How should art students prepare for the college admissions process?

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Our counselors answered:

How should art students prepare for the college admissions process?

Scott White
Director of Guidance Montclair High School

How should art students prepare for the college admissions process?

Look at portfolio requirements before your junior year and use junior year to work on your portfolio.

Erin Avery
Certified Educational Planner Avery Educational Resources, LLC

Portfolio, Check!

Carefully. Arts students will be required to demonstrate their artistic talent which will translate into additional time-consuming work on their part. 

Helen Cella

How should art students prepare for the college admissions process?

They need to prepare a portfolio

Erica White
College & Career Counselor Middletown High School

How should art students prepare for the college admissions process?

Most art students will be required to submit a portfolio of their work for acceptance. Art students should look at prospective schools and see what the portfolio requirement entail (how many items, what format, specific types of art, etc). This should be done early on in the process so that they will have enough time to put together all that is required. They should also work with their art teachers who have experience in this area. Many art schools will offer portfolio review days, where a student can bring their materials and get suggestions on what to add or change. I would highly suggest attending one of these local sessions, even if isn't at school they are considering.

Tam Warner Minton
Consultant College Adventures

Artistic Students

If you are an artist, a theater major, film maker or a musician chances are you will be required to audition or present a portfolio. You must prepare your portfolio/audition carefully and methodically. Most portfolios are submitted online now, but don't wait until the last minute to put it together. As soon as you have a college list, read the audition requirements for your major and start preparing EARLY. Chances are you may need to travel to some of the auditions, so save your pennies. Begin during your sophomore/junior year looking at schools so that you will be ready to concentrate on preparation spring of your junior year and the summer before your senior year. The early bird gets the worm!

Mark Gathercole
University Advisor Independent University Advising

How should art students prepare for the college admissions process?

Portfolio, portfolio, portfolio. Start early and build a good, complete one that represents the artist you are - not one that represents the artist you had to be in the last month when you had to hurry to put the last eight pieces together to finish before the deadline! And don't neglect your other academic subjects. Conscientiousness in those subjects will reflect well on you. Art schools and departments do care about you as an overall student and person.

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

How should art students prepare for the college admissions process?

First you need to consider whether you want to major in the arts or go to an art school. Whether you choose an art school or a college art major depends largely on your goals and what you are really looking for in your education. If you go to the art school you can focus on your art work to the exclusion of pretty much everything else while an art major at a university will only be a part of the overall program and you will still be required to fulfill other academic requirements. But you will also have greater access to the other things that can characterize the college experience. You can find the appropriate career preparation through either approach. In either case you will need to have a fully developed portfolio of your work to show the admissions office. That wil be a critical part of their selection process.

Aurora Bonner
Educational Consultant Bonner Educational Consultants

How should art students prepare for the college admissions process?

Students interested in the arts must prepare for the college admissions process just as every other college-bound student with one exception. Students interested in the arts must begin compiling works for a professional art portfolio. The art portfolio requirements vary at each college and so it is essential to contact your college admissions counselor or Art department for these specifications. However, some general tips are as follows: -Have your artwork photographed, videotaped, scanned or graphically converted to display in a professional manner. -Show a range of techniques and mastery in the works you choose -Choose works that show creative thinking and a unique perspective -Begin developing your portfolio during your Junior year so that you may evaluate what works you already have and plan to create works in areas that you are lacking. -Take your works to a professional for critiquing! An art teacher, local artist, art professor or a current art student may be good sources to give your portfolio a trial run. -Look online at the college's art department site to see what their current students are doing. They usually have current student's works available to preview.

Kris Hintz
Founder Position U 4 College LLC

How should art students prepare for the college admissions process?

For the visual arts, applicants need to be working on portfolios from the beginning of junior year. It is a good idea to take a course in portfolio development, either in your high school or in a summer pre-college program. In the NY area, for example, check out portfolio programs at Pratt or FIT. Check out college counselors who actually specialize in this area, who can help you develop a portfolio and even set up a website. When you visit colleges, meet with the arts department to find out the portfolio requirements. For the performing arts, applicants need to plan on a second application layer beyond just applying to the school academically: the audition process. During junior year, begin to identify (and visit) colleges and develop a "master plan" for applications and auditions. Work with a coach to choose repertoire and prepare for your auditions. Consider developing a personal website to showcase your performances.

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

How should art students prepare for the college admissions process?

Well in advance. Here's an old caveat: Plan your work, work your plan. Nobody plans to fail, but too many fail to plan. Make sure your portfolio is the best it can be, and set up an interview. Having an LOR from a world class person in the field can be worth an admission ticket!