How to win a scholarship at the world’s best ad school

SCA Scholarship


How to win a scholarship at the world’s best ad school




I won a scholarship to attend School of Communication Arts in 1993 and it changed my life.  That’s why I wanted to create as many scholarships as possible when I was given the privilege of reopening the school in 2010.  I’m writing this post in April 2019 and getting ready to deliver our 100th scholarship.

We are able to provide so many scholarships because of the generosity of our industry. Before I share tips on how to win a scholarship for the September 2019 intake, let me give thanks to R/GA, Mission Group, Gravity Road, Experian, Havas, Wavemaker, Brave, And Rising, Facebook, AMV BBDO, Grayling, Adam+Eve, Deloitte and Marketing Academy.

We give out two types of scholarship at the school; means-based and merit-based…

Means-based scholarships are mostly distributed through partnerships such as Commercial Break, Ideas Foundation, Brixton Finishing School and D&AD.  We want to fill our school with talented people from all sorts of backgrounds and we never want money to be an obstacle.   Some means-based scholarships come with a small bursary.

We prefer to award scholarships through partnerships because it gives us a chance to get to know each human first.  However, if you are reading this and feel that you want be considered for a means-based scholarship then please get in touch.  We want to help as many people as possible.

Merit-based scholarships are won in competitions and are available to anyone.  This post provides advice on how to win a merit-based scholarship.

We take about 36 students in each intake, and we try to distribute about 10 scholarships.  Three of these scholarships will be merit-based, so it is very competitive.

Two Briefs

We are definitely running two competitions this year (a third is close to being announced).  Details of the two competitions can be found here and here.

You can enter both competitions.

You should enter both competitions.  Double your chances of winning.

Top Tips

The best advice I can give anyone wanting to try to win a merit-based scholarship is to take advice from previous winners.  Joel Buckley entered two competitions and won both of them!  Read this post from Joel to find out how he did it.

The video below is from James Reynolds.  He won a scholarships a couple of years ago with this cracking entry.  When you watch it, hopefully you will see that it ticks all the boxes that Joel described in his post.

When thinking of winners, my mind turns to Ben Conway, who climbed Ben Nevis wearing high-heels to win his scholarship.  I love his entry because he answered the brief and showed us his character.  That’s what I want to see, every time.  Here is Ben describing what wining felt like, and sharing a few tips.

The video above is from Joe Sare and rates as one of my favourite entries of all time.  (My favourite ever, if I’m allowed to have a favourite, is coming next.)  Joe writes a great post about how to win a scholarship competition here, and generously shares his contact details, offering to give advice to anyone who writes to him.

Another fantastic post about winning a scholarship competition comes from Sophie Edwards.  Well worth a read.

Finally, here is my favourite scholarship entry of all time. It’s worth knowing that I don’t make the final decision as to who wins a merit-based scholarship – our sponsors form the jury.  But I do try my best to influence the sponsors.  What I love about Marcella’s entry is that she showed us her character, told a great story, answered the brief really well and made something brilliant.  Anyone watching this film can see that she was going to be an incredible student and help make our school a better place.

Good luck to everyone entering the 2019 scholarship competitions and thanks again to all the generous companies who help make it possible for our school to bring diversity into the industry.

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