Where should I start my college search if I want to major in the arts?
If you want to major in the arts your first decision should be the type of school or program. Do you want a school exclusively devoted to performance and art education such as Juilliard or the Berklee School of Music? Would you prefer to study in the art, music, theater, or dance department in a more traditional university setting? Once you know the type of school you prefer, narrow down programs by degrees offered. Look at the requirements for a generalized liberal arts education with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree versus the more specialized and intensive Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) or Bachelor of Visual Arts (BVA) degrees. Of course, you should follow up this initial research by talking with students, professors, and professionals and making visits to the top colleges on your list.
Start with your Art Teacher! Talk a little about what your “niche” is and see if they are aware of the best schools to hone your skills as an artist. They are also a great resource for when you are putting together your portfolio which will be essential for when you begin to apply to your schools of choice.
Best of luck!
in order to have reasonable perspective about the art program, you should visit a few schools first to find out more about the program details. search can only get you so far without really meet faculties and students face to face to shape your views about your choice.
The first thing you need to decide is: Do you want to study strictly at a school that only offers majors in the arts such at University of the Arts in Philadelphia, for example, or do you want to have a full college experience where they have an art school within a larger university or an art department at a small liberal arts college? Once you decide that, you have narrowed your search. If you eliminate studying at a school that is specifically for the arts, you can still look at universities and liberal arts colleges and decide if you like a larger or smaller type of school. Second, you need to check and see if the school offers what you want to study in the arts! That will also narrow your search!
Are you interested in majoring in the arts? Fortunately, there are abundant resources to help you. Start with people you know, such as a theater teacher, drama coach and guidance counselor. They know you and might already have ideas regarding a college of best fit. There are wonderful online and book resources. Use collegeboard.com, and follow the instructions: http://collegesearch.collegeboard.com/search/index.jsp. You can search this database in a number of different ways. My favorite search tool is Fiske’s Guide to Colleges, which is updated regularly and widely available. You can use the front matter to find recommendations of colleges of different sizes and locations; then read up and see what you think! I really like the overlap section in Fiske’s; this enables you to find schools that are similar to those you already prefer.
This one is simple. Identify the genre of artistic expression you’re interested in, and then target schools that specialize in and graduate successful students in your discipline. You do have to know more than that you want to major in the arts. But if it’s a more broad arts major that interests you — something like cultural history, go for small liberal arts schools, or schools in major cities like New York and LA that are closely connected to the country’s top arts institutions and like have faculty who are well-known in their field for their current work.
Begin with your teachers/mentors/instructors to identify strong programs at both the college and conservatory level. You first need to determine how good you are and whether or not you want to pursue a career in the arts beyond college. Using instructors or outside ajudicators to help you gauge your talent can help you to make the decision whether or not to pursue a conservatory education. Even if you opt for a more traditional college expereince (which will not preclude you from pursuing a career in the arts), you will need to learn about what that program expects in terms of an audition as part of the admissions process. Again, using adults in your local arts community to gain familiarity with the program and to help you prepare for the admissions process is key. It is also most important for you to identify programs where you will be a good “fit,” particularly with the instructors at the college level.
Let’s assume that you want to pursue your future livelihood as an actor, musician, dancer, artist or performer and that your initial college degree will be a BFA. Let’s also assume you know about the rigors of continual practice and the pressure of auditions or assimilation of portfolios.
The start of your college search is actually within yourself. You should be absolutely sure that the major or field you choose is best suited to you and your future plans. You need to closely evaluate yourself-how good a dancer, musician, etc. am I? How do I compare to other’s abilities? Am I dedicated to lifelong improvement of my craft? Do I fully understand that in order to make a living in the arts, I will likely have some very tough times financially, face the prospect of rejection and criticism frequently and must be able to summon resiliency at the drop of a hat. If you can handle all of that potential difficulty and consider yourself ready to pursue a career in the arts, then the post-secondary search can begin.
