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SCAD Industrial Design MFA


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I found out yesterday that I've been accepted to the graduate ID program at SCAD. In the course of looking into the various schools I applied to, over the past few months I've come across a LOT of negative comments about the general culture at SCAD. From the level of interest on the part of the faculty, to unhelpful administrative offices, to a sense that SCAD cares more about its image than it does its academic reputation.


A lot of those comments seemed to come from either undergrads or parents of undergrads, and I've not seen anything of that sort as it relates specifically to the ID program. From what I can tell the ID program is very well regarded and is mentioned alongside Pratt, RISD, and the like. I do intend to visit, and a friend of a friend just completed her bachelor's there in the ID program, so I will have some first hand commentary to consider.


I was just wondering if anyone around here had any insight to kindly toss my direction. At this point I've also been accepted at Georgia Tech, so I'm in the fortunate position of being able to choose between at least two schools.


Any thoughts or advice would be much appreciated. Good luck to everyone out there who's still waiting on decisions.

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I went to SCAD for my MFA in Dramatic Writing and I reall hated it there.


 Caveats: Not the same department and I know of some people who did undergrad at SCAD or who were in other departments and felt differently.


That said. I feel like the attitude of SCAD is barely better than a For-Profit college. I felt like a sack of money the entire time I was there. My Screenwriting 701 class -- an essential class for someone studying film writing -- was an absolute joke. I wrote a letter to my academic advisor to complain about it and though he took the letter, he never pursued it any futher. I took other classes that were complete wastes of time and money too. At 3000$ a class it is INFURIATING to not get any response to your complaints about a lack of learning going on in these classrooms.


In addition to this there were a complete lack of resources for my program (it is fairly young, but still...) the job fairs had no prospects for my department, the career guides were not familiar with my field and didn't have any strong connections.


My department chair was also my advisor and the advisor of dozens of students and he was also the chair of another department. How can ANYONE chair two departments, teach, and advise two or three dozen students both grad and undergrad? He was a great guy, but I resent that he had very little time for people. Because of that he tended to pick favorites and if you ever lost that favorite status, getting anything done administratively became a lot harder.


I also had issues with the program requirements. I think it's silly to require multiple art history classes from students who are not studying art history (these are required for ALL grad students, regardless of major) and I'm convinced this is a money making tactic. Secondly, I had a requirement to take a basic acting class as part of my dramatic writing program. My Bachelor's is in Theatre Arts. I had four acting classes (about 20ish credits I think? I still don't get credits) in undergrad along with TONS of practical acting experience and a Taft-Hartly contract from the Screen Actor's Guild and was not able to get them to waive this requirement. Eventually I convinced my advisor to do a substitution but I found this abso-fucking-lutely ridiculous, especially since I was personally familiar with another student who was able to get the requirement waived with only his resume.


In my opinion, most of the faculty and staff there are underpaid and overworked (they can't earn tenure at all) and as a result they are too busy to truly help anyone or give anyone real individual attention. There are some gems in the rough, but a lot of the staff  end up being short, rude or downright mean (especially the registrar) -- probably because of the demands the college makes on them. Keeping in mind that the President of the college makes boatloads of money, constantly hosts expensive dinners and galas and owns many competitive show horses (which is why SCAD has an equine program).


Also their online class user interface is old, slow and stupid.


so. yeah. I'm sorry if this is disillusioning, but I hated SCAD (and just so you know I'm not a dissenting, angry crackpot; I loved my undergrad and will tell you just as much that I loved about that school. Unfortunately, they are a small liberal arts college without any sort of grad program). I quit about 2/3 of the way through because of my frustration with all the bullshit and red tape, then returned to finish after about a six month hiatus. I only even finished my degree because the prospect of paying that much money and not having anything to show for it made me feel upset and ashamed.  I am not saying you won't learn anything there -- I learned a lot -- but if you do go there and start to run into the same problems I had, well, you've been warned.


Side note: I also visited and none of this was evident from a visit. They don't really introduce you to students. They put you on a bus and take you on a guided tour with rhetoric recited by preselected tour guides. If you really want to know, find students in your department and ask them everything you can. Make sure you have them tell you the things they don't like as well as the things they do like. But my bottom line is that I would never recommend SCAD to anyone. Ever. (and I am an Alumni Admissions Volunteer for my undergrad)

Edited by roguesenna
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Thanks, this is great. I mean, it doesn't make SCAD sound great, but it's the kind of info I'm looking for. I have a feeling that when I visit and get a look at the ID facilities it's going to seem like a great place to go. And I've come across a few comments that mostly echo yours, but with the caveat that SCAD seems to put a lot of resources into the ID program. So it's possible that if I chose to attend I would be in the "sweet spot", so to speak", where maybe some of these other issues either aren't as bad or don't seem as bad in the context of the rest of the program. But yeah, I'm already wary of what I might be getting myself into if I go there.

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