Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)

I had the opportunity to visit SCAD while participating in an IECA Professional Retreat.  The admissions counselors and faculty embraced the opportunity to demonstrate its creative strengths during our visit and allowed me and the 50 other independent educational consultants to experience a sampling of what SCAD students experience.

The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), founded in 1978 as a professional school, bills itself as the University for Creative Careers and from what we could see by the success of its graduates, their positioning is apt.

We started the morning with an outstanding Branding session led by Emily Sander, SCAD’s Chair of Advertising.  Professor Sander had years of professional advertising and branding experience working with McCann Erickson, a top advertising agency, before joining the SCAD faculty two years ago.  She walked us through a similar lesson about branding that she teaches to her students.  We discussed three questions that she has students answer when considering branding:

What is your brand?
What is your brand’s true purpose?
What is your brand’s gift?

As she helped us develop our own company or personal branding, she showed us how this process applied to Dove soap and helped them transform from their 1950’s image of your grandma’s soap to highly successful rebranding of Dove as a lifestyle brand.  Here’s how she helped us think about branding by using Dove’s example

Core purpose of your being as a brand (Dove)
1. Product attribute : 1/4 gentle moisturizing cream
2. Honest relevance to audience: Kind and understanding to women’s bodies
3. Brand personality, value set: The Protector: Empathetic, genuine, compassionate.  The Oprah of soap
4. True purpose (quest): to be kind to women as they are

This type of interactive, relevant, and hands-on learning from professionals is what students can expect as a student at SCAD.  We saw this as we toured through the Industrial Design (product and furniture design) campus, located about 20 minutes outside of downtown Savannah.  Students were engaged in small classes sitting around a professor and in the process of creation.  The energy of the film and TV production class was palpable as students brainstormed and created.


SCAD offers programs in over 40 creative disciplines ranging from fashion and jewelry design to film and TV to architecture (including a 7 year masters and licensing program) to equestrian studies.  The equestrian facilities are vast and located about 15 minutes outside of downtown Savannah. Our tour guide was majoring in user interface, which she selected because it combined her interest in graphic design, technology, and design.

While SCAD is a professional art and design school, all students, regardless of major, must take foundation courses in drawing.  The programs are intense so that they can produce world-class professionals in creative careers.

We saw this when we toured the shopSCAD.  Expecting to see up and coming SCAD artists’ designs, we experienced sticker shock when some of the artwork of established SCAD graduates were featured instead with prices upwards of $32,000 per painting. Several film and TV graduates also received Emmy’s for their work.  SCAD students also worked as animators on Zootopia.

Student Body

Students are a mix of artsy, creative, friendly, professional, and focused.  24% of the student body is international.  SCAD does not require a portfolio, but students who cannot cut it, will often leave.  Retention rate is roughly 80%.


SCAD has four physical locations (Savannah, Atlanta, Hong Kong, and LaCoste, France) and an ELearning platform with 14,000 students worldwide. SCAD’s flagship location in Savannah houses 9,000 students and the campus interweaves throughout downtown Savannah and its outskirts.  The school prides itself on its intense focus on creation.

Five surprising ways students love SCAD

1. Athletics. SCAD boasts 12 varsity athletic teams, including a very strong equestrian, fencing and tennis teams.  So if you have an athletic artist, this might be a great option.
2. Internships. Students have numerous opportunities to participate in internships.  SCAD is on a 10 week quarter system, so that allows for students to get internships during the winter quarter.  Students have interned at companies such as Pixar, Kanye West, and BuzzFeed.
3. Energy The energy was palpable on campus as students engage in creating art.  Student brainstormed while cr

eating and producing a TV show.  They worked together in the industrial design studios.  They gathered around a professor sharing ideas and learning
4. Creative Collaboration.  Companies collaborate with SCAD by providing real world problems that they want solved.  For example, Mattel tasked ID students to create a Barbie Princess Dream Carriage.  The prototype and ultimate winner that Mattel used was showcased in the student gallery hallways.
5. Savannah is a quaint, very manageable city.  Easy to walk around and filled with restaurants, clubs, music, and outdoor space.  They also provide shuttles between campuses for students to get around town easily.

Admissions and Financial Aid

Admissions to SCAD is not terribly selective; they do not require a portfolio for any of their programs, however they recommend portfolios for merit scholarship consideration.  While SCAD offers several merit scholarships, they do not provide much in the way of need based financial aid.

They look for storytellers who want to illuminate their point of view regardless of medium.


SCAD provides creative students with an outstanding, professionally based education.  It’s great for builders, artists, storytellers, and designers looking to illuminate.  SCAD offers an environment to dream and fail with joy!

Savannah College of Art and Design
Mailing address
SCAD Admission Department
P.O. Box 2072
Savannah, GA  31402-2072

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