I graduated from CATO in 2010. The structure of the programs and the school itself have surely changed since then. This is myself looking back at my experience.
Mixed feelings come to mind when people ask me if I regret going through 18 months of study at the Centre for Arts and Technology (CATO). First of all, I don’t regret the experience because it’s shaped who I am today. In retrospect, I would’ve approached the start my career a bit differently.
Coming from a small town, I was naive on the workings of large businesses and private institutions. CATO is a business and the school exists to make profit, fair enough. I repeatedly tried to justify the total tuition amount. “I’m passionate about my career, don’t let the financial cost deter you.”, I kept telling myself. Don’t get me wrong, success stories of students are the highlights of these types of tech schools. The majority of the teachers and students were amazing and helped each other so much along the way.
I’m passionate about my career, don’t let the financial cost deter you.
Anyways, on to my story. It was near the end of high school and I signed up for the bootcamp program. It was a great experience and I highly recommend it, as it does give you a sense of the environment that you’ll be learning in. It wasn’t until a few years after in 2008 that I made the decision to commit to the course.
I immediately got the sense my fellow students were a bit naive and to focused on the title of the program, Graphic Digital Multimedia Design. They had this idea already made up in their minds that this was strictly a graphic design focused program.
I don’t blame them!
The marketing for the program was saturated with, design this, design that. This only scratched the surface of what the full program entailed. We never got a chance to fully understand what we were getting ourselves into – lots of programming!
The two main points of failure on the school’s part was both the financing and recruitment side. From the beginning of submitting my letter of interest to enrol in the program, it was all about if I can finance a student loan. Nothing about the details of the individual courses and what exactly the word “multimedia” implied!
I now feel there was a disconnect between the recruiters and teachers. What exactly were students getting them selves into?
The other students and I were definitely in for a surprise.