By Megan Egan
Why everyone should be applying for an SCA scholarship.
Are you applying for an SCA scholarship? If your answer is no, you better have a good reason.
I’d never heard of SCA when I came to meet Marc last July. I’d just won a Pencil after working as a graphic designer for a few years. I met him on the day of the scholarships D&AD awards ceremony. After having a very brief chat with Marc and some of the students, and showing Ian my portfolio to get a few “oohs” and “prrrrs” in return (something I later realised was normal, not weird), I rushed off to attend a portfolio surgery, still feeling massively confused as to what SCA actually was. Later that day however, after seeing them all at the awards ceremony, and definitely having a few drunk chats with alumni in the toilets, I knew it was special.
A few days later, I got a phonemail off Marc and Honor telling me I’d won one of the D&AD scholarships. My reaction was probably a little cold. I still wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting myself in for. However, after a quick chat to my old boss and several New Blood staff, I realised I’d be a fool to pass up the opportunity, and I’m so happy to say that now I’m in the final stretch of the course, I can look back and honestly say I’ve never regretted my decision to attend.
So for anyone who is unsure about whether SCA is right for them, or, if like me, you don’t even know what it is and you’ve just happened to stumble across this post, here’s some of my main reasons why I think YOU, (yes you!), should apply for one of the scholarships.
1 – It’s a great alternative to university.
This probably won’t apply to a lot of people, but I personally didn’t go to university. Well, slight lie – I went for one term, but I found the course structure painfully slow, so I left and did an apprenticeship instead.
There’s no doubt working before coming to SCA gave me a great base to build up from, but I still recognise that this course is equally, if not harder than my full-time job. It really is a fantastic place to learn and grow.
Even if you have been to uni, so many people on the course say this is nothing like their uni course. You learn more here in one term than you do in your entire 3 year degree. If you think about it like that, it’s more cost-effective too! (Thanks to the Tories).
2 – You’ll leave a better person that you started.
I don’t know a single person who hasn’t been through some sort of growth this year. SCA pushes you to your limits. It almost breaks some people. But it makes your stronger, more patient, more collaborative, more professional, more employable.
Honestly, it’s as much counselling as it is education.
3 – You’ll reach the unreachable.
Think of all the big guns of the industry – the ones you wouldn’t even dream of being able to speak to 1-on-1. People such as Sir John Hegarty, Dave Trott, Rory Sutherland and Graham Fink. They all come into the school. All of them. They spend time with the students, and they give inspirational talks (I remember Rory’s talk lasting for almost 3 hours).
If you want to, you can have a very powerful network when you leave SCA. Even if your hero doesn’t come in, stands a chance some one who knows them will.
4 – The in-house mentors alone will make you want to stay in the building all day.
Every single day, you have the pleasure of working with in-house mentors. They are AMAZING. Just today, we had Vikki Ross, Graham Fink and Alex Taylor in. Alex fucking Taylor! You don’t get that at any other school.
6 – You’ll learn how to collaborate, and work in groups.
This is something I massively struggled with. I was determined to be a single when I joined SCA. But what you realise is, you’re surrounded by so many insanely talented people, and if you learn to work with them, it’ll only make your work stronger.
7 – You might even earn some money while you’re studying here.
Marc gives you opportunities to earn money while you’re studying. From trivial tasks such as designing posters in the studio, to live briefs and freelancing for school sponsors. If you work hard, you can definitely earn while you’re here.
8 – It doesn’t end after portfolio day.
The great thing about SCA, is the alumni have infiltrated almost every agency, sector and probably a few international companies too. We’re a big family – if you want to get into somewhere, stands a chance alumni will help you get there. My partner Poppy and I have definitely had A LOT of help from our SCA family this year.
9 – There will come a point in the year where you suddenly understand Marc, and it will be a wonderful realisation.
Hands up, when I first met Marc I had no idea what he was about. He’s one of the weirdest, most eccentric guys I’ve ever seen. However, I can’t pinpoint when it was, but at some point in the year I realised he has a heart 5x the size of any normal human being, and every strange tactic he has during the year is for a really thought-out reason. Basically, he’s a legend. In fact, he’s kind of one of my heroes now, and if you have the chance to be taught by him for a year, you’d be a fucking idiot to pass it up.
10 – If you win a scholarship, it’s free!
An obvious point, but you could have all of the above… and for free!
So, even if you’ve just won a pencil and you think you’re invincible, or if you didn’t pass interview day, or if you have never heard of SCA before, apply for one of the scholarships! I can promise you, you will leave as a stronger, more rounded person. One day, us SCAers are going to change the world – join us, won’t you?