FIT or Parsons? (NYC residents and fashion enthusiasts, your help please.)

I’m going to college in two years and I want to know which school is better for fashion design. I’m applying to both places, but if I get accepted to both (I’m not being presumptuous, but I need to consider all possiblities =]) which should I pick? And if I get declined for both, where else should I apply? I live in Northwest PA and I don’t want to go too far. In fact I’d like to stay near to the East Coast so anywhere in Southeast Canada works too.

This is all I know:
They both have an excellent reputation. FIT is 1/3 the cost. I have a friend who was accepted to both & chose FIT because, well, its hard to argue with the math.

Well, do you think you can get into Rhode Island School of Design? I’ve heard their apparel department is pretty good. Otherwise, I would say Parsons has a bit more prestige.

For FIT, you must apply to a specific program from the start, and the fashion design major is notoriously hard to get into. It’s much easier to get accepted to the patternmaking program, for instance. If you’re set on majoring in fashion design, FIT is a tough bet, and you’ll need an excellent portfolio and good grades, especially because they’ve begun emphasizing all-around high school academic performance for admissions.

Parsons lets you apply to the school as a whole, and lets you declare a major later on. This means you don’t have to worry about getting into a specific fashion design program, which is helpful from an admissions standpoint, but it also means your early studies are less directed.

As for which is better, only you can really say what you want. You should email a current student at each place and ask the questions that are important to you, such as workload, student life, facilities, general vibe and stress level, etc. To get the email address of someone you might like to talk to, go to student activity pages at the two colleges (here for FIT and here for Parsons [I think; that might be for the whole New School, though, so poke around]) and use the contact information they give for students who are involved in activities you might like to join yourself. If you talk to someone whose interests are similar to yours, you might get a good idea of what college life would be like for you.

As for other schools you should to look into; it’s also worth taking a look at The Pratt Institute and seeing whether you might be interested.

Like Parsons, you apply to the school as a whole at RISD as well and then choose a major which you will start sophomore year. In addition to Apparel Design, they have Textile Design as well - both are wonderful departments. The Apparel Design department is very “let’s get them a job” oriented, textiles has a more creative bent.

They have majors that don’t apply to clothing/textiles as well - in both Fine Arts and Design.

On the down side, RISD is expensive and turns down more students each year than Pratt and Parsons receives applications for.