Generally, admission into higher education in the United States is based on high school grades, college admissions tests such as the ACT and the SAT, letters of recommendation, and an application completed by the student.
But when applying to study art, a portfolio is often required in addition to the normal admissions process. If your intended school is a member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, you may be able to attend National Portfolio Day at a school in your region. If not, you may be required to send slides or quality copies of your work for review.
If you are applying to several schools, you may choose to use a "universal" or "common" application form which you would fill out once and send to all of them. However, not all schools accept these applications.
You should contact the admissions office of the school(s) you wish to attend for specifics regarding their application requirements.
- Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges - Search by school name, location, or degree interests to find accredited art schools
- Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design - Operates programs that inform the public about art and design colleges, and programs that improve the quality of the member colleges
- National Association of Schools of Art and Design - An organization of schools, colleges and organizations that offer art and design programs with threshold standards for the degrees and credentials offered
- NASAD FAQ - A great list of Frequently Asked Questions for prospective art students and their parents, ranging from why accreditation is important to how to prepare for and apply to art schools
- 100 Successful College Application Essays - Expert comments on 100 real college application essays
- The Best College Admission Essays - 50 sample essays and advice on essay writing from admissions experts
- Putney's Virtual College Office - Information, advice and links on the application process, financial aid and more
- Portfolio Guidelines - Provides portfolio guidelines aimed at photographers, but much of the advice applies to anyone assembling a portfolio
- Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) - Central organization in the UK for applying to a college or university
Finding the Right Art School for You
Check out this insightful article, aimed at helping you find the right art program for your personal needs.
Graduate Education in the Visual Arts
Thinking about going to graduate school to further study the visual arts? We've interviewed more than 30 students, professionals and academic leaders to answer your most pressing questions.
Preparing Your Portfolio
Kavin Buck, Director of Recruitment & Outreach for the UCLA School of Arts & Architecture talks about the need for a comprehensive portfolio.