Is it worth it? Especially if a third of tuition is covered under a scholarship?
closed as primarily opinion-based by Rory Alsop♦ Feb 11 '14 at 9:11
Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.
Really, I think only you can answer that question. Nobody here knows anything about you or what you could potentially get from the program, as what you get from education is not just about what you get out but what you put in. There are many other discussions on here about the benefits of getting formal education as a sound designer and it often creates lively debate (see related posts, to the right), but in the end it's an individual choice. For some people it's the right thing for them at the stage of life they are at, for others not. Ask yourself whether you are going just to improve your employment prospects (as much debate here focuses on that), as there is also the experience itself to consider. Go to the school, talk to the lecturers, check the curriculum and then decide for yourself. Don't be too swayed by individual opinions on this forum or any other, especially from people with no experience of the place you are thinking of studying at.
Like Mark said, only you can answer that question, and you might not be able to until years after, but as a VFS grad (SD50, December '11) I'll speak a bit about what you should know about the program.
This exhaustive review was written by a friend of mine who graduated the class ahead of me, it's a must-read for anyone considering the program. http://beta.artschoolreviews.ca/reviews/vancouver-film-school/sound-design-for-visual-media/the-hardest-year
The first generalization of the program I can add to Luca's review is that VFS's already very strong program can be made unrivaled by the drive you bring to it. The guys and gals who lived and breathed sound, who were there perfecting projects 'till 1 and 2am because they were COMPELLED by something within themselves, those are the ones who make it big in the real world. Sure these people might have "made it" in other programs, but VFS's unabashed focus on the technical and trade aspects of sound design make it ideal for honing talent (rather than cultivating it). Though they start everyone out at zero, you get more than just a leg-up by having prior experience in sound. Most applicants have at least a general background or they wouldn't be looking at the program in the first place - but those who have experience doing sound on projects know that they are going to the school to gain hireable skills. Kids who haven't hit the pavement just can't appreciate that and so they go home early; they learn just to pass a test. So the second observation I'll make about the program is that the students that come to VFS after having some real-world experience do much better than kids who go there right out of highschool.
If you are looking for a sound design program right out of high school, you might want to consider something like Expression, SCAD, Berkeley, or others that have a longer duration and a Bachelors program. VFS and other trade schools teach you how to DO the work from a very technical standpoint, but the don't teach you the self-discipline of HOW to work or even how to think creatively - they don't teach you artistry, they teach you how to express the artistry you bring. If you do.
VFS as an institution would like to have you believe that all their grads land the cushest jobs right out of school, and in each class there is usually at least one rockstar who had a leg up at the beginning of the program and was just plain HUNGRY for it that goes on to do great stuff, but frankly luck plays a big part too: one grad from my class now works at DICE, and you can't get much better than that, but other supremely talented people from my class are still cutting student projects and indies for peanuts. VFS is a factory-- it graduates 20 sound grads every 2 months. They're not concerned about that but you should be - you've just got to be at the very top of your game.
With those thoughts in mind, I'll close by saying that I absolutely recommend the program to driven individuals looking to move their work to the next level. I would not recommend it to people who are just interested in exploring and/or have not worked with sound creatively before. I would encourage those people to get involved in student and indie projects (film, games, theater, radio) and self-direct your own explorations until you are ready to make a career out of your passion.
One point worth making: education is a business. It is their job to sell you on the idea that their course will further your career, so you buy what they are selling. It is only one option, make sure you have considered and compared other options.
I went down the formal education route with sound design. I'm a few weeks away from graduating with my bachelors at acm@uco in oklahoma city. It's worked out pretty well, I've already started picking up some great post work that pays well before i've even graduated. And the school is much much cheaper than VFS. Like everyone said before though, you def get out of it by what you put in it.