Pursuing Arts in College
January 7, 2021
We’ve all heard people say, “Don’t go to art school, it’s a waste of time and money.” Or, “How will you make living? Will you live on the streets?”
Obviously, this can be extremely disheartening for many college-bound or post-highschool students, especially those who have been practicing their art form for years. While most art fields are quite competitive, becoming successful is not impossible. If you’re passionate enough about your art and want to incorporate it into your future, here are some tips.
1. Develop a Strong and Striking Portfolio
No matter what degree or career you want to pursue, you will absolutely need a portfolio or resume of sorts. If you want to study music, a list of your accomplishments and competitions would be great to add on your application. For performing arts such as dance and acting, headshots may be required. Artists with creations in digital or physical form should choose their favorite pieces, or those that they believe define them as an artist. The same applies to those hoping to study literary arts or design. When creating a portfolio, considering what will make you stand out the most. What about you is unique? You want reviewers to be intrigued.
2. Work Hard Academically
Of course your artistic talent weighs heavily on your chances of admission or acceptance into programs, but for most places your academics will matter too. First off, having good grades will give you a headstart, as it shows you have a tendency to work hard and know how to face a challenge, such as budgeting your time. Good grades also show your dedication towards the programs you apply to and tell reviewers that you’re serious about their school. One of the biggest benefits to having good grades is the scholarships you can earn. There’s thousands upon thousands of offers out there that no matter who you are, you’re bound to find something. Many places offer merit based scholarships based on your GPA or SAT scores. A strong academic resume can also help you receive college credit for general education credits you may have to take, depending on the school. If you get those done in high school or test out of them, you can move on to classes that focus more on your passion.
3. Research to Find Your Fit
When the average person thinks of art school we imagine Julliard for performing arts or Parsons for art and design. But there are so many underrated institutions all over the nation waiting for students to find, that can mold them into just as successful artists. Just because a program at one school may be highly rated doesn’t mean it’ll be your glass slipper. There are so many other aspects to your educational experience that you have to consider. Where is the school located? What’s the weather like; would you enjoy it? Will you live on or off campus? Does this feel like me? The truth is you’ll never know until you’re there, but that’s why you can tour schools. Make sure to ask lots of questions, because this is all about you and your future! Don’t let the school’s ranking discourage you from making your decision. If you work hard enough, you’ll make it in your industry. What you make of your school experience will guide you throughout your career.
4. Be Diverse
Out of all the applications you fill out for programs, most of them are bound to have a section about extracurricular activities. Obviously your craft will be one of your main extracurriculars, but don’t shy away from mentioning others. Talk about other clubs you belonged to, volunteer opportunities and community service. Listing these activities will give reviewers a better idea of who you are. By showing them your interests, you can be a more memorable applicant. Also be sure to tie back all your experiences to the art form you want to study. Think about how they have shaped you into a better artist and how you will be equipped to succeed in your field.
5. Be Prepared to Get Competitive
Your entire application process will be strenuous no matter where you apply. You may have auditions, interviews, or have to write essays. People from all over will be fighting for the same spot. While this is intimidating, it makes the experience so much more real. You are forced to strive to be the best, and the results can be so rewarding. Even if you are rejected, you can take that experience with you to do even better in the future. These institutions want students to fight for positions because they can better see those who truly want the opportunity.
6. Keep Your Options Open
Lastly, keep an open mind. You may have your heart set on going somewhere you’ve wanted to for a long time, but consider some other places. Don’t let the acceptance rates and competitive nature of some schools deter you from applying. You never know what could happen unless you try. There are so many factors to decide on where you want to go. Make sure to take your time and remember that there is no one right or wrong answer. You are the one that can ultimately make the decision for your future. Hold on to your passion and remember you are in control of your future.