The most frequently asked questions from students and parents.
Very often they are, and many students miss out! Go to each college website (don't rely on the common app site), and check each out carefully. Often colleges that prescreen require that you submit materials by November 1st or earlier.
Be who you are and show who you are. Admissions committees are genuinely interested in the whole person — beyond what they read on your transcript or recommendations. Don’t be shy about your accomplishments and be sure to take the time to write an honest and thoughtful essay that is specific to that institution. Your portfolio needs to show the best work that you have. Get in touch with the admissions office, visit, and take a tour. Let them get to know you personally. And be sure to meet all of their application deadlines and requirements.
Yes, generally, it is. What matters most of the time is your audition. However, there are fewer stand-alone programs than there used to be. For example, only two stand-alone theater programs now exist; Juilliard (BFA in Acting) and Boston Conservatory (BFA in Musical Theater). All of the others are university based.
The Common App (www.commonapp.org
) allows students to apply to many schools using one application. While each school has their own supplement, the process is made somewhat easier with this tool. Over 800 colleges use the Common App.
It wasn't the case a few years back, but some schools now offer this option.
It can vary, but ArtsBridge performing arts clients generally apply to 8-10 schools.
Grades matter and scores matter. Colleges in the arts are getting so many applicants they are looking for any reason to turn someone down to make their decisions easier! Generally, high school performance is a terrific indicator of how a student will do in college.
Speak with your arts teachers — they can be a great resource. Or seek out an expert firm like ArtsBridge.
In all our years in college admissions, we can honestly say that most students who got in were from plain old public high schools!
If you are going into a program where the applied teacher is critical (instrumental music, voice, opera, composition, etc), then yes, you should either take lessons with a few teachers or ask to sit in on one.
Sometimes artistic students do better on the ACT. The SAT was designed as an aptitude test. It tests your reasoning and verbal abilities, not what you've learned in school. In fact, the SAT was supposed to be a test that one could not study for (studying does not change one's aptitude). The ACT, on the other hand, is an achievement test. It is meant to test what you have learned in school. However, this distinction between "aptitude" and "achievement" is dubious. There is concrete evidence showing that you can
study for the SAT, and as the tests have evolved, they have come to look more and more like each other. (sourced from about.com
Your guidance counselor should be able to assist with the academic suitability of each college of interest. Talk to students, faculty, and the admissions office. Do online research and seek out professional advice.
No, no, and no... you don't. But, you do want to be in a program or school where there are enough opportunities for you to grow and develop.
Junior year, ideally, or by the beginning of senior year. ArtsBridge clients typically have their finalized lists by no later than September of senior year.
Yes, of course. A two year progam like Cap21 or AMDA could be just what you need right now. Or go to a commuity college for year and really apply yourself. One good year of college can dismiss a lot of damage.
Kids worry that if they go to a school in a remote location, they will be stuck there for 4 years. It may not be for everyone, but it can be fabulous to be fully immersed in a setting while creating your environment with fellow students! After vacations, breaks, and summers, you may find yourself looking forward to the intimate campus atmosphere. Being in the middle of a major city is not for everyone either, trust me.
The original definition of a conservatory is an institution that focuses on the study of music. The term is now used for theater and dance programs we well. Coursework in the arts major takes up approximately 75% of the student schedule. The remaining 25% is devoted to academic requirements. Interestingly enough, a BFA or BM at a university is built on the same model.
Generally students choose a double degree for one of three reasons: 1) their parents insist; 2) they feel if this doesn't work out I can always do that; and 3) the liberal arts and a balanced education are very important to them. Remember a degree is a degree. If you are academically inclined, a university rather than a conservatory is a terrific option for you because of the choice of non-arts classes. But also know that you can take a challenging course load while in a BFA/BM program, if you want to take the initiative.
It all sounds great! You want a university based program. A place like Syracuse comes to mind. They have a huge dome in the middle of the campus, and students can go to games (for an additional fee of course)! Greek life is very popular there too, as it is at most major universities.
Yes, hundreds, but what is offered to non majors is completely different from school to school. Call or visit the school and ask what classes in your area of interest are open to non majors.
Whether you graduate with a BFA in Acting, a BFA in Painting or a BM in Electronic Music, you can ALWAYS change directions. You will need to make up some coursework (for example, sciences for medicine) but anything is possible.
