French Pastry School or NECI?

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Joined Mar 12, 2011
Right now I am deciding between attending the French Culinary School in Chicago for the 24 week pastry certificate or NECI's for their 8 month pastry certificate. I am having some trouble deciding. Al little bit about me…I have no prior experience (I want to change careers) and would someday want to work in a fine dining restaurant and then maybe own my own bakery. So I am definitely more focused on the more "fine dining" desserts so to speak. And I know most people's advise is try to work at one before to see if you like it, but I feel very unconfident anyone would take me as I have zero experience. Anyways, I was first leaning toward going to the French Pastry School as it seems to have a great reputation, seems more geared toward what I want, and it is also only 6 months. It is also very expensive as well though. (One quick side note, I noticed that  they use the metric system there. Is that normal in the industry?). I also saw they there are 18 people per class, and watching some of the videos online it seems like that there is not very much hands on with the teachers. I do plan on visiting, but then I heard about NECI and their pastry certificate. There are only 10 students per teacher. It is a lot cheaper and it is 15 weeks in residency and 15 weeks in internship. It is only the certificate and not the associates. I asked what the big difference was, and they said for the associates it is geared more for fine dining and the certificate was more for a cook who would work in a bakery. Since I do want to do fine dining, I don't know if this would appropriate for me. Also I am in my mid thirties and looking at NECI it looks really young, not that I care, but I feel I am little too old to be doing keg stands. 

Does anyone know which has the better reputation? I am trying to pick the place where I would learn more and most importantly have the better opportunity of finding a job after finishing from there. Any advise or wisdom would be very much appreciated. Thanks.
 
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Joined Dec 16, 2008
I've heard good things about both schools so I wouldn't say one is better than the other. One thing to consider is cost. How much of a cost difference is it? 
 
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Joined Mar 12, 2011
I would say it is roughly thirteen thousand more to go the Chicago Pastry School. The NECI one is only the Pastry Certificate so it is significantly cheaper.
 
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Joined Oct 28, 1999
Looks like you have done some research, and I think that is a good start. For such a sizable investment, have you considered visiting the locations to observe the classes and talk to current student? Might be helpful in making your decision.

Good luck with your endeavor!
 
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