In another thread someone mentioned how often SCAD gets blasted here, and I realized that they were right. I know that this forum brought up a lot of doubts in my mind about the school, so I would like to share some of my thoughts on it.
Right now I’m a sophomore at SCAD currently studying ID as my major with Furniture Design as my minor. I’m on my third quarter right now, which makes me feel like I know enough to talk with some authority about the school while still not being affected by school jingoism.
So, obviously to start out I should touch on the accreditation. I know that when I was looking at schools, the fact that SCAD wasn’t NASAD accredited was a major red flag. The reason behind this is that SCAD offers 15 programs that NASAD does not cover, meaning they can’t get accreditation without dropping these programs. However, for the programs that are under NASAD, SCAD has ensured that each ones of them meets up to the standards required.
It is by no means an “easy” school. The classes are 2.5 hours long and only last for 10 weeks. This means much less time to work on projects, but by no means does this mean less is expected. I’ve found myself pushed to my limit and beyond many times, but always with enough support that I’ve felt I can achieve what is wanted.
The facilities are absolutely incredible. Every time I walk in I feel like a kid in a candy store. They have separate shops for each material including metal, wood, foam and plastic as well as a full car size spray room, welding/forging shop, CNC and rapid prototyping shop (And one of the CNC’s is huge, 5 axis and over 100k to purchase). I can honestly say that just the range of tools provided was a major contributor to my choice in this school.
Every teacher I’ve talked to has industry experience. Many of them constantly amaze me. In Materials and Techniques (a furniture class), I learned more about wood in one class than I have in my entire life. SCAD is also a bit unique in that it doesn’t offer tenure. Every teacher I’ve talked to about it has praised it, saying that it removes tensions that would arise from having tenure (such as having to vote on others raises and whatnot). I’ve also noticed I have never had a truly “bad” teacher.
Now, particularly with ID, the students take a lot of initiative. As a senior you’re able to apply to work with a company in Hong Kong and then travel there to present your own designs to the company itself as well as seeing firsthand production and design methods. Looking at the presentation boards from this, there is some serious talent. The website really doesn’t do the program justice at all.
The city is amazing, and I’ve fallen absolutely in love with it. It’s sketchy sometimes, but that just makes it more interesting. The freshman dorms are literally right next to the ghetto. So yeah, that’s a definite downside. You may get mugged, it’s just something that happens.
The housing is… crappy. It’s overpriced, badly managed, and would be nearly unbearable if it weren’t for having other students around. As well, the meal plan they offer (and require certain dorms to have) is pretty awful. The school store, Ex Libris, has a decent selection but it price gouges everything like crazy.
Now, I know what I wrote may come off as rather one sided when looking purely at academics. Yes, there are some classes that I’ve wondered if I’m getting my money’s worth, but so far these have all been Liberal Arts and Foundations classes. I’ve not gone far in terms of my ID and Furniture classes, but I can honestly say I have absolutely no qualms with either program yet and while I was hesitant and worrisome about the validity of SCAD’s programs at first, I am absolutely thrilled to be there now.