Full Sail University Reviews – Legit or Scam?

Full Sail University
from 104 reviews Review It
Full Sail University


Full Sail University is a trade school specializing in higher learning that offers a variety of degrees in audio, film, design, computer animation, and other fields. Full Sail University is located in Winter Park, Florida, and was founded in 1979.

Full Sail University is often called a “scam” by former students for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the largest reason is the high expense of receiving an education there.  Tuition ranges from around $36,000 to around $75,000 for a full degree program. Students frequently complain of having paid such high tuition prices and yet still having extreme difficulty finding a job in their field.

Now, many students of universities all over the nation make this very same complaint every single day, especially with the current state of the economy and job market. What makes Full Sail University different, however, is that they are a for-profit institution.

Controversy Surrounding For-Profit Schools

For-profit schools have a laundry list of complaints and criticisms lodged against them on a regular basis. The biggest problem by far with for-profit schools is their accreditation.

For-profit schools like Full Sail University have federal accreditation through the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), which is a third party, independent commission recognized by the US Department of Education to accredit schools. However, this accreditation is incredibly specific, and unlike regional accreditation given to public universities and colleges, it is not necessarily recognized or accepted by other schools or employers.

This means that whatever credits you accumulate at Full Sail University will not transfer to or be accepted by other universities if you need to transfer. In addition, if you receive a bachelor’s degree at Full Sail and are looking to another institution to receive a Master’s degree, they are not guaranteed to recognize your bachelor’s degree.

In addition, former students have complained their employers have not recognized Full Sail degrees, meaning they were not promoted or given salary compensation for having received a higher degree.

This problem has become so prevalent in the United States, that the Federal Government is planning on passing a ban saying that student loans funded by the Federal Government cannot be placed toward for-profit schools.

Is Full Sail University a Scam?

Well, despite the complaints both from former students and employees, what Full Sail University is doing is completely legal. Other for-profit institutions with potential accreditation problems include Phoenix University and DeVry University, as well as most culinary and art institutions.

However, it is up to every student who is entering college to think long and hard about the money it will cost to attain a degree, as well as whether or not that institution or degree will work for them. Researching that school’s rankings and reputation for the degree you wish to receive, as well as their graduation and job placement rate is absolutely necessary before you take on the financial commitment.

Note: If you’re in the process of researching online schools check out our helpful guide, “How to Choose the Right Online College.”

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Customer Responses, Reviews, or Complaints

