In-studio course not worth the money

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RonanBullock's review of National Design Academy, Diploma in Professional Interior Design

“In-studio course not worth the money”


written by RonanBullock on 26/10/2023

When I chose the expensive in-studio course option of the diploma in interior design at the National Design Academy, I had not envisaged that I would spent half of my in-studio time doing independent studies. The course is stretched over 2 weeks but could easily have been done in one week.

The structure of each week is: lessons in the morning and independent work on the assignments in the afternoon. In the second week, you will have even more independent studies with the Thursday being fully dedicated to independent studies. Expect lots of time spent looking at your laptop!

The positive:
-Teachers. They are very friendly and interesting to listen to, especially when they go off script answering questions and talking about their own experiences. Teachers are the only reason I gave this review 3 stars instead of one.
-doing some of the assignments gives you the practice you might lack.

I found the material covered to be rather basic: nothing that I hasn't already heard from a competent Youtubers or tiktokers.
It also fails to address the needs of nowadays society. The module on hand drawn technical drawings was very interesting but I would question this approach in our technology filled era. Client will expect computer generated images so learning about CAD or SketchUp instead (even at a very basic level) might have been a better use of time. .
Some essential aspect such as how to develop an idea were not addressed at all, not even in passing.
What also lacked was the module that was removed during the streamlining of the course: furniture design.
There was no introduction either to sketching or rendering (not even hand-drawn rendering given that we had done hand-drawn plans.)

We tried to address those lacks by asking for an introduction to CAD rather than a day of independent study. We were told to enrol on the virtually delivered course (which is nearly 1000 pounds!). That virtual course cover 3 online design tools (CAD, SketchUp and Photoshop which of course you need to purchase prior to the course) and is a total of 12hrs spread over 6 weeks so there was more than enough time to fit an introduction to CAD into the in-studio course.

The emphasis of the in-studio course is obviously on making money and on having the students complete the assignments (because it looks good for the business reputation to have students pass) with a minimum of input. It doesn't focus on imparting needed knowledge or providing value for money.

In conclusion: This is the course for you if all you want is to pay a lot of money for a piece of paper to say you completed the course (which, by the way, has no value at the level of finding employment in that sector). Teachers will do their best to drag you through the stages during the in-studio-course and you'll get plenty of time to work on the assignment during the course (although you will still need to dedicate some time to finish after the course).

If like me, you are interested in entering the profession, building up a business or getting as much info on all aspects of interior design as possible, look elsewhere. The diploma will only give you the very bare minimum needed to get the piece of paper which won't get you very far. NDA will then try to sell you their overpriced online degree course.

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