When choosing a college, I'm sure your decision is based on quite a few things: reputation, placement percentage, location, tuition, and so on. Yet I've found, after surveying a large group of advertising and design school grads, there is one other thing you may want to consider. I've never thought about this, but it makes perfect sense.
Consider the other students who go there. Now you probably have no way of doing this on your own. You can't really ask every other applicant to show you their portfolio and have them assure you of their commitment to doing well at school. Fairly, if not totally, impossible.
But, what you can do is judge the caliber of the work done by graduates of the school. When passion, creativity and accountability are at the forefront of the curriculum, it is evident in graduate portfolios. Great work will consistently come out of great schools. Not occasionally, consistently.
Look to see which schools top the Gunn Report for best advertising schools that year. Find who is repeatedly on that list. I guarantee you, these are the schools where students are passionately committed.
This is important, because your education isn't a solo deal. You don't just go in, work hard, do some creative work and get handed a degree at the end. You work together with other students and their talent and drive just might affect your portfolio. How? These are the people you'll be partnered with on assignments, people you will need to count on for group projects, and that makes them the same people you'd want to be serious about doing good work.
Being surrounded by passionate and committed people is essential at an agency. It should be equally essential at school.