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lcsharpe1

Re: SCAD--need opinions!

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Hi!

Our rising 11th grade daughter is an artist with designs on Savannah College of Art and Design. We went for a visit two weeks ago and left it with very mixed feelings. I would very much like to hear from those who have students who have attended or who are considering future attendance. It is definitely the "Harvard" of the art world, but the academics leave much to be desired. I am having a real problem with allowing my daughter to choose and education that is so grossly lopsided. Opinions? Suggestions?

Lisa Sharpe

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Hi!

Our rising 11th grade daughter is an artist with designs on Savannah College of Art and Design. We went for a visit two weeks ago and left it with very mixed feelings. I would very much like to hear from those who have students who have attended or who are considering future attendance. It is definitely the "Harvard" of the art world, but the academics leave much to be desired. I am having a real problem with allowing my daughter to choose and education that is so grossly lopsided. Opinions? Suggestions?

Lisa Sharpe

 

I have a degree from SCAD and also worked there in the registrar's office, but it's been quite a long time since both and I know it's grown a lot since then. I would agree with you that they do take a highly focused approach and the goal is to produce artists and designers, not scholarly academics. Whether this is suitable for your daughter or not I don't know. My classmates and the students I observed while working there have for the most part been very successful in their chosen career paths, whereas others I have known who went to a more academically "balanced" institution have struggled more in the art world, and do not use their academics much in their careers. One way to address the imbalance would be to encourage your daughter to take the academic classes at a different institution and then transfer the credits to SCAD, and have her do the art/design courses at SCAD. (If you do this, get a written agreement from SCAD that they will accept the transfer credits BEFORE your daughter takes those classes. When I worked there this process was not streamlined and they had a fairly high staff turnover rate so the person who told a student they could transfer a credit was not necessarily the person approving the credit by the time the courses were completed and the transcripts came in and there were sometimes questions as to whether a former staff member really had approved this or that credit. But they're good about honoring anything in writing. They were working on ironing out some of the wrinkles in this process when I was there, but I have no idea how it stands now, as I don't discuss business with the few friends I have who still work there.)

 

What major is your daughter considering?

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Don't know if it's out of state for you or even on your radar, but Virginia Commonwealth University is also a highly ranked art school, with a fairly balanced academic component. Worth checking, imo (my son is trying to study cinema there--he has to double major, so he's doing Art History, too).

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Haven't got much feedback on SCAD, except for the college fair rep (not impressive). We're near Pasadena Art School of Design and Otis, and they have the same approach - all the core academic courses are taught through a filter of art and they're not as rigorous as other less focused schools--but, oh, are the art courses rigorous!! Oh, and they are not accredited, so they don't generally accept transfer credits from other schools (except based on portfolio evaluations), nor do their courses transfer easily to accredited schools.

 

Yes, I think some institutions of higher learning take the philosophy that high school is for breadth of education, and college/university is for focused depth in a particular subject. It's a good thing to know going in so you can decide whether you agree with that approach. As far as I know, SCAD is accredited, FWIW. It was when I was there both as a student and as an employee, and their accreditation was something they took very seriously. I do remember that in some ways the classes were academically rigorous in unexpected ways, even with the art focus. For example, in one of my life drawing classes we were given a blank piece of paper for the midterm exam. The exam was to draw all of the bones in the human skeleton in the proper proportions and with all the lumps and bumps and grooves in the right places and then label them all. The final exam was the same thing, except that after we had drawn the skeleton again we were required to draw the muscles over the top in another color and lable all the major muscles and tendons (some of the little fiddly ones that were too small to depict well at that size were not required). We never did internal organs, but bones, muscles, skin, eye structure, nuances of facial expression...that was definitely covered "rigorously". And we certainly wrote our share of papers for the art history courses.

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