Sorry to leave you hanging like that. My brother called about a serious matter between him and his fiance, and he needed to hash it out with me. I'll look for you in the next few days and see if we can finish our conversation. Best of luck on your finals, especially algebra. Also, I'd love to hear more about your new WIP.
Thanks for asking! Copywriting is an amazing field because I can use my writing and brainstorming skills every day. Plus, fiction-writing and copywriting seem to feed each other, in terms of inspiration – at least when it comes to the work I'm doing. (Copywriting can run the gamut!)
I can't say I'm an expert on portfolio schools, but I can see why there are mixed messages. Portfolio schooling definitely isn't necessary, though it certainly helps in terms of motivation, guidance, making connections, and building a portfolio. If you can find those things for yourself, while maybe taking a couple of reputable "writing for advertising / marketing" classes, you'll likely get the same result. It'd be *great* if ou could find a budding art director in the same boat who can help you build your portfolio (and vice versa).
My story is that I got a BFA in Communication Design from the University of North Texas, where all the design and art direction students wrote their own campaigns and projects. (At least that's how it was when I was there.) After graduation, I was an Art Director for advertising in Chicago for about seven years. But because I continued to write a lot of my work, I was also building a writing portfolio along the way. I made the switch to writing for digital marketing and advertising in 2007 and I've been at it ever since. I love it! :)