You have to sort your preferences for the traditional things all college applicants do-small school vs. large, geographic preference, public vs. private, affordability, campus environment, student life, etc. You can call this the big picture view and it should include specialty schools (e.g.,SCAD, RISD, Julliard) along with conventional colleges or universities. To narrow the process further you will need to know exactly which of the arts you will choose as your major. If you are up to speed in your specialty you will probably know of a few schools that come to mind. To them you should add schools to your list that your arts instructors or others that know you well as a performer/artist can recommend. A good general source for getting a good overview of some of the best schools for your area of expertise you might take a look at “The College Finder” by Steve Antonoff for good general info and at two books from Peterson’s Visual Arts Majors (Sandra Reed) and Performing Arts Majors (Carole Everett) both published in 2009.
Now that you have some school possibilities and you have put your own criteria into the mix, its time to go to next level of your initial your search. Go to each school’s website, look at your specialty and make sure that the department offers a BFA in it. Then look at the curriculum, look at the faculty, read their bio’s and search to see how successful their graduates have been. This exercise is the basis for you to be able to ask the right questions to satisfy you that a certain school might be a good fit for you.
One important reminder: you MUST look at each school in light of your fit for the school in terms of your grades, test scores etc. If you fall into the middle of their applicant pool go for it!
Look at the differences in a conservatory versus a college department program. Which best suits you? Start there!
What is your ultimate end goal? Are we talking fine arts? Are we talking dance, music, theater? Whatever the subject matter is, find someone that you look up to in that field and talk to them and get the scoop. There are a lot of schools that specialize in the Arts. There are a lot of schools that don’t but may do one facet very, very well. So determine too what type of college and what type of location you want to be in. Make sure that you pay close attention to dates and deadlines. Some colleges will require that you audition or send in a portfolio. You have to stay on top of things, audition and portfolio requirements often have different deadlines than that of the admissions office.
Arts majors should complete specific research based on your area of interest. If fine arts are your bent, many schools offering the majors participate in the National Portfolio Review Day (NPRD). The website, of the same name, is updated regularly and provides specific information as to whether portfolios are required, and if required the site clarifies whether portfolios are accepted through online sites such as flikr.com or slideshare.com; or in some cases expected for assessment the day the college/university hosts the event in major cities across the United States annually.
If your interests are the visual /performing arts, often auditions are required. I recommend students begin their search with the site of the college/conservatory program of interest as they all clarify whether auditions are required and if so, how they are conducted and the expectations of the number of pieces required instrumental/voice/dance. Some colleges, such as Julliard host regional auditions. It’s best to begin at each school’s website.
Yes you should because will add exposure to you
Which arts? Performing Arts? Drawing/painting/design arts? Music performance or theory? Theatre? Musical Theatre?
It’s important at the start of the college search process to use the correct language to help clearly identify your academic interests and pursuits. Simply asking about a “major in the arts” may not yield the information or options best suited for you. So, what are you interested in studying?
When you know, please ask again, and I will be happy to point you in the right direction!
Identify those colleges strong in the arts by using one or more of the guides. I like The Fiske Guide by Edward Fiske and The College Finder by Steven Antonoff. Once you have created a list of colleges with strong arts programs, review the department pages of the websites. Add your name to prospective student mailing lists, use the contact information to ask questions or seek further information. Don’t forget to thoroughly review the curriculum so that you can understand the scope of the major.
If your high school has Naviance, you can complete a search that will produce colleges that offer a major in the arts. There are many ways to customize your search.
Depending on the amount of statistical information in Naviance(GPA, PSAT Score, SAT Score, ACT Score), you may be able to see where you stand academically against past graduates from your school for a particular college.
Other websites to check out…
The first reason is that not all colleges are liberal art schools… for example if you want to study fine art.. The University of San Diego is not for you even though it sits up on a hill and overlooks the ocean. great, but it does not offer fine arts as a major….. so how will that help the student?
The goal of a college search is to find a school that will enhance who the student is and let them fully bloom into the young adult they can be.
When students don’t select the right schools, they get in and then see the school is wrong for them, and many times they drop out for this reason not completing their 4-5 years of schooling, or a host of other reasons.
Any college search starts with self-assessment. You need to be brutally honest with yourself and assess what exactly are you good at, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time, what are your academic strengths? If you were working with me, I would help you with this assessment by asking you questions such as what do you value most, what is it that you dream of when you really think about your future, what type of artist do you want to become, what are your strengths and weaknesses, and what are you doing now to get there later?
