A Complete Guide for Getting Accepted into Art School

Attending an art school provides students the opportunity to make a career out of doing something they love. It is a natural fit if you’re creatively minded and would like to go to college without following the more traditional academic program. While some four-year liberal arts schools do offer art programs alongside other options, such as communications or science, a specialized art school, such as Hussian College, will provide more tailored art courses, related extracurricular activities, and more applicable networking opportunities.

All schools require students to undergo an application process for acceptance, although they will include different elements. Understanding the differences and ensuring you adhere to requirements are the first steps in securing your acceptance. At Hussian College, our team takes a holistic approach to the admissions process, looking at every aspect of every applicant. From academic achievements to a portfolio of your work, it is important to showcase who you are not only as an artist, but also as an individual.

What Do Art Schools Look for in an Applicant?

Every art school will have its own requirements, as will some specific concentrations or programs. Some schools are very clear on the skills and academic achievements you must possess, while other schools, like Hussian College, prefer to consider each applicant on an individual basis and think about what he or she might bring to the school.

In general, art schools will be looking for the following things from applicants:

  1. Transcripts

Even though you’re applying to art school, most schools still want to see your academic record. Do you need great grades to get into art school? Not necessarily. Many schools are beginning to recognize that student potential should not be judged on grades alone. While good grades certainly will benefit your application, personal achievements and non-academic skills are becoming just as important as performance in school.

  1. Portfolio or Collection of Creative Works

A well-composed art portfolio is always a great start. While different schools have different portfolio requirements, generally they will want to see a selection that showcases your skills, creativity, and artistic potential. Demonstrating your creative and design skills through your portfolio shows that you have talent in different areas, even if you didn’t excel in traditional academics through high school.

  1. Artist’s Statement

Many schools will ask you to write a personal statement explaining your own artistic point of view and inspirations as part of the admissions process. If you don’t have a great academic record or portfolio, this statement is your chance to demonstrate why you really want to go to art school. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a comprehensive essay but it’s worth putting some time and thought into your personal artist statement, as it gives the school a preview of your personality and artistic style before they get the chance to meet you in person.

If you’ve never written an artist statement before, it is understandable if you feel a bit overwhelmed. Hussian College is pleased to help, offering thorough guidance on how to write a successful artist statement.

  1. Passion, Confidence, and Motivation

Probably the most important aspect of your application is how you come across in terms of your personality, drive, and passion for art. You may be asked to attend an interview after submitting your application, especially if you’re applying as a transfer student. This is your chance to shine. Interviews can be nerve-wracking, but this isn’t a test – admissions staff will be looking for evidence that you’re serious about your future artistic career and that you’re motivated and enthusiastic about your work.

Tips for Getting Accepted with Little Art Experience

Many high school students don’t quite know what they’d like to do until later in their senior year. That means they may not have had the opportunity to develop a personal art style or to build a compelling portfolio.

Fortunately, as we’ve already touched upon, it’s not always necessary to have years of artist experience to be accepted into art school. Going to art school with no experience is certainly possible, but you may need to look at schools with more flexible entrance requirements. Hussian College, for example, invites even those with little art experience to apply, so long as they display artistic passion and motivation for success.

If you’re thinking of applying to art school and want to improve your chances of acceptance, there are several ways to help increase your chances:

  • Educate yourself about the various majors and programs that are offered. This not only allows you to choose the best path for you, but it will provide more confidence when crafting an artist statement as well as when speaking in an interview.
  • Start practicing the skills you’re interested in, whether that’s drawing, web design, or any other branch of art you want to major in. Document your efforts and show them in place of a portfolio – the admissions team will be looking for evidence of artistic potential, not necessarily finely polished skills. Even a simple sketchbook is better than nothing!
  • Put effort into your artist statement and really think about how you want to come across to the admissions team.

How to Nail an Art School Interview

Once you’ve submitted your initial application, you may be asked to an interview at the school of your choice. This is not just to assess your skills and personality — it also gives you a chance to explore the school and ask questions of your own.

  • The interview very well may be your chance to stand out to the admissions team, so it is important, especially if your academic record and portfolio are not quite up to scratch. Remember that it’s most important to showcase your passion and your determination to do well.
  • Be truthful about your aspirations and what sort of career you see yourself in after graduating from art school
  • Express enthusiasm for your work and the majors you want to study
  • Talk about artists you admire and examples of work that you find interesting such as exhibitions, advertisements, illustrated books, etc.
  • Make your personality shine through. Talk about your hobbies and interests apart from the field of art you want to study.
  • Talk about your past creative ideas and achievements
  • Express why you want to attend the particular art school and study the program you’ve chosen
  • Show off your past achievements in your academic and personal life and sell yourself as an applicant – don’t be shy

What Do Art Schools Look for in a Portfolio?

Whether you’ve got years of artistic experience behind you or you’re new to the field, an art portfolio is your chance to really stand out to the admissions staff. Remember that they aren’t looking for a perfect portfolio, but rather, for some insight into your creative self. To increase your chances of success, you should make sure your portfolio represents you as well as possible.

So how good of an artist do you have to be to get into art school? Not every school is looking for work that demonstrates exceptional skill. The admissions team will want to see that you have natural creativity and skills that you can develop during your time at college. For the most success, be sure to…

  • Include work that shows your technical skills, such as sketches
  • Include a wide varietyof different art forms and subjects
  • Choose pieces that show your unique styleand perspective
  • Select only your best pieces. Don’t fill your portfolio with mediocre work simply for the sake of adding more pieces.
  • Show the progressionof your work over time to demonstrate how you develop your skills
  • Be ready to discussyour work, explain your thinking process and how you tackled each piece

Unsure of where to start when it comes time to build a portfolio? Fear not – there is no right or wrong way to create one, as long as you stay within the guidelines that the school may set. Hussian College is pleased to help students discover how to build a solid art portfolio.

What to Do if You’ve Been Rejected from Schools

It can be incredibly disheartening to receive a rejection letter, especially from a school you’ve had your heart set on. However, it’s not the end of the world. Don’t give up at the first hurdle – there are many schools to consider and it may just be the case that another school would suit you better.

Keep in mind that the top-tier schools are highly competitive and only a small number of applicants are accepted each year. If you’ve been rejected from a very popular or highly regarded school, you might consider a different school with less stringent requirements or a more flexible approach to applications.

Getting Accepted to Art School Doesn’t Have to Be Overwhelming

While there are some art schools with a reputation of being scarily competitive and almost impossible to get into, there are just as many reputable art colleges that are happy to bring in students who are new to the world of art. By displaying a passion for expressing your creativity, you’ll stand out to the admissions team and increase your chances of acceptance. All it takes is little determination!

If you’re looking for a reputable art school with flexible application requirements, Hussian College might just be for you. Contact us arrange a tour of our Philadelphia campus or begin the application process today. If you have a passion for art and a determination to do well, we’d love to meet you!