circus students are alike. One common thread is that you must consider yourself a creative. Did you recently graduate with a 4-year undergrad degree and realize that you really need a portfolio to get your dream job? Have you always considered yourself a creative and wanted a career rather than be a starving artist? If so, then The Creative Circus might be the right school for you!
Is The Creative Circus accredited? We are fully accredited as a post-secondary occupational institution by the Council of Occupational Education (C.O.E.), a national accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that our courses meet proper state regulations, our accreditation allows The Creative Circus to be eligible for Title IV federal financial aid opportunities.
What are the admissions requirements? We require an interview and a recommendation for application from our Admissions department. After application, you are required to submit a portfolio of 10-15 pieces to be considered for acceptance.
Do I need to have a portfolio to apply? In an effort to get a better sense of your experience, The Creative Circus requires both an essay and samples of your creative work to date. The portfolio is just one small part of the application. All departments except development require a portfolio of 10-15 pieces that best represent your creativity. Your samples can include fine art, creative writing, music you’ve made, or photography. What are we looking for? Passion. Inventive, original ideas and a clear awareness of what this school is: it’s a career move and a way to get a job with a finished portfolio. All departments require a 200 word minimum essay addressing a question specific to the program you’re seeking admission into. We look carefully at the essay focusing on how you respond to the prompt. Make your essay echo and compliment your portfolio.
What is the demand for creatives? The One Club estimates that there are over 200,000 marketing communication agencies with 20-25% of the agency being made up of creative talent. Additional employment sources for our grads are also client-side, ie. Google, Apple, Coca-Cola, Carter’s, & freelance, which many in this industry prefer as they grow into their careers. You can view placement of our most recent grads here.
Can’t I just do this on my own? Sure. You can certainly try. But we have found that many creatives just won’t push themselves as hard as we do. There is a standard in this industry and we will pull a level of original thought & craft out of you that you may not have ever known existed within yourself. It’s hard to find mentors and get expert advice on your own. As great as those know-it-all bloggers are, it isn’t sound advice all of the time. You can do 2 years of work here, now, and speed up what could take you 8-10 years in your career to achieve.
How will Circus help me get a job? While portfolio development is the number one reason students choose to continue their education at the Creative Circus, our exclusive career placement programs are equally important. To succeed in our industry, those are the two things you need: your book, and an arsenal of contacts that are going to help you get your foot in the door. And it’s those two elements that directly result in our current placement rate, which is over 95%. Students come here to hit it big. They want to go to big market cities, ie. NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, LA, Boston, Austin, Seattle, Portland, Atlanta, etc. And they typically go to work in the top agencies in those big markets. We don’t guarantee placement, of course, as this is a talent based industry and you are an active player in the trajectory of your career, but the Circus can open doors that are typically sealed shut. You can read more about services offered by our Career Services Department here. Recent grads have been hired at these shops: Wexley School for Girls, BBDO, Leo Burnett, Ogilvy,Slingshot, Mullen, RGA, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, David & Goliath, AKQA NYC, Droga 5, Baldwin&, Schok Creative, Wieden & Kennedy, and The Richards Group just to name a few.
What makes The Circus different? We have four full-time faculty & seasoned veterans around you all of the time who have a personal interest in your success. You’re not a number to us & we sincerely want to see every creative reach their full potential. You’ll find that your classmates are passionate, talented, and SUPPORTIVE of you. You’ll have opportunities to work with highly skilled interactive developers, commercial photographers, & designers just like you would in an agency. We’ve been around for a long time (over 20 years) and have an extremely strong alumni network & family all over the world. On top of all that, we have a great staff who works in this section of education because of their love for creatives & joy in seeing people succeed. Once you’re in the family, you’re in the family. It takes a lot of time, money, energy & drive to make this happen for yourself, but we are all here to help you along the way.
Why The Circus and not a Master’s program? The end goal of going back to school is about getting a JOB. The programs at The Creative Circus are structured to imitate what goes on in the industry and give students hands-on, collaborative experience while building an exceptional, industry-ready portfolio. The portfolio, not a degree or piece of paper, is what recruiters and creative directors are basing their hiring decisions on. Our reputation in the industry, coupled with our unique approach to teaching, makes The Circus name a real benefit to students. The professional skills and killer book that they built while they were here take them the rest of the way. We don’t guarantee placement, but our career placement rate is consistently over 90%.