Obviously due to the criteria of the question we are assuming that you simply want to major in the art’s and not go to art’s school. No two schools are the same, the program of two school’s offering a major in the art’s can vary in many different ways therefore it’s essential to visit the particular school’s that you may be interested in and and catch a lesson or performance to get a better idea as to what that specific art’s program is offering.
Narrow down your search based upon all the other requirements you are looking for and be in constant contact with those particular school’s to really get a good understanding at how that specific art’s major is run. The same question’s need to be asked again and again at the different schools so that you will be able to balance the like’s and dislikes for each program. Another important point point is to make sure that the program is accredited otherwise this may come back to haunt you if deciding to carry on in art’s for a more specialised graduate program.
Remember, if you took art’s in high school do not expect a program which is generally performing assessment’s and group based with a broad base of teaching otherwise you will probably be in for a surprise! Most program’s will require a lot more individual performance therefore organisation and responsibility are very important. Expect a lot more theory and written work which may or may not be to your expectations.
First you need to decide if you want to major in the arts or go to art school, and that depends largely on your goals and what you are really looking for in your education. If you go to art school you can focus on your art work to the exclusion of pretty much everything else. In contrast, an art major at a college or university will offer a full scale opportunity, but will be only a part of the academic overall program and you will still be required to fulfill other academic requirements. But you will also have the opportunity to experience the other things that can characterize the college experience, things like Saturday football games or a wide ranging Greek life. You can find appropriate career preparation through either approach and actual program options can be identified easily, at least as a first step, through a google search. Ultimately, the initial identification is far easier than deciding what kind of educational experience you really want.
Start by determining if you would like a 4-year degree program or a 2 year arts school.
Start by finding out, via talking with your current art teachers and using various website college search tools, what particular discipline you would like to focus on and which schools offer the program that will fit your aspirations. For example, a dancer who seeks a pure dance conservatory would be best served applying to conservatories…but a musician who wants not only a music background but also a broad background in general education across various disciplines would be best served by applying to schools that offer a conservatory within a university.The key is to carefully research schools after you get an accurate assessment of your current level of talent (and academic achievements, for many colleges) and a clear idea of the scope and sequence of the ideal education you hope to gain. To help you narrow colleges during the process, try sites such as Collegedata, College Prowler, and College Confidential. You should also try to get some time to speak with performers or artists in your intended field to gain some feedback about life as an artist and the ideal programs to help you reach your goals.
I would go to a college search website (ie collegeboard.com) and plug what is important to you in terms of the college experience. Some things may include location, size of the school, what majors in the arts you are interested in, public, private, etc., cost, campus life and other clubs and organizations, sports offered and at what level or conference, urban or rural, diversity of student population, and so on. If you then plug in that you want to major in the arts, the search will produce a list of schools throughout the country that meet your criteria. You can then go to the individual website of each school that seems interesting and find out more about the school, and the admissions requirements and admissions process, etc. Likewise, if you already know the names of some schools you are interested in finding more about, go directly to their website. most schools are the name with .edu on the end.
Do What You Are…
Since there are so many options for arts education, starting by understanding how you learn best, is the best approach to exploring your options.
Wether you are looking from a Studio Art perspective or a Performing Artist viewpoint, starting early on in high school to explore the types of educational options that are available to you. Prepare to explore your options by accessing some of the terrific search engines that are available on the web, leaving your search very broad at this point. Include all types of programs and study in your search.Take the results of your list and begin by accessing each schools own website to discover what approach they use to deliver their curriculum. Take a virtual visit either through their website or on youtube.
Then ask yourself some questions:
1. Does the curriculum excite and interest me?
2. What approach do they use for “hands-on” learning?
3. What are they looking for in a portfolio or audition?
4. What are their timetables for audition and portfolio submission?
5. Now plan to visit those colleges that seem a “best-fit” for you.
I recommend that all students begin their search with College Navigator. This search engine allows students to choose options that will craft a list based on the options they choose. This program offers concentrated information on each college as well: financial aid, scholarships, etc.
