by Lee Down
19-05-2022

As the time to make college applications approaches, the question of how to get into different colleges ranks again. Far from the easiest school to get into, an art school can be as difficult to be accepted in as a medical major or an MBA program. Here, we look at the art school application process in-depth and try to demystify the art school application process.

Although many believe that arts are a less prospective education direction and profession than ever, numbers suggest otherwise: the interest in art schools is growing, and great talent can be found on the US soil. Valued at $65 Billion, the art market definitely has a lot to offer to anyone who is interested in pursuing this career. Truth be told, making a name for yourself in the art world is not really easy, but it is not impossible either. 

Photo by Timon Klauser on Unsplash

Why Choose an Art School?

As the interest in art schools (and their number) grows, it is important to note that art schools do not simply teach you how to draw, paint, and sculpt. Art schools provide you with a systematic knowledge about the art world, its development, and different movements and enable you to have systematic access to art development as it takes place. With an art school, you could be almost anything, including: 

  • A painter, 
  • A sculptor, 
  • A clothing designer, 
  • Interior designer, 
  • Exterior designer, 
  • Landscape designer, 
  • Tech designer, 
  • A teacher, and many more. 

So, the arts field offers a very valuable set of skills and knowledge that can be applied in the world outside of the art school campus. Social media and the Internet offer a myriad of e-commerce possibilities so that monetizing your set of skills becomes a piece of cake. All in due time, however. For now, let’s focus on applying to an art school. 

Is It Difficult to Get into an Art School?

Getting into an art school is easier said than done. With applications outnumbering the accepting quota in most US art schools, finding the one that will accept you is not so easy unless you are a child prodigy. For this reason, starting off early with the prep work for applying to college, as well as applying to more than one school, is a must. 

Common Art School Application Requirements

As art schools are a bit different from other schools, and they equip you with a different set of skills, it is a common practice that they have slightly different prerequisites to other types of schools. For this reason, we will cover common art school application requirements. They stem as follows: 

  1. Your Portfolio, 
  2. Your previous education profile, 
  3. SAT test scores, 
  4. Extracurricular activities, and 
  5. Letter(s) of Recommendation. 

A Strong Portfolio

Having a strong portfolio is the most important prerequisite that you should fulfill when applying for an art college. Having a thorough understanding of one or more art movements is important, and being able to create is even more important. Showcase your work and show that you can understand contemporary social trends (such as the NFT boom), put them in the right art movement, and you can take a critical approach towards current trends while at the same time staying in neutral position. 

Get Several Opinions on Your Portfolio

Getting opinions on your portfolio is also important. If you happen to know an artist, an art critique, or even an art teacher, getting their opinion on the art you’ve made is sure to open up a few doors. Do not shy away from asking. Quite on the contrary, be persistent and understand that some people may refuse to evaluate you, while others may not. 

Diverse and Art-Focused Classes

Having a strong and thorough education will show that you are capable of handling many different things. After all, art is not a single movement. Having a diversified educational background with a specialization in arts is probably the best thing to have. For example, knowing about sustainable art practices can be a plus. Humanities, social science, and history are the next best strongholds. 

Good SAT Test Scores

Good SAT test scores are yet another prerequisite to getting into a college as an artist. A good SAT score shows that you can handle multiple subjects at the same time, as well as that you can handle a high workload. Art studies are not easy, so you are expected to show that you can handle the matter. 

Extracurricular Activities

Extracurricular activities are necessary to show that you have a wide range of interests and an even wider range of activities and understanding of the society around you. Volunteering in art exposes, art shows, and even helping with installations can be a huge conversation starter in an art school application interview, where you may also want to show some community work and multicultural experience. 

Letter of Recommendation from a Teacher you Trust

A good letter of recommendation should be like a topping on the cake. Throughout high school, you should establish a good rapport with as many teachers as you can. Once you have this, getting good letters of recommendation is a piece of cake and may benefit you strongly. 

Application Letter

The final step is writing your application letter. This letter should tie up all the previous efforts and ensure that it has a good internal flow and, simply put, it should sound good. For this reason, many art college applicants leave this job to professionals. LetsGradeIt website offers an overview of some of the most popular online writing services. It goes without saying that you should give them directions and an outline, as well as ask for editing (it usually comes for free). 

Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

Final Considerations

Getting into an art school is not easy, but it is not that difficult either. Good and thorough preparation, as well as having professionals assist you while doing so, should be enough to get you into the art college of your dreams. Follow our six tips to get into college as an artist and expect to get an acceptance letter. 


About the Writer

A writer and editor, Jessica Fender relies on both her motivation and discipline to get to the end of the day. With a high workload, she still tries to stay positive and keep a happy place. She loves to work on her communication skills, as well as her understanding of other people and their emotions. 

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