Two weeks ago I left behind the frigid temperatures of New Jersey and headed to Atlanta for the “Georgia on My Mind Tour.” We had a busy schedule ahead, eight college campuses to visit in four days, but the sixty-degree temperatures made it easy!
Our first stop was SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design), Atlanta campus. SCAD was founded in Savannah, GA in 1978. Today there are four distinct campuses: Atlanta, Savannah, France and Hong Kong. SCAD students are encouraged to study at all four locations; and with the quarter system, students have lots of flexibility to do so.
The Atlanta campus is vertical, comprised of a handful of buildings with floors of studios, creative spaces, classrooms and galleries. The walls are lined with a sampling of students’ work. It’s easy to see why the students and staff describe this design school as “a creative Disneyland.” Students here have the opportunity to learn from working artists and designers, many who are leaders in their fields.
Signature programs at the Atlanta campus are TV production, film, and printmaking. I was surprised to learn that Atlanta is the fastest growing film location in the US and is now the film mecca of the South. Students have the chance to learn their craft in SCAD’s state of the art digital media center and intern with film companies in town.
We toured an interior design classroom. The classroom was not typical but rather a workroom for designers. Measurements were marked on the wall for ceiling heights and window dimensions. Walls were unfinished showing different insulation types. Meanwhile, a corner of the room was dedicated to designing ADA compliant spaces. A wheelchair along with regulated measurements marked on the floor and walls assist students in designing handicap accessible spaces.
The fashion room was amazing. A gigantic worktable stood in the center of the room and above it hung a gorgeous lighting fixture made from spools of yarn. Lining the room like a museum display were rods of costumes and design pieces. Once again we were reminded that each space was designed to inspire and create.
The students work closely with their advisors to outline an individualized, academic schedule and internship plans. SCAD students and faulty are forward thinkers and have the ability to change the ordinary into the extraordinary. Students take what they learn in the classroom into the field and intern with companies such as Coca Cola, Facebook, IBM, Amazon, and Proctor and Gamble. Ninety-eight percent of alumni are employed or in graduate school within 10-months of graduation.
Admissions and Merit Aid
Admissions at SCAD is a bit non-traditional. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis for all four quarters. Students do not apply to one specific campus. Once admitted, students begin their studies at the campus of their choice. SCAD admissions say that they are looking for students who think creatively, rather than “artists” in the traditional sense. Therefore, a portfolio is not a necessary component for admissions; however, students who want to be considered for merit scholarships must submit a portfolio, resume and have a 3.0 or better.
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