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Old 03-08-2012, 12:09 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Helpful Advice for a COMPLETE (non-traditional) Beginner!

Hey there all. I know there are about a million posts like mine, so I'll try to keep it short I recently completed my Bachelor's Degree in a field almost completely unrelated to game design (Music Performance), and after nine months in the real world, I am realizing that 1) I despise working retail and 2) I don't want to spend the rest of my life living with my parents. I am searching for a field in which I can combine my passions for music, writing, art, movies, and fantasy/science fiction into one. While surfing endlessly for jobs yesterday, a little light bulb went off in my head: "What about game design?"

Since then, I have mostly been scouring websites of various colleges and universities in my country (the US) that offer programs in and/or related to game design, and I've quickly realized that passion and interest alone probably aren't going to help me get my foot in the door. I have quite a few questions, most of which pertain to applying/getting into a good school, so any advice would be helpful!

- I have a lot of experience as a performer, a musician (not a composer, but I like making arrangements) and a writer. How would these skills apply to the field of game design?
- Quite a few schools ask for or recommend or require a portfolio. What are they looking for, and whatís the best way to go about building one up?
- There are a lot of schools out there who offer degrees in game art and design, and not all of them have great reviews. How do I separate the winners from the scammers?
- Are there any good (English language) schools outside the US with programs in game design?
- What sort of jobs should I look for NOW that will benefit me, should I decide to pursue a career in the field of game design?
- Iím 23 years old. Do I have to take the SATs and the ACTs again?
- What are some of the off-paper costs of going to school for game design? AKA, how much money am I going to be dropping on software?
- Do you have any suggestions on how to finance my education so my head doesn't explode from all the student loans? (I already have some from my last degree)

I'm sure I will have more questions in the future, but any advice you could give me would be much appreciated. Thanks, everyone!
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