Parents are worried that you will not be able to support yourself after graduation. But, how will you support yourself with a major in English? Learn more by reading these FAQ's, and then follow this link
to read statistics on arts graduates employment.
Most conservatories offer both. And some are only two-year programs. When you complete the program, you can then transfer your credits to a four year college to finish your Bachelors degree.
Yes it does, although a university-based program may offer different options like a more varied liberal arts curriculum, a more diverse student body, and possibly better extra-curricular facilities like a health or athletic center and team sports.
Absolutely not. The training is sequenced in these programs, making it easy to know "what to do next", but it is absolutely not a requirement to have a degree like this for entrée into the profession.
Many arts majors go on to enjoy success in their fields. Others find that with the combination of being an arts major and taking a solid liberal arts education, they are prepared to pursue a career in a variety of fields such as law, medicine, teaching, business, performance coaching, sales, or marketing.
Yes of course. The degree doesn't matter. What matters is how "good" you are, how well you audition, and a little luck doesn't hurt.
This is a common misconception. Being an arts major takes a tremendous amount of work, time, and committment. You will likely begin your day at 8am and end late in the evening, between classes, rehearsals, studio work and performances.
Definitely take the tour offered by the admissions office — but go off course too. Visit whatever you can, and talk to the students. Don't be embarassed, they love questions! Ask them specifically what they like and don't like about their school, how the food is, plus a realy important question — what do they do on weekends? You don't want the place to clear out on weekends if you don't live locally.
If you can visit, great — but an admissons office will understand if it is not financially possible for you and your family. Contact the school, ask about local events for prospective students in your area, and make sure they know how interested you are in the school!
Not at all. See above!
The official word is no, you are not at a disadvantage. However, make sure your school of choice will let you know your financial aid package before you click that ED (Early Decision) box!
Yes, my favorite is www.finaid.org
. Also, your college websites should all offer advice.
Unfortunately, no, unless you are independent from your family or have some other situation. Call the financial aid office at one of the schools on your list, and see what they can suggest for you. Loan eligibility is based on credit worthiness, and most 18 year olds haven't had the chance to build credit.
Merit scholarship usually refers to grant awards for both academics and arts talent.
Need-based aid is financial aid you receive from a college and/or the government based on your family's financial situation. Just because you have "need" doesn't mean the college will meet your "need" but several do.
Every college, as of October 2011, is required to have on their website a Net Price Calculator. It was determined that is was unfair to have students apply to a college without any idea if they would qualify for any funds. This is an excellent first step for families who depend on this funding. For an example, go to www.suny.edu/howmuch
and see how the SUNY system in NY does it.
FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. You and your famiy must file this to see if you are elgibile for need based grants, loans, and federal work study programs. Go to www.fafsa.ed.gov
Performing Arts Auditions
Our recommendation on this is based on our experiences in admissions. If the decision makers are at the regional auditions, it is fine. If you will be auditioning for a staff member and a video camera, we would pass.
The Unified Theatre Auditions offer students the opportunity to audition for many schools under one roof. Every school has a room, and the student goes from room to room to audition. Most schools require that a student apply first, but it is not unheard of to audition for a school before an application has been made. Generally students and their families stay at the hotel where the auditions are being held. The flip side is it is a very intense few days being surrounded by hundred of other students all hoping for the same dream. Depending on your personality, it may be less stressful going to the college to audition.
VERY. If you sing or play a piece of work that is too difficult, too fast, difficult to sing or play in tune, it will show all of your weaknesses. Select material that presents you at your best.
A prescreen audition is simply an "audition" to "audition". More and more colleges/university programs/conservatories are requiring this and it is a terrific idea. If you pass the "prescreen" you are invited to campus to do a live audition, and if not, you've saved a great deal of time, effort, and money auditioning for a program that is likely not right for you.
Often it is the opposite. Colleges like students who take on the responsibility of a job. Often a student will work for a portion of a summer, and will do something educational as well.
No, it won't, but everyone thinks it will. Go to this program because you want to go, learn, develop and have a great experience. Don't go because you think you will get in if you attend.
Research. Talk to people, talk to your arts teachers, and investigate online.
Because you get to see your competition, develop your talents, explore possibilities within your art, and imagine what it might look like to do this in college.
