There are many art schools in the United States, with most in the New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, and Boston areas. For those interested in art careers, there are many programs and classes to choose from. Degrees are available in a variety of art fields, including animation, computer art, fashion design, video game design, graphic design, interior design, photography, media arts, visual communications, and web design. Aspiring artists can choose from a certificate or an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree.
If you are interested in attending school but are busy with work or family obligations, you can try online classes. Online classes allow you to study when you want, day or night. Many art schools offer programs that are fully online. Plus, some offer accelerated classes so you can complete your degree and start a new career in a matter of months.
There is tough competition for art careers, so attending art school will be to your advantage. Although many artists are self-taught and can teach themselves art skills, there are some things that you cannot learn on your own. Going to school allows you to be around others who share your passion for art. Plus, think of the networking and connections. Going to school allows others to see your artwork. If your teachers are interested in your work, they can connect you to the right people and have your artwork displayed in art shows and galleries. Therefore, you’ll want to take advantage of all that art schools and colleges have to offer, which may mean paying the extra money to attend a prestigious school with an excellent reputation.
Applying to Art School
Applying for art schools can be a stressful experience, with so many forms to fill out, a portfolio to update, essays, letters of recommendations, and different rules and due dates for each school. How do you keep track of it all?
- First, narrow your list to several art schools. Schools require an application fee, so to avoid wasting money, only apply to the schools that you are truly interested in attending. You want to shoot for three to five applications.
- Next, look through the application materials. Read through everything carefully to make sure you are aware of all the requirements. Some schools require you to fill out forms a certain way. Most art schools require a portfolio of your best artwork, plus letters of recommendation and essays. The portfolio is the most important part. Art schools use this to gauge your skills and worthiness to be admitted to their art program. Therefore, put a lot of effort into this part, because this will be your only chance to convince the school of your talent.
- Have someone who knows your artwork well, such as a teacher, write you a letter of recommendation. Next on the list of importance is the essay. Many schools consider this an artist’s statement. An artist’s statement tells why you are interested in art, who your favorite artists are, or what inspires you. Try to be unique, so that your essay stands out from the others.
- Check application deadlines, as they may vary by school. It’s best to start looking for a school months in advance so you don’t run the risk of missing a deadline. Before sending out the application, use a checklist to ensure that all materials are completed and included. Many schools allow you to apply online. If they offer it, do it. It saves everyone time and hassle. The schools receive your application faster, meaning they make a decision and determine your fate faster.
Following these tips can help those interested in art careers get into the school of their choice.
Art School Accreditation
One of the most important factors in choosing an art school is making sure the school of your choice is accredited. Accreditation is awarded to institutions showing that they meet or exceed certain criteria in terms of educational quality. Accreditation is given to ensure students that they are receiving a high-quality education. In addition, it is also used to assess each school’s procedures and teaching methods and to make sure they are consistent and up to date.
- Accreditation is especially important for art schools because it ensures students that their units are transferable.
- It also ensures that students have qualified teachers, a current curriculum, and access to activities, services, and financial aid.
- Many employers will not accept education obtained from a non-accredited school, so it’s in your best interest to find one that is.
- For those studying for art careers, accreditation is very important; without it, all the time and money you spent on school will be wasted.
There are many agencies in the United States that accredit art schools. The most common ones are the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) and the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). The ACCSC is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a non-profit, independent, and private accrediting agency that strives to establish and maintain high educational standards for technical and occupational career schools, including art schools. The ACICS has been accrediting schools since 1912 and is recognized by both the Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. It accredits private schools that offer certificates and diplomas, and postsecondary schools that offer associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees to students studying for technical, professional, or occupational careers. There are also other accrediting agencies based on the type of art school (interior design, architecture, etc.) and its location in the United States, since some accrediting agencies are regional.
Choosing a School
Choosing any college can be a stressful experience, and it’s no different for an art school. For those looking for art careers, there are many art schools that can help you develop your skills. It can be difficult to narrow it down to just a couple of favorites. How do you choose?
