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CIA, NECI, or Community College?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

My daughter is struggling with where she wants to go to school. She is a senior and she wants to get her AOS in Baking & Pastry and would like to become an instructor at a school. We have received her financial award letters and after helping her as much as we can here is what we are left with:

 

NECI: Will owe $30,000 for degree

 

CIA: Will owe $45,000 for degree

 

WMCC: Will owe less than 2,000 for degree

 

She REALLY doesn't want to go to community college, which I understand, but not being in debt would be amazing. NECI was her 1st choice until 2 of her friends chose CIA and her high school Chef Instructor keeps telling her that CIA is a much better program. I personally like NECI because of the location (not too far from home, small town) and I think the program better suits her, BUT is it worth being in debt $30,000???? Seems like a lot of money...how will she ever pay it back. I am thinking the community college seems like a no brainer, BUT she hates it...the program is equal to what she is already doing now as her high school has a very advanced program. Her friends are very negative about the community college and tell her it's a waste of time. I really want to help her decide, and am trying not to pressure her. I just would like to offer her the best advice possible!!!!!!!!

post #2 of 16

There is a fourth option -- the Christian Culinary Achademy. You'll have to check the website, but the school is $12K, plus $5K for housing at the facilities in Canon Beach, Oregon. The next class begins in October 2013. I realize the school may not be a fit for your daughter because of the distance from home. I do know that the application process, which just began this week, will be tight as there are less than two dozen seats for the next class

 

Check http://www.christianchefs.org/school/ for additional information..

post #3 of 16

There is a fourth option -- the Christian Culinary Achademy. You'll have to check the website, but the school is $12K, plus $5K for housing at the facilities in Canon Beach, Oregon. The next class begins in October 2013. I realize the school may not be a fit for your daughter because of the distance from home. I do know that the application process, which just began this week, will be tight as there are less than two dozen seats for the next class

 

Check http://www.christianchefs.org/school/ for additional information..

post #4 of 16

Does she really know the value of $45,000 and does she expect you to cough it up or go into debt so she can go to school with her friends?

post #5 of 16

Are you sure about those costs?  I think you're getting off cheaply with your CIA quote. 

 

Culinary Institute of America :: Tuition and Fees by Campus

post #6 of 16

In today's market experience tends to outweigh where you went to school in the food industry.  That being said, I am a community college culinary school graduate myself and I kick myself every day for choosing that over Johnson and Wales because of financial issues.

post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 

I believe CIA is around $75K and I am expecting around $30K in financial aid and scholarships...so she'd owe $45,000. I think it's way too big of a debt and she has no idea the meaning of that...she's too young. ChefEsteve......that is what I worry about....I hate for her to go to Communit College (which she will hate) and totally regret it her whole life. My pick is NECI because it's in between....still a lot of money though!!!

post #8 of 16

OK.   I went to the CIA.  Yeah, I'm pretty good.  Just ask me and I'll tell you.  However, if I was gonna do it again ... I'd go to a Jr.College.  Now the fact that I've got a great school five(5) miles from my home is nice.  Still, that's what I'd do.  Almost every thread we have here discussing the difference between school and experience will tell you that experience trumps school.  Being that my "regular day job" is elementary education, I am a big believer in the idea that you get out what you put in.  From what I see today, all a pretty pedigree gets you is in the door a little easier.  Without skills though, all you're gonna do is drop fries and plate salads.  Don't stiff the CCs all so fast.  Think of it like going stag to a dance.  You get all the same benefits from the wallflowers as you do from the social butterflies, just with a lot less maintenance. 


Edited by IceMan - 4/20/13 at 7:32am
post #9 of 16

I'm in a similar boat as your daughter, though I'm probably a decade older. CC or CIA? I've talked to people who went to both, and honestly, at least 50% of chefs I've spoken with that went to a very expensive culinary school say they wish they'd saved the money and gone to a CC, or some other less expensive school. Some of these people are ten years into their loan repayment and are only 25% paid off due to deferments, etc, when the economy fell apart. Or simply just not making enough money when they were first starting out.

 

In my own research, I'd say it depends on the CC. As with expensive culinary schools, they are not all the same. So your local CC might not have a great program, but what about a CC elsewhere? She'll still save money, and if she does her homework on which CC she goes to, she can still get a good education. 

 

CIA is an incredibly expensive option. Unfortunately we're not all in a position to be able to spend that sort of money on an education. She might have to realize that it's a fact of life... she can potentially make up for it by working really hard to get a really great internship.

post #10 of 16

If your daughter works in the industry for 40 years, a 2 year school will represent 5% of her career. 95% of her career will be represented by practical working experience. The vast majority of her education will occur in the 95% of her career during which time she gets paid. So the question seems to be "how much do you want to spend on the 5% of her career that is non paying"?

