The Best and Worst Advertising Schools in America

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I’ve been touring the country for the past few weeks meeting advertising students.  I’ve met plenty of nervous graduating seniors who are worried if they have the right stuff to make it in our industry. I’ve met faculty and deans who want to know how their programs stack up against other institutions. And I’ve got to see the good, the bad and the ugly of these colleges and universities. And while my tour is not completed — I felt the need to give you my (incomplete) ranking of the schools I’ve meet.

  1. SCAD – Savannah College of Art & Design – Your students were amazing. Very organized. Great questions from the faculty and students. Cool location and great housing at Magnolia Hall (even though I had to jump the fence to get in). Your students had (by far) the best portfolios and were the best prepared for the real world.  Grade A-
  2. University of Texas at Austin – Go Longhorns. You get high grades for the facilities, the faculty involvement, having me meet the Dean and for organizing the students to meet.  Many students had really good portfolios. If I was born in Texas – I would want to go to UT/Austin. If only to wear a “Keep It Weird” T-shirt. Grade B+
  3. University of Georgia — Go Dawgs.  I’ve now met your students several times over the past two years.  They get high scores for being really nice and very driven.  You have an amazing campus. You bring your students to the Cannes advertising festival. But while you have some stars – the quality of the student portfolios is not as good as other schools. (It hurts me to write that — because I like your students so much — they’re so NICE.)  One overarching comment I get from your students is they wish they were pushed harder.  Grade B-
  4. VCU –  I’d like to thank Ariana and Connor for coming to our meeting prepared. I would also like to thank Mike from the Ad Club for arranging a meeting with some students. Even the student who fell asleep during lunch. I think he was they guy who wants to create the next Uber. You better create your own company – because you’d be fired from mine. I left VCU saying I’d never come back. But I feel that’s wrong. Because clearly Ariana, Connor and Mike really care. And really need help.  Grade D
  5. FIT – Fashion Institute of Technology – Yes, I know this is not a fair assessment – in full transparency I teach a class in the Spring at FIT. But that also means I have a very good idea where they stack up on this list. I also have hired plenty of FIT students and have hosted countless FIT interns. The school does a pretty good job preparing students for the real world. Being in NYC helps. Grade B
  6. Syracuse University – Go Orange. Incredible faculty. Incredible facilities. Passionate students. My only issue with Syracuse is the separation of Art and Copy Students in different schools. Many students I meet would benefit from working with either an Art or Copy partner. Figure out a way to get them together more often. But overall – they do a great job. Grade B+