College Admissions 101 for Art Majors

From Apps to Portfolios, Everything You Need to Know about Art School

You may think you know everything about college apps, but applying as an art major is different. Here are the how-tos on the process, the unique timelines and portfolio requirements for art school.
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    Students drawing in art class
    Blend Images - Hill Street Studios/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
    When it comes to higher education, prospective visual arts majors have three choices. They can attend an arts institute, try a large university with a visual arts department - or opt for that happy medium, a university with a strong arts school. But there are stark differences between the three, and this decision is going to impact not just a student's artistic development, but the kinds of friends he makes, the non-arts subjects he studies and the way he spends every moment of every day for...MORE the next four years. Big decision? Yes, but an exciting one too. This breakout on the differences between types of schools, art school vs. university, can help you decide.
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    Visual Arts College Fairs

    Courtesy Matt Palmer, Stock.Xchng Photos

    You've chosen the genre - art school or college. Now all you have to do is find a few. Attending a visual arts college fair can help that process along. Representatives from nearly every major university with a strong visual or performing arts department attend, along with reps from many of the big art institutes. These fairs are held in major U.S. cities each fall and spring, and are particularly helpful for high school sophomores and juniors. Browse our college fair survival tips before...MORE you go.

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    Courtesy Steve Woods, Stock.Xchng Photos
    Art school admissions is a competitive business, one that requires not just an academic application but an art portfolio as well. It's important to get an outside assessment of a student's work, so be sure to check out National Portfolio Day, a free public event that invites would-be art school applicants to meet with college representatives and have their portfolios evaluated.
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    Courtesy Alfonso Diaz, Stock.Xchng Photos

    Just as music majors tread a double path in college admissions, via an academic application and auditions, visual artists are faced with a similar challenge. Most major art schools require SAT or ACT scores, high school transcripts, recommendations and a personal essay, as well as a portfolio of the student's best work. That portfolio is key.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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    Photo by Jackie Burrell

    Most people think of the arts as a path to unemployment - but they couldn't be more wrong. There are many career paths and jobs open to art and art history majors, for example, whether they're into Giotto, Monet or Thiebaud. Here are 15 of those career possibilities, from art restoration to museum administration.