Fine Arts College Night: Suggestions for Parents and Students Interested in Studying Performing & Visual Arts

Sponsored by the HCPSS Fine Arts Advisory Council

Suggestions for Parents and Students Interested in Studying Performing & Visual Arts

Performing and visual arts programs usually require more than the normal admissions application and essay. The programs often desire a demonstration of the student’s work which can require a great deal of preparation.

Most arts programs that are not conservatories (music, theater, dance, and visual arts) require a two-tier approach: the normal admissions process that all students follow plus a separate process which may include an additional application, fee, and essay as well as a CD, video, DVD, or portfolio combined with an audition, interview and/or special project. Each college has different criteria. It is important to check out the requirements of many different schools early since they vary greatly and often require extensive advance preparation. While conservatories usually have only one admissions process, it can also be multi-tiered and often much more demanding in terms of the artistic requirements. Many schools have 2 or 3 cuts they make throughout the admissions process.

Check out the admissions requirements of different types of schools even if you are not yet sure where you want to apply. It will give you an idea of what is required.

Ask many different people for advice. Use the numerous resources available. Often individuals, both teachers and parents, base their knowledge on their own personal experiences which can be very helpful but sometimes limiting, so it is best to get information from a variety of sources.

To get questions about this process answered, start with your student’s teachers, both school and private instructors have knowledge that can be helpful.

There are numerous blogs and online discussions that can be helpful. It is often hard to find college listings and rankings for the arts programs that are fully inclusive so do not rely on these too heavily. [For example – if looking for a Jazz Program but the school lists itself as Contemporary and Jazz it may not show on a general list.]

Attend the Performing and Visual Arts College Fair held in Washington every fall. There are hundreds of schools in attendance and it is a great place to pick up information.

Contact the admissions counselors at the schools you are considering. If you are seeking information about programs within larger universities do not rely only on the general admissions office, be sure to contact the admissions person in the particular department as well. Do not be afraid to share information about your student and what specifically you are seeking. They are usually very helpful.

Ask your teacher and parents in your high school boosters program for names of parents who have recently gone through the process. The information they share can be very useful.

For further information or questions feel free to contact Stephanie Gurwitz Zurier, Fine Arts College Night Coordinator


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