If you have taken extensive art classes in your high school and feel you have the talent to pursue a career as an artist or a creative professional, this article is for you. Art school is the perfect place for you to build the technical skill you’ll need to be able to express yourself to your fullest. Keep reading to find out how to get into art school.
Although art school requirements differ widely, many of the best art programs are very competitive. Even if you have a solid portfolio and application materials, it may be difficult to stand out from the competition. In this article, you’ll learn how to get accepted into art school. We cover the application process, tips to improve your chances of admission, and whether an art college degree is worth it.
How Difficult Is It to Get Into Art School?
This depends on the admissions standards of the target school. Elite art colleges have stringent admission guidelines. As a result, they are very selective with a low acceptance rate. For instance, Yale School of Art has an acceptance rate of six percent and Rhode Island School of Design has an acceptance rate of 20 percent.
You may find it easier to gain admission into a mid-ranked creative arts school with a higher acceptance rate. Naturally, this depends on your current technical skill and the state of your portfolio for art school.
Common Art School Requirements
- High School GPA. Your GPA is an important part of the admissions process. It informs the admissions committee of your academic abilities. By looking at your GPA, the admission officer can get an idea of what kind of student you’ve been and will be. The typical high school GPA requirement of a top art college ranges from 3.3 to 3.9.
- Standardized Testing. Most art schools require that prospective students write the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) or the American College Test (ACT). Standardized testing measures a student’s compatibility with the program. The admission team also uses it as a common data point to compare applicants.
- Letters of Recommendation. The admissions staff may also need letters of recommendation from your high school art teacher or an art mentor. They are an excellent opportunity for an established professional to vouch for your abilities both as an artist and as a student during your art school applications.
- Art Portfolios. Your art school portfolio is a crucial part of your art college application. In it, you should include a selection of your best artworks. Your portfolio is your chance to show off your technical skills, creative expression, and artistic skill. An exciting portfolio is possibly the most important part of your application process.
- Personal Statement. An art college may require that students write an essay, called a personal statement or artist statement. This essay shows your unique creative process, artistic achievements, and artistic goals. You can discuss your favorite art form, medium, or even what art careers you are interested in.
How to Get Accepted Into Art School: A Step-by-Step Guide
The general application process for an art degree is quite similar to any other program, with the exception of submitting a college art portfolio. There will most likely be a little variation in the process, depending on the school and particular department you’re applying to, but here are some steps you can take that can boost your chances of getting accepted into an art school.
Step 1: Research Schools Offering a Program You’re Interested In
There are many art and design schools offering a wide range of programs in different art forms. Look for art schools that offer the programs you’re interested in. This could be graphic design, acting, cinema, painting, photography, or industrial design. Check the Internet for information on school directories, school rankings, and school reviews.
Visit the school websites and try to get as much information as you can find concerning the application process. If possible, visit the school and meet the professors, faculty members, and art students so you can get an idea of the scope of the program. Some art schools organize open day programs where the admissions counselor provides information and firsthand experience to prospective students.
Step 2: Create an Art Portfolio
Art schools have different portfolio admissions requirements so make sure you research the school’s requirements. You’ll have to submit a variety of pieces such as photographs, charcoal drawings, observational drawings, sculptures, and oil paintings. Performance arts schools will require you to audition either in-person or by video.
When selecting which works to submit, use artwork you feel most showcases your personal style and technical skills. Make sure all of your works have original conceptual ideas. Some schools require a digital art school portfolio. For this, you’ll scan or take clear pictures of your work and submit them electronically to the admissions office.
Other schools may give prospective students assignments. They may, for example, tell them to draw, sculpt, or paint a specific item to demonstrate their artistic skills. For instance, applicants of the Rhode Island School of Design have to include pen and paper bicycle drawings in their portfolios. Parsons School of Design requires prospective design students to create a certain number of original art pieces.
Step 3: Prepare Your Application
Check the official website to confirm if you have the available art school requirement for your dream school. The common art school requirements are your academic transcripts, SAT/ ACT scores, a letter of recommendation, an art portfolio, and a personal statement. If you can, get someone you trust to look everything over with you before submitting it.
Step 4: Prepare for the Art School Interview
An invitation for an interview is a good sign. It is an indication that the admissions department considers your application as a good fit for the school art program. The interview is the deciding factor determining whether you get admitted or not. You’ll need to meet face-to-face with the admissions officers to talk about your portfolio and what makes you a good candidate.
Step 5: Wait for the Response From the School
You’ve done everything you can. You’ve submitted your application and completed your interview. All that’s left is for you to be patient and wait until you get a response from the school. You may have to wait for up to four months before the school informs you of their admission decision.
How to Choose the Right Art School
Your career as a professional artist starts by choosing the right art school. School is where you’ll build the foundation of your artistic knowledge and techniques and where you’ll establish your artistic network. Some factors to consider are career goals, school location and facilities, available financial aid programs, as well as the school’s accreditation, artistic community, and college experience.
Top Tips for Getting Into Art School
- Include Original Work in Your Portfolio for College Admission. A strong portfolio with accomplished drawings improves your chances. A portfolio with poor drawings will hamper your chances. Prospective students in the US can review their art portfolios on National Portfolio Day.
- Have Multiple Options. Not everyone will be admitted into their dream arts program, so apply to multiple schools. Choose three elite schools with a selective and rigorous admission process, three art colleges that better match your student profile, and three safety schools where your academic qualifications and technical abilities will stand out among other art school applications.
- Seize Every Opportunity to Improve Your Skills. It’s hard to enter an art program with raw talent alone. You’ll need to work hard to refine and improve your mastery of different art techniques and a range of mediums. Take art courses at your high school, enroll in a summer art program at your community college, and attend art seminars and workshops.
- Connect with Art Professionals. Admissions consulting service recommends that prospective students should reach out to admissions counselors, faculty members, and even college alumni. It can benefit you to have someone who can offer admissions advice and vouch for you if necessary.
- Prepare for Interviews. An interview allows you to prove that you deserve admission into the art program. This is your chance to impress the admissions teams and present your artist portfolio in person. Research college interview questions and practice possible answers. You’ll most likely have to talk about your achievements, creative ideas, educational goals, and your artistic process.
Will I Get Accepted Into Art School?
Yes. With an above-average high school GPA, solid art portfolio, and well-prepared application, you have a good chance of getting accepted to an art school. Make sure you don’t just apply to one school and remember that you always have another year to work on your skills if you don’t get into your dream school and want to apply again.
Is Getting Into Art School Worth It?
Art school is worth it if you have a passion for the arts and fancy a career as a professional artist. Art schools offer expert instruction of art techniques, networking opportunities, access to state-of-the-art equipment, an artistic community for you to flourish in, and exposure. Successful completion of an art school program equips students with the skills for high-paying jobs in the art industry.
How to Get Into Art School FAQ
A higher GPA and strong grades increase your chances of acceptance into an art school, although some art schools will accept candidates who have a solid college art portfolio but have a low to average grade point average. If your portfolio isn’t too strong, your GPA and test scores will be the deciding academic requirements determining whether or not you gain acceptance into the school.
Brown University, Rhode Island School of Design, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, California Institute of the Arts, Columbus College of Art and Design, and Parsons School of Design have the best art school programs in the country.
Some artists need math. Even though math isn’t always visible in arts, most artists use mathematical concepts such as symmetry, measurement, and geometry in their creations. Many liberal arts colleges require you to take classes in a range of fields.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, artists have an annual mean wage of $49,600.
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