Founded 60 years ago, the Brooks Institute of Photography is a four-year private college of art in Ventura, CA and is part of the Brooks Institute housed in Santa Barbara, CA. More than 860 undergraduate students attend the school, and because of its small size, students say they receive personalized and one-to-one attention from professors.
Owned by the Career Education Corporation, this campus offers baccalaureate programs in professional photography, film, graphic design, and visual journalism. Among its well-known accomplishments was the institute’s feat in photographing the Shroud of Turin in the 1980s, under the lead of Professor Vernon Miller.
The Ventura Campus was once a Hollywood movie lot, and scenes from Titanic and Cast Away were shot at the location. It also contains three professional Hollywood sound stages and a number of original movie sets.
Brooks also has two libraries, one in Santa Barbara and one in Ventura, that contain thousands of books and other publications. The college also has two art galleries, open to the public, that display student, faculty, alumni, and guest works – the Visions Gallery is at the Marriott Ventura Beach in Ventura.
The Film Program provides hands-on experience to students interested in the craft of filmmaking, and has a number of notable names from the film industry among its alumni including Robert Legato, who won the Academy Award for Best Effects on Titanic; and Dominick Palmer, who did the cinematography for TV’s M*A*S*H.
The Visual Journalism Program concentrates on non-fiction storytelling through the use of modern digital equipment, and runs international documentary expeditions for students that have taken classes to China, India, Africa, and Southeast Asia. The Graphic Design program provides students with the opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills in a variety of disciplines – design, illustration, writing, photography, video and film.
A Professional Photography degree program is offered with concentrations in advertising photography, commercial photography, photo media photography, and portraiture.
Graphic Design graduates will be prepared with the hands-on learning and internships available to work in media related industries. Modern technology is a heavy factor in this program and students enrolled full time will receive the use of their own Apple laptop and software to complete assignments.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Applicants are required to interview with admissions officials, and submit an essay, high school transcripts, high school grade point average, and SAT or ACT test scores.
Other considerations taken into account during process are a students’ extracurricular activities, recommendations, the rigor of the student’s secondary school record, measure talent and ability in a particular fields, and alumni relationships.
Tours are offered to prospective students and their families are throughout the year on most Fridays and Mondays at noon. Tours include a guided walk through the facilities and student presentations. Tours for students interested in the film and video production, graphic design and visual journalism programs take place at the Ventura campus.
Interested students must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form if they want to be considered for financial aid. Government loans and grants are available, including the Cal Grant for California residents.
The Presidential Grant is provided to a limited number of grants to students who demonstrate exceptional need and academic success. Grants range from $500 to $2,000, and to be considered, students must submit a letter describing goals in their chosen field and records of academic achievement. The Brooks Institute’s Presidential Grant selection committee considers those applications.
Student Financial Aid Details
This school provides no on-campus housing for students. But the institution provides its students with plenty of assistance in finding off-campus housing nearby.
Students are advised to secure housing before arriving, and the college works with RnR Real Estate Marketing LLC, and Off-Campus Housing 101 to assist in the search. Students who apply for housing through Real Estate Marketing LLC can do so online or by downloading a paper application form provided by the company. There is no credit check, but apartments are found for you and students have no choice in the type of apartment or its location. All apartments found by RnR are “move-in ready” and furnished. You’ll be placed with a roommate unless you’re willing to pay a higher fee to live alone. And all apartment buildings are smoke-free, drug-free, and liquor-free. Utility costs are included in the rent, except for phone, cable TV connections, and Internet connections.
Off-Campus Housing 101 is a service that lists ads placed by current and prospective students looking for roommates nearby, and in fact, places students in housing near universities around the world. It provides a large real-time database of student housing vacancies in the vicinity of the school, and looks for roommates with similar interests and housing requirements. Prospective students can choose the type of apartment, their roommate, and view photos of all available apartments. Landlords require credit checks and co-signed leases, and almost all apartments listed with this service are unfurnished.
There are a number of campus organizations students can join, especially organizations tied to the curriculum you’re studying. For example, Brooks has its own chapter of the National Press Photographers Association, which helps photography prepare portfolios and provides advice about the occupation of press photography. Students are also encouraged to become members of AIGA, the professional association for design, and WPPI, the Wedding Portrait Photographers Association.
The Visual Journalism program offers an annual international documentary trip for interested Visual Journalism, Professional Photography, and Film Production students. The class, which visits a different international location each year, is limited to applicants interested in photographic story-telling and with an understanding of their roles as ambassadors. Over the past 11 years, the group has visited Mexico, Cuba, the Czech Republic, Costa Rica, Australia, Argentina, China, Ireland, India, Chile and Vietnam. When they return, students create projects that showcase their experiences from the trip, including websites, DVDs, multi-media presentations, and print exhibits.
Other clubs and activities include choral groups, a concert band, dance and drama clubs, a film society, a jazz band, musical theater, a campus radio station, a student newspaper, and a TV station. The office of Student Services also holds campus activities including movie nights, ski trips, rock climbing trips, kayaking and surfing.
An Office of Career Services helps students with career planning and exploration, goal-setting, resumes, interview skills, workshops, internships, and job searches. The office also hosts workshops and guest lecture events.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The Brooks Institute is nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, which offers accreditation primarily to vocational schools. Credits earned at nationally accredited schools are usually not transferable to four-year regional accredited institutions. National accreditation is not the same as regional accreditation, which has been granted to such schools as the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Southern California, and the University of California at Berkeley.
Justine Ventimiglia graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Currently residing in a 1950’s modest ranch in Metro Detroit, she enjoys researching and writing about Mid Century Modern furniture and decor as she works on restoring her home and documenting the process.