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #11 of 16

Your concerns are certainly legitimate.  It's not inexpensive to pursue a culinary education.  However, there is much to be gained from attending an established school with a strong reputation for success.  Some things to consider:  class size, the program itself, placement opportunities upon finishing, internships, etc.  All these are important parts of the total equation and not always easy to measure.  I often think that your first instinct is your best instinct, that your rationale for preferring one school over another make sense, you do know your daughter and what is likely to be the best fit for her.  Small classes, close (but not too close!) to home and a result-oriented program all provide incentive to prefer one school over the rest. 

 

As a professional pastry chef, I cannot stress enough the benefit of an education designed to successfully integrate with the industry's needs.  Without it, it is difficult to advance quickly, as well as be well rounded and prepared for the demands of the field.  I do not regret the investment of 2 years at a well-respected culinary school.  Important to factor in is the instructors and the overall community your daughter will be living in.  There is much to consider here, but you will not regret the investment in your daughter's future. 

post #12 of 16

Hi there,

 

First off, good for you for doing the RESEARCH!  This is a BIG decision and you are smart to look at it, not just in terms of debt, but also in terms of other important factors.  What I ALWAYS tell people is to look at your learning style first and foremost.  What do you (in this case, your daughter) NEED to have to feel comfortable in the learning environment.  Think in terms of the following:

 

  • What kind of learner are you? You learn by doing? Do you prefer to learn by watching? Do you need lots of help with homework and tests? Different schools have different ways of teaching. It's important that you do follow up to find out where their focus lies.
  •  Do you prefer to live in a rural environment or a more cosmopolitan area?
  •  What class-size do you feel most comfortable in?
  •  How  much do you want to interact with your instructors?
  •  What do you like to do in your time off?
  •  What are your goals when you get out into the industry?

 

 I am now, and always have been, a believer in the idea that any school can be a good school if the student is serious and well prepared. Personally, I feel that NECI offers one of the best hands-on programs out there. For full disclosure, I am in fact an alum of their program and have done my time in the industry.  They are a smaller school without all the corporate sponsorship of others, but  graduates are very successful and highly sought after.

 

I'll keep an eye on this thread. If you want to talk more about the program and what it's like, please feel free to  leave a note here and I will find a way to send you my email address. I prefer not to put it on an open forum; I'm sure you can see why!   Whatever you decide, good luck to you, and remember to keep pushing to make your dreams happen!   chef peg

post #13 of 16

Just want to throw in that if she wants to be an instructor it's great that she's looking at regionally accredited schools.  CC's, NECI, and CIA would all be a recognized degree that will help her in the future should she want to go for a four year degree or even a Masters.  Even in a field outside of culinary arts.

 

My two cents, but if I'm going to spend the time and money for an education having a legitimate degree is a bonus!

post #14 of 16

I am enrolled in CIA, im about to finish my externship. I think CIA is worth it if you have wealthy parents or a lump sum of money due to inheritance or something of the sort. Your not graduating and jumping into a 60k/yr+ sous chef position. your still young and have to work roughly 10 years after you graduate to get there. there is exceptions to everything of course, but talking statistic averages. youll be in debt quite some time without a head start on cash. however, CIA is the greatest experience. the chefs are very talented, will teach you everything your willing to absorb, the classes are fun and i could not be any happier at CIA. you get multiple opportunities to meet famous chefs such as Thomas Keller, Grant Achatz, Daniel Boulud. they teach your professionalism to the max. if you arent clean shaven, youll have sprint back to your dorm and shave and be back in 3 minutes or your out of class. its hard work, mentally stressfull, and a tad bit crazy :-) There are a lot of quitters. its an expensive decision to not be 110% sure you want this. 

post #15 of 16
Hi Mbeeh,
Im glad you touched a spot in my thoughts. I run a family restaurant here in Lagos Nigeria, and its an inheritance from my Granny. I plan to be enrolled at the ICC in Newyork nxt year, its expensive but i want world class culinary education. Im 27 and i intend to come back to Africa after study and kick off a cooking show on Mnet. I have been searching through chef schools in france and Denmark as well. I found Gastronomicum in France and havent made up my mind on a school choice from Denmark. However, they seem cheaper than the ICC. I really would like your advice on school choices. I really dont mind spending 41,000 dollars if its worth it. But do you really think its worth spending that much if France and Denmark can offer me same for less? Please let me know.
Cyndy
post #16 of 16

Hello Tummytalk, im not very sure of out of the country schools. France is the gastronomic country after all and studying there surely sounds impressive to anyone! that could very well be a great decision :-)

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