Where can I find the Academic Calendar? Our google calendar with all important dates and events can be found here.
How long is the program? 2 years, 8 total quarters.
Do I get summers off? No, but there is a 2-week break in between each quarter.
Are there multiple locations of The Circus? Nope. We are stationed here in Atlanta & have been for over 20 years now. We find that our students are extremely successful long term in their careers after spending 2 years in this creative incubator of a school. Atlanta is a very affordable city for students to live in while studying.
Is a Bachelor’s degree required to attend the Circus? No, a Bachelor’s degree is not required. We do operate on an intensive level and the majority of students do have a Bachelor’s degree but it is not required. We haven’t discovered the test that predicts a talented creative. Give us a call when you do.
How do I know which quarter to start? The Image and Interactive Development programs begin only twice a year: Spring (April) and Fall (October). All other programs can be started in any quarter. Incoming quarters vary in size, so some individuals have a preference based on that. Otherwise, there is no better or worse quarter in which to start. Generally, we encourage students to start classes as soon as they’re able. The earlier you start the program, the sooner you’re able to graduate and find a career in creative advertising doing what you love!
What are my housing options? We do not provide housing, but we have a den mother, Finny Moore, Student Services Manager, who helps students link up with other students for potential housing opportunities & has a ton of apartment information. You can find out more here.
What is tuition? $465 Tuition per credit hour $1875.50 Tuition per month (full-time) $5626.50 Tuition per quarter (12.1 credit hours) Total Program Cost for 2 years (8 quarters) $45,012.00. Learn more about tuition here.
Is financial aid available? Financial aid is available for those who qualify but please be aware, financial aid will not cover the entire tuition amount. There will be a balance every quarter that must be paid outside of federal financial aid funds. We do have credit based lending options to cover this balance to those who qualify. Once your application and FAFSA is submitted, you will make an appointment to meet with our Financial Services Director, Myla Wilson who will review your federal Award Letter and alternative loans.
Am I able to receive financial aid information before I submit my application? Unfortunately, no. In order to start the application process, you must first pay the $100 application fee, complete the Enrollment Agreement on our web portal, complete your FAFSA, and request the results to be sent to The Creative Circus. Once we have received all of the above information, you will be able to make an appointment with our Financial Services Director, Myla Wilson, to review your Federal Award Letter.
What’s the difference between Graphic Design and Art Direction? Art Direction and Design have a lot of overlap, both here at The Circus and within the industry. Art Directors work very collaboratively in creating advertising campaigns. Designers, often working independently, can work on a variety of different media and are often creating more tangible, textural, and 3-dimensional pieces. Design Department Head Ron Moore has often said that designers present whereas Art Directors persuade. To help get a better sense of which program is right for you, schedule a meeting with one of our Admissions Representatives. The first quarter of both programs is identical. This allows for a seamless transition from one program into the other if you and The Circus faculty determine that the other program might be a better fit after completing the first quarter’s coursework.
How do students afford to pay for school if they can’t work full-time? The financial situation is different for each student. Most of our students choose to take advantage of Federal Financial Aid. However, federal aid will not cover the full cost of tuition at The Creative Circus. Our Financial Services Director, Myla Wilson, works with each student one-on-one once they’ve applied to the school. She assists them in applying for federal aid and then reviews alternative options to help cover the remaining tuition balance. Some of those options include the Parent Plus Loan, a private loan through Wells Fargo, payment plans, Tuition Options loan, & interest free payments while you are in school. If you have questions about the finances and your options for covering the tuition balance, please feel free to contact Myla at 404-477-6711 or by email. All payments will be taken by our Financial Services Director, Myla Wilson.
What if I change my mind and want to switch from one program to another? Is this possible? This is fairly common. Depending on your current program, it is usually possible to switch however, it’s best if this is done as early as possible, preferably before third quarter.