Last Night's LCB Appointment DetailsI apologize for the epic post.
I met the LCB last night. The recruiter and I talked for almost 2-1/2 hours. The person I met with was very polite, informative and very helpful. I was not pressured in any way to sign anything, even when I said that I could not start school until January. The recruiter simply told me that as soon as I knew for sure when I could start, I should begin my paperwork. That's it.
He was in no hurry to get me out of his office. In fact, there were a few times when he was going over things that I wished he would fast forward through, but he didn't.
He allowed me to ask any question I'd like, but some of his answers were vague, such as the student / teacher ratio. At first I didn't get an answer, but I pressed him on this. He mentioned something about max number of people in the building per the fire code, and hemmed and hawed a bit. Finally after not letting this go, he said it was approximately 24:1 (guessing) in the beginning, and that would go down over time due to attrition. So I took it as, he has no idea. The classes last night started only four weeks ago, and the student teach ratio I saw in two classes was about 20:1, +/-. Other classes had less students.
This was the most vague answer I received.
I was told that the program would be approximately 40K (almost exactly) for 21 months of evening instruction, and that if I went on a monthly payment plan (as opposed to student loans), and if something should happen and I could not finish the program, I am not obligated for the entire 40K. This was a huge relief, though I did not ask to see this in the contract. I will prior to me signing anything. He also said that this payment plan does not charge interest. Now this was a pleasant surprise.
When asked about hands on versus demo time, he did not give me an exact number. He said that instructors usually demo first and then students would do hands on after that. He said that depending on the lesson or technique, the demos could be longer or shorter, but still "couldn't" give me a number. But ended by saying that if students need help with something, the instructors will go out of their way to help them, such as by staying late. I heard this from students there too.
Taking the advice of a prior post, I got to LCB about 45 minutes prior to my appointment and I talked with 6 students in the parking lot, and asked them varying questions about what they thought of the school. Most of the folks I talked with were not fresh out of HS - they appears to be in their late 20's or early 30's, as opposed to the youngsters - late teens to early 20's.
No one had anything bad to say about the program, even when asked, "if there was something you could change about the school/instruction, what would it be?"
They all felt they were getting a solid education, said the instructors were very helpful, and the one person who was to graduate in a few weeks said that numerous times during school was able to "do my own thing" after class or while other classes were going on (in the back of the room). And even got help from the instructor all the while. So it appears that motivated students with creative ideas get a chance to play outside the cirriculum a bit. Or, that student did. But too, the student came off as very professional (a cut above the rest for sure), and I can see where an instructor would be drawn to someone who truly loves the craft.
I didn't get the post about commission per student until too late, so I didn't get info on that.
Overall I was impressed with what the recruiter told me about the curriculum. I got into detail about what I wanted to get from my instruction, and he gave - what seemed to be very reasonable examples of how what I wanted would be included in the instruction, and even gave examples of what classes this or that would be covered in.
Here in Atlanta, I was told (unless I didn't hear right - I'm going to follow up on this today) that they had 30+ instructors teaching at the school. This was good to hear! I would like to get more info on this though.
Oh - he told me before I brought it up, he said that I would not leave this school a chef. That I would become that in time, and that this education is just a foundation for the real world. He said that if I graduated (Associates degree) and applied for a certificate from some culinary governing body (can't remember which - AC something...?), that in title only I could be called a "chef", but realistically, that takes time and effort and it won't happen over night. He was very clear on this.
The recruiter said that they do not help with job placement, but that they did provide help with externships, which are required for graduation.
I paid attention to the students as I toured the building. In class, they were very attentive and focused. They stayed in groups; no one was off by themselves avoiding instruction or other students. In the halls, they were friendly and nearly everyone was smiling and seemed relaxed. The place had a good vibe, for lack of a better term.
I have not lost site of the fact that this is a for-profit institution, and with that comes certain things. But having been there, seeing what I saw, talking with students, reviewing the curriculum, paying attention to the vibe in the place, etc., I have no doubt that anyone who enters this program and gives a solid effort will come out knowing so much more than going in.
In spite of my excitement, I've gotta say I was very impressed with the guy and the school. I'm now sure I will pursue culinary school, most likely with LCB.
Thanks all of you for helping me get prepared for last night's meeting! I cannot wait to get started!!!