I am trying to write an SOP to get into the Graphic Design graduate program at SCAD. It is supposed to be 500-750 words and mine is too long already. I never had to write one for my undergraduate or other graduate degree, so I am somewhat at a loss. It says that it should be an "overview of the applicant's academic and professional accomplishments and should demonstrate a high level of interest in and a highly developed understanding of the discipline. The applicant should describe knowledge of the discipline, approach to past work, qualifications for graduate study and intended focus, as well as personal and professional goals." Can someone please take a look at what I have and make suggestions on what I could cut or perhaps should leave out/add? Thanks!
I realized that I had a passion for art and design when I was in elementary school. At the beginning of each school year we designed our report card cover that was used throughout the school year to send home to our parents. To me it was that showcase of artwork that mattered more to me then the actual grades that were inside of it. As I moved through each grade level of my education I would always look for opportunities to make some type of creative statement. During high school I took as many art classes as I could where I learned everything from how to create basic sketches to etching glass and screen-printing. Each new medium fascinated me.
In 1996, we purchased our first computer and it was then that I became intrigued by the new online medium of websites. I spent hours pouring myself into online tutorials on how to create websites and later that year started my own web design business. In 2003, I decided that I wanted something more and went back to school to earn a college degree. I had every intention of studying art education, so that I could teach others and hope to instill in them this fire and passion I had inside of me for art. However, I was advised against that course of study at the university I attended because no school districts in the area offered an elementary art program. Discouraged, yet still determined to teach young children I instead began my degree program in early childhood education.
During my last semester I took the art concepts course (art for the grades), which reignited my passion for art. It was at that time Arkansas reinstated art back into the elementary classrooms. With my creativity unleashed once again and a professor who was just as passionate about art as I was, I looked into adding art onto my degree. Unfortunately due to financial constraints on my family while I was obtaining my degree my husband at the time would not allow me to pursue the additional sixty credit hours needed for the second degree. It felt as if part of me died that day. I finished my original degree program and graduated in December 2007.
I continued my web design business on the side as I sought an elementary teaching position to no avail. I unleashed my creative side as a Girl Scout leader by teaching diverse groups of girls various art projects. Due to our continued financial situation I had to take a position as an Accounting Supervisor at an NBC television affiliate. I worked there for the next three years surrounded by people doing the things that I wanted to do from the Art director to the new media director, I felt as if life was trying to tell me something. I lost my job suddenly at the beginning of 2010 and with it came a major life change for my family and I. We moved from Arkansas to Southern Oregon where I went back to searching for a teaching career.
During my hunt for a teaching position I decided to go back to school to earn my masters degree. I felt that perhaps a degree from Full Sail University online in Education Media Design and Technology would help soothe that savage beast inside of me that yearned for the opportunity to use the creativity that was captive inside of me. I thought that with this degree I would be able to create online teaching platforms and other creative methods to help teach others. However, upon graduation from that program in June 2011 I still felt emptiness deep inside of me. I continued searching for a teaching or instructional designer position to no avail between all the budget cuts in education and lack of work experience.
While revamping a website for a current client I came to the realization that I have been listening to what everyone else is saying for far too long instead of following my passion and dreams. I feel that it is past time for me to embark upon this new journey into Graphic Design at SCAD, so that I can truly unleash my creativity and find new meaning and purpose in my life. I want to earn a masters degree in graphic design from SCAD so that I can follow my true passion for life-long learning and teaching art/design to others.
I am used to the fast paced online environment of master coursework from my previous masters degree where I maintained a 4.0 GPA. Pursuing this degree in graphic design will not only help me strengthen the skills that I learned during my media design studies and self-taught web design studies, but also gain new skills in other areas of design that I have not previously had the opportunity to explore.
I agree with the previous comment about toning down the negative take on your professional history. I appreciate the story of obstacles overcome and desire for change as much as anyone else, but I feel that should take less space and end on a more positive note. For example, mention how your previous Master's degree gave you the motivation and technical skills to delve deeper into design studies rather than talk about what a disappointment it was in terms of professional and personal development. As an admission officer I would ask, if that's how you feel about your last MA, why would I want to offer you a slot in this program? This is not a thought you want running through anyone's mind. Overall, I really liked your essay. Especially the first half, which has a great sense of unity and purpose.