International students aspiring toward an undergraduate degree in video game development from an institution in the United States should familiarize themselves with their prospective institution’s figures and statistics regarding their current students and graduates. Institutions in the United States keep record of their students’ debt, job placement upon graduation, and average length of time taken to complete their respective programs. In the case of video game development majors, taking a look at these statistics will give an international student an idea of:
- the length of time completing a program actually takes,
- the amount of debt most student accrue while pursuing that particular undergraduate degree in video game development, and
- the ability of the program to place its graduates into viable positions in the industry.
First, many institutions establish a timeline for video game development majors so that an undergraduate degree in video game development is attainable within 18-36 months. However, upon investigation of a number of institution’s student statistics, it may become apparent that very few, if any, video game development majors complete the particular program in that timeframe.
Next, video game development majors often have a much harder time securing funding and tuition assistance from scholarship and grant programs than students focusing on traditional academic disciplines. This fact leads many video game development majors to acquire student loans (often from private lenders) in order to pursue their undergraduate degree in video game development. Both the total and relative number of students that graduate a program with loan debt will serve as an excellent indicator to an international student of the likelihood of receiving funding assistance, and what economic burdens to expect to be saddled with upon graduation.
The ability to offset the near-guarantee of student loan debt upon receipt of an undergraduate degree in video game development through successful job placement within the industry is the most common means a game development program has of reassuring its students of the soundness of their investment. The statistics for job placement rates, industry affiliations and graduates who have gone on to impact the industry are all numbers that video game development programs love to brag about. A glaring absence of these figures is often not a good sign, as programs cannot wait to boast impressive job placement rates and industry connections.
Pursuing an undergraduate degree in video game development is a dream come true for many gamers and international students. However, like any other discipline, planning a course of study that will fit your particular interests and limitations is of paramount importance. Examining the aforementioned figures is a prudent move for international students interested in a video game development major.