College Prep Timeline For The Arts: May

The monthly planning guide for visual & performing arts students

Yes it’s true, summer will actually be here next month, and we’ll all be planning for the next school year. For high school students of the arts who want to take their craft to the next level in college, a little monthly college prep advice can go a long way. Many performing and visual arts students and parents are following simple steps to help navigate the complexities of the college admissions process.


Senior Arts Students — Finalize your college decision. If you haven’t yet notified schools of your intent, do so immediately. Be sure to send your deposit to your chosen school and ask your guidance counselor to send your final transcript to the college in June. Follow up on financial aid. Have you received a FAFSA acknowledgement? If you applied for a Pell Grant, you will receive a Student Aid Report statement. Review it, make a copy, and send the original to the college you plan to attend. Apply for loans if needed.

Senior Parents — Check all of the details. See if any AP exams need to be taken, and make sure your student completes them. It’s always a good idea to encourage your child to write thank you notes to teachers, guidance counselors, admission counselors, financial aid officers, and others who were helpful in the college-planning process. Stay on top of housing plans, return all forms, and find out the dates for freshman-orientation and course-registration.


Junior Arts Students — Narrow the college list and make appointments. Take a good look at all of the schools being considered, and based on the attributes that are important to you and your art, identify your top college choices. You’ll need to plan ahead, so now is the time to set up appointments to visit each campus. Call the admissions office to arrange a personal interview, tour, and a meeting with a professor if you’re interested.

Junior Parents — Prep for tests and explore options. Does your student need to complete the SAT and/or ACT? Make sure all deadlines and test dates are being met. Then it’s a good idea to see what you can do to help your child gain an edge. Investigate the possibility of services such as standardized test prep courses, independent college counselors, and private group tour programs.


Sophomore Arts Students — Line up your summer plans. If you haven’t yet planned how you’re going to spend your summer, your options are closing quickly so do it now. Find summer work. It will look good to prospective colleges and employers, and earning your own money will look good to you. You may also want to talk to your parents about attending a summer arts program. You’ll find some excellent summer arts programs here — check to see if they still have openings.

Sophomore Parents — Help make the summer break productive. Your child should have a job or participate in constructive activities over the summer. Summer study, career programs, jobs, and volunteer work always rate high with admission officials. While it’s getting late for enrollment, there are still some great summer arts programs available that you may want to consider.


Freshman Arts Students — Begin to get a feel for college life. Visiting friends or relatives who live on or near a college campus is a great way to get a sense of what college is like. Check out the dorms, go to student center, library, arts building, and walk around the campus. You don’t need to worry about where you want to go — just have fun and get a feel for the college environment.

Freshman Parents — Take a little college road trip. It may seem like a long way off, but college is coming fast. Now is the perfect time to introduce your student to life after high school. You don’t have to go too far. Just pick two or three schools that offer a variety of styles and flavors. Take a casual walk through the campus, and let your child take in the student life. Most importantly, be sure to let your child enjoy the process in a fun and relaxed manner.


For all high school performing arts students, summer will be here before you know it, and so will ArtsBridge Summer  (just a couple of slots left). It’s the one-of-a-kind 2-week intensive for acting, dancing, and musical theatre, and it will take place in Boston, August 3rd-17th.


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