Average Rating for " Full Sail University " is 2.7 out of 5 based on 104 reviews.
  • I graduated from Full Sail summer 2016, valedictorian of my program. My program was 100% on line, audio production. Looking back I can honestly say I probably could have learned most of it myself via YouTube, Lynda, etc. there are tons of well produced tutorials on line that can teach you just about anything recording related. With that said it still was a great experience for me. I learned a lot, made great connections, and am the better for it. It's really about your personal goals. Mine is to teach youth, so the benefits of going through the program off me are different than most. Do you need to go there to make it in the industry and learn recording? No. Really depends on your end goals
  • look I know what I'm getting myself into with FSU And I know it'll cost me a lot of money but I start my classes in may and It's always been my dream to work with games! And nothing comes easy not even dreams it take's hard work and the way I see it is just like with everyone else they are just giving me the tools to do so it just depends on what you do with it you can sit around and complain or apply yourself it get it done!
  • It's too expensive for what you get, they are really good at selling you a reality that doesn't exist in their environment. Not even close to the quality of learning you get on a normal university. Go to a real university, one that has a respected accreditation in the world of education.
  • I started at Full Sail University in July of 2015, pursuing a B.S in Game Design. Currently I am in my second year of online courses and I think I can give it a solid four star review. As some reviews have stated above, FSU isn't easy and it is expensive. FSU claims that with at least 25-30 hours worth of work you will succeed, while this may be true for some, for others like myself who have a full time job and a family, it can be very difficult. But I am succeeding because I want to. It's all about what you put into it. If you think you can just sit back, relax and collect a good grade, you're wrong. There is a lot of hard work that needs to get done and you need to devote your time to FSU or else you will not learn properly. I see a lot of reviews about FSU using Lynda.com and YouTube a lot for their assignments, but to be honest, that's most schools. I have family members and friends who tell me the same stories about campus schools. But Full Sail also has some really great courses where I have learned more in those 4 weeks than I ever have before. It's all about the individual, if you want to learn, you will, if you want to succeed, you will. Sure, FSU has some courses that don't really apply to your degree of choice, or are sometimes "poorly" taught, but I realized that even this boring classes offer something. Maybe they taught me how to write better, or send a more professional looking e-mail. It's these little things that go a long way in my opinion. So, to make a long story short, I am really enjoying my time at FSU, I have spoken with many industry professionals who have also attended FSU and they all greatly enjoyed their time there and do not regret a second of it. Sure, it's a little expensive, but I have already landed a part-time paid job in the gaming industry and I'm only about half way through the program. So please, do your research and talk to ACTUAL people who have spent time at FSU. I did, and I made the choice to attend. I don't regret it.
  • This Spag person seems like an employee lol
  • It’s hard to find knowledgeable individuals on this subject, but you sound like you understand what you’re speaking about! Thanks
  • I graduated in 1990. I also started a masters program online a few years back. I quit for personal reasons. Not the school. I enjoyed this school. I believe it is a good school. They tell you up front there are specific schools that they have agreements with that will allow credit transfers. The entertainment industry is "tough" people. There are more people then jobs. If you go here you need to understand it is difficult to establish yourself in this industry. You may not find work. That is not the fault of the school. If this is what you want then bust your but till you find a job, any job, acquire contacts and eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It will take time to establish yourself in the industry. DONT BLAME THE SCHOOL.
  • I’m a former Full Sail University student. I graduated in September of 2013 from the Game Art Degree program. I was class Valedictorian, Advanced Achiever Recipient, and got 3 course directors awards. After graduating I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area at the beginning of 2014 to look for jobs. I did a some art tests but found no luck. Then I moved to LA at the end of 2014 to try and find a job. To make the story shorter: At Siggraph 2015 I saw someone from career development from Full Sail and talked to him. Turns out he was looking for companies to recruit because Full Sail was holding an alumni network event just for Full Sail graduates in LA and wanted companies to be there and see if any of us could be a good fit for them. BINGO! I was interviewed by a company called The Third Floor Inc. Right away they offered me a paid apprenticeship for 3 months and if my work was good, I was then going to be hired as a junior artist. On the other hand, a friend of mine was also interviewed by them and got the job right away. He had industry experienced before, so no apprenticeship was needed for him. On January of 2016 I started my apprenticeship with Third Floor and in April 2016 I was hired as a Junior Artist and I have been there since then. I love working for them and the wait was definitely worth it! Most of my closest friends from Full Sail got industry jobs. Some of them took a longer time to find it than others. Most of the people that I know that went to Full Sail that got jobs are very talented and hard working people. Unfortunately I do know of some friends that didn’t get job after graduation and are still looking for jobs and the worst of all is that most students that go there, only a few graduate and the few that graduate, only a few get jobs. So why is it that some of us make it and some of us do not? Well, this is where I believe Full Sail fails and there are 2 main reasons for this: A) They accept everyone. Regardless if this person is talented or not for their degree, they will accept him/her and as long as they can pay for it, they will keep going there. Some students do really bad work, and even though we are all still learning, some of them were not meant for their degree, even if it is their passion and what they want to do. A lot of students don’t do that well in their classes because for some reason they don’t take it seriously. They think that Full Sail is the type of college that you can actually go out and get drunk and unfortunately it isn’t. I noticed that the newest students that get in are recent high school graduates and are still too young to figure things out and therefore they get bad results. B) Some instructors do not teach as good as they should. In some classes I learned really good stuff, in others I barely learned anything and I completely blame the teachers for this. A lot of them got prior industry experience, unfortunately just because they had industry experience doesn’t mean they can teach. They might have a lot of knowledge and experience, but it takes a special type of person to be able to be a mentor. Unfortunately what I learned in some classes I could learn over the internet. They definitely need to re-enforce this! The entertainment industry could care less about your degree. They are not going to deny you a job just because you graduated from this school or any other school. If this were true, how is it that I got a job and so did my friends and other students that got really good jobs? Eventually they have what is required: a very good portfolio that can give you an entry level position to a company/studio, then you start to build up resume and walk up the ladder. No other way to put it. Unfortunately because of point A that I mentioned before, most students that eventually graduate end up with a poor portfolio or a portfolio that doesn’t stand out from the rest. My conclusion is that Full Sail could be a better university! And if I were them I would make the program at least 30 months for the same price. I don’t regret going there because I believe that part of learning also comes from what we decide to do. How much students put into is is how much they get back. Full Sail will give you the pencil and show you how to draw, but you are the one that is going to have to draw by yourself and practice as much as you can. I probably will be in debt for the rest of my life, but to me waking up everyday and loving what I do and not hating my job (like most people do) has no price. This might sound crazy but I rather be in debt and doing what I love from Monday through Friday and getting paid for it, than not be in debt and hate my job from Monday through Friday waiting for the weekend to rest from my job because I hate it. What is the point of living like that? I recommend Full Sail to those who are talented and have some type of “experience” in whatever they are going to do. Nonetheless there are some degrees that are a waste of time and you are better off learning by yourself. Nonetheless thanks to Full Sail I manage to get this industry job and I hope that now I will walk up the ladder! It wasn’t easy but definitely not impossible! However, I also recommend looking at other options and see what fits for you. College is not for everyone and Full Sail is not for everyone either. Good luck out there!
  • My son graduated from Full Sail in the Recording Arts program. The school was very expensive, but his hard work, determination assisted him in getting in the industry. Full Sail did play a big part in his success. He was able to obtain an internship after graduating and the rest is history. He has several credits as an audio engineer with some very well known artist and producers. He has worked on Grammy nominated projects, and has received several RIAA awards for his work. This school is not for everyone. There are a very small number of people who actually make a success out of being graduates of this school. I was not in favor originally, as I believe a traditional education would be more beneficial. My son tells me all the time he is glad he didn't listen to me. It can happen if you remain dedicated and an unwavering mind.
  • I graduated with many honors from Full Sail University and worked my butt off to get them. After all, once someone has paid the money to begin their education, employment is needed to fulfill the obligation, and even if you withdraw, the monetary obligation remains. The school seemed to study the students as much as the students were learning. They'd administer questionnaires inquiring of our interests in the field we were signed up to learn. While some of the instructors took pride in what the students were learning and provided valuable feedback, the amount can be counted on one hand. Many of them were so concerned with flaunting their tailfeathers with past experiences or spouting off videos they'd discovered through Vimeo and YouTube that we could have located ourselves, the cost of $1,300/month was a waste. Personal opinions also seemed to clutter their judgment, rather than the work performance, in delivering grades. The focus was generic, dabbling here and there, but not giving core concepts to the field of interest. In the particular course of Creative Writing, we learned one month of gaming, one month of screenwriting, etc., but weren't able to venture into the core of the subject unless we continued with a Master's program. Afterward, I found that in this field the degree doesn't qualify for nearly what was anticipated. If you're wanting a bachelor's degree, you can get that from any accredited school for a fraction of the cost. If you're more in tune with what you want to study, locate individual classes online -- some colleges offer courses al a carte. As with anything costly, I would suggest you do your due diligence in making the determination that fits your needs.
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