The first step is to identify which colleges offer the programs you are interested in pursuing. A conversation with your art teacher can be a good start. If you have any art schools or colleges with an art department that offers what you are interested in studying, visit and ask to meet the art teachers. Even though you may not apply there, it is good practice to learn about the application process for the arts.
Students looking to major in the arts ought to consider if they want a traditional arts school with a curriculum largely comprised of art and design classes or a school that has a strong arts program but exists within a liberal arts curriculum that offers more diversity in courses. For students who are certain of a career in the arts, the following schools should be researched:
Otis College of Art and Design, Parsons School of Design, Ringling School of Art and Design, Rhode Island School of Art and Design, Maryland Institute College of Art, Pratt Institute.
For students looking for strong undergraduate art schools with opportunities to take other classes consider:
Boston University, New York Univ., Syracuse, Smith College, Furman Univ., Cooper Union., Skidmore College, Unv. of Michigan, and Virginia Commonwealth Univ.
Your college search should start with you pondering your iikes and dislikes about a variety of fields under the College of Arts and Sciences. Arts include such majors as psychology, sociology, human services, social work, and a host of others. To get off to a great start decide what you know you are not interested in and eliminate untecessary searching and wasting time on fields that you have no interest in. If you are a creative or visual artists just hone in on institutions that bring out the best of what you are skilled at. A final alternative is to enter college as an undecided student (which is perfectly fine and common) and take a variety of classes to decided what peeks my interests and go from there.
I recommend every student athlete go directly to either the NCAA website or the NAIA website and go through these sites thoroughly. Each site is set up to guide a prospective student athlete and their family through the college recruiting process as well as they have pages set up that help find all schools at all levels that offer both the sport they are interested in and also their area of academic interest (in this case it will be the arts). From their you will start your decision process of finding out what geographical area of the country you would feel most comfortable attending a college. There is more decisions to make after this but knowing where to start your search is definitely step one.
I recommend every student athlete go directly to either the NCAA website or the NAIA website and go through these sites thoroughly. Each site is set up to guide a prospective student athlete and their family through the college recruiting process as well as they have pages set up that help find all schools at all levels that offer both the sport they are interested in and also their area of academic interest (in this case it will be the arts). From their you will start your decision process of finding out what geographical area of the country you would feel most comfortable attending a college. There is more decisions to make after this but knowing where to start your search is definitely step one. The above options will give you great detail on collegiate athletics but here at Unigo we also provide immediate information on how to begin your college search. If you go directly to the bottom of any page on our website you will find information about all schools that offer any major you may be interested in. All you have to do is click on yoru major and a list of schools will come up for you to start reviewing. Thanks and good luck with your search.
The first step would be to find out which universities offer the program of study you are interested in. If may want to narrow your selection if there is a particular region of the country you wish to reside. There are numerous of free college search websites that can help with this. You can narrow your selection even more if you know the exact area of art you want to concentrate on.
You should definitely consult your current and past art teachers at your high school as a reference on colleges and types of art programs available to you. Art teachers can also be a a great resource on the different portfolio requirements of various college/universities. Use Naviance and the collegeboard.com search engines to begin brainstorming lists of schools that offer art programs. Consult your high school counselor and continue thinking about which branch of the arts you plan to pursue (i.e. visual arts, design, fashion, performing arts).
If you are serious about pursuing the arts, I would recommend that you pick up Elaina Loveland’s book: Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers. While a bit older, it offers advice coupled with real examples to help students understand the admissions process for prospective artists.
What art are you interested in? This is an important question as institutions can limit the offerings available. For example, they may have theater program, but limit musical theater options. Look at their course catalogues and majors and see if they have a program that supports your specific discipline. After you have gone through this process, you will have a basic list of schools that support your field. Whittle down this list by other criteria such as size, location, etc. and see what you can learn about each institution’s artistic philosophy. Do they appreciate alternative forms of expression? Offer contemporary as well as classical music options? Do they focus on the arts or is it simply an afterthought? You will be surprised as to how this can refine your search.
Check out the various Art Institutes, ask around in various art venues. Again, it’s who you know that counts.
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