- First, decide on your major. Art is a broad topic, so you should decide what type of medium you’re interested in-painting, drawing, computer art, graphic design, etc. Find schools that have the major of your choice.
- Then create a list of other factors that are important in your college search, such as cost, location, services available, and reputation. You want a school that’s within your budget, no matter how much financial aid you think you’ll get.
If you still have many schools on your list, think of other aspects that are important to you. After all, you will be at this school for a few years, so you want to make the most of your experience. Check out the schools thoroughly online. Look at reviews from former students to see if there’s anything you should be concerned about. As an art school student, you desire one-on-one instruction from your instructors so that they can critique your work and give you relevant feedback. Therefore, you may want to check student-teacher ratios. If the classes are too large, you won’t get the instruction you need and may feel left out in the group, so look for small, intimate class sizes.
You should also consider the types of classes taught. Some schools specialize in a certain art medium or focus, so be sure that the school of your choice fits your interests and career goals. If you’re interested in painting, for example, a graphic design school may not be the right choice for you. Sometimes pictures don’t do justice. You may see photos of the campus online, but if you go visit the school you may see an entirely different campus. Therefore, arrange for a campus tour if you’re interested in a school. You’ll get to see the school in person and meet with staff and students and talk with them about their experiences. If you are unable to take a campus tour, ask your art teachers or counselors for recommendations based on your interests.
Online Art Classes
For those who work full time or have family obligations, it can be difficult to find the time to go back to school. However, there are options besides taking evening classes or having to cut back on work in order to attend classes. With technological advances occurring every day, more and more students are looking into online classes and degrees. These types of classes offer flexibility because they allow students to study and complete assignments on their own time and at their own pace. There are no on-campus class sessions to attend or worrying or stress about being late for class, being stuck in traffic, or trying to find a parking place. You can save time and money by studying at home or anywhere that has an Internet connection. You can even take art classes online. Studying for art careers has never been easier.
Online art classes are made to be user friendly and to be accessed by those with basic computer skills. If you know how to use the Internet and type e-mails, then you can study online. Each college has specific system requirements for computers, so be sure your computer meets the requirements before enrolling. Online classes still have students and teachers; the only difference is the modes of communication used. Instead of talking in class, you have other communications methods, including e- mail, phone, fax, and discussion boards. Many art classes teach students by using interactive videos. Instead of being in a classroom and watching an instructor, students watch the instructor teach the class while they paint in the comfort of their own home.
Online classes still need to be completed by a certain time. They are usually a semester long, but many are accelerated, meaning they may be shorter in length but more intense. Many Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees can be fully completed online, including those in advertising, animation, fashion, fine art, graphic design, photography, and web design.
Financial Aid for Art School
You just got accepted into the art school of your choice. Now you might be worried about how you’ll pay for it. For those interested in art careers, there is financial aid available to help pay for your education. There are many resources, such as loans, grants, and scholarships, available online. The first step in applying for financial aid is to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
One type of financial aid is college loans . Although you may be reluctant to apply for a loan, remember that it’s an investment in your future. Student loans are a popular choice for many students because they tend to have lower interest rates than other types of loans. Plus, the loan payments do not start until after graduation, so students can spend their college years focusing on schoolwork and extracurricular activities instead of working several jobs to pay back student loans.
Grants are a great way to pay for your education because unlike loans, they do not have to be repaid. They are essentially free money given to students from the government. There is about $400 billion in grants available. Although applying for grants can be a time-consuming process, it’s worth it in the end if you receive thousands of dollars for your education.
Scholarships are similar to grants because they are also free money that does not have to be repaid. However, finding scholarships for which you qualify can be tough, as many scholarships have strict requirements relating to things such as grade point average, type of art major, athletic ability, community service, ethnicity, and financial need. Plus, there is a lot of competition for scholarships, so consider yourself very lucky if you get offered one. Although grants and scholarships can be found online, it is recommended that you look for local scholarships by contacting libraries and small businesses. These scholarships usually offer smaller monetary rewards, but there is less competition for them because they are not widely advertised.