Ask yourself an honest question. What is my level compared to others in my town, city, state, and region? If you don't know, find out. Take lots of auditions, or go to portfolio reviews, and see how you do in respect to both local and national-level programs.
Of course not! But, it does likely mean the audition schools had hundreds of auditions for very few spots. It's possible that you were not properly prepared.
First of all, be sure and follow the specific portfolio guidelines for each institution exactly as they indicate. Adjust your portfolio according to their instructions — it is never one size fits all. If the school offers portfolio reviews, be sure to take advantage of that excellent opportunity for an “insider” view of your work. Present your portfolio in a professional manner and show a variety of skills. Admission Review Committees are often more impressed by your ambition and vision as they are by your drawing, painting, or photographic ability. Be sure to show your portfolio to a trusted art teacher to get an outside opinion of your presentation. Your portfolio may be best served by starting and ending with your best work.
National Portfolio Day is an event specifically for visual artists and designers. It is an opportunity for those who wish to pursue an education in the visual and related arts to meet with representatives from colleges accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Representatives will be available to review your artwork, discuss their programs and answer questions about professional careers in art. High school students, parents, teachers, guidance counselors, and college transfer students are encouraged to attend. Go to www.portfolioday.net
VERY. This is your chance to show everything that you do well. And follow specific directions on the school websites. Different schools have different requirements.
The college selection process is a very complicated one. Try to limit yourself to 4-6 choices based on the things that are important to you. Important things to consider include: geographic location, size and reputation of the school, big city versus small town or rural, the quality and reputation of the faculty, and of course, cost. It is a complicated mix of where you want to be for the next 4 years and which school sees you as a significant asset that they want to accept. With art programs, you need to add to this mix the quality of the student work you see on their web site and in person. Many feel that the single most important indicator of an art program is the student work it produces. It says almost everything you need to know about the quality of teaching and mentorship that occurs there. And, take time to enjoy the process — it usually only happens once in your life!
That very much depends on what you are looking to achieve in college and beyond. In an independent art school, you are likely to get a very strong grounding in the visual arts and some exposure to liberal arts courses that will be geared to an artistic perspective. In the art department of a university, you may have exposure to a solid but possibly more limited menu of visual art courses. This will be combined with a stronger exposure to the liberal arts, taking classes with majors from throughout the university.
Majoring in art is exactly like majoring in any field in college, and in many ways, it is even better. College is always “you get out of it what you put into it”, as the saying goes. A visual art major is, after graduation, at the same crossroads as an anthropology, psychology, or philosophy major. You all need to know where you will go next. If you continue as a working artist, that's great. The list of student artists going on to successful careers is endless. But like every other major, there are no guarantees. If you choose not to continue in the arts professionally, and choose another career path, you will always have your art to complete your life. After working all day, you come home to the one thing that enhances your life — art. That is more than someone with a degree in anthropology or psychology can say! The bottom line? Follow your dream!
Aside from university-based programs, our students have gone on to art schools such as MICA, Pratt, Parson's and RISD.
ArtsBridge Visual Art workshops are about the real world of applying to art programs. Working with some of the finest art faculty from around the nation enhances the student’s skill sets and provides an opportunity for clear, concise, and supportive critiques of their work. Students will not just learn about one school's approach, as they would at typical summer programs, but would hear from a variety of faculty who have diverse views on the creation of art. As well, experienced admission professionals provide “behind the scenes” advice on creating a portfolio that reflects the student’s strongest work as well as how review committees work.
Visual artists are expected to be well-rounded individuals, just like any other college applicant. They should have strong grades in all subjects as well as a rich resume of student leadership and involvement, both inside and outside the classroom. The difference, for most visual artists, is that they need to show their skill set in two different ways — on paper and in their art portfolio. The visual artist has a second opportunity to display their talents to the members of the admissions and review committees. This makes the portfolio an all-important part of the process.
All art is the crossroads of talent, ambition, and energy. Perhaps more than other artists, visual artists are keenly aware of their surroundings. They notice space, color, light, and perspective. Where others may see a great painting and admire it as a whole, a visual artist may see, in addition to the beauty of the piece, the individual components that make up the whole. In short, visual artists often see a very different world.
Have additional questions? Contact ArtsBridge