So I go to SCAD...

And I’m constantly asking if this is the right place to be.

I’m currently a freshman in their ID program. Second quarter too, so not too far in. Yet, i’m constantly asking myself whether or not I chose the best place for me to go. I loved the city, and I loved the facilities, (I tolerate the students but that’s a different story). But, for the life of me, I don’t know how much this will do for my future.

Coming out of high school, I had a 3.6 senior year with stellar teacher comments and a great essay to boot. However, not a single person in the counseling department had helped a student find a design school… even further, not a single person in the entire school seemed to know what Industrial Design even was. To add even more problems, I didn’t have a portfolio (and certainly not enough time to scrounge one up) so my choices were rather limited.

However, I do have a portfolio now, and fantastic grades (I’m maintaining a 4.0). So, my question is, is this the best place to go? Hell, I’ll drop the criteria even, is this a good place to go?

Yes, I know ID is all about the portfolio. A person with no formal training and a fantastic portfolio will tend to beat out a person with tons of degrees and titles with a good portfolio. However. I still have to wonder, could I do better things elsewhere?

Oh, and as a bit of a postscript… This is just standard paranoia. I really haven’t seen any reason to question SCAD as a school itself. My art has tremendously increased in quality in a relatively short period of time. However, due to lack of experience in the field (especially in ID) I’m curious if this place is worth the expense or if my tuition money could be put to better use elsewhere.

It’s quite possible I’m placing too much emphasis on where I’m learning, and not enough on the learning itself. I haven’t actually started any of the ID courses yet, so I’m not so much looking for someone to tell me if where I am is right or wrong so much as what I should be doing and how I can tell if something isn’t right.

Grades really don’t mean much unless you’re trying to hold on to a scholarship or you’re trying to get into grad school. It’s all about the portfolio and skill set.
Get yourself an internship. You’ll be able to see firsthand what skill sets and quality of work are needed to perform the job. You’ll also see what other interns are doing and their skill sets.
Get involved in the local IDSA chapter, attend the meetings, and ask a lot of questions. Being a student you’re in a unique position where you can get some useful info on how a company is doing work where a fellow professional can’t get that kind of access. Don’t be cocky or obnoxious, be humble.
Ask questions to graduating seniors about their experiences. Don’t be cocky, be humble.
Go to the IDSA District meeting in the spring, maybe go to another district to see what those students are showing.
I have a buddy who has a son that goes to SCAD, but for computer animation. His opinion is that it is a nice school, getting good press, but is overpriced for the education he’s getting, but doesn’t know about ID. He feels that the way the school is structured, he’s getting gouged, from meal plans to housing.

Give it some time. You have only been there for one quarter. Trust me as a SCAD grad you will get a great education. The faculty has a great knowledge of ID, a lot of experience, and are willing to give you 110% as long as you put in the effort.

My suggestion would be for you to really sit back and think about what it is that makes you want to leave. Is it the school? Do you miss home? Do you not fit in? These are just a few questions that could be the reason. I would also say stay there for at least another quarter and take some ID classes. Finish out the year and then make your decision. At least this way you gave the school a chance.

My only pause is your comment on your peers- if you aren’t getting much out of that relationship, then personally I think you might be justified in your concerns. I think more than half of what I learned in school was from my peers; having a good relationship with your fellow students and feeding off of each other’s creative energies is critical in my opinion. Also, your fellow students will be a very important networking group once out of school.

Remember, you are also the customer of the school- if it isn’t doing it for you, shop elsewhere. That said I’d give it a full year, but be safe and start shopping.

The best piece of advice my father ever gave me was that I am in control of my life. Meaning that if I want something I have to work for it and that I control the out come of any situation I am in. this is the same with college. You are in control of your education. If you have a negative attitude and think the school sucks then you will not do well. If you have a positive attitude and work hard you will succeed. You can get a great education at SCAD you just have to put in the work. This is true with any school you attend. Even if you transfer to RISD, Pratt, etc… you will still be faced with this fact.

Let me clarify a bit, I don’t hate SCAD by any stretch of the truth, it’s quite the opposite I really enjoy it. This is still the best time of my life. However, I’m just afraid I’m uneducated as to what the standard for education is at other schools.

