ADMISSIONS to art schools & art programs

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Student artists who are planning to pursue a college education (and career) in this field should begin working on their PORTFOLIO early.  

Take as many art courses as possible during high school and work closely with your art teachers to learn what colleges are going to want to see from you.  


... And plan to attend a National Portfolio Day to have your portfolio critiqued!  To learn more about Portfolio Days, click here:  http://www.portfolioday.net/ 

There is a National Portfolio Day scheduled at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) on Sunday, November 20, 2016. Details can be found here.


In his book What You Don't Know Can Keep You Out of College, Don Dunbar encourages students seeking admissions to colleges for visual arts to do the following:

  • Collect a portfolio of examples of your artistic work, including samples of as broad a range of styles or genres as possible....Colleges are often particularly interested in students whose work goes beyond beautiful or technically impressive, and who are starting to use their talents to make a larger point or to communicate their feelings -- they admire art that says something significant, socially or personally. Be always ready to explain what you are expressing, either emotionally or intellectually. 
  • If you visit the school campus, stop in at the specific department where you hope to study and ask to whom you should send your portfolio. If you aren't going to visit, then call the department and ask. When you send in your work, include a cover letter explaining that you are an applicant.
  • Be sure to indicate in your application to the admissions office that you have submitted a portfolio to the art department (and the date that you sent it. If there isn't a place in the application to add this "Additional Information", then you can send an email directly to the admissions representative for your region, informing them of your portfolio submission.  
  • Let your guidance counselor know you have submitted a portfolio and give him or her a copy of your letter to the admissions office.
  • In your application, include a resume that notes....any prizes or other forms of recognition as well as any special training you have received. Make it clear that your involvement with the arts is a year-round commitment.
  • Request recommendation letters from relevant teachers, directors, and others who can speak to the quality of your work and your promise. These should go to the admissions office, like other recommendation letters, with copies to the specific department(s) where you've sent a portfolio.
  • Don't assume that because you have sent in your work, anyone has seen...it. It is acceptable to follow up with the admissions department to make sure that your materials have gotten some attention at least a month before decisions are coming in the mail. (169-171)