You know you want to do something creative, but you’re not sure how to make it a career? Portfolio School is your answer.
After four years of heavy syllabus and craft in art school, I decided to study abroad and start doing something that actually works and makes a difference in the world. I found myself doing a BA in Advertising at a university in Wales.
Since I’m now studying at the awarded School of Communication Arts (SCA), you can guess that University didn’t lead me to a work placement in the advertising industry. You’re right, it didn’t.
So, if you’re wondering what to do to kick-start your journey as a creative, this post is right up your alley. I’m going to compare and reflect on both conventional universities and a dedicated portfolio school, such as SCA.
TIME: 3 YEARS VS 10 MONTHS
Time is of the essence, especially when you’re in your early 20s and want to figure out who you are and what it’s like being an adult.
A BA course will take three years of your life. It does sound like a lot, but what it also means is that there’s a lot more time in between to process and test things out at your own pace.
SCA’s Portfolio course is a crash course. That means that you devote less than half as much of your precious time (10 months). But it’s going to be intense. Imagine doing a full-time uni course x2.
THE SYLLABUS: BABY STEPS VS DEEP WATER
Both University and SCA will aim for the same goal - getting you ready for a future in advertising. But they’ll go about it in different ways.
University will introduce you to the industry in baby steps. They’ll go through the colour theory, task you with selling a pen, and give you Adobe demos and workshops. It can be boring if you’re not new to the concept. If you want to have a bit of a sneak peek, it’s easy to digest. Don’t expect fireworks though.
Briefs will be set within a comfortable distance of each other. Starting from one per module to about three per module. They’re all long-lasting briefs, so there’s plenty of time to craft them. And often overthink them as a result. Also, don’t count on live briefs, those are all but extinct from these institutions.
The SCA will throw you into deep waters. Masterclasses are there to help you get insight into all the most useful areas of study. A lot will be expected of you. If you don’t know your colour theory, it’s on you to catch up. Teams are as strong as the weakest link, so you’ll need to keep up.
Briefs will hit you hard. Like a year of uni briefs, sometimes in just a week. It’s a fast-paced environment. Briefs come and go. You need to act quickly, but if you mess one up, it’s not the end of the world. SCA Agency Partners set live briefs, which are so valuable to prepare you for life as a creative.
UNI VS PORTFOLIO SCHOOL: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
A standard university and SCA are very different.
The first will walk you through, giving you a taste of how advertising works. It’s useful if you want to take some time geeking out and getting some craft skills in. It probably will leave you hungry for more.
The SCA will make you or break you. It’s the fastest and the best way to learn everything you need to know about creative advertising. If you already have a base, available time, and you’re up for a challenge, that’s your way to go.
A few people have already told me that my BA was a waste of time. Maybe it was, but we all learn from our mistakes. This was my way, the way it had to be. If I have any advice to offer, it’s to pick the right way for you. For me, having done both - it’s the SCA way.
- by Klaudia Mroz, current SCA student