Now, obviously I know the reputation given to schools like Pratt and RISD, and my curiosity is if these are actually better schools, or if they’ve just had more time to gain the reputation.

I appreciate the advice, and anything more will be greatly appreciated. I’ve gone ahead and gotten a membership to the IDSA and plan to look into chapter meetings.

By all means, if you have any general knowledge about breaking into the field or other tips, I’d certainly appreciate that as well. I know some basics about what I’m getting into, but have yet to meet more than a handful of people who are actually involved in the field.

I suggest doing a search on this topic. This has been discuss over and over. One thing you will hear everyone say is that we cannot determain what is a good school for you, you have to do that. Also I would look at the program and not what has a better rep. There are plenty of SCAD grads at great companies.

I fiddled around the forums for a bit, doing a search for SCAD and coming up with mostly spammy topics either attacking the school with no rhyme or reason or some very brief statements that really didn’t tell me something I didn’t already know.

It’s pretty much just assurance I’m looking for that I’m not totally screwing up. Even halfway screwing up is fine, that can be a learning experience.

You’re not. Its a great school with a great program. Just relax and have fun.


As a senior in the SCAD ID program, I have to say that this is a great place to study industrial design, and it is only going to get better and better. You get tons of attention from the professors, all of whom are great and really enjoy students who are willing to apply themselves. It’s a very flexible program, and you get out of it what you put into it.

Like Clyde said, get involved in the IDSA student chapter (I’m treasurer of the chapter). We have our meetings every wednesday at 8:00pm at Gulfstream (the ID building). It’s a great place to meet people passionate about ID and just have some fun and make friends. I’m sure there are plenty of people who would be happy to sit down and answer all your questions about the program.

I hope I’ve helped subdue your paranoia. If you have any questions or want more info on the IDSA meetings PM me.



Go to the portflio section of coroflot. look up recent grads of other schools. look at the really good ones, with the jobs you want. are some of the SCAD grads up to par in skillset? thatll give you a better idea of whats out there. just dont judge from seeing one portfolio. look at a hundred.

welcome to my life circa 1991.

none of my counselors knew what ID was, nor did they know how to guide to the right school. all they saw was awesome grades, varsity letterman, too much time in detention, and an apparent apptitude for art.

still, i was guided to AP courses in physics, calculus and english. the counselors never wanted to talk about my art, so i pursued engineering because that’s where i thought i should be.

then i found architecture. awesome! i found a use for my mathematics and physics PLUS i could study my art passion. well i transferred to a local college to pursue that.

fast forward to my junior year, i’m doing well, grades and portfolio, but the architectural projects weren’t satisfying me. fortunately, i had an interior achitecture instructor who was a former automotive designer. he showed me the way to industrial design. i took a few classes on the side at another college simultaneously to test the waters. i loved it.

i then transferred to my third college that i felt comfortable at. this required a move. i finished my degree and found something i’m very good at and still excites me. 3 schools, worked full-time, found my own internships. wouldn’t have had it any other way. took some time off here and there to travel, experience life.

sometimes finding your true calling isn’t as easy as 4 years and out. you need to decide what will satisfy yourself, your soul if you will, then you can live with your decisions.

I constantly hear talk about how a portfolio means everything compared to GPA, but one thing people are neglecting to mention is how often undergrad itself often doesn’t even mean much.
It is idealistic and inane to believe that undergrad is going to make or break you.

Sadly, I learned this the hard way after taking my personal ideals and decisions too seriously.

So, yes, as long as you feel like you’re in a good nurturing environment, and you’re really seeing a lot of growth, there is probably no reason to move. Costs sometimes get annoying, but that’s just a mosquito buzzing in your ear… don’t let something as insignificant as money overwhelm your feelings. and get you down. :smiley:

This is a sad statement. Maybe I am reading this wrong but, is it really getting to the point that your undergrad is useless? I don’t think this is true. There are plenty senoir level designers along with design managers that only have an undergrad.

You should still try to get the most you can out of your undergrad. When you get out into the real world you will really begin to learn the ins and outs.


i think graduate studies help you when you really know what specific areas of design you will want to focus on after you gain experience.

i think a better way to look at is to maintain your integrity, but don’t take yourself too seriously.

I agree with grimble. Your peers are a huge part of the experience. If they aren’t pushing, challenging, or inspiring you, that would concern me.